The Sun Door Part 20
“Hello, what have we here?” Drejnin asked rhetorically as he removed the scabbard from a similar suit of armor. As he drew the blade free the runes decorating it were obvious. “Hey, I think I found another of those magical weapons!” the Dreymorian said excitedly. It was a strange emotion for Drejnin to show.
Serius headed over to look at the enchanted blade his master found while transforming back to his human form, since no one was paying him any attention anymore. I walked up to Skrat who was mumbling to himself looking at a bookcase on the wall. I realized he was reading titles from the high shelves from the ground. It took him a few minutes to realize I was standing near him.
“Now I know why they call you Lucky, Marsh,” he said. “Many people search for this place and die trying, but you actually found it. If you do nothing else, you were the one to find the fabled Library of Oracles,” he said, never taking his eyes from the spines of the countless books lining the walls.
“Well shit, even a broken clock is right twice a day,” I said, thinking myself clever. The little bastard nodded! “Can you see way up there?” I asked him as I studied the Magi.
“With magic I can.” He said. “It is said that if you want to look something up in the Library of Oracles all you have to do it stand at the podium and speak the topic into the book there and the right books come to you. It really is a marvelous thing,” the young excited magi continued.
“Sounds like a good deal,” I replied. I wasn’t even sure if I actually cared. I mean not sure how this would affect me, you know. But I was glad the kid found something that excited him so much. Magic and I have a love/hate relationship. I don’t trust it at all, but it is a necessity sometimes, even I will admit that, begrudgingly.
I studied the podium from where I was, a few feet away. The large tome resting on it seemed to have a faint glow to it. Not enough to really call it a light, but enough to notice a difference between that book and the others. I watched Skrat walk up to the podium and stand in front of it with a look of wonder on his face. He turned towards me, the closest person to him, and asked, “What should I ask it?”
Before I could answer the young magi, a rustling noise appeared above us. I had to duck almost instantly as books flew around the room, rearranging themselves on the shelves. Two such books landed on the podium on the left side of the great tome that rested there. The titles on the spines the books were, Questions of the Universe Revealed, and How to Know How to Ask, a Guide to Getting What You Want. With an incredulous look Skrat dove into the books his young mind just eating up the knowledge that appeared in front of him.
With all the noise of the books shuffling, the rest of the guys approached us. It appeared that Drejnin indeed found a magic weapon forged by the dwarves many years ago. It seems the brothers were now collectors of these weapons. The Dreymorian saw my gaze on it and held it out for me to draw from the scabbard. I pulled the blade loose and listened to it sing. I had never seen a better-looking weapon in my life. The runes that covered its polished sides were almost alive with electricity, small sparks raced across its surface.
“Did you read the runes?” I asked Drejnin as I carefully placed the weapon back in its scabbard and handed it back to him.
“Yes, I have learned the phrase to unlock this new weapons power,” the large Dreymorian said. It seemed he was beginning to come out of his moodiness since learning he was a married man, or was a married man, a good weapon will do that.
Skrat closed the books that the podium had given him and turned his attention back to our small party. Serius was eyeing the podium like a child does a cookie jar and I knew it was only a matter of time before we were all going to pay for that. I think Skrat knew that as well. I noticed he did not give up his position in front of the magical tome.
Drejnin seemed interested in the knowledge here as well and had Skrat ask the book for information on the Moon Door, Skittessa, and the Sun Door. When the Library supplied the Dreymorian with the books he quietly took them to a table and sat down and cracked open the first one.
“Hey Marsh, you seem kind of intelligent. I got a question for you,” Serius said as he tried to maneuver around Skrat to no avail.
“What is that?” I asked with an amused smile at their little dance.
“Well something has been bugging me since we came down here under the shop. In that room with the skeletons, the main throne was empty and had been for years. What do you think happened to that guy?” he asked. Damn what a really good question, I thought as the hairs on the back of my neck stood up again remembering the eyeless sockets.
“I am hoping that he is long gone, my dontu friend. Maybe went to find a livelier party, that one was pretty dull,” I quipped.
“That is one possibility,” the dontu said. “Or, he could be lurking here in the shadows, looking for his magic sword,” Serius joked. I say he joked, but I didn’t think it was much of one, after all. Drejnin just gave the dontu a smile and drew the magic blade again. He was like a child with a favorite toy.
“Was that what you wanted to ask the book?” Skrat asked Serius turning his attention back to us from the book he was reading.
“Well no, I was going to ask it about Skittessa, if she had a sister,” Serius said, then cracked a crooked smile and patted me on the back, a little too hard. With a hearty laugh he side stepped me and was right next to Skrat before anyone could react.
