Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Brothers Tuerl & The Staffs of Zeus - 4

Chapter 4-Magic
Irgen had been sitting on the sidewalk at the school for the past hour, relentlessly going over the night’s events in his head.  True he had been impulsive and had recklessly run into a fight naively, but surely that wasn’t enough to anger his brother, right?
Irgen’s endlessly recurring thoughts were starting to drive him crazy, but the only way to stop them would be to return home, and he was not quite sure of whether or not it was ok to do so yet.  He felt it better to be on the safe side and make his mother begin to worry about him a little, so as to receive a kind of sympathy bonus in his almost unavoidable punishment. 
Finally he got up and decided his punishment couldn’t be worse than the one which was attacking his mind, so he began to stand up to head home.  As he got up he felt the faint cold breeze upon the nape of his neck quit entirely, he unexpectedly felt the hairs on the back of his head and arms stand up.  He looked around hastily to reassure himself all was well, and found, to his horror, what looked like a black shadow moving towards him.  Terrified, he turned to run, but it was too late.  He felt his knees buckle and his calves tighten as though he had just been seized by cords around his legs.  He tripped and began to fall, but as soon as his head began to plummet towards the earth, he felt his legs being lifted up into the air holding him aloft by some invisible force.
He turned around, frantically trying to keep his shirt from folding over his head, so he might catch a glimpse of who or what his captor was, but he could only make out the eerie shadow of whatever it was.  The shadow, it seemed to him, absorbed all the light around it, for how else could something be blacker than night?  Indeed, he did not consider it at all possible.  As he was thinking this, a loud, high pitched, wheezing cackle rent the air surrounding the shadow. 
“Look at the all mighty and all-powerful Tuerl.”  The cackle pierced the air again, although compared to the high scraping voice it almost sounded beautiful, “I would have expected a bit more of a struggle out of someone who has had so much said about them.”
Gradually, Irgen felt the slight breeze start again, and although the shadow didn’t seem to notice it, it seemed warm to Irgen, and although he had never heard of such a thing happening, it seemed to endow him with hope and strength.  He looked about him again, but this time not with panic stricken eyes.  Instead he looked about him with a reassured glance as if, for some reason, he already knew he was going to be all right.
Then the voice spoke again although it was interrupted constantly by the annoying cackle, “You see my young friend.  Prophecies don’t mean a thing…hehehee.  If you manage to hunt down…hehe, and kill those whom the prophecy is about...hehehehee, while they’re still little whelps.” The shadow stooped down as an infuriatingly long cackle echoed through the streets.  The shadow looked as though it was about to die from laughter.
Irgen didn’t know the first thing about prophecies, but regardless of what this man was referring to, he was starting to get on Irgen’s nerves.  He felt his blood start to boil inside of him, and the invisible force which held him in the air evaporated and Irgen dropped to the ground.  He was off the ground again in a flash, and this time the flash came from his eyes.
A fire had awoken in them and each eye seemed to smolder.  Suddenly Irgen felt his hands being pushed together and while he did not understand why.  He knew this was what was supposed to happen.  He watched as a revolving ball of flame seemed to form in the midst of his two hands.  He concentrated on it and it grew bigger and bigger until it seemed to touch both hands but instead of causing a burning, searing sensation as he supposed would happen, he felt only a warmth go throughout his body which seemed to enflame his body and gave him only more hope.  He looked up, and in the now blazing light saw the shadow before him.  It was no longer on the ground laughing, and now Idus could see what it was.
He realized now it was a man with exceptionally black armor which, even now in the bright dancing light of the flame, did not give off the faintest glimmer.  However, he could make out small distinct lines every so often and decided that it must be plate armor.  Irgen also saw before him a tall, skinny man with haughty brown eyes, a furrowed brow, a hooked nose, and long black hair.  After staring poignantly at those haughty brown eyes Irgen felt an urge to force the fireball at the man.
