The Gathering

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Chapter 31

The burning sand storm was proving to be a deadly force of nature. Yet despite its best efforts, the heroes managed to escape the firestorm, barely. As they neared the forest edge, Decimus turned around to take a headcount.

“Is everyone all here?” said the Roman.

“I think so,” replied Tyra. However, Cynbel disagreed.

“We lost Richard and Amyntas. They did not make it out of the storm,” said the Celt. Sure enough, she was right; they were missing one Basilisk. Decimus turned his horse around.

“We have to go back,” said the Roman. Everyone agreed on this; however, there was still one issue. The storm was still raging, and the possibility of getting lost themselves was high. They would be no use to them if that happened. Cynbel was becoming restless.

“We can’t just leave them out there. We have to save them,” she said.

“I understand your concern. We all do, but we barely got out of that hell storm. A plan is needed if we are going back in,” said Decimus. As the heroes dismounted, they all got in a huddle and quickly bounced off ideas of how to save their friends. During the mist of their discussion, Avalon’s ears pick up a faint sound rising over the storm.

He turned his head over his shoulder and saw a faint image approaching them. He could not make it out, but as he walked in the direction of the storm, the image became more apparent. His eyes widen with shock.

“We got incoming,” shouted Avalon. The rest of the humans look up and see a large image rapidly approaching them. They soon scramble to get their gear, but by surprise, the massive object nearing them falls a few yards short. It lands in the sand with a heavy thud, dust flying everywhere.

Cautiously, the heroes approach the crater with weapons in hand. As they near the massive hole, inside, they found a badly burned young Wyvern. The creature was much smaller than the elder but was still more significant than a human.

Its soft underbelly, once well armored, was raw due to the burning sands. It reared its reptilian head and, though in a weakened state, let our a warning his. Cynbel pulled out his knife and was about to finish it off when Avalon stopped her.

“Wait, we need not kill,” said Avalon. Cynbel was confused.

“These things tried to kill us,” protested Cynbel.

The wendigo explained that this creature could help them find their friends. Removing his weapons, He paled outside the crater and slowly approached the wounded animal. Placing his is hand outward, he hoped to get close to the beast. The young Wyvern tried to lunge at him, but it was too weak from the storm.

When Avalon got close to the beast, he saw its underbelly and knew it needed help. Reaching into his leather pouch, he pulled out a little jar. He twisted the top, he used his two fingers, scooped out some cream of sorts, and gently applied it on the Wyvern. While he did this, he began talking to the beast.

“What is your name?” asked Avalon. The creature said nothing. It merely stared at him as he applied the ointment. After a while, the creature spoke.

“Garston,” it said.

Everyone, except for Vortiger, was surprised that it could speak. After Avalon finished putting on the cream, he covered the area with a cloth bandage made from Nyronian.

With the bandage fully covering the wound, he then back away from Garston. A minute passes, and Garston gradually began to stand up. He unfolded his broad wings and flapped them slowly. Shaking off the sand, the young Wyvern looked at the people around him. He then turned his gaze back to Avalon.

“What brings your kind back to this world?” asked Avalon.

“You should know that by now, Nyronian. We promised we would return,” replied Garston.

“Why was your sister going after our friends?”

“Simple. A prophecy warned by the Draconian priests that the first king of Nyron would come from a land across the stars and unite all the clans. We believe that your friend, Amyntas, I believe, is that king. Of course, my Father cannot let that happen. Thus he desires to reclaim what was once ours to dispel that prophecy.”

“The moonstone,” said Tyra. Garston nods his head.

The Guardian never mentioned such a prophecy Avalon though to himself.

“That is because your Guardian likes to be selective with her information. I guess she had made your promise not to tell your new friends the whole truth of the stone.” Avalon quickly turns his head to the Wyvern. How could he read his thoughts? Garston then turns his attention to the other humans.

“There is more going on here than you realize. I hope you succeed in your task of killing Kairos. That pretender has been a thorn in our sides for eons.” Garston lifted his wings in the air and got himself in the air. He was about to leave until Avalon stopped one last time.

“Wait,” said the wendigo. “I have saved your life, and you owe me a life debt.”

