Casket of Shadows

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Aisha is still learning just how powerful she really is. She entered a portal and left her Earthly world behind. Now, between missions with the special forces group fighting the darkling virus and evil agents, as they spread across the galaxies and through different dimensions. In “Casket of Shadows” Aisha helps Athena. In physical form she has the ability to carry out certain tasks that are outside the Universal Laws even for gods. Aisha undergoes challenges as she continued her training as a Shieldmaiden. A warrior in physical form. Always being pushed beyond her normal ability she has to find her way through challenges to enable her to complete the gods' request. Will she succeed, or will she be dissolved and held in limbo forever?

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Mission to Rondilium

Mission to Rondilium

Some may say that I, Aisha, in this avatar, am being led on a quest to find myself. Others may feel that all of us are pawns on the chessboard of the Gods.

For me, this initial sortie into the desert of Rondilium is simply to see if the dark agents of the evil Darkling have infected either the land or the natives here.

A small dragon Force flying without their riders had sent back word to the Operations headquarters in No Time on the edge of the Quarantine Zone in this sector of the All That Is. The follow up was deemed important enough for Dralinmer, a high wizard in the Cosmic Council and Grand Wizard of Dragondom and Arionel, along with Beloldwen the Grand Sorceress of the Elfin and Elemental Kingdoms and myself, a commander in the Special Operations Group and a dragon rider together with my dragon partner Little One to check it out.

Now the dawn is not far away, and we are sitting in a small but secure cave halfway up a conical shaped rocky outcrop that stands high out from the undulating desert landscape that stretches out to the distant blue-black escarpment and the jagged peaks of the mountains beyond.

Below, and just coming into view, as the light starts to filter through turning the sky a pastel lilac, is the striking circular stone portal through which we arrived. Its massive granite standing stones remind me of Stonehenge, back on Earth. This is the main entry point to this zone of the central desert of Rondilium.

Little One left earlier to check out the entire area from the sky. Dragons have the unique ability to feel and smell out evil. Even a small trace will make their nostrils tingle. At this time in the All That Is, they alone were the first line of defence against the evil Darkling. The Timeless war to keep the balance of good and evil has reached a new phase and is becoming ever more urgent. We have to succeed against the Darkling.

Now I sat slightly to the side of the entrance waiting to feel the connection in my heart if Little One detected anything.

While I wait, I look warmly towards the old wizard and the feisty elfin sorceress. We are using voice-speak to communicate rather than telepathy as it is less likely to be picked up if there are dark agents already in the area, or if they have already placed a listening relay which is what we have anticipated.

Dralinmer is sitting with his back against a boulder, his long grey beard coming almost half the way down his chest and seeming to rest within the ornate filigree of his large medallion of a phoenix that he wears. His dress code, as usual, is plain. A flowing robe in earth brown below a full-length cloak which while lightweight would also have hidden within it any trick he may need. His walking staff with its gnarled head and large quartz crystal held in the cage-like roots is quietly resting alongside him in easy reach. Beloldwen is sitting crossed legged not far away. She is wearing, the same as me, the standard elfin suit for battle made of a magical gossamer-light fabric that is impervious to most weapons. Her walking staff is also alongside her and her elfin features and pointed ears are catching the dancing blue light from the elfin flame she set up in the centre of the cave to allow a gentle light.

Suddenly Little One’s eye surrounded by his beautiful purple scales appeared in my mind’s eye. He had found something. I fully opened our private heart channel that only dragon riders have with their dragon.

“I have found another unregistered portal not far from you. I only found it in the base of the escarpment when it opened, and the energy signal hit me as strange. I am circling in camouflage mode, so they do not see me. There are four humanoid warriors, definite darkling implants. What do you want to do?”

He waited for my reply knowing I would use voice-speak with the others. They had obviously seen and felt the stiffening of my demeanour when Little One said there was contact, and it was darkling. We had worked long enough together to know every change. Both were watching me now and already had their hands on their walking staffs, Beloldwen had also manifest her own elfin cloak into being this allowed the wearer to be invisible and it could also be used with the chameleon-like camouflage it possessed to blend totally into any background with simply a thought from the wearer.

Dralinmers ice-blue eyes sparkled.

“Get the co-ordinates from Little One that would get us to the portal, and we will translocate there first then follow his lead if he keeps in touch with where they are going.”

I did and as I walked over to join the other two, I ensured my light sword was firmly in place on my back, over my own elfin dress cloak, and its shorter brother was on my hip along with the boleadoras and my magic pouch. They both watched me and grinned.

We touched and in a puff of smoke the three of us re-materialized in the dark shadow below the escarpment only a few feet from the still-open portal.

Instinct drove me to my knee, ready to materialize my energy shield, my hands also primed in case an energy freeze bomb was needed, Beloldwen was also primed like a panther on the final stealthy steps moving in on a quarry. Behind us and not phased at all stood Dralinmer.

With a flick of the wrist and then blowing gently over his open palm a cloud of fine magical dust swirled in the air.

“Now, let us pick up the residue of our dark friends and see who we are up against so there are no nasty surprises.”

As the sparkling magical cloud found what it was seeking the shadows of the darkling soldiers became visible to us. They had come through the portal and didn’t seem to be at all worried to check if they were alone. They obviously had used this portal many times. Now we watched as the figures started to move off, none of them was much below seven feet tall. At this point, Dralinmer froze them in place so we could take a closer look at them.

Humanoid, yes, dressed in one-piece desert suits to blend with the area. Their heads were not human, in fact, they were not like any of the more local species that any of us knew, but we knew deep down what they were. The heads were those of spiders. Red Spiders. This must be one of the newest and most dangerous of the darkling slave gatherer species that we had seen signs of. My heart skipped a beat. The name Ares popped into my head. If Ares was really the leader of these ruthless soldiers then he is obviously up to something again. But why out here in the middle of nowhere?

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