“Book,” he said. “Show me the Skeleton that was missing from the Throne room.” As soon as he said the words I think the dontu realized his mistake, but by then it was too late to take them back. If the phrase of the words he uttered didn’t clue us in on the error of our dontu friend, then the boom at the other end of the Library did. Two of the book shelves started to part from the wall, to show a chamber beyond that was dimly lit, thankfully it was lit just enough to show a large, very large skeleton armed with a shield and axe step through. Its skull swiveled on its bony neck and empty sockets still somehow stared into me. I think it was just like the principle that when children and animals hover around those that don’t want anything to do with them, that these undead seem to seek me out to make eyes at me.
An eerie hiss escaped the bone mouth on the horrid monstrosity as it slowly made its way into the Library. Its skull turned first from me, to Skrat, then to Serius and so on, as if assessing us for danger. Apparently, I wasn’t a threat as it barely gave me a glance, if you could call it that. Finally, its undead gaze fell on Drejnin holding that sword he found. It seemed the skeleton noticed the blade as well, and swiveled its hips towards the Dreymorian, taking a big animated step in his direction.
With a powerful yell, Drejnin charged the abomination without hesitation, drawing the electric blade from the scabbard and raising it to an overhead position. Serius also charged the unholy creation, changing his arms into some kind of heavy mass, like a mace.
Drejnin’s first blow fell on the monster’s shield, ringing out with vibration from the metal on metal contact. Zeeg tried to flank the skeleton and hit it from behind, but the undead shifted positions with the expertise of centuries of warfare. Drejnin swung the magic blade again, this time catching the skeleton on the pelvis. The swing did some minor damage, but not as much as a swing like that should have.
In fact, it looked like Zeeg’s weapon was having no effect at all on the thing. Serius’s flurry of attacks did make the skeleton rock back from the sheer force, but didn’t seem to do any permanent damage. With a whooshing sound, the axe held in the undead’s hand just barely cleared Drejnin’s head. He tried to use the opening with an upward swing but once again the creature’s shield deflected the mighty blow and rang out noisily.
I didn’t know what to do, there really wasn’t any room for me to get in there and melee the thing, it was crowded as is. Skrat was murmuring something and I knew it was just a matter of time before the kid shot some spell at the thing. I tried to stay out of the line of fire. A second later a fireball formed in front of the young magi and screamed across the room just over everyone’s heads. It was too high to hit us but still low enough to catch the large skeleton in the face.
Its neck shot back from the force and it shook violently back and forth from the magical flame attack. When it was distracted, Drejnin swung again, this time connecting with the unholy creature’s ribcage. He managed to break one of them off with that swing. It was a small victory, but it proved that the thing could be hurt, even if it just takes a while.
With a renewed sense of accomplishment, the three warriors attacked the giant skeleton again. Serius concentrated on its legs, trying to make it fall over, but with a look from it’s now charred and blackened bone face, the dontu had to back off or get the business end of the axe.
Zeeg charged the skeleton from behind driving his mass into the pelvis of the creature, making it stagger for a second, but it wasn’t enough to drop it. The skeleton with a hiss, caught it’s footing before anyone could capitalize on it being unbalanced.
Another fireball left the Magi Skrat and whizzed through the air, slamming into it. An unholy screech left it’s gaping bone mouth and it raised its hands as if to wipe away the magical fire that burned there. Once again Zeeg rushed the back of the monster as Serius rushed with the eldest brother. Together their weight slammed into the ancient bones of the creature’s legs, but they did not break. It did make it reel forward towards Drejnin who was waiting for it.
“Vres Wreis Acrtum Ferca Ves!” the Dreymorian said and jumped with his blade held high. The runes on the blade seemed to come alive, making the entire weapon crackle with energy. As the large man brought the blade down with all the force his large muscles could muster, a beam of energy extended the blade by almost double, and sliced cleanly through the bone of the monstrous skeleton, like it was cloth. The blade bit first into the shoulder of the creature, and didn’t stop until it passed through its ribs. The arm holding the shield fell away from the body and landed with a clank on the floor. Once again, the skeleton hissed as he whirled towards Drejnin with his axe and swung down at him.
With luck Drejnin managed to dodge the attack and he rolled to the left to avoid yet another strike from the creature. Serius managed to get behind the skeleton, avoiding the back swings from the attacks on Drejnin and started to grow larger, and hairier. Once again, the young mage shot a fireball towards the fight, even if it was just slowing the damn thing down, at least he was helping. I was still a bystander in the battle, but I would have a hell of a story to tell if I lived through this.
