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

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𝓒𝓱𝓪𝓹𝓽𝓮𝓻 54

𝒩odding my head flashing a sarcastic grin I teased,

“Guys, come on…you’ve all seen a woman’s body and figure before.”

“Aye, love...but not yours.” Caleb winked.

I nudged Caleb roughly in his side, sharing a chuckle between friends, but wouldn’t hear the end of it.

My mom, who had placed a medium bag near her door packed with essential items for when she and the others would retreat to safety, heard the ruckus outside in the lounge. Pulling her door open, she observed the crowd gathered, hearing laughter and her daughter’s voice.

“Excuse me…” she announced pushing her way through, “excuse me!” and once men and scattered women stepped aside, she stood in surprise.

It was now late morning and outside gathering on the estate grounds, were families holding onto their loved ones, hugging them one last time before they retreated to the safety of the underground whereabouts. Moments of prayers, giving gifts of luck and protection were shared, while others who had no one, watched the tender moments but were offered the attention by friends.

Before Louisa and her children huddled with other families, she held onto Thomas one last time, muttering an Italian prayer as her hands didn’t want to let go. Anthony knelt alongside them holding onto his niece and nephew then stood as Louisa turned to him while Thomas embraced his children.

“Promise me, Anthony...you promise me, that you will bring him back to us.” Louisa pleaded with tears, “And you too. The babies need their favorite uncle.” she grinned.

“I’m their only uncle.” he teased hugging her affectionately, “But I promise. He has much to live for.”

“As do you...now.” Louisa pulled away staring into his warm brown eyes, “Hmm?”

“Indeed I do.” he smiled, then watched as Thomas laughed with his children who then ran toward him.

“Ma-ma…” they cried, “Why do uncle Anthony and Papa have to go?”

“Oh, come here, bambino…” Louisa knelt down, embracing her beautiful children, “we talked about this, remember? We told you that bad men are coming to hurt everyone here.” she watched as they nodded, “And Papa and uncle Tony are going to help Yzavela...defeat them. It’s war, my babies...and we’ve told you about war. You know they have to.”

Thomas and Anthony stood watching as she comforted the innocent children who understood, then glanced at each other, having been through a lot during the years; supporting one another when they were younger and before Thomas had met Louisa.

“Another adventure, brother?” Anthony smiled.

“Si, Tony...si…” Thomas returned the smile then gave each other a brotherly hug, “Giovanni brothers, always!”

Anthony took in their surroundings, admiring all the warriors continuing to gather in hopes of seeing the young half-breed, but knew she’d make her presence known soon.

Sarah and Nathan, who arrived at separate times to make things look less obvious, stood awkwardly with their uncle Leonard near the fence that surrounded the manor. Leonard hugged Sarah who proudly dressed in her armor with her archery gear and bow which he modified with blades on each end of the bow that would slice if she swung her bow outward. He placed his hands on her shoulders then leaned in, giving a quick kiss on her forehead then turned to Nathan, who stood dismal, smoking a cigarette. He glared at Leonard, blowing the smoke in his direction then threw the nicotine stick to the ground. He was dressed in his armor as well with his swords hanging in their sheaths attached to his heavy belt. Leonard frowned as he leaned in, attempting to show him the same affection before he was pushed away with rough hands.

“Bloody hell, get off!” Nathan complained.

“Nathan…” Leonard groaned softly, “come on, lad…”

“Nathan, please…” Sarah pleaded placing her hand on his arm, “don’t do this. He’s our uncle, Nathan…”

“And I’m supposed to care? He’s not our father!” Nathan argued.

Leonard nodded then scolded in a low raspy tone; words full of the harsh truth,

“It’s true, boy...I’m not your father, but I’m as close to one as you’ve had in your entire bloody life! I’m the one who tried-very hard but maybe not enough, to convince my sister...your mother…” he pointed toward Nathan, “to leave that bloody son-of-a-b*tch for the sake of you and your sister but she didn’t listen to me. Instead, you grew up with that man and learned things a child should never have to grow up with, and after your parents were killed, I didn’t have to take you in but because you and Sarah looked like your mum...my sister…” he grew tears in his stern eyes, “you were and are my family. Like it or not! But after today, boy...I’m done trying, I am. You’re on your own and after this war changes you, and believe me, it will, don’t ever come to me! You understand me, boy!?”

