On the Evil Scale: Keeper of La Tecla (The Key) Book Two

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๐“’๐“ฑ๐“ช๐“น๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป 42

Flying toward the Great City, Birmingham and many of its smaller surrounding towns were completely destroyed. From the air, you could see the burnt ground creating a scorched pattern across the mainland. It was unsettling enough as it is but when Axeon revealed there were piles of bodies piled up outside some of the smaller cities and towns, turned the stomachs of his riders. Vehicles were strewn along the streets and rubble laid in piles from demolished buildings that were torn down, not from fire, but at the hands of the Trolls and their massive clubbed weapons. One hit from the creatures was equivalent to a wall being hit by a wrecking ball. Trees that remained in parks and gardens, were burned, cut down or uprooted. The scenes below looked as if gas explosions took place, or if we were in a war-torn country or city. It broke my heart because some of the buildings were considered landmarks and held such of our worldโ€™s history as we know it. From Kings and Queens, to wars and takeovers...they were gone. The trees decorating the grounds, standing for centuries would never have the chance to tell their stories.

Billyโ€™s note was cryptic enough, but his words could never reveal the true horror.

โ€œOh my godโ€ฆโ€ I cried, becoming saddened.

โ€œDrakuulโ€™s ugliness and destruction is spreading faster than expected.โ€ Azir observed.

โ€œWhat are we going to do?โ€ I worried, wiping my eyes, keeping tears away.

Azir didnโ€™t answer and as the dragon approached the Great Cityโ€™s airspace, things were worse. Iconic structures and landmarks I once knew, no longer stood. They were remodeled into ugly eye sores with pipes, cogwheels, rubber tubing and other hideous contraptions that didnโ€™t fit or held no purpose. It was grotesque architecture, looking like one gigantic cyborg society. I grew more tears because what once drew us in, was gone. If only my mom could see it now; it would break her heart. She absolutely loved Englandโ€™s structural architecture, and its history. And so did I.

โ€œOur home was just there and...โ€ my voice quivered as I pointed toward an area near one of the many parks that continued the destruction; everything was burned, destroyed and trashed, along with the homes nearby, โ€œI remember when we left. We grabbed what we could and left everything else. Everythingโ€™s gone. Even our neighbors, who were great people. God, I hope they survived!โ€

โ€œYou might have had to leave everything behind, thatโ€™s true, but think of all that youโ€™ve gained.โ€ Azir attempted to comfort the young woman sitting behind him, โ€œFriends. Safety. A new life.โ€

โ€œSafety? Really?โ€ I argued, โ€œThere is no safety as long as Drakuul is still alive.โ€ I frowned then glanced ahead, โ€œWhat the f*ck is that?โ€

Azir focused ahead as well and there it was, the dark gray ominous clouds hovering above the Great City (like when Frodo and Sam entered the dry lands of Mordor from the Lord of the Rings). It had grown, but there was something different about the darkness for when my mom and I lived in the city, we watched as the clouds appeared, growing in size with each passing day but at least you were able to still see the blue sky or stars. However, growing closer, a continuous legion of Shadowed Ones spawned from within in screeching swarms as something grand slithered through the clouds disturbing their place. Suddenly, piercing screams flew above our heads and as Axeon dropped mid-flight with a rough jerk downward avoiding making contact, Azir and I raised our gaze; large human-looking creatures with over sized bat-like wings and clawed feet, soared through the air flapping their thick heavy wings carrying men, women and even children who screamed in sheer terror.

โ€œTheyโ€™re new. I mean, they werenโ€™t in the city when we lived here.โ€ I spoke telepathically for the words couldnโ€™t form verbally for I felt them stuck in the back of my throat.

โ€œHarpies.โ€ Azir answered, โ€œWorse of many creatures this Necromancer has conjured and theyโ€™re very carnivorous.โ€

โ€œWorse of many? You make it sound like there are others?โ€

โ€œYou lived here. You know of the Trolls and Zarooks...โ€ he glanced over his shoulder receiving a nod in reply, โ€œbut apparently heโ€™s grown his numbers since then.โ€ Azir fretted.

