Chapter7-A New Master
“Hail! Mighty Starbreeze! Hail! Queen of Destruction!” chanted Red Blood’s warriors.
Red Blood bowed low to the fallen goddess as she stepped out of the portal. She took a deep breath.
“Finally!” she exclaimed. “Aranthalas, I’m back!”
Queen Starbreeze snapped her fingers. Maids, commanders, and warriors appeared in purple uniforms. She snapped again and throne carriers carrying a throne appeared. They walked up to her, knelt down while she sat on the throne, then they carried her to a high rock. Queen Starbreeze looked around.
“Now let it be known you mortals! I am the mighty Queen Starbreeze of destruction and chaos! You all bow to me and do whatever I command of you. Captain Red Blood will be my right hand, so whatever he tells you, obey it!”
Then turning to Red Blood she added: “Is THIS really your lair?! Really? You hide out in some cave?!”
“Yes, my queen. Yet if you want any changes, please, make yourself at home,” he replied as he gazed at her radiance.
“Hmph! I’ll do more than just that!” she snapped.
She snapped her fingers and a platform and a stairway to it appeared for her throne. A canopy made of fine, glissading purple jewels with flowers decorating it appeared over her throne. She ordered two of her maids to fan her. Then she ordered Red Blood to join her.
“Now Red Blood,” she said looking at him directly, “I give your permission over my six generals. In fact, I am promoting you to General Red Blood of the entire army,” she decided.
“Thank you, your majesty,” bowed Red Blood.
“And while you’re at it, bring me some grape juice. I’m feeling thirsty,”
“Um...your majesty, we don’t have any,” stammered Red Blood.
“WHAT?! No grape juice? Well I ought to--no wait, I can just create some,” she mused.
She snapped her fingers. A violet chalice of grape juice appeared in her other hand. She took a sip.
“Splendid! Now you servant girl over there! Yes you! Bring this man his new uniform. Oh right, I need to create it first.”
Queen Starbreeze snapped her fingers again and Red Blood’s uniform appeared in the girl’s hands. The shieldmaiden then rushed over and gave him a shield, helmet, armour, belt and sword with the Queen Starbreeze’s emblem on them. Her emblem was a black ‘X’ over a purple star. The star signifies that she’s a goddess, daughter of the robed ruler. The ‘X’ means she’s befallen. Red Blood took one last glance at his queen before he joined the lower ranking generals. He began to discuss their next attack in the plan. While he did so, Queen Starbreeze created a banquet for her breakfast. She ate as she watched him.
“Sir! Reporting for duty! Sir!” reported one of the six generals.
“What is your name general?” questioned Red Blood.
“General Plum! Sir! General of squadron C. 2,000 men.”
“Very good, since you were the first to report, you shall be my second in command general in ranking,” decided Red Blood.
“Sir! Thank you! Sir!” replied General Plum.
Soon the other generals reported.
“I can’t believe he found another way to bring her into Aranthlas!” I exclaimed in frustration. “And it’s all my fault! Rock wanted to go after him, but I said no because I didn’t think there was another way! What are we going to do now!?”
“Gey, don’t be so hard on yourself. I would have done the same thing. None of us thought there was another way,” sighed Firesong soothingly.
We were traveling to Captain Red Blood’s lair. We assumed that’s where we had seen the light land. Even if it didn’t land there, we could always find clues. Maybe we would be able to retrieve the Dragonstone? We were flying over the Desert Plains now, it was around ten in the morning. I was also upset that we had to cut our visit short with our family. Firesong, however, was rather relieved. I learned there is little or no rest for the ones who work hard to save the world. I wondered when all of this would be over. As I thought I looked down at the Desert Plains below.
“Hey! I think I see three black dots down there. I wonder what they are!” I called.
“Maybe it’s Swiftstreak and her spy colleagues?” suggested Rockstorm.
“I highly doubt it,” insisted Firesong.
“I’m going to fly down and check it out,” stated Rockstorm.
He swooped down and flew towards the three dots. My curiosity got the best of me and I flew down too. Sure enough, it was Swiftstreak and two of her companions.
“What are you three doing here?” asked Rockstorm smiling broadly.
“We’re trying to find you! You just left this morning and never told us where you were going. So I figured you were on your way to Captain Red Blood’s lair. Was I right?” explained Swiftstreak.
“Yep! It’s good to see you, we thought you were simply going to report to Captain Red Blood. Was I also right?”
“Uh...well-no, not exactly. I-I decided to take your advice on the double mission. I’ll spy on Captain Red Blood for you three and my clan, while making him think we’re spying for him,” she said as casually as she could.
“Great! We’ll help you set up a base!”
Firesong flew down.
“What are we helping them with?” she demanded.
“A base! They’ve agreed to spy for us!” cheered Rockstorm.
“How do we know you won’t betray us again, because that last time cost us greatly!” she scolded.
“We can’t prove it, so I’ll give you a blood oath,” stated Swiftstreak.
“Whoa!” I gasped, “I don’t think there’s any need for a--”
“It’s settled then, do you have a pin?” agreed Firesong.