Once again he did not know why it happened, but the flame circling in his hands suddenly seemed to leap forward at the man, but to Irgen’s surprise the man was ready.  He merely lazily lifted a sinisterly mangled brown staff, with a black stone set atop it,(A staff which Irgen had failed to observe while looking at the armor) and a large jet of water issued forth disintegrating the fireball as it spun forward.  Once again the high pitched cackle pierced the air and fear flooded Irgen’s heart again, but he noticed that even though the fireball was gone the brilliant light was not; he looked at himself, and saw to his astonishment his body was bathed in the dazzling light, and once again he felt his inward doubt leave him.
Once again the cackle burst into the night air, “There’s the bit of fight I was looking for.” The man’s cackle faded as he paused; it seemed he no longer considering this to be a funny game.  “You truly would have been a powerful mage if you had not met your doom by-me!  Doing magic without a staff and before the age of 16, how--fascinating.”  The slithering pronunciation of how fascinating made Irgen’s skin crawl.
After these words, it seemed to Irgen the man flashed him an appraising, envious look.  But then it disappeared as the stranger reached for his belt and pulled out a sword which absorbed, if it were possible, even more light than the armor.  “Too bad I’m going to be the only mage to ever see such a thing.”  The stranger cackled again and then leapt forward at Irgen with the sword ready for a quick lunging motion.  “This is your end boy!” He screamed.
“Ah… there you may have just caught a little snag Claudius.”  The stranger’s sprint halted at the sound of the voice and both of them turned to look at the sound of the voice and saw another man striding towards them, followed behind by a young man, whom Irgen recognized as his brother.  Blackington’s booming bass voice seemed to have unsettled the stranger whose name appeared to be Claudius.  “You surprise even me Nero.  You found us much quicker than I believed you would.”
“Of course I found you quickly Blackington!  You and your protective clan.  What is it that you call yourselves the Knights of the Tower Guard or something like that?  Maybe I should start to address you as Sir Blackington, eh?”  He cackled again although this time it appeared menacing and disdainful.
“Oh you may address me as you please Nero.”  Blackington paused as if the condescension was just too much, “But I will always feel pity for the creature you have become.”
“Enough!!!  It is time to end this Blackington.”  And suddenly his eyes flashed red and he began to rise into the air.  He was now emitting a kind of light but it did not seem to bring hope as Irgen’s had, instead he emitted a kind of terrifyingly fearful green glow about him.
Blackington surveyed him rising off the ground for a moment, and then his own eyes became two bright blue diamonds.  The two brothers watched in astonishment as his ragged clothes disentangled themselves from his body and revealed a glistening white suit of dazzling plate armor.  His cane too had transformed into a gleaming white staff, with a blue sapphire at the top of it.  He began to rise into the air as well, and the two opponents began to circle each other.
Back on the ground the two brothers had come together and we’re looking dumbfounded at one another.  Neither knew what to do or what was truly happening for that matter.  Neither of them even showed the slightest sign of having noticed the full moon had finally emerged from the clouds.  However, they did notice as a loud crack ripped through the air and their attention turned back to staring steadfastly into the sky.
Nero it seemed had tried to strike first, and he had sent a blinding flash of red light screaming at Blackington.  Blackington deflected it with a quick wave of his staff and then he had counterattacked with his own flash of blue.  But unlike Nero’s screaming line, Blackington’s blue flash seemed to create a circular spinning motion which left a small gap in the middle of it as it wound its way forward.  Nero just managed to dodge this spell before sending an enormous barrage of spells in Blackington’s direction, but Blackington took almost no notice of them and carelessly waved them away with his staff.
“It’s too bad you haven’t improved much Nero.  You know, if you had, you might have been able to make your last moments in life educational for these two young brothers.  All in all, at least they’ll learn from your mistake of wasting your days of probation.”  Out of the blue, he stopped, letting out a deep booming laugh.
“Or maybe they’ll learn to not be arrogant like you.”  Was Nero’s wheezy reply.
He stooped down like a cat getting ready to strike, and then he appeared to leap forward but as his arms spread out a colossal dragon formed right in front of him.  It began to beat its gigantic black wings against the night air.  The moonlight revealed glisteningly hard scales covering its entire seemingly flawless body.
