Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Brothers Tuerl & The Staffs of Zeus - 15

Chapter 15-War at the Gates
Idus awoke with a start as an outrageously loud bellow echoed through the floor below him.  He lifted his strong torso out of the bed and grey sheets slid carelessly off of him, and he looked at his company.  Irgen too, was looking around frantically.  His curly disheveled hair added to the frantic aurora about him.  Next to him the four others were already on their feet.  But instead of the pajamas of the night before, they were all clothed again in their glittering white armor.  Even in the darkness Irgen could make out Blackington’s tall imposing features.  Blackington spoke first.
“Get up!  Something has happened.”
Both Irgen and Idus hurriedly got up and noticed their pajamas changed back to clothes as soon as they got out of bed.  They looked hesitantly at each other, unsure of what to do, but the others had already started running down the stairs.  Irgen shrugged and took off after them, but Idus lingered for a moment, peering again at the black blanket of night which surrounded them, the stars were gone now, covered now by clouds.  It was only then that he noticed there were shapes and figures moving about on the ground below the castle walls.  Surprised, he leapt after Irgen’s pounding feet and caught him at the entrance to the girls’ room.
Here he came to a halt, as a dam of people prevented him from going any farther.  On the stairs below him stood the few that had slept with him last night, crowded next to them, blocking the entrance to the door were the two women, and under them were two men.  Both of them were short.  Idus recognized the larger of the two to be Alexander.  He realized the other must be Brown or Leshore, but there was only one of them there.  “What happened to the other one?”  he thought in his mind, but once again his thoughts were cut off by someone speaking.  It was Alex, and he was speaking hysterically, and Irgen and Idus didn’t think he was making much sense.
“Thomas, outside our gate, Right Now!  Is the entire clan of Tenebri.  We were ambushed and they followed us back.  Leshore is injured she’s down on the couch.  They mean to attack us right now.”  He gave Thomas a horrified glance.  “Whatever are we to do?”  He looked like he was about to cry, or curl up in a ball and die, whichever came first.
Thomas looked at him steadily before speaking in a-calm, subdued, and yet staunchly firm voice.  “Do not worry Alex.  We will fight, and they will get a lot more than they bargained for.  It is a mistake for them to attack our stronghold.  They must think we are much weaker than we actually are.”  He lifted his hand and his white staff flew into it from downstairs.  He muttered the words “Zaiuto”.  A large yellow sphere burst from the sapphire of his staff and shot quickly into the air.  It passed with ease through all of the floors until it burst with an earsplitting roar outside of the castle.
“The rest of the order has been alerted.  Now to the walls!”  And with that Blackington leaped down the stairs covering four stairs apiece with his gigantic stride.  Alexander’s eyes shone as he gained control of himself and with a yell he sprinted down the stairs after him.  The others remained motionless.  Not truly knowing what to do, but Irgen was caught up in the moment, and even though he had no idea what he was doing.  He knew he was not a fence-sitter in a moment of indecision, so he too, took off after the two ahead of him, and everyone else, slightly ashamed at showing less courage than a sixteen year old, followed suit.
Irgen’s quick feet carried him speedily down to the ground level.  He looked up just in time to see Blackington and Alexander speed towards the door.  He thought it odd to see the pudgy figure of Alexander, now covered in the same gleaming white armor, running alongside of the tall commanding figure of Blackington.  As he looked at the unorthodox pair of them he took his eyes off of where he was going, and without realizing it his right foot grinded ruthlessly into the low table of Aristotle.  Grimacing in pain, a word began to form on his lips, but just as he was about to cuss, his mother ran past him, oblivious to all that was happening around her.
His tongue froze like a lizard in a snowstorm, and he took a gulp as he swallowed his word.  His mother had taught him swearing was not a sign of an intelligent mind, and even now he was afraid of the retribution for forgetting this concept.  He dropped his foot which he was now unconsciously holding in the air.  Ignoring the pain, he waited for Idus, who was the last down the staircase, and lightly hobbled alongside of him to the door.
By the time they got outside, the battle had already commenced.  Ahead of them they could see the large silhouette of the granite wall.  Brilliant flashes of raging lightning lit up their view before being followed abruptly by great cracks of thunder, as a torrential downpour drenched everything in sight, unsure of what to do, but not wanting to be left behind.  The two brothers took off into the cold heart of the storm.
It wasn’t long before their clothes were drenched to the core.  They ran along the cobblestone path, and they noticed the sides of the wall and two large staircases running parallel to it.  Diverging from the path, the two of them headed for the one on the left.  They reached the staircase and found its outline to be almost imperceptible to the eye; they marveled that they had found it so quickly.  Now that they were so close to it, they noticed the stonework had made it blend in with the wall.  Hardly any of the stairs could be discerned from the wall.  Idus’ thoughts once again lingered on the concept of chance or coincidence.  They glanced at each other with a moment’s hesitation, before finally mounting the steps.  Idus ran ahead and Irgen gingerly followed, but his foot was feeling much better.
When they reached the top of the stone wall they found a spacious walkway rolled out before them, on which three men could easily walk side by side.  The walkway was protected by large battlements which jutted upward a few feet before ending in jagged alignments.  At some places it protected a whole man, while in others it barely covered the legs.  This created an easy solution to how archers were to fire from the ramparts.  It allowed them to remain protected while providing them with lots of different angles to attack.
After taking in the walkway, the brother’s turned their attention past the bulwark, towards the brutal battle taking place before them.  The Knights had split themselves up.  Whether in an attempt to make themselves appear more numerous, or to be better able to defend the fortress by using more of it, the brothers did not know.  But so far the tactic did not seem to have gone awry.
