The Sword Summoner: History Repeats

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Chapter 21: Through the Mines

Wood and metal littered the sand around the five teenagers. They picked their way through the debris, kicking aside scrap and skirting around anything too big to step over. Their destination was the monstrous form of shapeless carnage that had recently been two sand fortresses. Now they formed one tangled wreckage.

The third ship had turned and was making a hasty retreat back the way it had come from, leaving the small group the only ones in sight still standing. Several bodies were dotted around, some dead but many not. Trey ignored the groans and screams as best as he could. Zak strolled through the mayhem, admiring the destruction like a personal achievement.

“Over here,” Dawn called from around the corner of the crashed ships. “We might be able to salvage something.”

The boys jogged over to her. She was stood before a wide hole in one hull that was filled with an assortment of twisted silhouettes. Billy grabbed a lantern from a nearby pile and relit it before entering the ship. The faint light revealed a cluster of sand speeders and carriers that had been smashed together and wedged into one corner of the half collapsed hanger.

Dawn circled the pile as best as she could and inspected the ships for anything that could be used. Under her direction, Zak carried the bigger bits of scrap away while Trey and Liam managed the smaller rubbish. Billy hung the lamp from a jutting out pipe and helped to dig through the wood.

It took the better part of an hour but eventually they had freed a battered carrier from the wreckage and had managed to push it out onto the sand. That had even strained Zak but once it was outside they were able to repair what they could until the last rays of the sun began to fade.

“Will it work?” asked Trey. They’d replaced one broken wheel and retied several strings but it still looked a miracle that it remained standing under its own weight.

Dawn ran a hand through her hair and clicked her tongue thoughtfully. Her other hand did not stray from its place over the split skin in her throat where she kept a cloth over the wound. “If we can get it moving then it should make it to the forest. That is as long as we don’t push it in any way, shape or form. A steady speed with minimal turning should be fine.”

“It will have to do,” shrugged Trey. “We’ve already lost too much time.”

They climbed into the carrier and after several attempts, Dawn and Liam managed to get the carrier to lurch into motion. It moved at a snail’s pace compared to the carrier they had travelled in previously but they were moving toward Miankkuth once again and Trey was strangely grateful for that.

Liam took the first shift at the wheel while the others took some well needed sleep. When daylight returned, Dawn took over and Liam collapsed into a corner to get some rest of his own. Most of the day passed in utter silence. Trey tried playing more of his ‘rock’ music but it did not improve the reflective mood that had descended upon the carrier.

It was not until dusk came around once more that they sighted the first signs of green upon the horizon. The sand gradually gave way to grass and trees and the carrier had to be stopped at the edge of the desert. To the left were the wide cliffs that Trey Billy and Zak had leapt from after their flight from Pastrino. Luckily for them, the cliffs petered out about two miles further up, leaving the land here relatively flat and easy to traverse. They climbed from the vessel with everything they could carry and cautiously entered the forest.

They were in a different section of the forest than where they had came from but it mattered little as Billy and Trey had explored much of the forest during childhood adventures. The two directed the others west until they recognised their surroundings.

For an hour they walked in the darkness of the night, guided only by the waxy light of the moon. Deciding it best to camp for the night, Trey led them through closely packed trees to a good place to rest. The distant sound of roaring water drifted on the wind. As they continued the sound became greater and the air became damper. Up ahead a waterfall came into view. It ran down a cliff, into a small pond which led to a gentle stream.

Trey walked up to the waterfall and revealed that the cliff was hollow behind it. Hidden from view by the raging water was a roomy cave. Once inside the water doubled in volume as the cave echoed the noise.

“There’s plenty of room and we can talk as loudly as we want as the sound is covered up by the waterfall,” Trey announced, his voice just audible over the incessant water.

The boys tried to get comfy and without further conversation they attempted to find sleep. The roar of the waterfall was the only thing that they could hear as they slowly drifted off into troubled dreams. Sleep without nightmares seemed a distant memory.

