Fortunatus Light of Dark
by AJ Marks
Ami continued to walk on, not sure where she might be going only that she hoped to find someone who might help her. She avoided any sounds of fighting, not wanting to be tangled up in any combat. She continued onward reaching the slope of the hill and starting to climb upwards.
Rustling of the bushes ahead caught her attention. She quickly moved to the side, falling into a small hole in the ground. She gathered herself back together after the fall, brushing dust and dirt off her before gingerly standing, relieved at no pain.
She looked around seeing that she had fallen into some sort of hallway that lit up the moment she entered it. She glanced up at the opening seeing that she would not be climbing out without assistance. Sighing to herself she plodded along down the corridor hoping to find an exit.
She glanced at the writing on the wall not being able to recognize any of it. She wondered how old this place was as a chilling thought came to her. What if this place was what Gregory was looking for? She had stumbled across it by mistake while trying to flee from them. Gregory or some of the others might already be ahead of her.
Turning the corner she found herself in front of two large doors blocking the path. She realized she had come to a dead-end, and turned to head back freezing at the sounds coming down the corridor.
“Are you sure?” a male voice said echoing down the hallway.
“Oh yes,” Gregory’s voice said, echoing as well making Ami’s blood freeze. She had no way to escape or hide. She walked back over trying the door unsuccessful in getting them to open. “Well, well, this is a surprise!”
Ami turned to see Gregory, Ben, Kelli, Paul, Teniv and a few others she did not recognize standing there.
“Unexpected to find her here first, where is Mary?” Paul asked.
“Um, we were ambushed on the way, I fled and fell into the corridor,” Ami said hoping for honesty not saying anything about the fact she was trying to flee from them.
“They killed her? Oh well,” Gregory said, his tone indicating he did not care at all if she had died.
Ami looked at the group wishing to get away, but now once again felt herself trapped by the group.
“Well, how do we get this open?” Ben asked. Ami saw a few heads nod at that.
“Easy,” Teniv said, nodding to another person who Ami did not recognize. They walked up with the guy placing his hands on both doors.
Ami turned quickly as avoid the sight as Teniv killed the man with some sort of magical spell. The grinding of stone against stone caused her to look back up expecting to see blood splattered all over the doors or a body or something. Instead a charred mark on the door was all that indicated someone had been there.
“A willing sacrifice,” Teniv stated.
“Hmm, if that was all we have enough of them,” Gregory said.
“Yes, but the person must be highly magical to open it,” Teniv replied, looking quite excited by the fact they were headed into the chamber which lit up, giving life to the inner chamber with an eerie red glow. “They thought it would never be found, Enokrad,” she breathed, her faint whisper echoing all over the chamber.
Ami looked over at her watching as everyone walked in. She took that moment to look around and towards the corridor. She slowly eased herself backwards hoping that in excitement of the chamber being opened she could once again escape. She made the turn in the corridor letting a silent breathe out and turned right into a solid person wearing armor.
Ami would have fallen over if not for the quick reflexes of the person in front of her. She sighed knowing that once more she had been caught. Looking up she wondered who it was this time seeing the most welcomed sight she ever wished for as blue eyes looked back down at her in mixed emotions.
Ami did not care and hugged Tess grateful that the woman was here. Now she could hopefully wake up from this nightmare of a couple of days.
Tess looked down only slightly surprised to see Ami. The hug expressed more than anything else. She knew at that moment her instinct of the girl had proven correct. Tess took a moment to return the hug before getting back to the preset, despite the fact Ami seemed reluctant to let go. She knew there were others down here having seen them. She had seen Ami fall into the hole but been too far away to prevent Gregory from following with his group.
Tess placed a finger on Ami’s lips indicting silence as she turned to look around the corner seeing the open door and open inner chamber. She looked back at the captain of the squad motioning for him to follow her. She quietly moved forward hearing shouts from inside the chamber.
“So, where is it?” Gregory’s voice said.
“How should I know, only that it as to be here,” a female voice replied.
“Damn it Teniv, if you’ve led us astray I’ll kill you,” Gregory said.
“I seriously doubt you could do that,” the female voice said.
Tess made her way into the room followed by the rest of her group. She decided to attack, using the surprise to her advantage. She rushed the first person of the group, her sword enveloped in flames, as she brought her magic into the battle quickly slicing through the man. The rest of the group followed as a battle began.
The thunder of some weapon Gregory had, echoed loudly in the chamber as one of her soldiers fell as did the next person. She then turned to see a Soulvier standing there next to Gregory.