“Of course. I will go and look for your friends and bring them back if they are still alive. Take care.” In an impressive display of strength, Garston flapped his broad wings in one motion and soared back into the sky until disappearing into the storm. Once he was gone, all eyes were on Avalon.

“Avalon, what the hell is going on, truthfully,” said Decimus. Avalon clutched his medallion around his necklace.

“Those were Wyverns,” said Mori

“How do you know them?” said Tyra.

“We encountered on a few occasions, but that was long ago,” replied Kanatakon: ha. Avalon could hear the Guardian’s voice in his head.

“They are not ready,” said the Guardian.

“Its no longer your decision to make anymore,” he said softly. He then turns to look at his friends.

“Remember the tale I told you about the three clans and the great serpent? Well, I only told you half of the tale.” It was here that Avalon told his friends the real story behind the stone and its relations with these creatures.

“Centuries before us, a conqueror from the stars had goals of obtaining a rare mineral called welun ternesj or moonstones. The conqueror was named Jafar, son of Jawzahr Rastaban. Jawzahr is the Father of all dragons. He is large enough to engulf a moon whole, which fuels his powers, hence his obsession with the stones. These stones can not only access time but manipulate it as well.

He uses their power to slow his aging and continue his conquest for plunder. He sent his eldest son Jafar to acquire the stones here and to bring them back to Thuban. Out of all his children, Jafar was the worst. He was cruel, wicked, and ruthless as his Father. He and his armies of machines, dragons, and mercenaries made a journey to this land, but back then, there were only three significant tribes, all fighting for control.

“The one you spoke of before,” said Cynbel.

Avalon nods his head before continuing.

“In the past, all three fought each other, each suffering casualties. To prevent the extinction of their people, they agreed to build an arena in the dessert and train champions to fight for their people and the right to rule this land. That area was the one we were just at. Each year, new champions were trained and brought to the arena, neither side one. That all changed when the invaders came. In that year, three promising champions emerged: Ja Gan, Kalavn, and Xion. Each one wanted the glory of the arena, yet Jafar and his armies invaded during the fights. The clans tried to fight back, but his armies were too advanced for them, and all three tribes were quickly subdued. All were enslaved and forced to find the stones throughout the lands, except for the three. After escaped, they traveled far and wide until they came to this valley. Neither one wanted to be with each other, yet they knew that they were their best hope of survival. During that time, Xion, Kalvan, and Ja Gan got to know each other better and realized that they were not so different. Then one night, the three are greeted by four strangers of the valley. They were Obsidian, Granite, Marie, and Steele of the Tainted, an underground group of people who had escaped Jawzahr’s wars in the skies many eons ago. They take them back to their colony underneath the mountains, and it is here they show them the stones. There they explain the power of the stones and what will happen if the Father of dragons acquires them.”

“What happened next,” they all said. Avalon took in a breath before finishing.

“On that night, they vowed to fight together as one and led an attack on Jafar’s forces days later. The clans, amazed by what they had seen, united for the first time and defeated the dragon prince. With the prince died, his forces were driven back into the skies whence they came. The three became four with them gone and made a pact to protect the stones if the Father returned for revenge. For almost four eons, there was peace. Though as times change and alliances end, the legacy of the seven still lived on and inspired future generations to help each other in times of crisis in the fight against evil. We must win this, not simply to expel Kairos and free this land, but free it before a great evil comes.”

After finishing, the heroes could not believe what they heard. They were lost for words. None could imagine that their summoning was for something greater. After a while, Decimus spoke up.

“This is a lot to take in. I know we made plans to save our friends....but we cannot forget that we also have someone else to save.” Decimus was referring to the mage, who was still locked up in Castle Olympus.

He needed to be saved at all costs. Many did not like the idea of leaving their friends.

“What is the guarantee that Garston will keep his word?” asked Cynbel.

“Garston, though young, is bounded by the debt to keep his word. None of the Draconids can break a life debt until it has been completed,” said Avalon.

Hating the idea, she could argue that time was still against them, and they were running low. They need to save the mage now. Grabbing their belongings, the heroes turned on the dessert and walked back into the forest. Cynbel gave one last look before joining the others.

“Please make it out safe.”

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