โ€œApparently.โ€ I complained with fear and glancing at the sky, the Harpies were beginning to sense Axeonโ€™s cloaked energy, as we flew through their swarm that lowered, surrounding us in all directions. They were so close I could probably reach out and touch their leather-like skin. Azir released a blast-wave of energy that scattered the creatures; they released loud screeches alerting the armies among the streets. Soldiers in their tanks, shone their high beam lights up in our direction, but found nothing.

โ€œI must elude these creatures for if we do not...they will detect our presence.โ€ Axeonโ€™s voice entered our minds; his dragon eyes searched for a place to rest.

โ€œDo what you must.โ€ I confirmed telepathically.

With several swift movements in various directions, he veered off course away from the swarm. Axeon made a circular maneuver, landing on one of the many, intact roof tops, giving himself a brief rest; his breathing growing heavy. The chest slammed against the rooftop creating a loud racket from the chains wrapped around it. Azir and I slid down his scaled neck examining the patterns of the creatures flying in and around Parliament out in the distance and a little further away than expected. They carried their debris of large rocks thrown into piles of rubble outside the Parliament and luggage, including people who screamed as they were carried in their talons, somewhere inside. Seeing this, I feared greatly,

โ€œI know Axeon couldnโ€™t help it, but weโ€™re too far off course.โ€ I frowned.

Azir approached me, placing his left hand on my right shoulder in comfort then turned to Axeon who laid down; his wings still stretched out limping along the ground before raising one above us, concealing our location.

โ€œHeโ€™s getting weaker.โ€ Azir stroked the dragonsโ€™ scales.

โ€œI know.โ€ I petted his snout, โ€œAxeon, Iโ€™m sorryโ€ฆโ€

โ€œDo not apologize, child. I no longer yield my youth. It has diminished since Marxusโ€™ departure, that is all.โ€ Axeon fretted, โ€œBut I will not be able to continue any further. I must save my strength for what is to come. You will have to discover another way.โ€ he closed his eyes.

โ€œAnd what would that be, old friend?โ€ Azir whispered.

โ€œAbraxas. He means Abraxas.โ€ I removed the small rat from my jacket. Holding his small rodent form in the palm of my hand, his nose wiggling and whiskers tickling, I continued, โ€œAbraxas, do you see those creatures flying out there?โ€ I pointed out into the distance between us and them; Abraxas turned his head looking with black eyes.

โ€œYes. Would you like me to turn into one of them?โ€ he answered with his sweet voice.

โ€œYouโ€™re the only one who can get close enough inside to deliver the bag. I donโ€™t want to send you in there, but you can do this. All you have to do is drop and go.โ€

โ€œYes, Mother.โ€ Abraxas agreed while I placed him on the ground before Azir and I.

He lowered his head, transforming into one of the Harpies; a transition that Axeon cloaked by wrapping his wings around us completely. Azir and I stood back as close as we could get along Axeonโ€™s body watching as Abraxas morphed from the small rodent and stretching tall into a hideous eight foot tall creature with nude-to-gray skin and no sexual organs. Leaning forward resting its weight, were claw-like hands at the tip where the massive bat-like wings bent for movement. Standing tall, long muscular legs shifted in place while large Eaglesโ€™ feet with sharpened talons clicked-and-clacked against the rooftop. His face took on their demonic features of a bulged brow line, bat-like nose and pointed ears. Large red far apart eyes were set back in their sockets appearing skeletal, along with upper and lower fangs of a mouth that could stretch over oneโ€™s head and decapitate with one bite. The creatureโ€™s small head was attached to a long neck and shorter torso.

โ€œOh, godโ€ฆโ€ I grew horrified.

โ€œThatโ€™s unsettlingโ€ฆโ€ Azir added.

โ€œDo I frighten you, Mother?โ€ Abraxas asked verbally as he examined his appearance.

