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PART I

Chapter One
Is he awake yet? asked one of the nurses.
He is still unconscious, said the other nurse, Poor guy. Hes lucky to be alive.
Where was he found Amelia? asked the nurse.
In the Forest of Elnore, near a large tree. There was a giant dent in the trunk and
blood spattered all over the ground, answered Amelia. The strangest thing though
Ethel, is that the blood made a trail deep into the forest.
That means someone else must have been with him when it happened, Ethel
said.
At that moment, the door opened and in walked a dwarf and a man dressed with
royalty and a crown. The dwarf was Durin the Deathless, long time friend and companion
to Vardawing, the legendary elf-angel. The man was Bard, the famous minstrel who
became the king of the great city of Turonoso. Both were in many different adventures
with their close friend Vardawing. One such adventure was the destruction of the demon
Bezel and his demonic kingdom.
How is he? asked Durin.
He is still unconscious, but we are sure that he will awake soon, replied Amelia.
How soon? asked Bard.
In a couple hours, maybe less, said Amelia.
May we see our friend? asked Durin.
I dont see what harm it could cause, replied Ethel.

Durin and Bard opened the door to Vardawings infirmary room. Vardawing was
lying on his bed. He had a bandage around his head and bloodstained wrappings around
his right arm. Vardawings face showed a dreadful sign that he would not awake for some
time. Durin sat in the chair next to Vardawings bed and looked sadly at his friend. He
turned his head and called for the nurse to come into the room.
Nurse, was there another creature that was found with Vardawing, a tiger
perhaps? asked Durin.
We found him alone. Although, we found a large bloodstain near the elfs body
that trailed off into the forest, replied Amelia.
I fear a terrible fate has fallen upon Crusher, replied Durin.
Durin and Bard both looked at each other with a look of sadness, for they knew
that Vardawing would never forgive or forget this evil act.

Chapter 2
I cant believe Bard wanted us to patrol the woods, I mean just because a few
villagers say they see something strange in the forest doesnt mean that there is a
problem, said Vardawing.
I dont think it helps to complain about the matter, said a disgruntled Crusher.
Well I know that, its just that I dont think its right to send us out, Vardawing
replied, besides weve been searching the woods for hours and have found nothing
strange at all.
Well we havent searched the entire area, said Crusher, we still need to search
that glade over there.
Both companions wandered into the glade, but felt very strange about the certain
area. They both felt that they were being watched by something. It became eerily silent in
the woods. Even the birds had stopped singing.
Vardawing saw that a group of creatures were heading towards Crusher and him.
Ready for battle Vardawing drew his short sword and his hunting knife. Vardawing could
now see what the creatures were. It was six goblins with evil red eyes. Armed with
daggers and bucklers, they all attacked the two companions. Four goblins surrounded
Vardawing and the other two goblins surrounded Crusher. These goblins were no
ordinary goblins though. They moved faster and were stronger than normal goblins.

One goblin swiped his sword at Vardawing, but Vardawing wasnt able to dodge
it in time. The goblin gave Vardawing two gashes on his right arm, but Vardawing
answered his attack with a slash of his own sword that clove the goblins head right off.
Another goblin sliced Vardawings back after Vardawing had killed the other goblin.
Though the pain was excruciating, Vardawing still was able to swipe at the goblin. The
goblin dodged the knife blow, but didnt move fast enough in order to block the elfs
sword. The sword cut through bone, muscle, and sinew of the goblins arm. Vardawings
once pearl white sword was now dark crimson from the goblin blood. Crusher, though,
was not doing as well as his companion. He was able to kill one of his two goblin threats,
but didnt notice the second one dig his dagger into the tigers back. Crusher leapt back
with pain and shook the goblin off his body. All you could see of the dagger was the hilt
and half the blade. All the goblins backed away and ceased attacking. This gave
Vardawing and Crusher a chance to recuperate. Vardawing pulled the dagger out of the
tigers back, which caused the tiger to yell more loudly than before. Blood splashed on
Vardawings hands. He took the dagger and threw it at its owner. Luckily for Vardawing,
his aim was true, for that evil daggers last location was deep in the heart of the goblin
that last held it.
The other two goblins stayed at there position as if they were waiting for
something or someone. Vardawing and Crusher had a feeling about what it was they were
waiting for. They both saw what it was, for the ground where they stood was shaking in
time with Vardawings heart. From the edge of the glade walked in a strong man, of
Herculean strength, but where a normal human head should have been, there was the
head of a bull. A gold ring hung from his nostrils and his horns were gold tipped so when