Dawn did not feel like sleeping as she had so much on her mind. She crept out of the cave and gazed into the shimmering water of the pond. She stood motionless, tracing the raw cut across the left side of her throat, lost in thought for several minutes until a sigh at her side snapped her back to reality.

Liam stood at her side staring at his flickering reflection on the water’s surface. Dawn had not even noticed him approach. He too seemed to have something on his mind that he could not voice.

“I forgive you,” said Dawn softly.

Liam turned towards her. “What’s to forgive?”

“I know you have problems but that’s no excuse to be so rude and cold hearted. An apology, or at least understanding isn’t that much to ask for,” she snapped angrily.

“You know nothing,” stated the young man. “You grew up as a pampered princess. You were given everything you could ever want and had the love and respect of everyone in your tribe. I have nothing.”

“You’re the commander’s brother. You live in a big house and have plenty of money. What is there to be depressed about?” Dawn asked testily. Because of her departure she too now had nothing.

Liam knelt, letting his black nailed hand dip into the cold water. His reflection rippled, becoming distorted and unrecognisable. “My father was the commander before my brother and my mother was the greatest healer the city had ever known. Both were extremely talented and well respected. Then my brother was born and he showed the makings of being as great as his parents. My parents tried for many years to have a second child and fifteen years after Mike was born, my mother became pregnant again.”

“There were complications at my birth and no one could stop my mother from dying. My father was consumed by grief and eventually took his own life. I was blamed for their deaths. I tried to earn the respect of the city but no matter how hard I tried I was useless at everything. People just hated me more and I had no place to fit in. I have been alone all of my life. Only Mike cares for me and as commander he is always busy.” He finished his story with a sad smile.

“At least you can make your own way through life. My life has been planned out like every other Heptalli royal blood in history. Born and trained as a Princess, learning the skills for the future. When my Grandmother, the Elder, dies, my mother will become the new Elder and I will be forced to become the Matriarch of the tribe. I then live to have a single daughter as is written in my blood. Then I become the Elder while my daughter becomes the leader, then I die. The cycle will never end,” she sighed. “It is my destiny.”

“Destiny is not written,” replied Liam. “Life is sand in the fingers of time. A few grains will always fall loose and land where the hand does not want it. Whatever, I’m heading off to bed. Night.”

He left Dawn stood alone, feeling she now knew Liam as a person, not just a face. Still, she could not help feel that his words sounded far too close to what Mellow had been preaching.


As the morning came they decided to use their last moment of peace well. Knowing full well that later that day they would see the remains of Pastrino, they all decided to prepare as best as they could.

“While we’re here you lot can head downstream and wash. You stink!” informed Dawn briskly.

“What’s wrong with bathing here?” asked Billy.

“I’m here,” replied Dawn. “I need to wash as well. If you dare to even think of peeping you will not leave here alive. You will find you would rather have the Abyss Sprite of Torture stood before you than me. Got it?” she said with a look in her eyes and a tone in her voice that said she really meant it too. Women had an uncanny talent for turning their eyes into poisoned daggers.

“Yes Miss,” said Trey, Billy and Zak together with the same fear in their words. Liam just turned and followed the stream away from the camp. The others quickly followed. After about five minutes they found a suitable place to wash and decided to relax for the last time before they confronted the Forukks again. Pux left on his own to hunt for food, his knowledge of the forest and its creatures far greater than any of the others.

Things seemed peaceful but little did anyone realise that an evil presence had been tracking them through the forest and even now kept its eyes on the current weakest member of the group, all by herself and with no weapons. Assassinating children was too easy for such a greatly talented killer but orders were orders. Shuriken sat ready between skilled fingers. The girl suspected nothing. The assassin’s movement stopped as a shout erupted from nearby.

“Hey Dawn, you done yet?”

Dawn sighed after just getting relaxed then shouted back, “Just give me a minute.”