โ€œYes, yes you do.โ€ I approached not wanting to touch his masked skin, โ€œNow go and please be careful and whatever you do, stay away from the cloud above the city. Thatโ€™s where theyโ€™re coming from and I donโ€™t want you lured into it.โ€ I backed away standing alongside Azir.

Abraxas nodded then walked toward the chest using his clawed wings as arms while his legs crawled beneath him. Climbing upon the chest wrapping his talons around the sturdy iron and steel chains, he began flapping his wings that sounded heavy but after gaining momentum and growing accustomed to their movements, the Zyphyn pushed himself and the chest from the rooftop, ascending higher and higher above our heads before veering off to his left blending in with the horde that continued to swarm. As he bumped against other Harpies, they retaliated by snapping at his wings of which he returned, copying their aggressive behavior. He listened, learning their language through a series of screeches and screams then mimicking their sounds, they seemed pleased with what he had said then turned their attention toward the Parliament building. Taking it upon himself knowing it could and would help his Mother and her warriors in the fight to come, took in sights of the streets below where the Lordโ€™s armies patrolled endlessly. His dragon sight remained as he scanned each of the creatures keeping their images and size comparison locked in memory for future shape-shifts. Approaching the Parliament, he followed a long thick line of Harpies that dropped off items they thought were of importance to their Lord. However, Abraxas didnโ€™t drop the chest among the piles of rubble but instead, he flew through the corridors searching for his intended recipient of the cargo he carried, frightening soldiers that patrolled; they hugged their backs close to the walls.

Drakuul sat on his throne watching through a hole in the roof as his Harpies, Shadowed Ones and slithering mass blocked the views of the night sky that was once thick with stars. Suddenly his attention focused toward the doors as one of his Harpies roughly crashed through carrying a chest of some sort. A suit of armor that stood near the door fell heavy to the ground. It shook his head and shook its body from the impact against the door then dropped the chest at his feet. Releasing a loud ear-piercing screech, the creature stretched its wings before pushing itself back into the air, flying through the hole leaving small pebbles falling from the ledge of the hole.

The Necromancer cautiously stood, approaching the chest, knowing that if the creature had brought it to him personally, there must have been something of great importance. He struggled to stand it on end and stepping back, he waved his hands around swiftly; the chest turned itself around and stood upright. The chains rattled loudly before settling in place. He grimaced then holding out his right hand, the suit of armorโ€™s halberd spear appeared in hand. Placing the spike mounted along the shaft, between the hoops of the chains, it locked in place then twisting the pole, its axe blade put pressure against the chains before unlinking themselves. The chain slid off the chest by itself as Drakuul dropped the halberd, kneeling before the chest breaking the lock with his bare hands as he melted it away with his acidic energy and once the lid popped open from heavy pressure inside, a stench so foul worked its way deep into Drakuul nose. He coughed as he fell back against the ground; his eyes staring at the large chest. Covering his nose with a handkerchief he removed from his left sleeve, he stood to his feet then reached for the halberd from the ground. Stretching out his right hand, he pushed the lid open with the halberdโ€™s spike quickly before backing away in disgust. Inside, blood covered every inch of the interior that was stacked with all, if not most, of the heads that belonged to the men that were sent to search for Marxus.

Drakuul dropped the weapon and uncovered his mouth, releasing a powerful yell that was heard throughout Parliament but then his focus paid more attention to the flock of Harpies outside, wondering where it could have found this. He stormed out of the room and down the corridors until he was outside; his brown eyes searching for the Harpie that delivered such a gruesome find.

โ€œIs there something wrong, Lord Drakuul!?โ€ guards inquired as soldiers followed him outside.

โ€œThere was a Harpie that delivered a chestโ€ฆโ€ Drakuul continued searching the sky, โ€œbut how could it have...where did itโ€ฆโ€

He wasnโ€™t making any sense, confusing the soldiers that also searched the sky; their night vision goggles searching in a more intricate-technological manner but nothing was found.

