The Sun Door Part 35
by Joe Solmo
“Moose!” Zeeg yelled and slammed that magic shield of his into the Moon Door. An echo rang out bouncing off the strange stone walls that surrounded us. We must be in some kind of chamber like the one that housed the Sun Door, I thought.
Sreg was trying to comfort his older brother as the biggest brother’s sacrifice sank in. Skrat stood there, silent. If it wasn’t for the fact that his brother had just died I would have thought something was wrong with him. I stood there, useless, my go to in these situations. My brain couldn’t think of a single thing to say to comfort the boy mage. He wasn’t paying attention anyway. I turned my attention to Drejnin.
He shook my hand and I saw a smile form on his face. He looked around and took a deep breath, as if trying to absorb as much of this place as he could. I also looked around the area. I saw a doorway on the far end of the chamber, A pale bluish light came from a crack in the old stone that formed the door.
“You know where we are, big guy?” I asked Drejnin.
“In the City of Freehorn. It’s the capital of my father’s lands. The Moon Door resides in the old temple, if these wall carvings are any give away. I wonder who knows this is here?” the Dreymorian pondered as if I wasn’t even there. I nodded anyway, pretending to be a part of the conversation.
“Many years of war have destroyed buildings and cities. New ones formed on the bones of the old. These carvings look like the ones in the temple to Jurin near the palace my father resides in. Drejnin walked towards the walls slowly, studying them. He ran his big hand across the stone as if reading each worn bump.
I saw the pictures and faint symbols that looked like writing but I couldn’t make anything out of it. Serius joined us a few seconds later and put his hand on my shoulder. “Thank you for helping me guide my Lord home what will you do now?” he asked.
Before I could answer there was a crash behind me. I turned and watched the rest of the part trying to get the door to open, using tools to pry the door. The bar slipped and a piece of the stone fell to the floor. There was a magical backlash from their meddling that sent them all onto their asses.
“It is magically sealed, you are wasting your time,” Skrat said, finally breaking his silence. He walked over to the door and held out a hand. The magical barrier began to glow near his hand, rippling on the surface like water. “The magnitude of the spell is astonishing,” the mage finished.
“Even of you could go back, lad. There is no way Moose could have survived that. All we could accomplish from opening that door and receiving the wrath of the dragon ourselves,” Jarris said.
“You cold-hearted…” Sreg began with a sting of anger in his voice.
“Now brother, we both know that Moose would give his life for any one of us. Jarris speaks the truth, even if it is hard to hear it,” Zeeg said while placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“I don’t have to like it!” Sreg said shrugging out of his brother’s touch. He walked a few paces and threw his pack on the ground. He dug through it angerly. I didn’t know if he was looking for something or just taking inventory.
“Lads,” Weebly said. “I think we should come up with a plan. We are in the home world of demons. No offense,” he said to Drejnin then continued. “This is a very dangerous place. If we can’t get back home through the Moon Door we need to find another way.”
“My father has a way of returning you home,” Drejnin said turning from the wall. “The hard part is convincing him to do so.”
“Skrat, can’t you do something. You travelled through the book, can’t you do that now and get us home or to a library or something?” I asked.
“The book was lost in the chaos of the dragon,” Skrat lied. I could see the square shaped bulge under his robes. I wanted to call him out on it, but something held me back. Was I finally gaining a conscious? I sure as hell hope not.
I turned towards Drejnin. “What now? We go see daddy?” I asked with just the right amount of sarcasm to make my comment the best it could be.
“He won’t be happy to see me. It could lead to bloodshed,” the Dreymorian explained.
“Isn’t every homecoming?” I quipped magnificently. Man was I on fire today. Well, almost on fire, but we escaped that nightmare.
The brothers calmed down after a few more minutes, we had given them some space to come to terms with Moose’s loss. I was getting a little antsy so I headed over to that pale blue lighted doorway.
As I approached the door I listened for any sounds of danger, but I heard nothing. I took a deep breath and poked my head out of the opening in the old stone door. I wondered what hit the door so hard it left a head sized hole in a foot-thick stone.
“Turango,” Serius said as he approached, I heard his footfalls on the chambers floor. “Nasty monster.”
I pulled my head back into the safe chamber. “A creature did that?” I asked.
“Yes sir. Crazy beasts. Makes that dragon seem tame. I would rather fight two of those dragons than one turango,” the dontu said.
“Are they big?” I asked.
“Not at all. That is the scariest part. They pack quite a punch. I think Weebly could see of a turango’s head, to be honest,” Serius said as he ran a finger around the hole in the door.
“You are bullshitting me,” I said and turned back towards the party to see if we were ready to head out yet.
“I wish I was, Marsh. I wish I was,” the dontu whispered as if he wasn’t all the way there. Did he tangle with one of these turangos before? He definitely had that look I have seen in the eyes of the soldiers who never fully come home.