the sun hit them, they blinded the minotaurs next victim. His feet were cloven and he
had a whip-like tail at his rear. He held in his right hand a massive hammer that would
make Thor, the thunder god, quiver with fear.
Vardawing spared no time with manners and formalities. He immediately took up
his sword and knife, and tried to at least wound the beast. The minotaur didnt move at
all. He took his hammer and hit Vardawing straight on. The impact was so immense that
Vardawing flew, back first, into a large oak tree. The minotaur moved in to finish off the
elf, but Crusher moved in the way to stop him. The white tiger growled at the monster
and tried to bite his arm. The minotaur swung his hammer downward, breaking the tigers
back. Crusher could not move at all.
Kill it, was all the minotaur could say.
The goblins went to either side and stabbed repeatedly at the defenseless tigers
body. Once the tiger was definitely dead, the minotaur took the animal by the leg and
dragged its body behind him.
AH! Vardawing screamed.
Vardawing woke up miles away from the forest in an emergency infirmary room.
Durin his best friend and brave companion was sitting by his infirmary bed. Durin had
been sleeping until he was awoken by Vardawings scream.
VardawingVardawing are you alright? asked the dwarf.
Im fine, exaggerated Vardawing. I just had a terrible dream.
What was it about? asked Durin.
Well, I was patrolling the east area of the forest with Crusher when suddenly an
ambush party of goblins attacked us. We fought and fought until the goblins began to

retreat. Then their leader appeared from the edge of the forest. It was a giant minotaur. I
tried to fight it but lost quickly. The last thing I remember seeing was Crushers face as
his body was dragged away. Thankfully though, it was only a nightmare. Vardawing
said.
Vardawing I have some very bad news. Your dream was very real. We believe
that Crusher was killed by certain creatures in the forest area where we found you,
replied Durin.

Chapter 3
What are you saying Durin? asked a confused Vardawing.
Im saying that your companion Crusher is dead, replied Durin.
Vardawing still looked confused. The fact is, he could not think that the one other
creature besides himself, that shared the power of his holy pendant was dead. The door
opened and in walked Bard. He had a distraught look about his face.
Its terrible Vardawing, just terrible, Bard said Im sure Durin has given you
the sad news.
Vardawing did not want to nod, but found the strength to respond to his friend.
Well Vardawing, the only thing we can do now is find out information about
what happened in the forest, said Bard, If you dont want to talk about it now, I can
come by later.
It took Vardawing a while to swallow his sorrow, and tell about what he saw in
the woods.
When Crusher and I were patrolling the woods, we were attacked by a group of
goblins lead by a giant minotaur, Vardawing said.
Could you describe this minotaur? asked Bard.
He had gold tipped horns, a gold ring through his nostrils, and he held a colossal
hammer, replied Vardawing.

Bard had a very grave look on his face as he looked from Vardawings face to
Durins face.
Well I know who it was that attacked you. His name is Malog. There is a legend
that tells of how he was created. Supposedly, the demon Bezel created him from the
slime of the earth. He mixed this component with a demon bull to create Malog. Since he
was a child, his foster father, Bezel, trained Malog in the arts of war. Soon Malog became
Bezels head general. When he found out that Bezel had been killed, he became enraged
with fury. He took control of Bezels army and built a new castle at the eastern edge of
Elnore forest. He has been attacking villages and towns all over, and he has set his sight
on Turonoso. I wonder if he has found out your name yet? Vardawing what we must do
now is to protect you from Malog and his army, said Bard.
You cant do this. I have to stop Malog before more people die. Vardawing
said.
Vardawing then tried to stand up, but was held down by Durin and Bard.
You must stay and rest, besides an entire army could not kill him. His skin is like
leather armor and his horns, like spears. You are one elf Vardawing, fighting him would
be suicide, said Bard.
Vardawing did still look a little beaten up, what with the bruise on his back and
the gash in his arm.
I think whats best for you is rest and relaxation, said Bard, guards will stand
watch at your door, while Durin and I figure out how to deal with Malog and his army,
just promise me you will rest.