It was strike now or lose the chance, thought the assassin. It threw one of the throwing stars and watched it fly towards the girl’s jugular. Before it reached its target a bird swooped by and caught it. Another three shuriken were thrown but three more birds halted their journey short. By this time Dawn had gotten out of the pond, dried off and was just finishing tying her robes securely.

This was the assassin’s last chance at an easy target. Six shuriken left the tree and sped towards the girl. Only one bird came this time but it was larger than the others, some kind of eagle. With an almighty beat of its wings the wind knocked the throwing stars off course. The boys came stamping through the trees and into view. The assassin knew that the chance had been missed and quietly left to avoid detection while pondering the birds.

Pux was just returning with a large squirrel slung over his shoulder when from out of the sky a wide-winged eagle swooped down and landed on Billy’s head. From its back jumped a battered looking Yuxova that hopped down upon Billy’s shoulder then onto a low tree branch. Pux joined him and bowed his head. The new Yuxova returned the bow but a mere fraction of what Pux had.

“Glad to see you, Captain,” said the injured warrior. “Things have gone to the Abyss since you left.” He was taller than Pux by a few hairs and had a more muscular build. Leather armour covered his fine clothes and short dark hair topped his head. A broad, well trimmed beard hung from a chiseled chin.

“What do you mean, Captain Kenux?” asked Pux, fearing the answer. Whatever could injure Captain Kenux was something to worry about.

The other Yuxova sneered and spat with angry disgust. “Forukks have been felling trees and burning patches of forest since they reared their ugly faces. We’d been fighting them for days when our flanks were hit by a new force from the north.”

Pux frowned. “North? The Ghibok have no reason to fight us.”

“Not Ghibok,” Kenux all but hissed. “The Fallen have returned.”

“What! I thought they were just a legend.”

“Well this legend is destroying our army. They are already pressing upon the Tree of Ages. First Forukks, then the Fallen. Now to top it off we have an assassin lurking around. If my men and I had turned up a moment later then your human girl would be a pincushion right now.”

Dawn looked shocked at hearing someone had tried to kill her. The boys scanned the trees darkly, hands on their weapons.

Pux turned to Trey. “I must aid my own people; I fear I must leave you now.”

“We understand,” Trey said.

“Farewell, Trey, Zak. Stay safe Miss Dawn. Find happiness Liam,” said Pux. He then turned to Billy. “Billy, you have a bird on your head.”

“Shut up!” growled Billy.

Both Yuxova Captains mounted, Kenux onto the eagle, Pux onto Bo-bo and made ready to leave. The birds took to the air and circled the group a few times as they gained altitude.

The teens cleared the camp and set off southwest through the forest. Any movement or sound caused fear only to reveal small forest animals or branches moving in the wind. Around dusk the end of the trees was in sight and open fields stood before them. Beyond them was a ruined city that bore some resemblances with what Trey, Zak and Billy had once called home.

Fine mist pooled around the buildings’ remnants giving them a ghostlike quality. All seemed still within the city’s walls. The only sign of life was the collection of carrion birds that had swarmed the ruins. Craters had cleared numerous areas of buildings while fire had burned up anything wooden or material. The white walls were plagued with black patches like a cancer. Far off at the city’s centre, Trey could make out the bell tower and beside it, his home. Both looked untouched by the carnage to his relief.

“If only Pux was still here, he could scout out the city and tell us if its guarded,” sighed Dawn.

“It is guarded,” stated Trey. “If we try to go through the city we’ll have a fight on our hands.”

“The area around the city will be guarded for miles. To get around them could take days,” said Liam.

“I have an idea,” said Trey quietly, then paused in thought. “The city got its raw iron from mines beneath it and its surrounding area. Several severe accidents occurred and the mines were closed. This was before we were even born.”

“I know what you’re talking about but the mine only has one entrance. We’d only reach a dead end,” muttered Billy.

