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Chapter 7

Angelus, Helen and Mark

Mark, Angelus and Helen, had been aimlessly gaiting through the woods, a long, long time now… and they were painfully taxed. Nox snuggled under the collar of Helen’s jacket, snoring away. This place taunted them like a terrible nightmare.

Then something, of the very horror, of their every waking thought, and every haunting dream, came to bitter resolve. The nightmare was real. They grew alert, readying their defense, when a supernatural laughter, echoed and faded, ricocheting throughout the trees, all around them. They stood dead still, unable to find the source of the noise. Panic was a deep dark pit, that grew deeper and deeper, and deeper. Nox; wakened, alarmed; hid in Helen’s hair. The sound, kept on fading in and fading out, from every direction; then, all at once, it had ceased to be no more; an uncanny occurrence, if nothing else. There was an uncomfortable stillness of the atmosphere. Far off ahead, a blurred figure, had stopped for a moment, to unsettle them; and then, zoomed away, stiring up a gust along with it. Helen and Angelus, and Mark, had turned, facing their backs to one another.

Within a few moments, thousands upon thousands, of pale white creatures, formed in masses, all over and surrounded them. The creatures had the same characteristics of a human; but had no hair, and they were all dressed, in snowy robes. What horror of the worst kind, this was; finding all their big empty black eyes, now staring at them. Angelus, Helen and Mark, screamed in anxious fright, deafeningly, causing many white pointy ears to twitch. The creatures, all began laughing in unison; then laughed even louder and louder, raising volume, as if by the turning of a knob. Angelus and Helen looked at each other. What was this dementedness. If anything was certain, they had not known what to expect, from this vast, and endlessly laughing choir. They remained cautious, and made no sudden movements, as they stared at these beings; watching them... waiting… as they continued to grow louder and louder... and louder. And now, what was to happen next, they could not believe. Mark changed his composure, and freakishly started to laugh along with the creatures! He took a step forward; did not stop… he laughed like a madman, moving towards them. Helen took noticed, to this strange incident first, declaring hysterically, and tugging on Angelus. “Look at his skin!” Mark had turned pale. Angelus, slowly crept up behind him, horrorstruck. “Mark…?” Mark did not respond. Angelus was afraid to touch him, for he feared what might happen, if he did; whether he’d be infected, or that Mark might turn on him and attack him. Though, he hadn’t seemed to even be Mark anymore. Not at all… Mark was gone.

Angelus, pointed his rifle up, and fired off a couple rounds, keeping a safe distance, in case something went wrong; but nothing happened. He could fire all he wanted, try all he was capable of, but this was out of his control. This was something that could not be helped, no matter his influence.

The creatures laughed… and laughed… and laughed... Angelus felt their laughter had been mockery on his part; that they were laughing at him, not being able to do anything. And it didn’t help that Mark, also, continued laughing with them. Helen demanded, insisting in apprehensive terror. “Angelus, come back here!” Looking back at Helen, seeing her shock filled persona, Angelus returned to protect her; holding tightly to his gun. Behind Angelus, Mark turned, and stood in the front line, with the crowd of laughing beings; when he did so, his hair, then fell out, and his eyes, turned completely black; growing in size, as did his ears, till they were as large as those, of the surrounding beings. Coming up to Helen, Angelus tried to comfort her, holding her in his arms. Her stare had been frozen, affixed upon Mark... which was now, one of them… one of these wretched devils.

Helen wondered if there could be anything, ever again, to come after this… or was this the end for them all. How long did they have; how long would it be till they… themselves, were to turn into one of these devil creatures as well…

Then, the proceedings of something entirely different, had come into play. Her thoughts were distracted, by a flickering light, from somewhere above; she gazed up, to find a sphere of white light, shooting off bright patches of luminescence, while gracefully, descending from the heavens. Miraculously, the ensuing laughter stopped, and the only sound heard, was a mild and delicate sparkling chime, as if from bells from on high; but it wasn’t, it was from the source of the light. When the glittery object, touched the ground, the new existence made a sound, like it was generating energy; and all of the white creatures, were struck by a thick powerful ripple of light, turning them all instantly to ashes. It was incredible. Cautiously observing, the shining object, from a distance; Angelus and Helen were fearful, yet relieved, at the same time.