Vardawing slowly nodded his head and tried to sleep through his anxiety. Bard
and Durin left the room and assigned soldiers to guard Vardawings clinic room.

Chapter 4
On the other side of the forest, miles away from Turonoso, Malog dragged his
prize into his newly built castle. Malogs castle was much larger than Bezels castle and
about ten times more fortified than Bezels castle. Around the castle walls were statues of
legendary minotaurs. Though Malog never bragged about his mighty stature, he was
never humble about his strong brethren. The statues had a second purpose though. They
were also used as lookouts. When anything moved within a mile of their perimeter, an
alarm sounded. The only person that could control the statues was Malog and his head
spy.
Malog made his way to the gates of his fortress. The gates were adorned with
spikes and two minotaur carvings holding the door in place, each one guarding the door.
Malog moved towards the gate until he was face to face with the iron effigies.
Tuarog Malog muttered in minotaur language.
The eyes of the dark figures within the gate began to glow red as the doors began
to open up for its evil host. The entrance hallway of the castle opened up into a large
room with two hallways and two staircases. One of the hallways led to the training
grounds behind the castle while the other led to the great dining hall. The center staircase
led to Malogs main chamber and guest rooms. The other stairway led to the dungeon in
the basement. Malog dragged the dead tiger into the feast hall.

The main course is now served, yelled Malog.


Dozens of goblins gathered around Malog. He then took a sword and with one
swift blow, cleaved the tigers head clean off its body. He grabbed the head, dripping in
blood, and gave it to another goblin, who immediately ran off with it. Malog just
imagined how his new trophy would look in his trophy hall. He looked back at the
goblins feasting on his prize. He shook his head as he looked at his legion of barbaric
vermin. He turned and walked towards his throne.
Malogs throne was smaller than his fathers throne, but was far more ornate. The
chair of the throne was blood red made with the hide of a large beast. Two tusks
protruded from each side of the cursed chair. A winged demon stood tall behind Malogs
throne.
The throne, however, was not vacant. In the chair sat a wretched creature, hated
by all. He was Malogs top general and head spy.
What are you doing in my chair, Gelmore? asked Malog.
Gelmore, such a name was equal to that of the most foul of demons. Gelmore was
a hunched creature whose claws were as long as knives and teeth razor sharp. His eyes
changed colors from time to time and his skin was like slippery leather. Gelmore was
once a ninja warrior, able to evade the worst traps and assassinate the greatest of men. He
traveled with the dark sorcerer Kashik, and together they collected treasures and
plundered villages all over the land. Once their treasure had reached its greatest measure,
it was time to split up the treasure. Kashik thought differently though. He placed a
terrible curse upon Gelmore changing him into a horrid creature, hated by all; but Kashik
also gave him the ability to change into whatever creature he could imitate. Gelmore,

horrified by his new appearance, fled Kashiks company and left the sorcerer with his
hoarded treasure. Gelmore was now left with an incurable curse.
A large smile came about Gelmores face.
Did you not say my king of shadows that only you may sit in the mighty chair of
evil? asked Gelmore.
Immediately, it would appear that a perfect, mirrored image of Malog was staring
right back at his face. Although Gelmores figure had changed, his voice had not. He
gave out a high-pitched cackle of laughter. Malog immediately grabbed his mirror image
by the neck and threw him to the stone floor. The image began to fade back to Gelmores
figure.
Only I may sit in the throne of evil! exclaimed Malog.
Malog sat upon his throne with his head spy lying on the ground and his main
goblin general standing off to the side. Malog then held his hands out and addressed his
generals and captains.
I have thought of a great planand you play the main role in it. He spoke as he
pointed to Gelmore.