Zak shook his head. “No. It has a second exit. Before the last accident happened, the miners dug too far and breached the cliffs that separate us from Miankkuth. The last ‘accident’ was actually a cover-up just to close the mine and block the hole. Out of the fifty miners down there, only seven returned from the cover-up. My granddad one of them,” Zak informed them. “We could find the blocked exit then just unblock it,” he added with a smile as he swung his axe.

“It can’t be any worse than marching through the city,” said Dawn.

“Are we decided?” Trey asked. When everyone confirmed he continued. “Time to head underground then,” he said as he started to head north.

After an hour they arrived at the mine entrance and saw it was guarded by a large Forukk with three horns. Billy was about to shoot it with his bow when Zak walked up to it. Before it had a chance to do anything but laugh at the puny human before it, its body was cleaved in two by Zak’s great axe.

No other Forukks seemed to be around so they continued into the dark earth. The tunnel was wide but not very tall. The walls were rough rock that still bore the marks of pickaxes. The further they headed forwards the smaller the light behind them became. As Zak led them around a corner the light vanished. Liam preferred the dark but the others opted for a light source. Billy went to light a lantern when Zak stopped him.

“I came prepared for dark places.” He mumbled a few unintelligible words and nothing seemed to happen. He then snapped his fingers and a radiant light issued forth from his axe. It died down to a level that did not blind the eye but still lit up the area around them.

“It’s my new idea,” he stated happily. “It’s called a snapper. When I snap my fingers it lights up. I originally wanted a clapper but I found I couldn’t clap while holding the axe.”

The mine shafts were more like a labyrinth than a former place of work. Tunnels headed this way and that, some were a mere dozen yards long, others stretched for several miles. None in the group knew the tunnels at all, they just knew to head south west. Many times they hit dead ends and had to retrace their steps to find a new path.

Progress was slow, the sound of their footsteps echoed terribly and all talking had ended. No matter how quietly they moved the echoes always sounded unnaturally loud.

Zak motioned with his hand and the group halted. Echoed footsteps continued briefly after all feet had stilled.

“We’re being followed.”

“Maybe it’s that assassin that came after me,” said Dawn.

“I doubt it,” replied Billy. “An assassin would mask his steps better than that. I’d guess it’s a Forukk.”

From behind them came an angered howl that resonated throughout every tunnel. It was impossible to tell how near it was to them but they all guessed it was close. Seconds later, answering calls bellowed in the distance, merging together to form one deep and hellish noise.

“I think its time to run,” said Billy as a large shadow charged around the corner behind them. A black shafted bolt skewered the wall behind him as the last word left his lips.

Another bolt narrowly missed Trey as he ducked into a bend to his right. No sooner had he turned the corner he crashed into a large, growling object. In the faint glow of Zak’s axe, Trey gazed upon a Forukk of titanic proportions. Its bulk blocked the whole tunnel and its fists were like giant blocks of concrete with a single jagged claw protruding from the centre of each.

A split second before the creature’s fist impacted with Trey’s chest, he managed to manoeuvre his sword to defend himself. It was completely ineffective. A sickening crack echoed around the mines and Trey’s feet left the ground as his body flew backward then hit a wall. He slumped to the ground.

Zak ran at the giant Forukk and embedded his axe in the things chest. It made a series of noises that were its twisted version of a laugh. It swung its arm at Zak and he leapt backwards, leaving his axe in its chest.

Billy dodged another bolt and fired an arrow of his own. It tore into the first Forukk’s skull, killing it instantly. His moment of pride was beaten down when three more appeared in his view.

“We have to go!” he shouted.

“What about Trey?” answered Dawn as she knelt by the boy’s unconscious body.

“What about my axe?” shouted Zak in agitation as he jumped over a low swing by his opponent.

“You and Liam will have to carry him,” Billy stated to the girl. “Zak, unless you want to stay and fight them all for the axe, get over here and help me guard those three while we escape.”

“Screw that! I want my axe!” replied Zak as he leapt back, drew both his swords then dived forward again in one swift motion.