The object shone in an oval shape, and then, the bright egg like object, stood up, revealing an enormous creature, resembling a human’s form. Then, the light dimmed, and they found it to be, a giant gargoyle-winged man, dressed in armor. The wings were black, looking much like dragon wings, and the giant’s body, was impeccably built, with large muscle. He beamed with an angelic light, but no physical light had shone from him. The angel shot his eyes at Angelus and Helen; speaking for the first time. “Don’t be afraid. You’re safe now.” Helen looked at Angelus, who was asking the angel. “What are you?” The angel replied. “I am a Mydite Warrior. I’ve been fighting the Darkness ever since I can remember...”This creature, though he said different, had to be an angel, for that’s what he was to them. Helen spoke to the Mydite Warrior. “What were those demons?” The Mydite faced her indefinitely, and answered. “They were once Laughing Elves; happy, innocent creatures…but they have been corrupted by the Dark, and now, I do not know what they actually are... They’re evil, and all they want to do, is turn others, and destroy everything left, that’s good and pure. My name is Cristoph, and I won’t stop till I have killed every last one of them.”

Angelus looked at the Mydite Warrior’s wings, and questioned. “What is a Mydite?” Cristoph, looked Angelus in the eyes; that was something about him. He would drive his eyes, towards Angelus, and Helen, as if he had, to not only hear their words, but also, see them, in order to understand. “A Mydite is a dragon angel. A dragon angel is a protector of the dragons… with power and abilities, far superior to all else... Well, at least to most.”

Angelus and Helen, blurted out at the same time, a request of the angel, to help them. Angelus and Helen, looked at each other, and guffawed a little, and then, just Angelus spoke. “Can you help us find our friends? We were split up, and so far, it’s just Helen and I… and Mark... but he’s no longer with us; he’s gone.” He bit those last words with bitter sorrow.

To Angelus’s aid, Cristoph advanced to his left. He would be their salvation. How glorious. The angel neared, as if to their rescue, strengthening their spirits, chasing away all fear and doubt. “Yes, I will protect you from all mischief, and help you find your friends! Hold onto me tightly.” Cristoph put both arms out to each of them, and Helen shook little Nox awake, telling him to hold on tight too; as they had grabbed onto Cristoph’s arms firmly. The Mydite Warrior Cristoph, bulleted up into the air, and spread out his wings, flying with intense velocity; dodging and dashing through the trees! Angelus and Helen, screamed, and held closer to the angel; and Nox, held onto Helen’s hair, screaming as well; but in a less trifling, squeaky dragon roar.

In an instant, Cristoph stopped, landing on the ground, saying, as Helen and Angelus let go of his arms. “We’ll walk from here… mustn’t draw attention to ourselves. Cristoph began walking, in a fierce, reckless, but courageous manner; and Helen and Angelus, hastily trailed along.

For two hours, Helen and Angelus, had been treading through the forest, closely gathered behind Cristoph. Most of the time, they stared at the back of his wings, folded lightly, to each side of his body; which was at least, fifteen feet tall, and was nothing less than, in good physical shape and health.

Breaking the silence, Nox pointed off to the right of them, with his sharp little claw. He said, with trembling. “What is that!” Cristoph, Angelus and Helen, glanced around the area, where Nox had pointed. They couldn’t make it out completely; but likewise, whether they could make heads or tails, of what it was exactly, they saw a huge reptile, lying by a tree. Cristoph, pulled out his colossal gleaming sword, and moved closer to it. Closing in, he found it to be a dead Dertac. Cristoph sheathed his sword. “It’s dead!” Helen, and then Angelus, ran over by him, to get a good look.