“Seriously? Is blood really going to prove anything?” I questioned them.
Rockstorm gave me this look that read: of course it does. I rolled my eyes. There was my answer. Swiftstreak pulled out one of her stilettos from her hair. Maybe blood oaths are a common way spies use to promise something? Swiftstreak pricked her hand then firesong pricked hers. Their palms bled and then they put their hands together as Swiftstreak stated the conditions.
“I, Swiftstreak, hereby vow to Firesong, the hotthead, that I shall never betray her or her friends in spying. Nor will I give their information to Captain Red Blood. Should I break this oath, I will be condemned to die. Should she give away our information to Captain Red Blood, she shall be condemned to die. This vow is signed in blood. Agreed?”
“Good. Now, about this spying business, we each brought with us a few empty books to write and record our findings in. When you stop by our base, you can read our records. We’ll make sure to write the date and who found this out,” stated Swiftstreak.
“Ok, let’s travel to Captain Red Blood’s base, build you three a hideout, so you only have to go a short distance. Sounds good?” Rockstorm suggested.
“Sounds great!” smiled Swiftstreak.
“Ok, you can ride on us, it’ll get us there faster,” decided Rockstorm.
I wasn’t surprised when none of them wanted to ride on Firesong. Swiftstreak wanted to ride with Rockstorm and the other two rode on me. Their names were Wildsky and Jetlash, they were Swiftstreak’s brothers. Jetlash was older than her by three years, and Wildsky was younger than Swiftstreak by two years.
I was positive after hearing their new names that they had picked those out themselves. Yes, they weren’t their real names, but those names simply didn’t make sense. I simply couldn’t picture a wild sky or a swift streak. I didn’t even know what a jetlash was. I guess that’s the fun of picking new names. I began to wonder what I would decide for my new name if I ever became a spy. Something cool like….Bladestorm or Nightbeam. Those names didn’t make sense either….perfect!
We arrived near Lightning Clan cave by early afternoon. The problem was there was hardly a place to hide. You couldn’t put a hideout in the middle of the Plains in Lightning Clan Corner, because everyone would see you. Firewood Forest wouldn’t work because Fire Clan hunts and scavenges in there and would be sure to find the spies. The beach was an idea, yet Firesong had a better one.
“What if we built you three an underground hideout?” she suggested.
“How are you going to do that?” asked Swiftstreak.
“I’ll dig you one, I excel at digging,” boasted Rockstorm.
“Besides, it would be cooler during the summer and you could stay closer to his lair and yet be hidden at the same time,” added Firesong.
“How long do you think it’ll take?” questioned Swiftstreak.
“All day and probably the next. How big do you want it?” replied Rockstorm.
“I have some blueprints…” stated Swiftstreak pulling them out. “The hideout will be one room, 14 by 12 feet for three cots and a table.”
“Yeah, that should definitely take me at least two days to dig. You guys can start making the table,” declared Rockstorm.
“You sure you don’t need any help Rock?” I inquired.
“Thanks, but I got it, this is something people from Earth Clan are naturals at. Just like how you guys are super good at swimming.”
So we worked for three days, yet in the end, we were all impressed at what we had accomplished. It was a dusty dirt floor, with dirt and stone walls. The hideout was at least foot below the surface. The only ventilation was the entrance, which was a wooden door at the end of a slope into the ground. Three cots were laid against a wall, all a foot apart from each other. A square table made of wood stood against the wall opposite the wall with the cots. The wall with the door was in between the two walls with the table and cots. Stumps and logs were the chairs. A fire pit was outside to cook their food and with the spare time the five of us had had, we managed to make boxes and shelves to store items with.
“What do you think?” Rockstorm asked Swiftstreak hopefully.
“This will do great! Thank you so much!” she beamed at Rockstorm. He smiled back. Firesong noticed this as well, a look of distaste spread upon her face. In a huff, she left the room.
“Where are you going?” I called after her.
“I think we’ve wasted enough time here, we should get going. Time to check out this new threat we have and retrieve the Dragonstone!” she declared.
Rockstorm and I left the hideout, the spies followed us out.
“Well, see ya next time, whenever that is,” sighed Rockstorm.
I waved goodbye as we turned into dragons and flew off. Firesong was already ahead of us.
“So...any ideas of how Captain Red Blood got her over into Aranthalas?” I asked the others when we caught up.
“There’s only one way he could have possibly done,” marveled Firesong. “I read about it years ago. He must have made a deal with her and gave up something,”
“Like what? His greatest possession?” asked Rockstorm.
“Exactly, I just wonder why he would make something that huge. He must really believe in taking Aranthalas over,” breathed Firesong.
“I don’t see why it’s a big deal. He probably gave her money, or….the Dragonstone!” I exclaimed.
“No, no, Gey, no one can give the Dragonstone, because it doesn’t belong to them,” reassured Firesong.
“What is something that is someone’s greatest possession?” I wondered. “Life? Is he dead?”