Chapter 5
It had been a week after Vardawing had been released from the infirmary. He
started to pack up his bow, quiver, and dagger in his room. He had finished packing his
healing herbs and short sword when he heard his door open.
How are you feeling, Vardawing? Durin asked.
Im still losing sleep from the nightmares, but other than that Im fine,
answered Vardawing.
Durin walked into the room and noticed Vardawings pouch and weapons were all
packed up. Vardawing grabbed his forest cloak from the closet near his bed and clasped it
around his neck. He started to tie his pouch to his belt when Durin asked him a greater
question.
Why must you play the martyr? Durin asked, You know you cannot win
against Malog, hes too strong.
Ill find a way, no matter what happens, Ill find a way, said Vardawing.
He crushed you last time, Durin said stay with Bard, we can protect you.
Vardawing did not answer his friends plea. He put his bow over his chest and
strung his quiver of arrows over is chest as well. He also tied his short sword to the left

side of his belt, and strapped his hunting knife to the right side of his belt. He didnt even
say goodbye to his friend as he walked out of the room.
The young elf-angel walked the corridor with a heavy heart. He knew that he
wasnt strong enough to take Malog on. The only choice he had was to try and contact his
father and see what he needed to do to defeat Malog.
Vardawing began to walk through the gates that lead to the forest of Elnore.
When he had finally walked fifteen paces from the gates, he heard Durin yell to him,
You cant leave. If you leave, there will be no one to lead Turonosos armies.
Vardawing yelled back, You are in charge of the protection of Turonoso. I give
you full control of its armies.
With that Vardawing walked till he reached the edge of the forest. He looked back
at the castle, which now looked a lot smaller than before. He turned his head to look at
the right side of the edge of the forest and something caught his eye. He didnt know if
his eyes were playing tricks on him, but he could have sworn he saw a hunched creature
run out of the forest and then change into a crow.

Chapter 6
After about two hours of walking through the forest, Vardawing had begun to feel
almost too tired to even move. He had forgotten what it was like to walk without the help
of his tiger Crusher. A look of sadness came over Vardawings face as he remembered
his loyal companion. Just as quickly, a burning rage for Malog was visible in
Vardawings eyes.
I will kill you Malog, no matter what stands in my way, said Vardawing.
Vardawing in his anger had not realized that the sun had begun its decent and the
moon was beginning to rise. He decided that it was pointless to walk the forest at night
because it would be easier to get lost in Elnores twists and turns. Also, the forest was
home to many thieves who attacked travelers at night and stole there goods and money.
In order to remedy this from happening, Vardawing felt it was safe to sleep with one
hand grasping his hunting knife.
Using the ample amount of light given off by the fireflies and light pixies,
Vardawing was able to look around for logs and kindling for a fire. He found three logs
and some kindling for his fire, but upon moving one of the logs he found a large footprint
so massive that it was larger than both of Vardawings hands combined. It looked like a
foot print his foster father had shown him when he was teaching Vardawing how to track
creatures. The footprint was from a race known as the Lupine. The Lupine were said to
be large wolf warriors that could stand on their hind legs like men, and were ten times

faster than man. They carried archaic, crude weapons that were commonly used by their
ancestors. They were a race that had been around since the first age of the moon.

This sign terrorized Vardawing. If he would be attacked by a Lupine in the middle


of the night, he would not be able to withstand the might the large wolf creature. After a
while he didnt worry about it as much due to the fact that he remembered that the Lupine
disappeared decades ago after Bezel sent out an extermination army to destroy their race.
Once Vardawing had set up his logs, he took out his tinderbox and tried to spark
his flint. After many tries he finally saw a little smoke rising from the wood, he began to
blow like a bellows to give the fire more energy. Once the fire was able to continue on its
own, Vardawing decided that it was time to contact his father.
Vardawing grasped the pendant around his neck and began to chant in the angel
language. He concentrated harder on contacting his father, until there was a flash of light
on the opposite side of the fire. A man dressed in a white robe with large golden wings
attached to the shoulder blades on his back was sitting across from him now.
Hello, father said Vardawing.
Vardawings father looked sad when he saw his son. Vardawing, Im very sorry
for your loss. I was going to contact you when I had first heard of Crushers death, but
you had left Turonoso and I had no means of finding you, said his father.
Vardawing looked down at the dirt floor when his father had mentioned his dead
companion. How is Crusher doing? asked Vardawing, still staring at the floor.
Hes a lot better now knowing that you are alive and well. He is watching over
you all the time, making sure you dont get hurt, replied his father.

