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Friday, June 2, 2017

Mystic Revelations

Elsewhere Nilla and her wily band had made it back to the fortress Amerak called home. Usually only one or two of them ventured to the place but Amerak had called for all his minions to report to the castle. While Zirede and the others found them a place to rest along the bailey walls. Nilla and Paevia took the bound apprentice to their master. Nilla was ready to be done with the little mystic and all his cryptic words he had been letting slip every time they had removed his gag.

One of Amerak’s big burly guards led them into an expansive room where a large throne sat at the end. There were clusters of different Felis factions standing around whispering amongst themselves. Only a few lifted their head to watch as the guard kept pushing the trio toward the throne. Nilla had met the old mage several times but she had never seen this room before. She felt under-dressed in her simple tunic when compared to the jeweled robes adorning many of the waiting guests.

The guard called them to a halt right before they could step on a large circle mosaic placed not too far from the throne. He commanded them to bow. Nilla saw Paevia begin to balk at this command but quickly caught her attention and made her remain docile. They didn’t need to draw Amerak’s wrath any more than they already had.  Somewhere a deep sounding bell began to ring. An expectant hush fell over the crowd as they began to form two lines one on the left and one on the right of the throne.

The ringing bell fell silent and Nilla heard a strange squeaking sound behind her. She couldn’t stop herself from turning to see what was making the unexpected sound. Coming slowly up the aisle created by the separated courtiers was a wheeled cage. On each corner of the cage, a grisly red stone shone with a crimson glow. Nilla turned her vision inward to see what was held within and was shocked to see an aged and wizened old Felis. He wore the robes of a mystic, although they were so dirty and bloody it was hard to tell anymore.

The young one that she held onto made to rush toward the cage confirming Nilla suspicions that this was the ancient mystic. “Calm yourself, kit. Or do you wish further harm to come to your master?” she whispered to him as she pushed him down.  She could feel the raw energy of the youth as he fought to control himself as the cage rolled by them and was finally parked to the side of the throne. By now the tension in the room was so thick, it was like a trying to breathe through the smoke. You felt as if you could only draw a deep enough breath then you would be able to breathe freely again. But when you tried you only choked.

When the blast of trumpets sounded, Nilla jumped. She caught Paevia grabbing at her heart and knew she had been caught by surprise also. The personal guards that were always close to Amerak entered the hall from a door to left of the throne, their master in the middle of their phalanx. When they were close to the throne, the guards separated to allow Amerak to step up onto the dais that his throne sat upon.

Amerak turned to look out over his court. He took note of the little thief and her captive. He turned to Shénmei’s cage and gave him an evil smile. In a nonchalant way, he waved his hand to the crowd to relax. “So, I see you have brought me a gift, thief. Bring it closer so I may see my new prize.” Nilla stood and brought Spooks toward the throne. “It seems you have a bad habit of escaping little mystic. Where are your guardians? Have they been vanquished?” This last question Amerak directed toward Nilla. When the young one snickered, Amerak cast a glower toward him before asking the thief again, “you did vanquish your foe. The group who rescued the apprentice no longer draws breath, correct?”

Nilla twisted her hands together, and her ears twitched as she shrank away from the anger in her master voice. Stupid kit. Should have gagged him. “No, master. Our foes still live. We thought capturing the kit was more important to you than ending the lives of a few hero wannabes. Our plan is to go after them once our current mission is finished with you.” Nilla bowed low, praying that Amerak would let this go.

Amerak decided to let the failure slide for the time being. What she said was true. Time was of the essence and he needed to locate the Triad before the Queen’s champions found it. “Fine, thief. Bring me my prize. I want to reacquaint him with his master.” Nilla took a breath she didn’t know she had been holding and pushed the kit toward the imposing figure standing before the huge throne.

Spooks eyes had locked with those of his master has he had been propelled toward the evil that stood before him. In their gaze, they communicated silently with each other. “Have you found the guardians, my child? How goes their quest? Has the eye been unearthed and awakened?” Shénmei voice sounded in Spooks mind. As his apprentice answered his questions a smile lit his face.

“The guardians have indeed awakened the stone and it already is guiding them towards their destiny. With each sunrise, they discover something new within themselves. The weapons have also been awakened and are finding their way into the hands of their masters. They head even know towards the fortress that hides the prize.” The communication was broken when Amerak sensing something shook the kit.

Amerak watched the two mystics and when he figured out they were communicating with each other began to shake the kit. “What do you tell your master? Where is the Triad? Where are the guardians foretold of in the prophecy? Tell me or I will make you both pay dearly.” By this time, he was shaking the kit as if he was a rag doll. “Tell me, Now!”

Nilla and Paevia were alarmed at the way the young one was being treated but knew to draw attention to themselves now would only cause harm to themselves. They each stood holding one another, ready to flee at a moment’s notice. Nilla jerked her head toward the cage when she heard the old mystic begin to laugh. Did he care nothing for his apprentice?

Amerak stopped shaking the kit and glared at his nemesis. “You laugh? How dare you laugh at me? Does the life of this kit mean so little to you?” He drew his knife from its sheath and placed it against the young one’s throat. “I will kill him, and smear his blood from your head to your toes. I will leave his lifeless body hanging from the wall of your prison to remind you that I am not one to laugh at. Do you still feel like laughing old one?” Spooks eyes were big as saucers as he felt the blade cut into his skin. A small tendril of blood escaped down into the collar of his robe.

Shénmei watched the blood and apologized to his apprentice before considering the eyes of the Felis responsible for the destruction of a city and before that a race of fierce warriors. He would never let the mage get his hands on something as powerful as the Triad. Not if he still drew breath. “I dare to laugh because I know you have been defeated. The guardians move ever closer to their prize, while you are busy dallying here with me and mine. Your own thieves have had the guardians within their grasp twice now and missed them. They are the same warriors that saved my apprentice. They will succeed in their quest, and then they will destroy you.”

Amerak looked down at the kit in his hands, then he moved closer to Shénmei’s cage. The two stared into each other’s eyes and what Amerak saw was the truth. He turned toward his little thief. “you have been in the presence of your prey not once but twice? And you let them escape to bring me this?” He stopped to shake the kit again. “I want you out there tracking them down and getting rid of them now!!” With each word, his voice had gotten loud and angrier. “Go! Find the Guardians! Kill them and bring me their heads.” In his disgust, he threw the young apprentice against the cage. The force was so great that you could hear bones breaking before the kit landed in a pile at his master’s feet.

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