Nathan stepped closer to his uncle, leering in his eyes answering coldly,

“Crystal. I never needed or wanted anything from you, so this is an easy departing.” he pushed past Leonard’s shoulder.

“Nathan!” Sarah hollered after him but Leonard gently grabbed her arm, holding her back.

“Leave him be, little dove...leave him be. He made his choice.” Leonard groaned, wiping away his tears.

The Lancasters stood beneath a massive tree away from prying ears; Heather sending her blessings and sons offering their farewells. They too, understood the concept of war, knowing their father had been called away for such an event. Things began pleasantly enough until the mood changed when Leonus wanted Liam to join in the war; hoping to turn him into a man worthy of the Lancaster name and legacy.

“He’ s still a boy, Leonus...he’s our boy! And this isn’t the bloody Viking era!” Heather argued, “I won’t allow it! I will not lose my son because of your pride! I won’t, do you hear me Leonus Lancaster!?”

“But it’s not your choice, Heather. Not yours and not mine. So let him speak for himself.” Leonus groaned then glanced at his eldest, “What do you say, son!?” he held out his right hand.

Liam studied his parents; Heather filled with worry and his father with hopes he’d join him for war. Father and son, side by side. He heard Seth and Daniel’s laughter and glancing in their direction, that was his answer.

“I’m sorry, father...but my place is here with mum and my brothers. I’m not a warrior, I never was. It’s just...not in my blood and not the path I choose. I’m sorry, but I need to be here to protect them.” Liam revealed solemnly, “Forgive me?”

Leonus lowered his hand with a frown, scrunching his mouth forward before releasing a heavy sigh. He stepped toward his son placing both his hands on his shoulders then glanced down; Seth and Daniel holding onto their fathers legs. He examined little Daniel (who hoped to be strong and powerful like his father) doing nothing but mess the boy’s hair before walking away. Leonus looked at Daniel as if he wasn’t his. Heather stood with tears as Liam embraced her; Seth and Daniel holding onto their mother.

“It’s alright, Mother....” Liam whispered, “I’ll never leave you or my brothers, I promise.”

“Oh, my dear boy…” she turned looking into his blue eyes, “I know but there will be a time when you do and it’ll be your choice and yours alone.”

“Mother…” he pulled her close, “Shhh… let’s not talk about such things.”

“Mother?” Seth whispered holding onto her.

Heather knelt down embracing her two youngest boys.

“Wait until Erik sees you now, huh?” my mom innocently mocked.

“That’s not funny.” I argued, “Is it all stitched up the back?” I turned my back to her.

“Yes, sweetheart. It is.” she tapped my back, “Wait, hold on…” she reached out, quickly braiding my hair into a short braid, “Not that it makes a difference.”

“True.” I smiled, “Ready?” I held my weapons in hand.

“Are you?” she wondered.

“No.” I shook my head.

“Good. Then that means you’re ready.” she advised truthfully.

Adjusting my armor pulling it down in the front a few inches, my mom couldn’t help herself; she removed her phone from her bag she retrieved taking a quick photo of her daughter and familiars. I studied the photo feeling shy then turned away, leaving the dwelling with many others trailing behind us all carrying bags of their own. Outside, we were greeted by the late morning sun peeking through clouds that began rolling in. Rain is not what we needed right now so I hoped they’d pass. Approaching that massive gathering near the gates, warriors parted watching as the Keeper walked through dressed in her finest armor, carrying her weapons and was escorted by her loyal familiars. They bowed their heads then whispered among each other. Approaching Azir, he admired the young womans’ armor when suddenly a voice declared with high admiration,

My-my...Little Yza...look at you.”

I turned, glancing in his direction, admiring the man that was mine; Thomas walked alongside him.

“And you as well...both of you.” I smiled then leaned in close to Anthony who couldn’t keep his eyes off the figure hugging bodysuit; I listened to low growls of sexual arousement. I chuckled, nudging him slightly.

“My, you look handsome. Both of you.” my mom added, “Musketeers, I swear.”

“Thank you for the compliment.” Thomas nodded in reply then studied the crowd, “Everyone’s here, both warriors and non alike, that’s good.”

“Yes, it is.” I sensed the overwhelming surge of fear, as did all the Demons and other half-breeds. Pushing the sensation aside I turned to Azir, “Is everything ready where they’re going?”