That is good, said Vardawing. After he had said this he raised his eyes to his
father and said I wish to destroy Malog and all he has created.
His father looked grave at his son and said Son you are not strong enough to
fight Malog. He is far too powerful. You will need help if you are to fight him.
That is why I have called upon you, said Vardawing I believe that you can
make me stronger, and give me aid.
Vardawings father looked to the heavens this time and said Vardawing I love
you dearly, but I cannot help you if you only wish to seek revenge, that is not a purpose
for heavenly aid. Focus on saving the people Malog has hurt. Help those who fall under
his tyranny. He looked again at his son and said If you forget about getting even with
Malog, only then can I help you.
Vardawing looked as if he had no other choice. He nodded his head in acceptance.
Good, his father said I will try my hardest to help you out and give all the aid I
can find. With that last word, Vardawings father vanished into the air.
Vardawing knew now that if he was going to get anywhere he had to forget about
Malog for the time being. He found a nice resting space near the fire where he slowly fell
asleep. He didnt really pay attention to it but in the distance, Vardawing could have
sworn he heard a pack of wolves howling.

Chapter 7
Malog sat in his throne, wondering if Gelmore had done his task. He got up from
his throne and walked back to the main lobby. There he walked up to a minotaur statue
and spoke Lawrug.
The statues eyes began to glow red at the command. The statue moved to the
side, procuring a hidden stairway. This stair way led to Malogs breeding chamber. You
see, Malog wished to create the ultimate army consisting of the undead and mighty
minotaurs. The minotaurs were all extinct though so Malog began to create his own breed
of minotaurs. These abominations became some of the most feared creatures that walked
the land.
Malog proceeded down to the chamber. There was a deep smell of death and
sludge. The chamber consisted of two areas: the Necromancer Hall, and the Minotaur Pit.
In the Necromancer Hall, all of Malogs necromancers recited the old texts of magic,
trying to find the dark magic to bring those who have died back from the dead. So far
they had been unsuccessful but each time getting a little closer to their goal.
In the Minotaur Pit, Malog had some of his best necromancers breeding the
minotaur spawn. These necromancers wore no robes and you could see their hideous
figure from horned head to clawed toe. There eyes were like serpents, yellow with bile,
and their teeth were as sharp as talons. Their skin was gray and withered. They all had
three fingers on each hand, each equipped with a razor sharp claw. These creatures were
far worse than any creature that lived. They could not leave the castle though, for they

hated sunlight and could never walk outside, for if they were hit by the rays of the sun,
they would turn into the very decaying dust that they were.
Each day new minotaurs were created and sent to the training grounds above the
breeding chamber. There they would be equipped with their choice of weapon and trained
for months.
Today was a good day for Malog indeed when he had found out that his
necromancers had found the dark magic they had been looking for.
The first thing we shall do is bring back an old friend of my fathers Malog said
to one of his necromancers. The necromancer nodded to his request and returned to the
crucible where the dead were born.
The necromancer made the evil symbol, and read the incantation.
In a flash of green light, there floating above the crucible was the first to be
brought back from the Netherworld.
Malog smiled and said welcome home, Shadow King.

Chapter 8
Vardawing awoke from his slumber slowly. He had found that sleeping on the
hard floor was not as comfortable as the down mattresses of Turonoso. He got up and ate
some food for breakfast that he had brought with him. He saw the smoke rising from the
burned out fire and thought he heard grunts not too far away. He touched the ground and
used his elf magic to find out what was going on. He then saw it. A patrol of goblins,
probably scouts, six of them. Vardawing felt that if he couldnt take his revenge on
Malog, then at least he could do it to his hordes. Besides he felt he needed the practice.
Vardawing had moved to the glade where he had seen the goblins, but as he
prepared to draw his sword for the attack, he noticed something leaping through the trees
across from him. The creature moved with more speed than any creature he had seen in
the forest. Vardawing had ducked down to see what would happen. The goblins also had
a feeling that what ever the creature was, it was definitely not friendly. They prepared for
whatever would happen.
The creature dropped from the trees into the glade. The figure was not as tall as
Vardawing or any man he had seen before. This creature stood upright and was about a
womans height. Vardawings immediate thought was that this creature was in fact a
woman. You couldnt see her face because she was wearing a mask like the ones the
great ninjas of the south wear. She wore sleek clothing and quicksilver greaves around
her legs. On her arms she brandished a strange weapon that Vardawing had never seen
before. On both arms, she had jagged blades attached to her wrists that seemed to be