“Not yet, but eventually. He devoted his life to the befallen goddess of destruction and chaos. Little does he know it, but she controls his life. It’s her’s now, and there’s no way he can go back. It will twist him until he dies. Since the Dragonstone already kills him slowly, he sought her. Yes, she’ll give him strength, but it won’t last. You’ve got to devote your life to something that truly satisfies your life. The Robed Ruler is the one who truly is in charge of everything. It’s he who we should follow, the Dragonstone is simply his intervention between him and Aranthalas, but I hear that’s only half of the whole story,” explained Firesong wistfully.
Rockstorm and I were silent for a long time.
“We need to find this book you found sometime,” I replied.
“Definitely! But in the meantime, I think we’re here,” Rockstorm stated.
We landed and turned into our human forms. We went to the cave to see a purple throne with a canopy over it. A lady was sitting on the purple throne with two women fanning her. She had violet colored hair and wore a dress that matched her hair. The tips of the dress with black and she wore a black crown with her symbol on it. She wore a black necklace with her symbol on it, black high heels, and black frilly sleeves. Red Blood suddenly appeared around the corner. He was followed by six of the lady’s generals.
“So? Do we have a plan?” I asked the others.
“With the size of her army, we’ll need back up. No doubt they’re planning to attack soon. We just need to find the Dragonstone…..” whispered Firesong as she saw the Dragonstone.
It was on a purple pillow on top of a different pedestal next to her throne.
“Well, that makes things difficult,” sighed Firesong. “We’re going to need the spies for this, they’re sneaky.”
Then we saw Captain Red Blood join her.
“My lady,” he bowed. “We--”
“That’s Queen Starbreeze to you, general,” she interrupted.
“My deep apologies, Queen Starbreeze, the generals and I have devised a plan for the attack. May I go over it with you?”
“Yes! Yes! Finally!”
Just then a guard saw us! We quickly got out of there before things got dicey.We flew back to the spies’ base. I was wondering what Queen Starbreeze had been in charge of back when she used to help take care of Aranthalas. When Queen Starbreeze left, the world wasn’t lacking air or anything. So what was it? What did she do? Whatever it was, it must not have been important, since the world of Aranthalas seemed to be getting along fine without her.
That night, around the firepit…
“I wonder if the Dragonstone’s task is to defeat Queen Starbreeze?” I thought. “But it wouldn’t make sense, because the Dragonstone brought her here as well. It wouldn’t have done that unless it wanted her here. I wonder why?”
“Are you sure the Dragonstone did help bring her here? What if it was her own power?” suggested Rockstorm.
“If her own power could bring her into Aranthalas, she would have done so centuries ago,” stated Firesong.
“But what if she was just biding her time and now is the right time for her to enter?” added Swiftstreak.
“How do we know that these are the only options?” asked Wildsky.
“We don’t, we’re just super sure they are,” I replied.
“I think we need to really take a look at those runes, they could help,” remarked Firesong.
“What about the Dragonstone rescue mission?” insisted Rockstorm.
“I don’t want to go into that with simply guesses. There’s thousands of warriors there and were simply juveniles and the odds are against us. We don’t know what to expect. Yes, we need back up, but what we also need is information,” I explained.
“That’s what we’re going to give you!” reminded Wildsky.
“Right, but I think information from the past could prove useful too. You guys spy on the recent stuff, we’ll go back to the Enchanted Volcano and check the runes out,” I decided.
“But how are we going to read the runes without the Dragonstone?” questioned Firesong.
“Who says we need the Dragonstone to read the runes?” countered Rockstorm.
“Ok, but how are we going to read the runes then?” asked Firesong.
“Before you go, why don’t we tell you what we’ve found out about Queen Starbreeze,” stated Jetlash.
“You’ve had a chance to spy already?” I gasped.
“I’ve been spying on her for a few days now,” he replied coolly.
“We didn’t even notice you had left us! Were we really that occupied with building the hideout?!” exclaimed Rockstorm.
“Well, let’s just say that I’m not a spy for no reason. Anyway, she possesses all six powers and her necklace gives her the ability to psychic powers. I saw her necklace glow purple and she lifted a bolder out of the way once. I say, while you’re at it, steal her necklace too!”
“Like we can pull that off!” I chuckled.
“Aren’t you the crystal thieves?” reminded Swiftstreak.
“Didn’t you win the War of the Dragons!” pressed Swiftstreak. “And touch the Dragonstone unscathed? Didn’t you three kill a giant fish? Or nearly die from explosions? Or fight General Red Blood countless times and never lose?”
“Ok! Ok! Give him a break, Swift!” chided Firesong.
“Miss hothead speaks again!” snapped Swiftstreak.
“No, Firesong’s right, Swiftstreak, but I get it. Thanks for reminding us that we are no ordinary teenagers!” I smiled.
“So do we go to read runes or plan a rescue mission?” inquired Rockstorm.
“Well, since we don’t know how to read the runes just yet, I say rescue mission. However, we don’t know what we’re in for. We got to be on our toes. Will you three help us?” I asked Swiftstreak.