The dead creature, was a large dark green, scaled reptile, having thirteen ears, pointing up from its crown; and little purple bumps on the snout, leading all the way down its back. Cristoph had a compassion for the creature. “Poor little dragon… It was just a baby.” Helen had been in puzzlement. “What do you mean? Isn’t this a Dark Creature?” Cristoph responded harshly, and then, softly. “No! This is a Dertac suckling; a land walking dragon. From the looks of it… it must have been left behind from a fleeing herd… to be slain by a Dark Creature!” Cristoph stared off into the distance, spotting a large footprint, and walked over to it. He knelt down, scooping up the dirt, impacted by the Dark Creature that had undeniably created it. Sniffing it, he let the dirt slip through his fingers. A deep horror came over him. His mind far away, as he whispered fearfully. “Bougsmeith!” Standing up, passing by Helen and Angelus, with a concerned and forewarned look in his eye, he insisted. “We better get moving, and quickly!” They followed, no questions asked. There was definitely something about being here, that disturbed Cristoph. For him to fear something so, having his might and strength; was it possible… This supernatural warrior, had stumbled upon something that frightened him...

After a while of walking, Helen had become uneasy; curious and troubled. She wondered why Cristoph gave them no explanation for his, sudden odd behavior, back there. Maybe there was more to this than she thought. She whispered to Angelus. “What do you think killed the Dertac?”

“I don’t know, but whatever it is… Cristoph seems to fear it something dreadful!”

“I’m afraid we might never find Jack, and the others… with all this death surrounding us… they might even already be dead now.”

“We must have faith in finding them, Helen... can you do that for me?”

Angelus stared at her, with a look Helen’s never seen on his face before. She was baffled, but she looked away, and ran to catch up to Cristoph; noticing that they had fallen a bit far behind, Angelus had done the same as well.

Helen and Angelus, caught up to Cristoph, as he slowed to a stop. He had come to the edge of a lake. The lake was bordered in, by a wealth of trees, and the murky water, was the color of stony coal; a perfect theme for these cold and unwelcoming waters. Cristoph stared, disappointedly, at the water. “I’m too late! The lakes life crystals have all been tainted.” Cristoph paused for a minute; Helen and Angelus watched him, incongruously and inquisitively, as he continued. “That means…the Lake Guardian is also tainted, polluted…which concludes, that he must be destroyed!”

Cristoph pulled out his sword, and drove it into the water, at the lake’s edge, and scowled in a thunder. “I draw you out to fight, Lormgil!” On that very second, a grey scale-covered, long necked, leviathan creature, surfaced; its open-mouth, roaring at Cristoph. Deadlocked in front of the two humans and Mydite Warrior; the slick, black skinned, snake-eyed devil, glared down upon them. As it roared, Helen and Angelus, couldn’t help but stare, at the long dripping fangs and demon like teeth, containing shreds of flesh, from something it had recently killed, and most likely, devoured.

The powerful creature, which Cristoph had called Lormgil, charged at him; mouth gaping ready to swallow him up. Cristoph raised his sword high, not moving from his stance; and barely even breathing, while the monster charged on ruthlessly. Helen shrieked, hollering for him to flee, and dreading the thought of the purpose to do so. Angelus readied his rifle, but before they could blink, the powerful wings of Cristoph, sprung him up into the air, with wound up momentum! The creature turned its head, to catch him in its teeth, but Cristoph acted quickly; grabbing, and using the creature’s neck, to swing around, and land upon its back. He stabbed Lormgil, right were his jaw met his throat, and the blood had been launched gushing.

Cristoph clutched onto the beast as it squalled in pain, waving its head back and forth, in attempts to fling the pest off. He pulled his sword out of the neck, just to plunge it back in. Blood flowed like a fountain from the jugular; the beast that was once the magnificent Lake Guardian, was now agonizingly, choking on his blood, and bleeding to death. Lormgil took a last failing gasp for life, while tumbling down upon the lake shore; before he collapsed, Cristoph pulled out his sword, and heroically descended, returning to the ground by Helen and Angelus. Angelus drew Helen into his strong protecting embraces, while staring at the slain Lake Guardian…Lormgil.

