The Sun Door Part 9

by Joe Solmo


I stood to put more wood on the dying fire, and by the time I sat back down Dead Eye was snoring. Drejnin was studying the Mazzulikai. Serius was drawing with his finger in the dirt, obviously bored with the conversation.

            “I hear there has been action near here recently, involving some kind of creature. I think you men should be careful. A day ago we found two human bodies there, torn to pieces. Nothing in this area could make the wounds we saw that night. We are a scouting party on the lookout for such a beast,” Beardy told us, taking a swig from his bottle he pried out of Dead Eye’s hands.  He didn’t need any more at this point anyway.

            For some odd reason I didn’t feel the need to drink myself, and passed on the opportunity to taste what the dwarven liquor tastes like on the way back up. I still didn’t feel right about the magic I was a part of earlier. I meant to ask Drejnin about that later when I had a chance, I didn’t know he had the ability to heal others as well.  

            We sat around the fire for about an hour. For a man that was in a hurry, Drejnin seemed content to shoot the shit with Beardy and his brothers. I sat back and half listened to them and tried to get a few winks in. Opportunistic, I thought.

            I heard stories of the dwarf’s homes, and exploits. Mining, smelting and smithing, the usual things you would expect from the legendary people. Drejnin shared stories of his people, or at least what he could remember of his people, which I did try to pay attention too. I did want to know more about his healing power and about his use of magic. 

            I listened without making a sound, but he never once mentioned any magic. He talked about great warriors who fought bravely against immeasurable numbers, beautiful Clan princesses and other things you would expect from the mouth of someone trying to describe their homeland and brag a little. I’ve heard the same stories with different names from many a man sitting around the fire after a good battle. Maybe we weren’t so different after all.

            Serius walked away from the fire during these stories and left the light. I figured he had gone to get some firewood. Dead-Eye could help him, he was sawing logs pretty good about three feet from me. Hall and Myder were talking to themselves over by the horses. I hope they aren’t thinking of leaving, I could really use the normal company next to these strange people I’ve encountered over the last few days.

            Beardy stood, kind of, and walked over past Dead Eye to relieve himself. Drejnin looked towards me and gave me a look that told me it was almost time to get going. I shook Dead Eye and tried to wake him. He moaned and rolled over but didn’t open his eyes. He is gonna feel like crap in the morning.

            I dragged his limp, drunken body over to the horses and tied him into his saddle. Hall and Myder followed suit and began to get ready to leave themselves. I looked back towards Drejnin, he was standing now, looking around for something. Beardy and the dwarves were packing up their own stuff, Drejnin must have told them we wanted to be off soon.

            Suddenly there came a crash through the small stand of trees near the horses and Serius came crashing through the small branches and leaves. His clothing was torn and bloodstained. I didn’t even know he had left. A second form charged through the saplings after Serius. It was a huge beast, almost twice as tall as a man, and at least four feet wide. It ran on four legs like an animal, but it was unlike any animal I have seen. Sparse hairs covered its muscled limbs and trunk. It reached Serius in two bounds sinking large teeth into his shoulder. Serius collapsed under the weight of the beast and was pinned under its massive frame.

            The dwarves charged the beast, hitting it with everything they had, hammers, axes, and swords, none of which seemed to have much of an effect on the beast.  Every time they pulled their weapons free from the beasts flesh the wound closed, but they did keep it busy long enough for Serius to squirm free. Drejnin cleaved with lightning quick strokes which the beast deflected with its large claws. The large man kept the beast on the defensive, not giving it a moment to counterattack.

            With blinding speed he tried to break the creatures’ defenses, but to no avail. The beast was just as fast as Drejnin. The Dwarves continued to stab the beast’s legs, and underbelly, looking for a weak spot. I loaded my crossbow and took aim at the creatures head, and hoped I could hit an eye or something. Hall and Myder were firing crossbows as well.

            A roar came from the beast, then another from farther in the darkness around the camp.  Another beast charged into the camp smacking into Drejnin and knocking him onto his side, its large claws tearing into his flesh, opening a deep wound on the giant man’s thigh. Drejnin screamed out in agony and lost his grip on the sword.

            Serius was back to his feet, barely. He was covered in blood and staggered towards the beast that now was on top of Drejnin. His body contorted and shifted form, but didn’t seem to get solid. He seemed to be having trouble changing forms. 

            The dwarves had managed to get a rope around the beast’s neck and I abandoned my crossbow to help them yank the beast off of Drejnin. With sheer force the beast fought us and managed to stay on top of Drejnin. Hall and Myder ran over to help us yank the beast off. 

            I could no longer hear Drejnin scream under the beasts. I didn’t know if he was still alive or not. After all that I have seen of his healing abilities I couldn’t believe how these creatures managed to overtake him. What hope did we have in defeating these beasts if a great warrior like himself couldn’t take one down?