Billy was about to argue when four bolts sped past him, one glancing across his left arm. Another Forukk had joined them, he noted with displeasure as he clenched his teeth against the sharp pain.

“Go!” he commanded, firing at the Forukks, narrowly missing one. The injury was throwing off his aim.

All of the group except for Zak ran through the tunnels and away from the Forukks. Without Zak’s axe there was no light but a hastily lit candle in Liam’s hand.

Meanwhile Zak was still attempting to recover his weapon while trying to survive. As well as the giant Forukk, the smaller creatures had turned their attention onto the boy. All but one. The other followed in the group’s foot steps towards easier prey.

“Gimme back my axe, dammit!” shouted Zak as he simultaneously avoided three bolts and a lunge from the giant. He did not foresee the huge Forukk head butting him so when their foreheads met, Zak was sent hurtling backwards into a wall causing the tunnel to shake and dust to fall from the ceiling.

Slowly he picked himself up, swept away the dust from his clothes and shook his head in agitation. “Screw this!” he roared as he pulled a stolen boom-ball from his rucksack.

A startled, un-Forukk like squeak escaped the lesser Forukks snouts. The greater Forukk laughed, then with startling speed for such bulk, charged down the tunnel towards the boy. The other Forukks had all begun to flee.

Zak lit the boom-ball with a spark of Nimula, held it in one hand and ran to meet the Forukk. When they were within range of each other, the Forukk punched towards Zak, its fist almost the same size as the boy while Zak punched out with the hand holding the explosive. The walls shook and fire shot through the passageways. As the smoke spread out over the ceiling the centre of the carnage became visible. There were two bodies sprawled out on the floor. The Forukk, or what was left of it, lay at one end of the shaft and Zak lay at the other.

The support beams strained perilously as dust rained down upon the two bodies. The dust that fell around the Forukk was engulfed in thick, tar like blood while that which landed upon Zak fizzled out of existence.

The boy’s body glowed with a shimmering purple light that covered every inch of him. Beneath it, Zak was unharmed. He pulled himself to his feet using a fallen support beam and looked around him. The purple shield began to crackle and flicker before dying out completely.

Panting, he sighted his axe embedded into a nearby wall. Striding over to it he pulled it out with ease, despite the fact it was a good few inches into the stone. After hearing an agonized groan from above him, Zak slowly looked up. The roof was seconds away from collapsing onto him.

“Ah.”


Trey hung limply between Dawn and Liam as they struggled to run under his weight. Billy jogged behind them, his Onlasarian crossbow in his hands since there was too little room to draw a bow. He frequently looked over his shoulder to see if they were being followed.

A movement in the corner of his eye alerted Billy to danger. He span around to see a bolt splitting the dense air towards him. It seemed to fly towards him in slow motion. He looked past the bolt and could just make out the snarling face of a Forukk at the very edge of the candle light.

Without conscious thought he squeezed his own crossbow’s trigger. The two bolts met in mid air, sparks flying off in all directions. Shattered scraps of wood hit the ground mere feet from Billy. The boy stood in shock, staring at the destroyed bolts. Seeing its target still standing the Forukk readied another shot. It snarled as it released the projectile.

Blood splattered the walls. Billy snapped out of blankness. Zak was running towards him. He had cut down the Forukk without slowing and managed to catch the bolt mid flight. He did not stop even as he passed Billy.

“Hey! Where are you going?” shouted Billy at Zak’s back.

“Away from the scary rocks,” came Zak’s response from the distance.

“Scary rocks?” Billy mused. Only then did he realise the ground was shaking and thunder seemed to roll through the tunnels. The roof collapsed in front of him, crushing the Forukk’s dead body. Billy then followed Zak’s example and ran as fast as his legs would carry him.

By the time Billy reached the others he was exhausted but the tunnels were still falling down around them. To increase their speed, Liam had put Trey on his back and carried him in that manner as they ran for safety.