“Indeed.” he answered verbally then continued telepathically, “Axeon is aware that they’ll be venturing into what’s his and has agreed to the accommodations.”

“Good.” then walking toward the mass of warriors, I called out loudly enough for them to hear, instructing them to hand over their letters I had suggested to write to Natash, who walked through carrying a large wooden box. I watched as men quickly threw or placed, folded papers or envelopes inside. Anthony and I were last as the Nubian Queen stood before me. I nodded then she closed the box and once the lid sealed shut, she made it disappear; its presence appeared in the Keeper’s safe locked away in the study, “Alright, everyone...I hope you’ve said your final goodbyes because those who are not fighting with us, are now being escorted to safety.” I looked around, seeing nods in reply but I knew there was never enough time to say goodbye.

There were no outbursts, surprisingly enough, especially from Leonus and the Lycynians. Thomas said his last few words and gave Louisa a final kiss before she was guided by one of the Jinn women warriors. My mom and I shared one last hug before she too, was called away as Katrina and her daughters blended with the masses. I felt tears stinging my eyes as I waved; Anthony stood behind me wrapping his arms around me and in that moment, my fear subsided.

Azir had disappeared, leading the families and elderly individuals through the maze in fast paces. The maze grew thick with residents that once reaching the center, not all were able to huddle near the fountain; the maze tunnels were packed from the outside all the way through until the center. Azir knew time was of the essence so he quickly opened the hidden door near the fountain’s base; those standing close stepped back in surprise. Their eyes studied the Nubian King as he stood, gesturing for everyone to follow him below. Questions were asked about where these stairs led but Azir remained quiet on the matter, but reassured them of their safety. Lady D managed to catch up to Azir who led them carefully down the stone steps.

“You’re taking us to where Axeon dwells, aren’t you?” she asked softly.

Azir glanced over his shoulder staring into her kind brown eyes. He grew a brief grin; the corner of his mouth curling slightly before nodding in reply,

“Indeed. It’s the safest place on the island considering the circumstances.” then he continued loudly enough for everyone else to hear, “Not one of us knows how long this war will take, so rations have been provided.”

“But where does this lead!?” voices argued.

“What sort of rations!?” others complained.

Azir remained silent, releasing a heavy sigh. Once reaching the bottom Azir stepped aside watching as figures erupted from the pathway, entering the massive cavern that was brightly illuminated; torches and lanterns were placed about throughout the cavern. Lady D, knowing this is where Axeon dwelt, searched for his large shape but her eyes saw nothing. At the moment. Children began running about, causing an irritated reaction from Azir as he plugged his ears momentarily. The echoes from their voices were ear-piercing.

“Parents...I do ask that you keep your children in line, preventing them from acting like little Banshees. This is not a playground, so please...control them!” Azir complained, “I’m asking this of you politely.”

“You can’t blame them…” a mother argued, “they’re just children and this is all new to them.”

“I don’t care what they think. THIS...IS NOT...A PLAYGROUND!” his golden eyes leered in the woman’s direction as his fists clenched in frustration, “Now, do keep them quiet unless you want your enemy to follow their little screams and bratty behavior and kill you all! Or better yet...Axeon will have himself quite the gritty feast then spit out their bones!”

“The Keeper will have something to say about this, I’m sure!” a mother called out.

“Woman…it’s the Keeper’s orders. Now, stay quiet!”

Parents, unknowing of the events about to take place, adhered to Azir’s warning.

“Axeon?” Katrina asked, “Who’s Axeon?”

HE...is Axeon.” Azir frowned as he turned, pointing toward the caverns’ rear where a large mound began stirring in place. Moving closer, the mound began taking shape, “You’ve all seen him in the skies above the island, surely.” he watched as the dragon raised his head, stretching out his wings.

Children remained silent as they clung to their parents in fear, as they whined and cried.

“Hello there Axeon.” Lady D greeted as she stepped forward, “It’s a privilege meeting you.”

“And you.” he replied; his voice entering her thoughts.

She smiled, feeling his connection momentarily before it faded.

“Lady D, as the Keeper’s mother, I’ll leave you in charge of caring for everyone here, alright? Katrina…” Azir looked in the Irish woman’s direction, “You will help her.”