Silence and peace, rippled out from under the stiffening monster. Cristoph spoke his parting words to the fallen guardian. “You had good fight in you Lormgil… I will remember you, as the gentle, graceful Lake Guardian, you were well known to be… before.” Angelus sauntered up to the side of Cristoph, and stared at the lifeless creature, this Mydite Warrior had gazed at. “Yes, it was a good battle… but why did you not use the blasting ring of light, you used on those Laughing Dark Elves… you have other sorts of magic, you must, as well; why didn’t you use it?” Cristoph lowered his head, letting his eyes tunnel out over the surface of the lake, as he answered. “Lormgil was my good friend; he deserved the honor of a proper fight… if to die.” Angelus cast his eyes upon the black water, wearing deep equanimity upon his face; understanding the act carried out, was a result of the bond of friendship, he too well, recognized; he said no more. Angelus glanced at Cristoph, and then, ambled over to Helen; having a mindless conversation, superficial chatter, with Nox, about how horrific it would be, if Cristoph lost the battle, and Lormgil had come after them.

Cristoph drew his gaze away from the lake, and turned, facing them; a deep pain of loss, stirring within him. “We must be on our way...” What was the reason.....for all this chaos. Cristoph paced towards Angelus and Helen, and picked them up, gliding to the other side of the lake. He landed, standing them upon their feet, and once they regained their balance, they quickly followed Cristoph; who went striding off on ahead.

What was it… but astonishing, to wait for something, that would be inevitable; but wouldn’t make it to that point; always would be, but wouldn’t become. They continued on reckoning with this journey through the shadowy development of their spirits, pretending that there was a purpose to, a reason to. It’s an awful thing to have no reason or purpose, but it is so much more, an outright horror, to be aware of it; a decapitation of the spirit. After a while, there came a foul stench rising in the air the further they went. It was ignored, until it grew worse and then becoming unbearable. Helen covered her face, while Angelus exclaimed. “Aw sick… what is this disgusting stink?” Angelus coughed and covered his mouth. Cristoph enlightened. “There must have been a vast bloodbath that has left a field of corpses upwind of us; by the potency of the stench, we’re quite close!” Angelus and Helen, ran up, stopping in front of Cristoph and forced him to cease his march. “Why would we want to be getting closer to it? Can’t we go in another direction?” Cristoph replied, aggravated. “We must go on, in this direction… there is no other way!” Cristoph stepped forward, and Angelus and Helen, moved out of his way; accepting this, while holding each other closely, covering their noses; they would have to stick this one out, and remain with him.

The air grew thick with greenish fog, and the ground, urbanized a heavy mud. Walking nigh to Cristoph, who halted abruptly, Angelus and Helen, walked right into the back of his wings. “Be careful... Stay close…” Cristoph continued to tread on, and still just right behind him, they followed, protecting their breathing. It was almost too difficult to go on; beneath their feet, the ground had grown increasingly wet and mucky.

The fog began to separate, exposing a sea of thousands of decomposing creatures. One nearby, looked kind of like a bear, but its size was enormous, fur golden yellow, and head, having black horns, stained crimson. The beast’s legs had been ripped off, and scattered; ensuing to the pool of blood there, the decaying body, laid in. Not far, another putrefied creature, hugged to the earth; a huge sapphire worm, with four ivory horns, crowning the head. Split in half, the worm’s gaping mouth, revealed millions of sharp little needle teeth.

Thousands and thousands of all different kinds of creatures, that had faced different fates; bellies ripped out, bodies split in half, or heads, limbs, separated from their bodies; and various objects, used to impale, protruding from faces, chest, necks, abdomens. It was an awful, brutal, nauseous sight to see, things one could not imagine. It was grotesque.