Zeeg removed the shield from the skeletons grasp and held it up in front of him and charged the creatures legs again, slamming into them. The hard bone, hitting the metal of the shield made such a racket I instinctively ducked. The skeleton fell to one knee from the combined force of Zeeg’s attack and the off balance of having half a body from Drejnin’s strike.
It was too late for Skrat to redirect the fireball as it left his hands heading in the direction of the fight, we both looked at each other, like we knew it was going to be a wasted effort, but we were surprised when the skeleton stood up just as the ball of fire approached it.
With a scream, the skeleton’s mouth opened wide and the fireball disappeared inside of its unholy maw. “What the hell?” I head Skrat say just as the skeleton turned towards Zeeg and opened its mouth again. It wasn’t a scream that came out this time. The son of a bitch was spitting fire like a damn dragon at the eldest brother.
“Oh, nice going, little brother!” Zeeg said and dropped to his knees and crouched behind the shield flinching at the incoming hell that was about to descend on him. The strangest thing happened. The shield glowed blue as the fire struck and arced around it. A semicircle of pale, translucent blue surrounded Zeeg and the fire couldn’t penetrate the forcefield surrounding him.
“It breathes fire now?” Drejnin asked, his mouth twisting into a smile. I swear that bastard has a death wish sometimes.
Enraged, the skeleton raised a monstrous foot and kicked the shield straight into Zeeg’s face, knocking him and the shield back towards the bookshelves. The creature turned its attention back towards the one that hurt him, Drejnin, but he didn’t see the very large bear behind him grip him with its massive arms and clasp it’s paws together around the skeleton.
It shook violently back and forth trying to escape Serius’s bear form, but to no avail, the dontu held it in an iron grip. Drejnin took a second to catch his breath and again leapt into the air saying the words that empowered the magical sword. This time instead of an overhead strike, the Dreymorian thrusted the large sword straight into the face of the skeleton. Its ensorcelled blade slid easily into the bone of its face all the way to the hilt, where Drejnin lost his grip on it.
He fell to one knee in front of the creature as It began to cry out and shake even more violently. At this point Serius had to let go or he was going to get hurt as well, and he shifted back to human form and helped his Lord to his feet as the skeleton arched its spine and let out a sound I don’t even think I could describe. It was as if a thousand years of torment were suddenly released as a sound. The sheer power of the it drove us all down onto the floor.
Shielding my ears, I looked up at the creature who now floated a full foot above the floor of the chamber. The sword’s glow was gaining in intensity as the sounds of the creature’s agony climaxed and suddenly, the skeleton exploded outwards, showering us all in tiny bone fragments that were almost small enough to be dust.
I brushed it off of my face and went down to help Zeeg who was just now gaining consciousness again. Drejnin was already on his feet and was picking up his new sword. The dontu was apologizing to Skrat for calling the monster to us. No one was seriously hurt, I guess we made out ok after all.
“I really didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt,” Serius apologized as we circled around him, almost as if we were closing in, but we wouldn’t do that to a friend, would we? It was a tense few minutes as the dontu kept backing away swearing he meant no harm. Eventually he backed his way against the wall and had nowhere else to turn. When it looked the worst for Serius, Drejnin smiled and gave him a hug.
“If it wasn’t for you, we never would have found that chamber back there, or found the shield the skeleton carried,” The Dreymorian said. “I must admit, this business with Skittessa, while is confusing as hell, is stirring up more of my past. I seem to remember that dontu were known to be a little reckless at times, but loyal friends,” he said.
“Wait, what about this shield?” Zeeg asked holding up the hefty metal piece of armor.
“Didn’t you notice how the fire spread around you. That shield is another piece of the Kroskin armory. It seems to fit you well. Somehow you unlocked its power without reading the runes inscribed there,” Drejnin said pointing to the inside of the shield.
“Vres Shotum Acrtum Ferca Ves,” Drejnin read as he traced his fingers across the surface of the runes. “Remember those words,” he said to Zeeg and turned back towards us.
“Shall we head back to our friends, they are probably worried about us now,” I said to Skrat, although I didn’t think we were going to be able to pull the youth out of here with a team of mules.
“There is a huge opportunity to learn if I stay here, I think we have vanquished all the evil. I’m sure it is safe now,” the young Magi said, turning his face back towards the mystical book on the podium.
“Now brother, we just saw the danger of asking the book questions first hand, let us get the rest of us and come back, we can collect food from the shop and spend some time here, together, I wouldn’t feel right about leaving you here. What would mom think? Zeeg said with a crooked smile.
“What are the chances they had two huge skeletons?” Skrat said. “Besides, we might be able to use this book to find more of those weapons, and maybe help Drejnin find his way home. Wouldn’t you like a nice weapon to go with that sword, or breastplate?”