“Of course.” Katrina muttered.

“Will do.” Lady D nodded, “Katrina and I have our ways of dealing with the little brats.” she and the Irish witch shared a smile.

“Good. But you two, come with me.” Azir beckoned them forward and stepping aside, he removed a large squared object wrapped in velvet cloth from a bag he carried draped over his shoulder.

“What’s this?” Katrina inquired.

“I don’t have time to explain it all, but this is for you. All of you.” Azir answered.

“Azir, what aren’t you telling us?” Lady D argued.

“Like I said, I don’t have to explain but if things go weary, this is a device that will take you to a place of which you’ve already been. Both of you. A place Yzavela has recently purchased.” Azir revealed bluntly.

“Meaning what?” Lady D handed the object to Katrina.

“Use it, if you have to. Place your hands upon its top and charge it with your energy. It’ll connect to all the magical practitioners and half-breeds here and open a portal taking you to a safer place. Lady D, Katrina...none of us know the outcome of what’s about to take place, but if Drakuul makes it past everyone above ground, he will find you...all of you, and do the most horrendous things possible, in order to find things you know not of.” he looked deep into Lady D’s eyes, knowing she knew of certain Keeper-related secrets, “Just promise me, promise your daughter...you’ll use it.”

Katrina remained silent with hesitation; Lady D nodded eagerly.

“Good. Alright, I must go.” Azir placed his hands on their shoulders then walked past between them toward Axeon, stroking the dragon’s scales, “Are you ready, old friend?” he finished telepathically.

“No one is ever prepared for war, Jinn.” Axeon lowered his head, “Not ever.” he laid down, allowing the Nubian upon his back for the last time, “Come now, Jinn...we are expected above ground. The half-breed is searching for us.”

Azir groaned then quickly followed the dragon’s instructions. Climbing upon his back holding onto his spikes, everyone jumped back close against large boulders and columns, watching as the mythical beast ventured toward a cave opening. Once the dragon lept from the ledge, everyone began scampering about gathering items and provisions of blankets, food and water needed. Parents grabbed the blankets for their children sitting them on a large ledge along the wall, who shivered due to the damp cold that lingered in the air. Others gathered close to the lit braziers scattered throughout the cavern for warmth. Lady D and Katrina, with the help of others, equally dispersed the supplies according to their needs.

Once that deed was complete, Katrina and Lady D stepped aside to examine the object Azir had bestowed upon them. Laying it upon a leveled rock, Lady D unwrapped the object revealing a cube made from an unknown mineral rock or metal-like surface. It’s shape was close to the size of a basketball but with squared cubic measurements, presenting a hollow center that displayed an energy force of some sort, seen from all angles. There were ancient symbols carved along every inch of the Jinn’s device with a crystal resembling a button or activation switch. The center energy created a green glow and a low hum could be heard awaiting activation.

“Magnificent.” one of the warlocks admired as his presence abruptly appeared behind Katrina and Lady D startling them, “What is that?” he wanted to examine it further, being a scholar of ancient traps and magical devices.

“Indeed it is. But we’re not to touch it unless we need it.” Lady D advised, “But we should put it away. We don’t want the children thinking it’s a toy.”

“Mm, agreed.” Katrina nodded, wrapping the object; tucking it away in a niche in the wall high enough where a child couldn’t reach it.

“What’s going on?” the warlock questioned then turned to Katrina, knowing her the longest, “Katrina?”

“Shh, Peter…” she whispered, then revealed what the device was for; Lady D adding her own thoughts and revelations.

“Just...don’t tell everyone about it.” Lady D urged, “We don’t want panic and or greedy hands trying to reach for it, much less breaking it.”

“Alright.” Peter nodded.

Strolling through the field, the army added finishing adjustments to their armor of choice.

Some wore army fatigues, leather chest pieces, bullet proof vests and metal armor pieces, while others wore shoulder guards, gauntlets or helmets. The designs were mixed with steampunk gears and studs, as well as goggles but all sat in groups according to their skill set and choice of weaponry. Not to mention Wraiths, Demons, Half-breeds and Lycynains all clustered together among their own. Even the human huddled among each other.