“You won’t stop me, I’ve waiting all my life to do this, my dream,” she said. “I won’t let you stop me!” She sent a spell of wind rushing towards her. Tess had seen this spell before, if the currents hit her they would act like a knife cutting though anything they came into contact with.
Tess active her own flame armor as she become enveloped in flames which tore apart the wind currents. Tess evaluated her opponent watching as Gregory seemed to be doing something with his long metal pole. It had to be the weapon he had used earlier.
One of the Royal Guard rushed the Soulvier using Earth as his attack. Tess knew he would have better luck than she did. Wind magic was weak against Earth attacks. She turned her attention towards Gregory who still was trying to do something.
Tess rushed towards Gregory, who seemed to realize he was out of time and instead used his pole as club, swinging it back at her. She blocked it realizing that the metal he used was slightly stronger than normal. He had done something with it to prevent her from quickly slicing though it with fire.
“I see it worked,” Gregory said. “Here!” Tess frowned as he threw a hunk of black power at her. She swiped at it even as Ami cried for her to stop. The powder exploded like a magic bomb sending her ducking on instinct.
She felt a blow to the back of her armor, realizing Gregory knew what would happened and had been better prepared for it. She rolled with the blow coming back up facing off against Gregory.
“If that was the best you could do then you’re doomed here, today,” Tess said to him.
“Always the dramatic one,” he replied back to her. “How did you find us?”
Tess held up her arm with the bracelet seeing the confusion on his face. “This allows me to track my slave’s collar,” she told him, watching as for a second he did not understand before looking over at Ami. “Taking her was a large mistake on your part. You see, she’s not like you, she’s innocent.”
Tess looked at his face as he realized that fact for the first time. She knew he had been so focus on his plan that nothing else mattered to him, always a flaw of his.
“Never thinking things through, that’s what allowed me to beat you last time and take your army,” Tess said, hearing him growl slightly.
“Doesn’t matter, I’ll kill you now!”
Tess watched him, in his anger, blindly attack. Tess neatly sidestepped his attack before countering with her own slicing his head from his body. She sheathed her wand turning to see how the others had fared. Several of Gregory’s men were dead, two guards were down and another two being tended to and the Soulvier appeared to be injured.
“It’s over,” Tess said to her walking towards her.
“Over, no, it’s just beginning,” the Soulvier said, with a sick smile as she looked down at her own blood covered hands. She wiped it across the wall before Tess could move.
A low rumble echoed in the chamber. They all turned in fear at the wall.
“I don’t think that’s good Empress,” the captain said.
“No, get out of here, now,” Tess said. “Grab the wounded and go.”
Tess grabbed Ami pulling her along, desperately hoping that the rumble sound did not mean what she thought it did. She rushed down the corridor where the men were already working on getting out.
“Let’s get the wounded up quickly,” Tess said, watching them work, as one with wind magic lifted the two wounded up and out of the corridor. Tess lifted Ami out, where she was helped out by the men above before she jumped up and helped out.
She heard more noises and a slight rumble in the ground. She knew then that she had to get back up to her command center to see what had happened in the battle, and prepare for a new battle. It appeared Enokrad had awakened despite all her efforts to stop it.
“Captain, back off this position but keep an eye on the entrance and let me know the moment anything come out. Oh, and do not engage it,” Tess said.
“Yes Empress,” the captain said, shouting out orders to the rest of the squad.
“You, with me,” Tess said pointing to Ami, who happily followed. Tess thought she detected a smile from the woman.
Tess emerged at the top of the hill to several concerned looking faces, all focused on her.
“What happened?” the old man asked.
“I’m sorry,” Tess finally replied. “We arrived a moment too late, I should have listened to my instinct a bit quicker.”
“What does that mean?” Lisa said, looking at the Empress then at Ami.
“It means that I should have gone after the little one a bit sooner, as it was Gregory and his men were already in the inner chamber,” Tess said.
“Then its awake?” the old man said.
“I’m not entirely sure yet, but with the noise going on down there, I’d say yes.” Tess said, suddenly feeling tired, but shook it off.
“Then it’s over,” he said, sitting down looking completely defeated.
“Its never over, I refuse to believe it’s invincible,” Tess replied, the part of her that refused to admit defeat in a battle shining through. “Everything has a weakness.”
“You will find out how strong it really is,” the man finally said.
Tess ignored him for a moment turning instead to Lisa and Becca, who both appeared slightly dazed by what had happened.
“I have a squad keeping an eye out on the entrance form a distance, they will inform us the moment anything comes out. How is the battle?” Tess said looking at the map.
“Still raging, but the tide turned recently. They appear in disarray at the moment,” Becca said.
“That would be because their leaders are dead,” Tess said.
“You managed to kill him at last?” Becca said.