“Don’t make me get Moose down here to carry your ass out,” Zeeg replied to his little brother.
At that Serius laughed and shifted into the form of the largest of the brothers. I couldn’t see a difference really. The dontu’s ability was insanely good. He almost had the smell right as well.
“Quit screwing around,” Skrat said and began to chant something spell like. I took a quick step back and around a pillar, leaving just enough exposed to watch the show.
“Fine,” Zeeg said. “You stay put and don’t run off on your own. I will bring the guys right back down.”
“I will stay with him,” Serius said transforming back into his normal form.
“The hell you will,” the eldest and youngest brothers said simultaneously.
“Marsh will stay,” Drejnin volunteered me. What a pal.
“Sure, why should I have a say in what I do? I guess I didn’t leave the army after all,” I said sarcastically back at the Dreymorian.
“You can be trusted,” the large man said and placed a hand on my shoulder like a father telling his son he had to go off to war. I tried to shrug him off in a show of defiance, but his grip was just too strong, so I pretended I was just shifting my weight on my feet.
“Sure, I can watch the boy, he will be in better condition when you get back than he was when you left,” My mouth spurted without my permission. That was the end of the conversation, the guys all grabbed their gear and headed back through the illusionary portal leaving me and the magi alone in the chamber.
“Boy I have them assholes fooled eh?” I said trying to break the ice.
“Look Marsh, I don’t need a babysitter. I do know a thing or two about magic. I would have been fine by myself,” the little bastard exploded.
“I know, I was just placating them. Trust me I don’t plan on sitting on any babies. You do what you want while they are gone, I am going to sit my ass down over at one of those tables and take a nap,” I said heading in that direction.
“Marsh?” Skrat said.
“I didn’t mean to yell. They just never let me be. I fear they are going to try to protect me the rest of my life,” he apologized.
“Don’t mention it again, just do your thing before they come back,” I said sitting down in one of the plush chairs surrounding a table. I tried to put my head down comfortably on the hardwood, but couldn’t find the special spot. I shifted positions for a few minutes before giving up and turning around to see what the kid was up too.
Skrat was standing at the podium holding a book in one hand while thumbing through another that sat on the podium precariously. I watched the young magi’s eyes dart from book to book absorbing all the information he could, as rapidly as he could. I never had that drive, even when I was younger. I envied him, in a way. I never had much direction in my life, just floating from area to area doing what I needed to do to survive. It must be nice to have that kind of focus at such a young age.
The Magi closed the book he held in his hand with a loud snap of the pages slapping together. He placed the book carefully on the floor, and picked up the tome on the podium to clear off the magic book that rested there underneath. “Show me where my brother Sreg is,” he said to the tome.
With a suddenness, a scroll flew off a shelf and slid down in front of Skrat unfolding its self in the air until it faced him, on the map was the town of Barten above. A small dot, the color and illumination of an ember burning appeared in the shop where everyone was waiting for us to return. I was impressed and made my way over to stand just behind the mage.
“Now show me where we can find more of the Kroskin Armory,” Skrat said. All of a sudden, several books flew off the shelf flying above our heads rapidly. I instinctively ducked several times, even though they seemed to stay far enough above our heads. The books started to cyclone above us and the scroll map entered the fray above us. There seemed to be a light blue hue of wind circling the books.
Without warning the books flew back onto the shelves, presumably back in the spots they started at. Instead of a scroll this time, a see-through map of the continent appeared before us. It was approximately ten feet by ten feet and little dots like embers started to light on it.
“Are those the Kroskin pieces?” I asked Skrat, who seemed to be entranced by the magic happening in front of us. It took him such a long time to answer me I thought he hadn’t heard me, but he was lost in wondrous illusion in front of us.
“It is every piece known to this library, look here at these bunched together, this is our friends in town. According to this, this is another one not too far away. Maybe a half a day from here,” he said.
As he spoke of the town, the map zoomed in and expanded the town. It was so realistic, I swear I could see movement on there, as if someone was walking down the street. We looked at the nearest ember, it looked like a graveyard, old and overgrown. There were seven large statues in the graveyard, standing like guardians.
“You know, if we could bring this book with us, we could find these things so fast, we could probably make a fortune selling these magical items,” I said.
“The book cannot be removed from the podium, unfortunately, but with some time I might be able to figure out the spells involved in making a book similar to this. While we wait for the rest of them to come back, I might be able to create something useful,” Skrat said and turned back towards the bookshelves.
I gave the kid room to work as I wandered back to the tables, this time I sat down where Drejnin was looking through those books he found. There were three volumes on the table and I picked up the first one I saw, Devils, Demons, and the Netherworld. Here I thought he was looking up shit about himself.
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