To the right of them Blackington stood boldly on the battlements courageously fighting five different attackers by himself; to his right their mother, Alexander, and the other woman dueled another eight Tenebri; to their left the three remaining other Knights were locked in a frenzied battle with another six Tenebri; and directly in front of them was the short lonely figure of the man who had been with Alexander.  Idus decided he must be Brown.  Facing him were three men, floating in midair before the battlements, dressed in the same dull black armor which Nero had worn.  A flash of lightning lit up the sky, allowing the brothers to catch a clear glimpse of the four ahead of them.
Brown was carrying a dark brown staff in his left hand; it was encrusted with the same blue sapphire of Blackington’s staff.  However, in his right hand, he held an extravagantly carved sword.  Silver filigree covered the golden hilt, and an azure light emanated from the blade.  He lifted the blade in front of his nose lighting his pock-marked face in an eerie light, and the three others did the same.  Giving the time honored salute to death itself. 
Thunder boomed in the background as one of the Tenebri leaped forward onto the battlements, sword and staff in the air.  He yelled something incoherent to the brothers, and a steady stream of flame erupted from his staff.  His blade too, caught fire as he bore down on Brown.  Brown’s reaction was astounding for one so small and forlorn.  He yelled “Arosser” and a spray of water leapt out of his staff.  The two elements caught in midair.  A roiling hiss issued forth as the two elements fizzled and turned to steam in midair.  While water and fire battled each other in midair, Brown lunged for the man bearing down on him.  A loud clang sounded in the night air as the two blades sparked in the air.  Brown rammed the stone in his staff heavily into the black gut of the man.  A dull crunching sound echoed forth and when another flash of lightning lit up the sky, a dent was visible in the now imperfect armor.
The twins watched in astonishment as the men dueled in the air before them.  Brown’s movements were faster than any man they had ever seen.  He quickly batted the red sword aside and with lightning quick speed, he swept his sword towards the weak neck joints in the armor for the death blow.  Another dull crack sounded as his blade sunk deep into the man.  Brown wrenched his bloody sword from the man, and the Tenebri’s corpse toppled from the top of the battlement and began carelessly spiraling towards the earth.
With a yell the other two attacked.  Not willing to make the same mistake twice, they used their numbers to overwhelm Brown.  The twins watched in horror as the blades flashed angrily in the air.  Even with his lightning quick reflexes, it seemed Brown could not win.  The Tenebri kept him busily parrying blows, while never giving him a moment to attack, never giving him an opportunity to find the weaknesses in their defenses. 
As the fiery duel dragged on, the Tenebri gained the upper hand.  Brown’s movements started to slow, his parries gave less and less resistance, and he started showing signs of exhaustion.  Finally one of the Tenebri flicked his wrist and the heavy sword flew sloppily out of his hands.  It dropped noiselessly towards the earth.  The two of them laughed malevolently.  One raised his sword for the same blow which Brown had given only moments before.
Suddenly, Idus felt his blood start to boil.  His eyes began reflecting the lightning above him.  A terrible energy of hatred pulsed through him as he glared at the men before him.  He began to feel as though a tiny orb of anger and hatred was developing inside his heart.  It filled with his energy and grew larger and more powerful.  It surged to a breaking point inside of him, and he focused all of it at the two men standing before him.  Suddenly a blinding flash of light filled the sky around them.  Searing heat burned into the atmosphere around them.
Irgen fell onto the ground covering his face, as a loud clap of thunder ruthlessly shook the walls beneath them.  When Irgen arose, he stared transfixed at his brother with a look of admiration.  In this dark night, he saw his brother in an extraordinarily new light.  He looked now at the peerlessly handsome face and instead of just seeing the same pretty boy features, he noticed something was different about him.  His careless features seemed to have taken on a new purpose.  His jaw was set in such a way that it wasn’t tight and yet it was unquestionably firm.  Lightning flickered dangerously in his now shining stone blue eyes.  His face was marred with an unforgiving stare, which was once again, totally unlike him.
Irgen cautiously turned around, facing where Idus’ glare was focused.  Before him, where there once stood three men dueling, only Brown remained.  Only now did Irgen smell the stench of burned flesh.  His eyes began to well up from the powerful odor.  He plugged his nose in an attempt to lessen the tangible stench.  In a matter of seconds, he felt relief flood his body again as he felt himself slowly get used to the new stink.  As his eyes cleared, he saw Brown clearly.  He saw his pale grey eyes staring in wonder at Idus.
“Thank you, Idus.”  He halted as though unable to say anything more.  “I must go.  We cannot waste this newfound advantage.”  And without another word he cast a spell returning his sword to him and without further ado, he sprinted away to the right to help Blackington who was madly casting spells at his attackers.

As he left, the light in Idus’ eyes dimmed and finally trickled out.  He swayed on his feet until finally collapsing onto his knees.  Irgen turned in dismay and caught him just as he lost consciousness.  Irgen looked deeply into his brother’s now hollow eyes, and the link between them suddenly became stronger than he had ever known.  He could feel his brother’s pain, and he felt the life slowly ebbing out of him. “No!” he gasped as he urgently tried to do something.  He closed his eyes and focused all his energy on saving his brother.  His face shone as his mind entered the fray for his brother’s life.  His heart pounded valiantly within him as he began to pull at the unseen potent force which was quickly sucking the energy from his brother.  He felt his own strength flowing into his brother’s ebbing life.  He felt the unseen force weaken as he exerted every effort he had to rip his brother’s life out of the unforgiving claws of that force, but then his own strength started to fail him.  Exhaustion overtook him, and his focus wandered, he opened his eyes again and saw the clouded black sky.  “No!” he whispered “How could I have failed him?” Stars blanketed his vision, and he too blacked out, knowing nothing more.

Chapter 14               Chapter 16

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