            With everything we had, we managed to drag one of the beasts half off of Drejnin and I could finally see the man under the monster’s bulk. He looked bad, real bad, but in one piece. Serius tried to attack the one beast still on top of his Lord, but wasn’t strong or fast enough to make an impact to it. Hall and I went to give him a hand, as much help as that would be against these things.

            In a streak of genius I jumped on the beasts back and tried to choke it. My arms could barely get around its neck. It bucked and jumped around so much I mostly just held on for life.  Hall was striking at its face with a sword that was too short, and took a nasty cut on his forearm from a swipe from the beasts’ paws.  He fell back onto his ass and hit his head on a rock. I watched his eyes roll back then close after a second.

            The beast swiped Serius across the face opening it up like a knife through cloth. Blood mixed with tissue spilled out of the wound and onto the earth. At that moment I felt a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I instinctively put my hand there and felt a familiar object.

            “Get the hell out of the way, Marsh,” came Dead Eye’s voice from behind me. I turned to see the drunk aiming another bolt this way, still tied to his horse. He fired again as I dove for cover, striking the beast just above the nose on his snout. It roared in anger and turned to face Dead Eye, knocking me on my ass.

            Drejnin was moving again, but nowhere nearly as fast before. He searched the ground with one giant hand for his sword which was lying near me. I slid it towards him and into his grasp. He raised the blade and cleaved into the beast’s face slicing some flesh from the howling creature. 

            I looked around to see how the dwarves were doing. They had tied the other beast to a tree and were hacking away with little to no affect. The beast’s cruel eyes staring at the little men. One of Beardy’s brothers got a good shot in under the chin of the beast which slowed it down a little, but paid for it by getting too close and a large clawed paw cut deep into his body. I watched him fold over the wrong way and I knew he was a goner. I struggled back to my feet. 

            Serius was still moving, I couldn’t believe it, not after the wounds the dontu took.  He pummeled the beast alongside Drejnin as hard as he could. It seemed to slow the beast some. I grabbed for a log hanging half out of the fire. Dead-Eye was shooting again and narrowly missed Serius with his shot. The bolt hit a rock harmlessly.

            I poked the beast the dwarves were fighting in the face with the flaming end of my stick, hoping at least to blind it, or cause it some pain. Beardy got the idea too and ran with his little stubby legs over to the fire and grabbed a log himself. Myder stabbed downward into the face of the beast, the steel having little effect on the unholy beast.

            Drejnin and Serius had worn down the beast they were fighting and had it on the defensive again. Serius must have gotten his second, hell, his fifth wind by this point. His face didn’t look as bad anymore, whether he could heal or not I did not know. It could just be another form of face, I thought, as I turned my attention back to the beast in front of me.

            One of the dwarves managed to stick the beast under the jaw and when it shook its head in outrage the dwarf lost his grip and the sword was torn from him. He ran back to grab another weapon and tripped over his brother who was torn. One good thing was that the way the blade was stuck in the beasts head, it couldn’t open its jaw. It pawed at its own face trying to wrench free the dwarven blade. We pressed in while this was happening and managed to burn its face pretty bad. I stabbed with my log into the beast’s eye, blinding it like I had planned. Beardy grabbed the sword handle that was protruding from the beasts jaw and with both hands twisted around in a counter clockwise motion severing its head from the body. 

            In a fit of anger, the last beast lunged at Drejnin when it saw its fellow creature go down. The large man caught it in mid-strike and put his large hands on the beast’s throat.  Standing on its hind legs, the beast was almost a foot taller than Drejnin and was massive, but the large man kept his ground, not yielding to the beast’s strength.  Serius fell down, finally succumbing to the exhaustion we were all feeling.

            The beast lowered it face towards Drejnin and in a deep guttural voice it spoke.

            “Drejnin, you will never return. Our father has forbid it. Never will you taint his lands with your presence, even now, the eradication of the Dreymorion has started, we have found your weakness.”

            “You can tell your father that I will come for him if he doesn’t let me be,” he replied and somehow found more strength to draw from. He squeezed the neck of the beast tighter and managed to push the beast’s face a few more inches away as he straightened his bulging arms.

            With a snap Drejnin managed to break something vital in the beast’s neck, its head tilted to the side and the body went limp. The Dreymorion let go and fell to his knees. The dwarves rushed in and began to remove the head from the body of the beast, apparently to make sure it was dead.            

I checked on Hall, he was breathing, and I thought to myself that must be a good sign.  I wish he was awake enough to tell me, and to check on the others. Only Dead Eye escaped that battle without some kind of injury, the bastard.