pointing out of her knuckles and a jagged saw on each arm that went from her wrists to
her elbows. She stood up ready for battle.
One of the goblins seemed to notice that she was indeed a woman and did not take
her as much of a threat. He charged at her with his spear thinking that it would surely run
her through. How wrong he was, for he did not notice that she had dodged the spear,
thrust the blade on her right wrist into his head and with the saw decapitated the beast.
The other goblins saw her as she held the bleeding head on her blade and were filled with
anger. She pushed the goblin head off the blade and was ready again for any attack.
Two of the goblins charged at her to try and double team her, but she had them
already beat. The woman warrior would block each sword blow with her saws. Soon she
tricked them into getting onto either side of her and she was able to duck and slice each
of their ankles causing them to trip and fall. She finished the kill by driving her wrist
blades into each of the goblins chests. She pulled the blades out releasing splashes of dark
blood into the air.
This time she was sick of waiting for the attack. She charged forward with
lightning speed and jumped kicked one of the goblins in the face. She then was able to
dodge the blows from the two other goblins and sky kick one of them in the face. This
left one goblin that was attacking the best he could, but she caught his sword with her
wrist blades and kicked him in the stomach. The woman took her saws on his neck and
with two swift blows sliced the vile creatures head off.
She walked over to the two goblins she had kicked before and noticed that the
goblin, which she had sky kicked, was definitely dead on account of his neck being
ripped open from the force of her foot. The final goblin was still alive and was just

waking up when the woman put her foot down on his chest to hold him down. She then
stabbed him with both hands in the chest, killing him instantly. She took her blades out
and looked around at what she had done. Blood was dripping down her clothes, mask,
and greaves. Her blades and saws were shimmering quicksilver to begin with, but now
they were maroon with blood. Vardawing wanted to take a better look, so he moved a
little forward. Snap. A twig under Vardawings foot had alerted the woman to his
presence. He felt now that there was no use in hiding. He slowly walked into the glade.
Now they could see each other face to face, and the woman looked as if she did
not want to fight. Possibly this was because Vardawing was not armed. She decided
though that it was no longer safe for her to linger in this glade any longer. She leapt back
into the trees and disappeared, like a shadow. Vardawing had to know who it was. He
was curious beyond all compare. He followed her direction and used his vision to try and
locate her. For once, Vardawing thought he may have found his equal.
He chased her shadow through out the forest. He ran faster than he had ever
before, his adrenaline giving swift speed to his legs and feet. He ducked under branches
and even hit a tree. After he had gotten hit by the tree, he lost track of where the woman
had gone. From here on in he had to trace her.
Vardawing knelt down on to the cold ground and placed his palm on the dirt floor.
He chanted something in elvish, and after a few moments the ground around his palm
began to glow a bright green color. Vardawing closed his eyes in order to try and see
where she was. After a few minutes of searching, he had found her. He saw the direction
of the location and opened his eyes. The glowing stopped, and he lifted his hand from the
ground. He stood and started to run in the direction of the woman.

Once he had reached the location of the woman, he began to creep around to find
her. He had now noticed that the forest began to open up into a small pond. There was
something strange about the pond though that caught Vardawings eye. This pond was
completely clear, there was no scum. It also had a strange blue glow to it and a noise
came from it almost like a sweet humming sound. There definitely must have been some
enchantment over this pond, either ancient or presently made. Vardawing ducked behind
a bush at the edge of the pond to see if he could find the woman without being seen. He
looked over the pond and couldnt see anyone. Was his powers deceiving him or was
there something that was confusing his vision? This was where he had last seen the
woman in his vision. He looked around again and noticed something lying on the other
side of the pond. He narrowed his eyes to get a better look, and noticed that they were the
womans clothes and her weapons. She must be within the pond.
At that moment something began to stir among the surface of the water. From the
pool came a head and shoulders. The face was facing towards the other side of the pool
and Vardawing definitely could not be seen by her. She made her way to the edge of the
pool in order to dry off. He wanted to look away due to courtesy and privacy of the
woman, but something prevented him. His heart raced with passion. He had never seen a
creature so beautiful in his life. From her head came long blonde hair that went past her
shoulders. Her face was radiant and she shined with more brilliance than any sun god.
Vardawing couldnt move at all. He didnt notice the wind blowing through the trees or
the song birds who sang around him. He didnt even notice the arrow point that was now
pointing towards his head, but before he could even notice it, he was struck in the back of

the head. Last thing he remembered was the lady of the pool and the following darkness,
which lead to the headache that followed.