โ€œLord, Drakuul, Sirโ€ฆโ€ one of the soldiers removed his goggles but the Necromancer didnโ€™t answer, โ€œLord Drakuul, Sirโ€ฆโ€

Drakuul pulled the soldier close grunting his words,

โ€œI heard you...the first time.โ€ and releasing the soldier pushing him back he continued, โ€œBring my brother to me and donโ€™t make me ask again or Iโ€™ll add you to their numbers!โ€ he pointed toward the sky.

โ€œYes, Sir!โ€ the soldiers saluted then scampered back into the Parliament building, rushing down the hall to their Generalโ€™s quarters. Once catching their breaths, one of the soldiers banged on the door.

โ€œUgh, Matrx...whoโ€™s that!?โ€ a woman complained as she turned over, laying across Matrxโ€™s muscular nude body, โ€œTell them to go away, loveโ€ฆโ€

โ€œWhoโ€™s that?โ€ another woman groaned.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

โ€œAlright!โ€ Matrx shouted, pushing them off, climbing out of bed in the nude. Grabbing a robe off one of the nearby chairs, he swung open his door, โ€œWhat!?โ€ he continued.

โ€œLord Drakuul requests your presence, General. Immediately.โ€ one of the men replied quickly.

โ€œDoes he now? And what for? Someone didnโ€™t wipe his a** the way he wanted and he wants me to kill them for it?โ€ Matrx mocked with tired eyes as he rubbed his neck.

โ€œNo, Generalโ€ฆโ€one of the soldiers grinned, โ€œone of the Harpies delivered a chest thatโ€ฆโ€

โ€œAlright, please just shut up. Iโ€™ll be there in a moment.โ€

โ€œNow, General.โ€ another soldier added, โ€œHe wants to see you now.โ€

โ€œOf course he does.โ€ Matrx groaned then turned to the women who continued laying spread out across the bed. Slamming the door behind him, he followed the soldiers to the Throne room in his robe and barefoot. He carefully placed his footing avoiding rocks and shards of glass. Approaching the throne room, the soldiers remained outside as their General entered the hall swinging the doors open with such ease, โ€œIโ€™m here...what do you want!?โ€ Matrx commanded then caught a foul scent in the air, โ€œF*ck me...whatโ€™s that smell!?โ€

โ€œTHAT!โ€ Drakuul stood alongside the table where the chest had been placed atop.

Matrx covered his mouth with the sleeve of his robe as he grew closer to the table and peeking his head inside, he pulled away in disgust, upheaving dry heaves. Leaning against the rails near the chairs, he shook his head back and forth before turning to Drakuul.

โ€œWhere did that come from?โ€ he groaned, holding his hand to his mouth.

โ€œWhatโ€™s the matter, brother...donโ€™t the heads of your men look familiar?โ€ Drakuul huffed.

โ€œThe heads of myโ€ฆโ€ Matrx stuttered then realized, โ€œno...again?โ€ he pushed aside the stench to examine the heads and sure enough, there was the head of the Captain Delano-Dakari, โ€œSh*tโ€ฆโ€ I backed away.

โ€œMmm...seems you were right.โ€ Drakuul forced the words.


โ€œSending them was a mistake, but I never expected this.โ€ Drakuul complained.

โ€œWhere did this come from? Who delivered it?โ€ Matrx questioned.

โ€œThatโ€™s what Iโ€™m trying to figure out.โ€ the Necromancer explained the deliverance of the contents, โ€œAnd since there are thousands of them out there, I donโ€™t know which is which but this was found in the Captainโ€™s mouth.โ€ he handed Matrx a lump of fabric belonging to one of the sails stained with blood.

Matrx plopped it on the table and picking at its corners unrolling it, all that was written were the words YOU LOSE. The General frowned as he rested his hands on either side of the fabric then raised his gaze toward Drakuul who waited for him to speak.

โ€œInteresting.โ€ Matrx muttered.