It looked like everyone was ready to leave the chamber finally. I fell in line next to Skrat. I leaned in close to the kid and whispered. “You know, holding that book was the only thing I was good at. Are you sure you don’t want me to hold on to that for you?”
“It was lost,” Skrat said and put his head down, forlorn. That kid would make a killing at poker, I swear.
I looked around to see if anyone else was watching, but they were gathering at the door. I did catch a glimpse of Jarris looking my way. I wonder if he heard our conversation. I scrambled over as Drejnin pulled the stone door inward by a brass handle embedded in it. We passed through it into the hallway I had peeped on before. It was only about thirty feet long before opening to the outside.
The world outside the stone arch at the end of the hall looked alien. The sky was a different shade of blue, the ground, mostly small smooth stones, like a riverbed were also tinted blue. The air was crisp and smelled stale somehow. It was just enough to get you through to the next breath, but it left you huffing, even standing still. Only Drejnin and Serius didn’t seem affected by it.
It seemed we were in some kind of courtyard. The only flora I could see were a few stunted trees, with blue-green leaves. At least there was another color. The Dreymorion prince led us to a large metal gate at the far end.
“This must be behind the temple. Only the Acolytes of Jurin are allowed anywhere else but the worship chamber,” Drejnin said. “I would be surprised if more than two or three others than the temple would know of this place.”
We reached the temple gate and stopped. It was locked. Beyond we could see cobblestone streets and squat buildings. A whole city of demons live here? Do they have bakers and cobblers and barrel makers too? The notion made me snicker. Drejnin turned towards me and made a face. It just made it worse and I burst out laughing. I slapped my thigh as the thought of demon children playing ring around the rosie came to mind. Little horns and barbed tails running in a circle. I shared my vision with the rest of the group, but only Dead-Eye seemed to get my humor.
I reigned it in after a few hilarious minutes. I guess the rest of the group was taking this place real serious. Even Sreg, who I thought would have enjoyed the joke seemed distant. Probably thinking of Moose.
I peeked out expecting to see the demons on their way to or from work. There was no sun in the sky to tell what time of day it was. The streets were bare, which Drejnin didn’t comment on so I assumed that was the norm for the area.
The big gate swung open as we got close to it. It didn’t make a sound, which I found odd. No creaky hinges? What kind of spooky demonic place is this if the hinges don’t squeak?
“Follow,” Drejnin said and headed down the street to the left. We all fell in behind the prince. It seemed all the sound, other than our voices were muted. We didn’t make half as much noise as we wandered the demonic streets as we should have. I guess it worked to our advantage for stealth.
We followed the large Dreymorion for several blocks until the street ended in a T. On both sides, hidden at first behind the buildings were squads of what I assumed were more Dreymorions. They each held a long-bladed weapon similar to a spear with blades on both ends. I just imagined using that and cut myself.
“No farther, Prince,” one of them from the right side called out. Drejnin stopped so suddenly we almost ran into him.
“General Kreadan, is that you?” our big companion called out.
“Your father knows you are here. We are here to escort you and that dontu to him immeditley,” the General explained.
“That dontu has a name you know,” Serius said indignantly. The General ignored him.
“Those humans have to come along as well. Why did you bring them here? You know what happens to mortals who come here, Prince,” the General asked.
“These are exceptions. Highly trained and the most formidable heroes of the mortal realm,” Drejnin replied.
“Don’t lay it on to thick,” I whispered to Drejnin. “We might disappoint if we have to prove what you are claiming.” The big bastard ignored me.
“A royal escort to my father, then. Lead on General Kreadan,” Drejnin said like it was his idea all along. Without having a better idea, we all began to follow him, surrounded by the two goon squads.
“Are all you bastards this tall?” Dead-Eye asked the nearest guard. I wondered about his sober speech he gave me. Maybe he acted drunk so long he was just permanently sloshed. I wished I was.
When the guard didn’t answer him, Dead-Eye turned his face up to the guard. “Hey Ugly, you got ears on that puss bubble for a head?” Still the guard didn’t react. I would have decked Dead-Eye if I was him. Hell, I wanted to deck him anyway.
“Quiet. Let me do the talking,” Drejnin said from the front of the pack. I don’t think he was close enough to hear what we were talking about, just that our biscuit holes were making noises. I looked at the guard and I swore I saw a hint of a smirk on his face. If this visit goes downhill I decided I would help Dead-Eye take this guy out.
They led us across the eerily empty city for about twenty minutes or so, it was hard to tell time here in the afterlife or netherworld or wherever the hell we were. We turned towards a stone building with a black arch. We passed under the arch and into a cramped courtyard. There were about twenty more guards there. As we entered they surrounded us and drew weapons.
“I am sorry, Prince. Your father told you not to return,” the General said and swung at Drejnin.
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