Chapter 9
Gelmore, in the form of a crow, flew to the top ramparts of the city of Turonoso.
Once he had reached his destination, he changed back to his normal form. He stalked
about to try and find a door that could lead to his main goal. He figured he wasnt going
to get anywhere in his normal form, so he changed into the form of a guard of Turonoso.
He looked perfect and took a human voice to boot. He walked the ramparts to try and find
a door. While he was walking he noticed that there was door leading to the inside of the
castle, but it was guarded by another guard. Somehow he had to get past, because if he
failed his master again, than his life would be forfeit. For you see, Malog was the only
person in the land who knew how to counter Kashiks curse and save Gelmore. He had to
do it.
He looked closer at the door and noticed that it had a small hole big enough to fit
a small mouse. An evil grin spread from cheek to cheek. He walked out of sight of the
guard and began to take the form of a mouse. He scurried towards the door to try and get
through the hole. The guard noticed the mouse and tried to shoo it away with he spear but
Gelmore was too quick for him and immediately scurried through the hole.
He was in. He scurried to a dark corner where no one could see him, and changed
to his normal form in the shadows. He looked around his corner to see if there were any
more guards around. He noticed two were making a loop around the corridor. They must
be on patrol, but he looked at the high ceiling and noticed how to get past them. Using his
powers, he changed into a chameleon and began to crawl on the walls towards the
ceiling. He immediately changed to the color of the walls and was able to slip past the
patrolling guards. Once he had reached the end of the corridor, he looked around to find

out where he was and to see how far he was from his goal. He made his way to another
dark corner where he changed back to his normal form. He was sick of having to change
so much, and then it struck him. He was so stupid. He began to take the form of Durin.
With this form he could get through any part of the castle without anyone questioning
him. He strode about each of the corridors and none of the guards even gave it a second
thought. He had finally reached his final destination. Here the door was guarded by two
heavily armed royal bodyguards. They noticed the Durin look alike and gave him access
to the room. Gelmore opened the door and looked in. He closed the door slowly, quietly
and locked the door. He saw there standing the king of Turonoso making strategies to
destroy Malog. Here was his chance to make up for his past failures. He changed back his
normal form and crept up behind Bard.
Not far from here the real Durin was making his way to Bards room to tell him
the bad news about Vardawings departure. He walked towards the two bodyguards who
were confused to see him out of the room since the door they guarded was the only way
to get in and out of the room. Durin looked with great fear at the situation. He drew his
two hand axes and began to shoulder charge the door. He saw that it was doing no good,
so he started to hack at the door to try and get it open. Finally the door gave way and
Durin was inside the room. All he saw was Bards body lying on the ground and a crow
that looked at Durin and then flew out of the open window which was closed to begin
with. Durin rushed towards his old friend. He looked to see that Bards neck had been
sliced open with what looked like to be the job of a knife. Durin began to weep for his
friend. The king of Turonoso had been slain. Durin only wished that Vardawing would
have been here. He thought maybe if he had been here things would have been different.

Chapter 10
The Shadow King was a creature that was feared by all who roamed the land. He
once ruled a kingdom of his own, until he began to lose his true judgment of life. He
began to let paranoia rule himself and he began to execute men who would pose as a
threat towards his reign. Soon though his reign would end, for the men of his kingdom
were planning a coup. The men were led by Sir Lawrence of the Sky, a knight of the
kingdom who was knighted not by any king of the land, but by an archangel of Heaven.
He was holy and knew that the Shadow King had to be stopped or else his evil would
infect the land. They waited patiently, until the time had come for attack. Sir Lawrence
led the attack and killed the Shadow Kings guards and finally reached where the Shadow
King was, within his war room. The Shadow King noticed that it was just Sir Lawrence
and felt that he could definitely win this battle. He drew his broadsword and approached
Sir Lawrence, whose golden Armor of Valor and Sword of Justice, which were created
by the angel smiths, began to glow with the heavenly light of good.
The fight ensued, each person giving and receiving blows from the other. The
Shadow King would soon find though that this fight would not be won because Sir
Lawrence was a far better swordsman. The Shadow King tried to slice at Sir Lawrences
neck, but missed and Sir Lawrence took advantage of this and sliced the Shadow Kings
arm. He pulled back in pain and saw that he could not win this fight. He retreated towards
the door but found that it was blocked by the angry men of his kingdom. He retreated
again and saw the open window across the room. He knew that it was a terrible risk, but
at least he would have a better chance of living. He charged for the window and leapt
through it. Sir Lawrence walked towards the window and looked out to see if he could