None of them knew where they were heading but were just following their feet while trying not to be flattened. The candle had long since flickered from existence but Zak’s axe once again lit the way forward.

“This way!” called Dawn from the front of the group. As she was the fastest she was a good few foot in front of the others. She darted around a corner through a strong looking entrance frame. The room inside also looked sturdy, or to be more precise, the cavern. The others followed her in, Liam just passing through the gap as rocks rained down inches behind him. The entrance became a solid wall of debris.

“Damn. How are we supposed to get out of here now?” asked Billy to no one in particular.

“Look on the bright side,” said Dawn. “We’re all still alive.”

“Yes. Instead of being crushed and dying instantly we can starve to death,” said Liam in a solemn voice as he lent Trey against a wall.

“No. We’ll die of dehydration before starvation even sets in,” Zak pointed out happily.

“Look,” said a slightly flustered Dawn. “You’re straying from my point. We’re all alive so we can find a way out of here.”

“Then walk straight into the Forukk’s lair,” added Liam with a shrug.

“Who are you?” asked a croaky voice from behind them.

Zak stepped forwards holding out his axe. The light revealed twelve men huddled in a corner. They looked like miners despite the fact that the mine had been closed for over two decades. Their work suits were ripped, many had lost their helmets and they had no visible skin through the thick layers of dust that coated them from their heads to their toes.

“Who are you would be a better question,” replied Billy to the men. “The mine is inactive.”

“Officially yes it is. To keep Pastrino self reliant, The Lord secretly kept the mine active on a small scale. We are the miners chosen to carry out this secretive task. What about you? You are all in the mine, heavily armed and seem to have knowledge on those monsters outside.”

“The short story is we’re just passing through here to save all the people taken as slaves when Pastrino was destroyed,” said Billy.

The closest miner let out a sigh. “So the city was destroyed. We figured as much from the sounds above us. Then those monsters started patrolling the mines. We all thought we would die here.”

“You still might if we don’t move all these rocks from the doorway,” said Liam in his usual uplifting voice.

“It could take days of solid work to clear the entrance and the passage beyond it. Then we’d have to deal with those monsters. Even if we can get out we have nowhere to go,” whined the youngest of the miners.

“Moaning isn’t going to solve anything.” From the place against the wall where his body had been laid Trey rose to his feet and began to move rocks from their place blocking the way out.

The others moved to help, including the miners but Dawn motioned them to keep back. She had to physically take Trey away from the blockage before he stopped moving stones. “The ground around here has a high sand density. We people of the desert can deal with sand.

She drew out her necklace and held it tightly with her left hand. With her right she placed her palm against the surface of the rocks and lost herself in a fast tempo chant. Sweat dripped from her forehead and her limbs shook slightly. As the chanting reached its climax, the debris before her began to vibrate then the next second the rocks disintegrated into flowing sand. She staggered back, laughed then collapsed.

“The way we came is blocked,” called Billy as the others fussed over Dawn. “Forwards is open though.”

“Do you miners know a way out of the mines that we can get to without going the way we came?” asked Trey.

“No. All the entrances are back east, we’re too far west to find any exits,” replied the young miner.

An ancient looking miner stepped forwards. He had not moved once up until then, only watched the teenagers with a careful eye. His body was large and very strong but his face was wrinkled and looked very fragile. “There is a way out we can take.”

A few of the other miners looked uncomfortable as their gaze fell upon the old man. One looked like he was about to speak but then looked down at his feet like the others.

“There is an exit that opens up straight into the Shadowlands. I do not like it but it is the only way out.” The old man stepped out of the room. “I will show you the way.”

The other miners formed up around him like guards, their pickaxes held ready. Liam gently picked Dawn up while Billy, Zak and Trey hung back to protect the rear.

No sign appeared that gave any mention of Forukks nearby. The only sounds were their own footsteps and heavy breaths. If anything it was too quiet. The Forukks should have been on their trails like cats on mice.