Those yielding bladed weapons of swords, axes, spears, daggers and knives, shared their sharpening stones, oils and tools, cleaning and tending to their polished blades. Once inspected and ready for use, knives and swords were sheathed while axes and spears remained held in hand, or placed in frogs (leather loops for carrying weapons that hang from belts). Guns were cleaned thoroughly with bullets loaded into the cartridges or barrels of shotguns. Caleb stood among the gunmen, admiring some of the pieces but when it came to his guns being handled, oh-no, no one utilized his guns but him as they were specially made for him by an unknown source; one he’ll never reveal.

Archers, Sarah proudly among them, equipped their quivers, filling them heavily and thick with arrows that were inspected, properly feathered and tipped with arrow heads. Bows too, were made sure their strings were tightly strung. Chain maces and clubs were hung from belts while some but rare shields were strapped across backs.

The Jinn had an entirely different class of weaponry and armor crafted. They each carried two Scimitar swords sheathed on their belts or across their backs. Spears were eight feet tall with similar Scimitar-like spearheads and the shaft of the weapon could be utilized as a staff. Their armor was unlike anything anyone had ever seen; I couldn’t even begin to describe it. The gold metal alloy of the craftsmanship was unique with swirled design engraved near the neckline and hemline. The shine was practically blinding and Heavenly, creating a glow-like effect. Matching gauntlets covered their muscular forearms. The women among them, wore breastplates with leather flaps giving the appearance of skirts, adding a feminine flair. Their black body-suits beneath their armor complimented the set perfectly. These people were so magnificently beautiful that if one looked upon them first glance, you’d think they were ArchAngels dressed in their Heavenly armor. I could see why ancient individuals considered them as such.

However, the most impressive weapon among the Jinn’s arsenal, was Natash’s chain mace laid on the ground in full display, with its coiled chain that was seven foot long within itself. What I thought were thick chain links were sharp blades intricately linked together, giving the chain link appearance. On one end was a mace ball, seven inches in circumference with spikes all around it and on the other end, was a leather wrapped handle to grasp onto. As warriors inquired about the piece, Natash explained she created the powerful and magnificent weapon, showing everyone the proper way to grasp onto the chain without cutting her hands to pieces. She removed a pair of heavy leather gloves lined with thick suede from her wide leather cinch belt worn over her armor around her waist.

Even the Lycynians admired the weapon but Leonus of course, stood with Nathan and his friends watching as the young half-breed and her friends spoke among ourselves.

“I can’t believe this.” Leonus groaned shifting his weight, “I should be leading this army, not that little girl. I should be the Keeper, not her and look at what they’re all wearing! Leotards!? They look like a ballet group!” he chuckled in mockery, “But their armor, I suppose isn’t too bad.” he examined their attire.

“I think she looks bloody sexy.” Nathan admired the woman he desired, “Those curves…” he growled with lust then turned his gaze, glancing up at Leonus. Clearing his throat he continued, “But give it up, mate...” he lit another cigarette, “you’re never going to be Keeper and you’re never going to lead this army. She’s named that bloody f*cking Jinn as her successor if something should happen to her. Regardless of the deal the two of you made. And oh, she’s named Derek her Commander, while you…” he backed away, “are left out in the dog house. Oops...bad choice of words since you’ve been there like...what? Four times now?”

Leonus leered; squinting his eyes then glared toward us once more, huffing in discontent.

“You know, Nathan...you really are a f*ck ass little sh*t!” Leonus snapped, “And one day, boy...you’re going to wind up dead. And by the way, she finally went Lycyn…and chose Anthony!”

“Ooo, funny...you’re not the first bloke to tell me that.” Nathan cursed, “But so will you. And if it’s today on that field...what a way to go. Maybe I’ll get to kill that lover of hers too!”

Azir had finally appeared as Axeon hovered above our heads, before gracefully landing, allowing the Jinn to dismount. He dressed in his armor with a Leopard skin draped across his shoulder and sleeveless body-suit underneath. His weapons hung from their sheaths on his belt, swinging as he strolled toward us in powerful strides. Standing among his kin, they were striking.

“Bloody hell...you’re breathtaking!” Sarah admired holding her bow at her side, “And those bows and arrows are magnificent.” she smiled.

“Thank you.” Azir proclaimed proudly, “And I see you’re wearing the suit we had given you.” he gestured toward me.

“Yes, thank you.” I nodded, shifting in place.