Once again Blackington did not seem at all flustered by this new bit of magic.  Instead he seemed to be muttering some incantations of his own and then suddenly in front of him appeared a gargantuan, sleek, milky white panther with those same blue diamond eyes.
The brothers watched apprehensively from the ground, as the gargantuan animal fell like a comet from the sky with Blackington behind him.
Nero, who had started his annoying cackle at the appearance of his dragon, now cut it off ungracefully as a lump seemed to have blocked the air passageway in his throat.
“What’s the matter Claudius?  Cat got your tongue?”  Once again Blackington’s laugh boomed in the sky.  The dragon lurched into a downward spiral.  Its mouth opened revealing a pallet of sharp yellow teeth.  Fire smoldered in its eyes as it veered menacingly at the crouching panther.  Just then the panther struck.  It leaped forward with strength worthy of 100 such beasts, reaching straight for the eyes of the dragon.  There was a horrible ripping sound as the claws of the panther racked the dragon’s skull.  The dragon let out a terrifying roar as a burst of flame flew towards where the cat had just been.  Its wings folded underneath the mighty paws of the cat and unable to see the dragon careened out of control, crashing into the earth throwing dirt everywhere.  Blackington just escaped as he leaped clumsily to the side.  Like a flash the two animals were on their feet.  This time it was the dragon’s turn to strike as it leaped forward striking down like a blacksmith on an anvil with its enormous talons.  The panther’s graceful quickness barely avoided the lethal stroke as it stepped to the side.  But the talons still drew blood as they menacingly scraped the panther’s side.  The dragon snorted with glee, but it had made a mistake, the panther was now behind its protective claws.  The angry panther leaped forward latching its sharp teeth onto the dragon’s throat like a tick, forcing its teeth through the thick black scales.  This time the dragon let out a ear-wrenching roar, rearing back on its hind legs.  Its front talons plunged into the panther throwing it onto its back, and then it leaped into the air, its dark boiling blood falling like hissing acid rain on the ground.  There was a blinding flash and both the dragon and Nero disappeared.
The two brothers watched as Blackington moved towards his panther, he glanced irritably at the spot where Nero had only seconds before stood.  The majestic panther was lying on the ground whimpering.  Blackington reached his hand down into the tender belly of the panther, and looked up at the boys.  “He’ll be ok,” he said with a sigh as he collapsed on the ground next to the panther, “He’s punctured but not too deep.  It won’t be hard to wash out the dragon’s poison.”  He pointed his staff towards underside of the panther and began muttering.  A strange airy looking substance floated out of his staff and into the few puncture wounds.  A few seconds later it came back carrying dark black blood.  The panther slowly stood up, and Blackington whispered a few words in its ear before it too disappeared with a flash.  Then he turned back to the boys and the bright blue diamonds he had for eyes faded until only the warm blue circles surrounding his black pupils remained.  He muttered a few words and the clothing which lay on the ground wrapped itself back around him completely covering the exquisitely white armor. 
“Grab a hold of me you two.”  He said commandingly addressing the two of them.  “We need to get back to your mother’s quickly; there is much to talk about.”
Irgen and Idus exchanged somewhat confused looks before finally grabbing a hold of him.  They saw a bright flash of light and they felt the air roaring incessantly about them and saw the earth flowing away underneath them and then, just as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped, and they felt ground beneath them again as they let go of Blackington.
They looked around and saw they were back at the entrance to their small house.  The door swung open and there was their mother standing in the doorway with a relieved look on her face.  And as the door swung open even more Irgen and Idus could see five men standing behind her. 

Blackington saw the two boys’ apprehensive looks and said in his commanding voice, “These, my boys, are Knights of the Tower Guard, and they are here to protect you.”  After hearing these soothing words they entered the overly-crowded, cramped house, thinking of the wonders they had just seen, and of what new wonders awaited them.

Chapter 3               Chapter 5

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