Helen hid her eyes; burying her face in Angelus’s chest. Angelus looked over the terrain further, then, to Cristoph. “Why is this happening…this war?” Cristoph lowered his head, this was another thing in his behavior, that he did humbly. He said with sadness in his words. “Many Creatures have died, and many have turned into Darkness. Eight hundred years ago, the Tree of Beginning, Life and Light, was destroyed. The balance between the Tree of Ending, Death and Dark, and the Tree of Beginning, Life and Light, has been destroyed along with it. Now the Darkness is taking over… and it's winning. Our only chance, is if we find the Tree of Ending, Death and Dark, and destroy it. But it is feared, that if the Tree is destroyed, we, and the Forest, will no longer exist; but it doesn’t matter anyway, as far as I’m concerned…we’ll have nothing left of this place, in that, all the same.” Angelus stood silent for a moment, before replying. “Is that what you’re doing…looking for the Tree, to destroy it?” Cristoph didn’t answer, just said to end the subject. “We better get moving.” Then, he walked off, expecting Angelus and Helen to follow. Then charging to Cristoph, Angelus demanded. “Tell me! Are you looking for the Tree?” Cristoph said, trying to fight, the sorrowing dismay, which gleamed in his eye. “I was...but not anymore...” Cristoph walked passed Angelus, eyes lowered to the ground; watching the skin-winged angel, saunter off; Angelus waited for Helen to catch up.

“What’s the rush?” She said, after coming to a halt, taking a deep breath. Angelus kept his stare fixed upon Cristoph. “I asked him if he was searching for the tree, and he said he was, but not anymore! Helen… I think something terrible has happened to Cristoph. Helen replied. “Well… I’ll go ask him what’s happened. He’ll tell me.” Helen contended towards Cristoph, and Angelus held his hand out after her, as if to pull her back but failed. “No!” he hurried toward Cristoph as well. Helen slowed her sprint to a brisk walk, and, when she reached Cristoph’s side, she asked boldly. “What changed your mind about finding the Tree, to destroy it?” Cristoph answered vengefully. “Bougsmeith! He killed them... he killed them all!” As Angelus came up, pacing alongside of Helen, she questioned further. “Killed who?” Cristoph took a deep breath, and began telling his tale. “Three Mydite Warriors, and myself… set out on a mission to find the Tree of Ending, Death and Dark; and destroy it. But we were prevented from succeeding, by Bougsmeith! Bougsmeith is one of the Four Protectors of the Forest, but he has been infected by the Dark, and now, thrives to do evil. There are Four Protectors, with the powers, of each of the elements; Fire, Earth, Water and Air. The Protector, with the force of Fire, has the power to create fire, use it to burn, or melt earth, with liquid flame. The Protector with the force of Earth, controls the growth of the trees, plants, and the movement of the land. The Protector with the force of Water, has power over the streams, the lakes… the rivers. And the Protector with the force of Air, has the power to control the weather. But unlike the others, the Protector with the force of Earth, can shape shift, into anything of nature, any creature….and the Protector with the force of Earth, is Bougsmeith. Bougsmeith killed my three dearest fellow companions. When this monstrosity, of what was left of the Protector, slew Simoth and Grivak, then, had its way with Edmus. Injured Edmus, pleaded for me to flee; making me promise to find a way to save the Forest. While he held off Bougsmeith, I escaped… and Edmus died, not long after.” Angelus was stunned by all this, and professed with edginess. “There must be another way to destroy the Tree! Right?” Cristoph replied wearily. “No.” Stiffening…Angelus felt as if he stood in a line up, waiting to be butchered; Cristoph continued. “But there is another way to save the Forest!” Angelus and Helen beckoned for an answer, in heightened eagerness one after another. “How?” Cristoph answered. “The blood of the one, who destroyed the Tree of Beginning, Life and Light! We must spill their blood, where the Tree of Beginning used to be to bring it back. So that all will be in correct function and order, as it was before.” Angelus stated with haste. “Great! So where do we find this someone?” Cristoph sighed, and then, answered. “That’s just it. No one knows who destroyed the Tree.” Helen said, to add hopefulness to Cristoph’s heart. “We can find out whom… or at least we can try!” Cristoph gazed into the trees in front of them, and said. “Alas, we have searched and searched… but have found nothing. It’s as if whoever destroyed the Tree, had never existed.”

Cristoph, Helen, Angelus, and also, Nox, curled up, sleeping under the collar of Helen’s jacket, all kept on proceeding through the foggy Forest; of which the rotting stench, had weakened, and then, departed.

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