โ€œInteresting. Thatโ€™s it?โ€ Drakuul barked.

โ€œWhat more do you want me to say? You want me to say I was right? Again? Because I can, but then again, you know I am so thereโ€™s no point in doing that. Is there? Weโ€™ve just lost another fleet of ships, four units of soldiers and another orb of Shadowed Ones.โ€ he released three TSKS as he walked over, sitting in one of the chairs, crossing his legs. He adjusted the robe making sure it hid the nakedness underneath, โ€œShame on you, brotherโ€ฆโ€ he shook his head mockingly.

โ€œPutting aside the I TOLD YOU SO, that little message should tell you that there IS someone out there protecting what weโ€™re looking for!โ€ Drakuul had a gleam in his brown eyes, โ€œAnd they got close...really close.โ€ he began to pace.

โ€œAnd they lost their heads. Post mortem too, Iโ€™d say by the looks of them.โ€ Matrx raised his left brow then thought it wise to bring up the information about the tunnels, โ€œI have news that might...lift your spirits, if youโ€™re interested.โ€ he leered in Drakuulโ€™s direction.

โ€œOh?โ€ the Immortal grew curious.

Matrx stood revealing the findings of the tunnels and that if dug through properly, could somehow be useful.

โ€œAnd youโ€™re waiting until now to tell me?โ€ Drakuul approached his General in slow menacing steps.

โ€œYou never asked, so I didnโ€™t tell.โ€ Matrx argued, โ€œBut now thisโ€ฆโ€ he tapped the ledge of the chest causing the heads to roll around inside, โ€œgives me something to look into. Iโ€™ll have the techsperts examine the recordings on our end here to see what happened.โ€

โ€œTechsperts?โ€ Drakuul questioned.

โ€œYeah. Techsperts. Tech-experts.โ€ Matrx shrugged, โ€œLook it up in the dictionary brother, you might learn something new other than spells and crafts from Motherโ€™s.โ€ he grinned then slammed the chest lid closed before turning away. As he strolled down the halls returning to his room, he ordered the soldiers accompanying him to ready his armor and weapons, โ€œOnce theyโ€™re prepared, bring them to me immediately. Weโ€™re going on a little hunt.โ€

โ€œYes, General.โ€ The four men nodded then backed away, smiling in anticipation because the time for war was close at hand and they were ready for every saviory moment.

Entering his room slamming his door closed, the women awoke at the loud slam.

โ€œYouโ€™re dismissed, so go!โ€ Matrx ordered, throwing them their robes.

โ€œBut Matrx, my love...we werenโ€™t finished having fun.โ€ one of the women crawled across the bed.

โ€œI said...get out!โ€ he pulled them to their feet grabbing them off the bed, โ€œDonโ€™t make me say it again!โ€ he backed away then swung open his door, โ€œGoโ€ฆโ€ he barked but standing in the doorway against the door frame, he watched as the women covered their slender and slightly hefty nude bodies. He raised his left brow once more, watching as their bodies moved in ways he liked. Once in the hall, he slammed his door then disrobed himself, throwing it on the back of one of the chairs.

He strolled toward the bathroom and stepping into the shower, he felt as the hot water grew in temperature. As it flowed upon his head and body, he ran his fingers along scars that streaked along his skin, remembering each warrior and battle they belonged to. He raised his head, letting the hot water pound on his face before turning it off; water dripped from the shower-head. He grabbed a towel wrapping it around his waist letting the air dry his skin, tickling his muscular build; his warrior braid hung wet down his back with stringy bangs hanging in his eyes. He paced his room, dressing in black underwear when he received a call on his radio; a voice muffled as it was tucked away in its case,

โ€œGeneral Matrx, Sirโ€ฆyour armor and weapons are ready. Theyโ€™re on their way to you.โ€

โ€œMake sure the men are fitted for war as well. I want no delaysโ€ Matrx answered without appreciation.

โ€œYes Generalโ€ฆโ€ the call ended.

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