“Where did you get the suits though?” Sarah curiously inquired examining my right arm, “They feel itchy and are way too bloody tight.”

“But it looks perfect nonetheless.” Natash teased, “Mm.”

“I agree on that one.” Anthony growled once more.

“Easy there, hot stuff…” I nudged him gently then finished telepathically, “when this war’s over, you’ll have fun taking it all off.”

“Little Yza...stop it, but I’ll hold you to that.” he argued telepathically with a smile.

“Wow...look at you!” Erik’s voice appeared behind us with Hiromi at his side.

Turning around, there stood the father and son dressed in their Asian-inspired armor. They looked incredible and despite everything that’s happened between Erik and I, I couldn’t deny he looked amazing.

“Likewise. Both of you look fantastic.” I smiled.

“Beautiful armor there, Hiromi.” Anthony admired.

“Aye, thank you...” Hiromi nodded, running his right hand along the surface of his armor.

“And you look…” Erik mocked eyeing Anthony up and down, “under-dressed.” he referred to Anthony’s metal chest-shoulder pieces. He just had to make a dig somewhere in there.

“That didn’t take long.” Anthony frowned, looking away.

“Hey, no...we;re not doing this!” I argued.

“Don’t you bunch look pretty!” Leonus mocked as he too, approached. He was dressed in thick leather viking-like armor of a chest piece, shoulder guard over his right shoulder and thick gauntlets decorated with studs and spikes. It seemed he had replaced his axe for another was swung over his shoulder with a sword hanging from his belt.

Erik rolled his eyes, walking away as Leonus’ presence arrived. Hiromi apologized then followed after him; they engaged in another argument.

“Takes a real bloke to wear tights.” Nathan added appearing around from behind the alpha, mocking the male Jinn.

“That proves it then.” I snapped sarcastically, “They’re real men and it’s a bodysuit, you dipsh*t!””

“Body-suit. Leotard. Tights. They’re all the same.” his eyes scanned my figure, “And it does you justice just fine.”

“Ugh…” I rolled my eyes; Sarah as well as she stood behind.

Leonus’ gaze changed; leering down at me.

“You…” he pointed his axe toward me, “remember our deal.”

“That didn’t take long.” I snarled, “And I’m perfectly aware. But I don’t intend on dying, so…!”

He leered into her brown eyes then glanced down at Zanz and Abraxas. Biting his lower lip, he lowered his axe then turned, marching in strong masculine strides toward Derek and his comrades; the double bladed axe swung over his shoulder once more with such ease. Nathan smirked in my direction then flashed Sarah a wink then he too turned, following after Leonus.

“God, I hate that man.” I swore; my fists clenched and engulfed in steam that began the Aura process.

“Which one?” Sarah questioned before she walked away.

Azir placed his hand on my shoulder; no heat emanating from my petite form. I glanced up at him with a nod then he gazed toward Natash struggling with the lacing of her armor. I sighed, kneeling down before my two loyal familiars, making sure Zanz’s armor was buckled tightly in place and stroking Abraxas’ soft scales.

Caleb and Nick walked over as Azir departed, making sure I was in good spirits and frame of mind.

“Not really...no.” I complained, “No one here is.”

“Well, the thought of asking was there.” Nick answered.

“I know it was and thank you.” then I took in his warrior persona, “Oh, my god...look at you!” I teased, “Another Viking, huh?” I referred to his shield hung across his back, two axes hanging from his belt, leather armor and gauntlets and not to mention, the war paint around his eyes and hair spiked and painted down the center.

“Yeah. Thought it’s about time I show my roots. You should see Wyatt.” he chuckled, “You think Leonus and I take our Viking roots seriously? Sh*t, you should see him.”

“I’m sure I will.”

The rest of the day dragged out slowly, leaving everyone on edge wondering if at any moment, Drakuul and his army would attack without warning. Everyone camped in their tents or gathered in the manor’s lounge, kitchen, even that of the lounges in the dwellings. No one slept that night. Anthony and I huddled closely together in the upstairs lounge near the study with Jon and Sarah, spending time with friends for once we step foot on that field, we’re going to become people not even our loved ones would recognize. War changes people, and I’m sure all of us will soon find out.