After hours of nothing but walking the old man, revealed to be called Oliver Bailey, head miner, called a halt at what seemed to be a dead end. In the light from Zak’s axe they could see that at the end of the passage was a slab of obsidian with a skull carved upon its surface.

“It’s time,” Mr Bailey stated as he took a mighty swing at the centre of the slab with his pickaxe. Both the obsidian and the pickaxe cracked. He swung again and his pickaxe shattered. He was about to swing for a third time with another pickaxe when Zak stopped him.

“Allow me.” With a flick of his wrist his axe met the slab which exploded outwards into the world beyond.

The stale air of the mines gave way to a tainted breeze as the group looked out upon a dreary setting. The exit opened out onto the side of a steep cliff with only a small ledge to step out onto. All of the trees were twisted husks with no leaves and everything seemed to have a grey tinge. Rain specked the sky giving the whole area a blurry look.

“We’re near the top,” called Zak, who had walked straight out to inspect the area. He reached above him and soon vanished from sight.

“All clear,” he called down to the group.

One by one everybody climbed the short distance to the top until only Liam and Dawn were left. She had regained just enough consciousness to grip onto his back while he slowly pulled himself over the edge. When he reached the top Dawn slid off of him.

“Shouldn’t you have carried her?” he asked Zak. “Considering you’re the strongest and have the greatest endurance.”

“Yeah but we need you to pull your weight somehow.”

“I don’t like the taste of the air here, we shouldn’t stay too long,” said Mr Bailey.

“As much as I dislike it, we are not soldiers, nor can we fight. For the most part we are battered and hungry and only have pickaxes for weapons. We cannot help you to save our people and that deeply grieves me. We will not be coming with you,” sighed Mr Bailey.

The other miners were visibly relieved at not having to venture further into Miankkuth. No sooner had the relief passed then shame hit their faces. They too wanted to save their friends and family.

“Good luck,” said Mr Bailey as he looked deeply into each of their eyes. “Kill some of those monsters for us if you can.” He turned, motioned his men to follow then headed off south, away from Pastrino.

“Now all we need to do is find our way to Lanstiro without alerting the guards,” said Trey to no one in particular. “Anyone have an idea which way to go.”

“I know” shouted out Zak. “Let’s ask him.” He pointed to a Forukk stood directly behind Liam.

“Holy Sprite! How did that sneak up on us?” shouted Billy in surprise.

The Forukk was huge. It was bigger than the one Zak fought in the mines. It was like a massive blot on the landscape. One of its arms was a giant tentacle while it’s other had hundreds of spikes protruding from its flesh. It had a third eye on its forehead and had sharp bones sticking up from its knees.

Before anyone could react the Forukk had grabbed Dawn with its tentacle. She screamed out in pain as it began to squeeze her. Nobody had any Boom-balls left and Zak could not risk explosive Nimula as it could hit Dawn. Both Billy and Zak leapt forwards to attack as Liam rolled away from the beast’s spiked arm as it fell towards him. The Forukk swatted the two boys away using Dawn before firing a volley of spikes from its arm onto the battlefield.

“Damn it!” roared Trey as he yanked a bloody spike from his shoulder. “It’s too strong.”

The Forukk gave off a booming laugh that shook the ground then its mouth began to glow purple. An unbelievable heat rolled across the land that made everyone still standing sink down to their knees. Being hit by whatever the Forukk was about to do was certain death. There was no doubt about it.

A boom louder than thunder and a flash greater than lightning shook Trey’s senses. His eyes only saw white whether they were open or closed. A distant crackling was all he could hear. At first he thought he was dead but he was in too much pain to be anything but healthy.

As his vision cleared he was surprised to see the giant Forukk laying in two halves on the ground with a woman stood in-between the two. In one arm she held Dawn; in the other she loosely held a blood stained chakram.

“Hi,” she giggled. “Are you here to die like the big guy?”

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