            Most of my wounds were superficial, so I spent the next few minutes trying to stop the bleeding of the others, helping Myder. Serius didn’t look too bad, maybe he can heal himself.  His face was bruised and beaten, but the gash was no longer there. He seemed to be sleeping too. 

            Drejnin waved me away when I went to check on him, so I went to visit our short friends.  Most of them didn’t have any serious wounds either, but were beaten up pretty bad. They stood over their dead brother with solemn expressions on their faces. Beardy shed a tear as I watched him place the fallen dwarf’s weapon in his cold, dead hand. Together the dwarves picked up their fallen brother and carried him to the fire, placing him carefully into the flames.

            Beardy said some words in another language and the other dwarves repeated the last word, and then they dumped some of their liquor on their fallen brother and piled on some more wood. They watched with sad eyes as their brother was released from this world, or whatever the hell they believed, I don’t know and I didn’t ask.

            Drejnin could stand again and I watched as his wounds closed in front of my eyes. He was still in obvious pain as he approached the unconscious Dontu.  He knelt next to his companion and using the same mojo he used on me, started to heal him.

            Hall came to after a few more minutes and checked everyone’s wounds even though Myder and I told him we handled it. I guess it was in his nature to do so. I didn’t mind anyway. I found a wineskin and took a long pull off of it. So much for not being in the mood to drink, I guess. Dead Eye decided he had had enough and refused the wineskin when I tried to hand it to him. I think it was because the arm that I handed it to him with was the same side as the shoulder he had shot me in. Hall said he barely got me and wrapped up my shoulder. I guess it will be sore for a while.

Beardy approached me after another minute or so and asked if I was alright.

            “Yeah, Im ok,” I told him.

            “We lost a brother tonight, but gained friends. It was an honor to fight alongside all of you lads,” He said and extended his hand. I shook it and nodded. Then he turned away from me and picked up his pack. Without another word the dwarves began to walk back the way they had come earlier, and soon they passed into the darkness.

            I turned my attention to Drejnin. “You know what the beast was talking about?” I asked him.

            “Yes, although I have never seen one of those before. He must have contacted some other world to aid him,” Drejnin explained.

            “Who contacted another world?  The Father?  Is that why you ran though the Sun Door on your world and came here, risking your life to get away?” I asked.

            “Yes, the Father, sounds familiar. I can almost see a face. A pity we had to kill them I would have liked to get information from them. I can remember running from the Father. Running through some old ruins, running from the Father,” Drejnin said.

            “Is that how you found the Sun Door?” I asked.

            “I do not believe so. There is some haziness around that time. I don’t have the answers yet,” he said.

            “Maybe seeing this Moon Door might clear some things up for you,” I said.

            “Maybe, I do remember a mage, I can see him standing at the top of a stone staircase, looking down at me. His name is Locanis, I can remember that much, and I think he is not to be trusted,” Drejnin said.

            “Can’t trust any of them spark flingers,” I said.

            “It is not as simple as that. Some of my people are powerful magic users. Locanis wants that knowledge. Before my father died, he gave me the secrets of my people to safeguard.  Locanis knows this and has been hunting me ever since. I can remember that much,” Drejnin said.              

            “So if he wants you alive, why did he send these things to kill you?” I asked pointing at the headless beasts around us.

            “He doesn’t need me alive. He has the power to conjure my consciousness up after death, and I would have to obey and answer all questions. He is not concerned with how he gets the information, just as long as he gets it. He is insane with power, and will stop at nothing to get what he wants,” Drejnin said.

            “Somehow he managed to find us here, but why he used those beasts instead of coming himself, I don’t know,” Serius said joining the conversation. 

            “So what is the next step?”  I asked the strangers to our world.

            “Help us get to this Moon Door. Once there, if it is possible, Serius and I will travel back to our world and face Locanis. That is all I ask,” the big man said as he stood.

            “What about us?” Hall asked.  “What do we do after you leave?  We can’t go back to where we were, and after seeing the things I have since meeting you, I don’t think I want to part company with you just yet. I for one would like to see your world and all its wonders.”  He finished.

            “That might be too dangerous for you men. Our world is filled with terrible things, Locanis only being one of them. We can’t even guarantee that you would make the trip through the Moon Door. What lies beyond that we don’t know. We could be walking into a trap. Locanis has had time to prepare and research these portals. We don’t even know where we will enter that world,” Drejnin said.

            “Well, I don’t really have anything better going on here,” I said.  “Hall wants to go. Why don’t we just vote on it and see. If we die out there it is our own fault. No one is forcing us to go,” I reasoned.

            “It is your decision Marsh. If you men wish to accompany us back through the portal to worlds of our own, you may. If you survive the trip we could use your help with Locanis. We must hurry though. I wonder what kind of destruction the wizard has unleashed on my home world, and my people,” Drejnin explained.

            “Let’s get moving then,” I said.


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