Drakuul paced the walkway around the lighthouse, growing impatient for he didn’t want to give his enemy the day. He wanted to just charge in, killing all and taking names later but with several arguments between himself and Matrx, he had to wait. He watched the sky as it darkened then appeared at the village square where the men, human and Shayds alike spread bottle of liquor around to celebrate their victory of claiming the Isle. Growing disgusted with the sight, Drakuul shouted; the bottles shattered in hand splashing the liquor everywhere.

“You think this is fun and games!?” he slowly walked through the square, “You think we’ve won!? We haven’t won anything!”

“Lord Drakuul, Sir...one of the men stepped forward, “we were just celebrating our victory of claiming the Isle. In your name, of course.”

“Of course.” Drakuul turned to the Shayd who bravely argued with the Necromancer, “Sure, why not?” he chuckled, as did the soldier, “You think we’ve won? Hmm?”

“So far, Sir...yes.” the Shayd nodded.

Matrx stood beneath the gazebo watching as his brother taunted the men who were, without a doubt, acting recklessly and foolishly. Taking a sip from a bottle of his own, he continued to watch.

“We’ve won.” Drakuul nodded then shouted, “We haven’t won anything, you fool! You think because we’re here on the shores of this f*cking island, we’ve won!? Oh, no...when there’s not a single living soul or rat scattering about, that...is when we’ve won, soldier!”

“That’s enough!” Matrx called out powerfully, descending the gazebo’s steps, “That’s enough!”

“No, brother...it’s not enough!” Drakuul argued, “If it weren’t for your suggestions, I would have desecrated this island into the sea but you...you’re the one who made me hold back, giving them time to prepare a defense!” he turned his back.

“Believe me, brother...I didn’t give them the rest of the day to plan anything.” Matrx mocked, “Just as you have your plans, I made mine. You see, while you were up there playing King of the castle…” he gestured toward the lighthouse, “I sent one of the Harpies out that way with a little tech and do you want to know what I found?”

Drakuul turned to the General, sighing heavily waiting for his answer.

“I found out...that they have adequate numbers yes, but not enough. They have Jinn, yes but I saw no dragon which means if there’s no dragon protecting the island, there won’t be much of a war once Arxulet has his fun.” Matrx finished, “Besides, it DOES give our men a little time to enjoy their impending victory a little more, so...pull your head out of your magical a** and relax. We’re going to win, regardless of what they throw at us. You’re here...you’re close...you’ll have it all.” Matrx boosted the Necromancer’s ego and it worked, for he watched as the Immortal raised his left eyebrow and adjusted his tunic, “So there you go.” Matrx squinted his eyes, slapping Drakuul roughly against the back.

Drakuul stumbled in place from the contact then groaned, leering at the General. If he didn’t need him to command his army, he would have fed him to the creatures or throw him into the sea to drown with the weight of his armor. He turned away then walking in fast strides, he dramatically disappeared, returning to his perch upon the lighthouse.

“Yup...playing King of the castle.” Matrx muttered, watching as the Necromancer’s fading portal lingered in the distance.

“Are we prepared, Master?” Arxulet’s voice entered Drakuul’s thoughts as he slithered in the air before landing on the ground below; his head still stood tall at the level of the lighthouses’ lamp.

“Yes, Red Death...we are.” Drakuul revealed verbally, “Tomorrow...it all ends.”

“And you will still keep your word, yes? After this is over, you will release me from your command?” Arxulet’s snout snarled. “Then I can return to where you found me?”

Drakuul studied the red serpent. He tricked the beast into working for him in the first place but once he had claimed what was his, Drakuul would have no need for him a second longer, but that didn’t mean he’d find a reason to keep him under his control.

“Yes...yes, of course.” Drakuul played his trickery, “As your Master, you have my word.”

“I will hold you to it, Necromancer but if you do not, no magic in this world will keep me from ending your life.” Arxulet warned verbally, “Whatever tricks you may have hidden, I will be free!” he pushed himself from the ground, releasing loud roars as he slithered back into the air.

The guards upon the wall, Demon, Wraith and Jinn alike, watched as the Red Death slithered in the distance, releasing powerful roars. Even Axeon who laid within the wall, listened to the threats the fire-drake spewed in his dragon’s tongue. He raised his head studying the dark sky, sensing a darkness lingering in the air and knew what was to come.

“The time has come Marxus…” Axeon spoke to the Heavens, “the time for war has come.”

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