Each tree city had a desinated leader but each leader looked to Louis in the largest of these cities. Louis became the leader the people had wanted. He established a better financial system of governing. Louis knew that the lesser leaders all wanted to be in control. He wanted to keep his eye on them and gave each of them an invitation to live in the palace with him. If they declined his request, the leaders’ family was forced to come. This treatment may seem harsh, but Louis had good reason to fear these people and their followers. History had showed him one thing, barons from their own court overthrew many kings. Leaders came to Vator, Louis’ city, asking for advice and came away with tales of grander.
Dignitaries described the palace of White Stone where Louis lives, as the jewel of the country. They did not see the turmoil that befell the lower schools. They felt one of two things: greed or fear. If the leaders had seen the termoil than this would be the perfect time to invade Vator and take the crown for themselves. No one succeeded in their goal to take the country or to stop the rise of the new area of freedom.
Louis started out as the leader the people had wanted. He established a better system of governing. Louis knew that the nobles all wanted to be in control. He wanted to keep his eye on them and gave each of them an invitation to live in the palace with him. If they declined his request, the noble family was forced to come. This treatment may seem harsh, but Louis had good reason to fear the other leaders.
In the past, leaders fought against leader to get more land but the only outcome seemed to be a trail or dead bodies. The rest of the tree-top leaders admired Louis. People came far and wide, asking for advice, but came away with tales of grander. Dignitaries described the palace of White as the jewel of the Tree-Tops. They did not see the turmoil that derged through the streets. The other leaders did not see the spreading anger. They only saw the danger outside and the beauty of the palace. The leaders had one goal: to stop the shadoween and save mankind!
“You weren’t followed were you?” The man in black asked Dan in hushed tones.
Dan shook his head with annoyance. “You know what has to be done,” Dan reminded the man as he motioned to a left where shadows morphed and shifted. Even in the light the object never came into view. “This is really just as a check point more than a briefing or meeting.” The shadow continued to move closer in a threatening sway and brush of feet and arms.
The man turned his astute gaze to Dan and asked, “Is this really necessary?”
Dan forced himself to keep the anger out of his voice. “You knew what the deal was when you signed on.”
The giant shadow moved closer and closer. Dan tried to fight natural instinct but it was hard not to flinch when the shadow lunged at him. He knew that the vast majority of these shadows were just ghosts of memories past. They could not really hurt him; they were not solid, but that could not stop them from being unnerving!
Still, this was Dan’s chance! This trip would end with a chance to test his newest invention. Once he proved the invention worked all the smithery colleges would be lining up to have him inroll. He just had to prove that they could work first. Unfortunately, the generals and commanders did not like people from the cities just wondering onto the shadoween-strewn ground. Getting to test the invention was dangerous. Several centures of soldiers had to passed before anyone could even reach the ground where the shadoween lurk.
The shadoween are as dangerous as the stories claim; Dan has seen them himself! The shadoweeen can swarm and kill a person in seconds even when the person is yards away and there is difficult terraine between shadoween and man. The shadoween are hunting and killing machines. They are a force to be reconed with in their own right!
“You are one crazy loon, brother.” The man’s voice cut through the silence. “Volunteering to go down with those shadoween. Fighting guards just isn’t enough for you any more?”
“I’m not some thrill-seeker. I’m here to conduct experiments,” Dan told the man proudly.
“Oh,” the man said knowingly. “You’re one of those college wannabees.” The man did not hide the brazen distaine in his voice.
“You don’t have to worry about the colleges,” Dan reminded him. “Just get me down there and you’ll get paid.”
“College types don’t tend to survive down there with the shadoween. I’ll need my money up front.”
“You’ll get it before I touch the ground but a moment before, mind, and not a nano second earlier!”
The man nodded before taking Dan even further down the trunk of the great floating tree. Dan could see the individual vines and patches of bark and leaves but made up the tree. From the hights of the city, everything looked the same; one vine looked like an other, but the closeness of examining further down showed that the curve of vine and the play of light on the leaves made each thing individual. Each leafe had a different vien pattern and every banch had a unique bend. The tree was a living thing and it changed each time Dan saw it. Still, this man walked by like he had seen it a thousand times before.
The man could not help but stare when something truely original, truely remarkable did appear. A ship... a flying ship fell from the sky. It landed on the ground not ten paces infront of them. The shadoween began to move in as soon as the ship hit.
“Help!” Dan called at the top of his lungs. “We’ve got a ship wreck and the shadoween are closing in!”
Warriors in body armor quickly sprinted past him, rushing to help the men on the ship. Even with their speed and experiance it was clear that the shadoween had an uperhand. The monsters were winning and men were screaming. The warriors knew how to fight but the shadoween were like machines; they did not think, did not feel, they only killed. Dan could not take any more of the site.
He found himself moving towards the fight without thinking. He held the radio transmitter he had made out infront of him like a sword and charged at the shadoween. Dan could not honestly say that he was thinking or planning but something in his head must be working because he remembered to flip the switch that powered the radio. Waves burst forth and even though Dan could not see them, he could see the effect the radio had.
Shadoween fell and as the waves hit them. Dan himself could almost feel the force himself. The men from the ship did not pause in their run but the shadoween flew and fell away from the pole that held the radio. The vast majority of the shadoween were forced back but some of the larger shadoween could not be moved.
Dan tried changing the frequency of the radio but monsters kept coming. He continued to turn the dials and move the pole this way and that. He even swung the radio and its pole like a bat. Dan croutched down, ready to attack the shadoween if they got to close to him or the roots. He leaped foreward to do just that but a strong grip pulled him back up the tree by his collar.
“What did you think you were doing, boy?” asked the grey-haired soldier that held Dan by the collar.
“Are you blind, mate? That boy just saved those men’s lives!” The soldiers around Dan looked at him with a new admiration. Dan felt his paulse quicken...
This is it! The invention worked; it made him admired and famous! Sure a few kinks needed to be worked out but this is it. The world would know his name!
“How did you do that?” The grey-haired soldier asked. “How did you get the shadoween to go away?”
“I made this radio,” Dan guestered to the radio he held, “and set it to a frequency the shadoween did not like. I adjusted the frequency until they started to leave. They just ran away in the earlier experiments.”
“You used an old-world radio and built this yourself?” The soldier seemed unsure if he was asking or telling so Dan nodded to clearify.
“The mayor will want to see you and have you explain everything first-hand.”
“Let me get my partner. The mayor will want to hear from her if he wants all the details.” Dan began to move away from the soldiers and back up the trunk of the great floating tree but soldiers quickly surrounded him.
“I’m afraid that we can’t alolow that. The mayor iniststs on approving all weapons in person. He will want to see your weapon work and talk with you himself. He may decide that your weapon is a menace and not an aid in battle. If that happens you will need to worry about yourself... do not mention a partner until the mayor approves your invention.”
Dan nodded, knowing he had no real choise and followed the soldiers to his fate.