“Yeah, but I should have done it years ago,” Tess replied, knowing she could have killed him when she took his army. Instead she had let him go thinking him harmless.
The others around her merely looked at her as she thought about the situation to herself. She finally looked over at the rest of the group making a decision.
“Send a report to all captains, we might have another even worse enemy that will appear, they are to be cautious engaging,” Tess said, not wanting her men to reckless engage the creature. She wanted information about the creature which she then could form a battle plan.
“On it Empress,” Lisa said quickly walking over the couriers again.
“Hmm, very interesting,” Gallic’s voice said speaking up. Tess looked over at him seeing him eye Ami. “You were with the Empress when I first arrived were you not?”
Tess watched as Ami glanced over at her first looking completely unsure if she should even answer. Tess gave a slight nod of encouragement to the girl.
“Y-Yes,” Ami said.
“I did not see this at first, you have been touched by the Psyoks,” Gallic said catching Tess off guard. She looked over at Ami who had a completely bewildered look on her face.
“Who?” Ami asked after a few seconds of silence.
“The Psyoks, they are a mysterious group of magical beings that appear to only a select few, no reported sighting has occurred in over a century,” Becca said.
“They are said to live I a different plane of magic than the rest of us,” Gallic said. “They are wise beyond all of us.”
Tess turned quickly looking at Ami. “Little one, have you been visited by anyone?”
“Well, there is the man in grey, when he appears the rest of the world goes grey, and everyone vanishes for a second,” Ami replied back to her. The story seemed like every other account of the mysterious group.
“What did they say?” Tess asked hoping to gain some information.
“Well, only that the one who can save humanity has arrived,” Ami answered in a small voice.
“You?” Tess said looking into scared green eyes. “Why did you not tell us?”
“Well, um, you see where I come from hearing things like that is not a good sign, they lock you up for such things,” Ami said looking down at the ground.
“Little one, you are no longer back there, but here where magic is entirely possible. Next time you tell me, it could have been a spell or a group like the Psyoks,” Tess said to her watching as the green eyes filled slightly with tears at the fact she had done something wrong. Tess pulled her into a hug for a few seconds.
“We still have a problem, Enokrad is loose and no way to stop it,” the old man said.
“My husband is right, if what I’ve learned about this creature is right then we are all in trouble,” his wife said still sitting beside him.
The ground trembled slightly causing Ami to clutch onto Tess as she went with the rolling land.
“That was magic,” Becca said uncomfortable with that.
“Then Enokrad is out,” Tess stated calmly. She waited a few seconds before a courier appeared out of breath close by the tent.
“Empress, something came out of the ground, the men watching the entrance were almost all killed, one barely managed to get away,” the courier said looking slightly pale.
Tess turned hearing an explosion occur in the valley below them. She saw a giant fireball rising up into the sky. Ami pressed up against her at the sight.
“Um, now I’m scared,” Lisa said.
Tess had to admit the amount of magic to do that by one person was tremendous. How were they to fight this thing?
“I think we should retreat,” Becca said.
“No, we fight now, we might not get another opportunity,” Tess said. “If we all work together then we might be able to defeat this thing.”
“Inform all division to regroup and head back to the village, we’ll make our stand there,” Tess said. She walked over to the table writing a message out for Lycos to inform him that the battle had not gone well, and that if he did not hear from her by this evening to prepare for the worst. He would inform all other Empires of this enemy. Once she finished the note she sent if off turning back to the others. “All right, let’s get ready.”
Tess found herself alone once more with Ami.
“I’m going with you this time,” she said with conviction.
“A battlefield is no place for you,” Tess said.
“If I can’t be by you then I don’t want to live,” Ami replied her voice strong.
Tess looked down into the green eyes seeing the girl holding her gaze unlike so many times before. Tess knew she could order the girl away but she also thought of what had happened recently.
“Did the Psyoks say anything else to you?” Tess asked.
“Only that the evil was awakening, but aside from that I was too confused when he appeared,” Ami replied.
Tess nodded then looked back up as Lisa and Becca walked back over.
“Notes are away to the captains, we should have the army at the town. Are you sure about this,” Becca said.
“Yes, we have to work quickly and we need to see just how powerful this creature is,” Tess said.
“Then you are dead,” the old man said.
“Never count me out of a fight,” Tess replied back to him. “But you should leave the area now.”
“Won’t matter where we go, we are all doomed,” his reply came back.
“Its possible, but there is always hope, give up on that and all life is not worth living,” Gallic said.
Tess said nothing else but motioned for them all to move out. The next stop, the town and then, well Tess did not know. She would have to check out her opponent.
End part 14
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