see the evil king. To his astonishment, he could not see the Shadow King anywhere on
the floor. His only assumption was the fact that no one could have survived that fall. The
men cheered and announced Sir Lawrence as the new king of their kingdom. The
celebration lasted for many nights, but one person did not celebrate the new king, the
Shadow King. He had survived the fall and landed safely in the moat that surrounded the
castle. He crawled out of the water, and headed towards the enchanted forest. He knew
that he would need help if wanted to get revenge on his people, he would need someone
much more powerful than himself. That led him to ask the demon Bezel for aid. Bezel
told the Shadow King that he would help him, but only if he promised his soul to him and
led his armies to victory, for the Shadow King was a master strategist. The Shadow King
agreed to the proposal and Bezel held out his right hand to him. The Shadow King
clasped his hand, and there was a red smoke that emitted from the hands and a red flash.
The Shadow King released his hand, and almost instantly, began to feel a tormenting pain
around him. His soul was being extracted by Bezel. A strange smoke began to engulf the
Shadow King, and he was immediately covered in smoke. After the smoke had cleared
away, what stood in front of Bezel was nothing like the human that came to ask for help.
What stood before Bezel was almost like a demon, but he was still human. The Shadow
King had jet black armor that covered his whole body, and he had a flowing red cape
attached to his back. From his head came two ram horns, and his eyes that were once
black, had now turned to a deep red color. Bezel handed the Shadow King the last pieces
of his evil wardrobe. In one hand he held the black helmet of death, which was made to
fit around his ram horns. In the other hand, Bezel held the red sword of the fallen in its
wretched sheath. The Shadow King took the sword and strapped it to his belt, and then he

took the helmet and placed it on his head. The Shadow King was now also a
necromancer, and the best in the land. He was more powerful in dark magic than the
sorcerer Kashik. Bezel sent him to seek out his revenge on the kingdom he once ruled
with an iron fist.
The Shadow King rode out of Bezels kingdom on his evil steed, whose eyes were
as pale as a ghost, and whose teeth were fanged like a predator. He rode with such speed
and was out of the kingdom faster than anyone. When he had reached the kingdom of
King Lawrence, he saw that now he could start his revenge. He dismounted his beast, and
held his hands up towards the sky. He closed his eyes, and at that moment flames began
to fall upon the kingdom starting fires all over. He then focused his powers on the
drawbridge in order to try and force it down. He was successful, and now nothing stood
in his way. As he passed the people he once ruled, he killed many with his sword of the
fallen. Families and children lay dead at his feet and he didnt care. He enjoyed
slaughtering those who had once defied him. He had then reached the castle where his
conqueror was waiting for him. He pushed the doors open with a whirlwind commanded
from his right hand, and began to attack the guards. Nothing could block the red sword he
wielded, it sliced through every sword and cleaved through all armor. The blood of the
guards flowed like a crimson river through the castle. Soon he reached his war room,
where he knew Lawrence would be. He opened the door again with a whirlwind, and
stood ready for battle. King Lawrence was standing at the other end of the room, clad in
his holy armor, and in his hand he held the Sword of Justice. Both swords began to glow
as if they were alive. The battle began with a power blow from each warrior. The swords
came together and created a clanging noise that many heard around the area. A great flash

erupted and both fighters were blown back. Both were astonished at what had happened
but were more intent on killing one another. Lawrence fought on and struck with all his
might. He caught the Shadow King of guard and kicked him in the stomach. With the
other foot, he kicked him in the face bringing him to the floor. The Shadow King knew
that he must not lose this fight, so he focused his powers on Lawrence. Lawrence was
immediately lifted into the air, almost as if he was hovering by an invisible force. What
happened next would be the worst thing to happen in all legends. From the Shadow
Kings finger tips came lightning bolts that hit Lawrence. King Lawrence shook in the air
as he was electrocuted by dark lightning. Once the Shadow King had finally noticed that
Lawrence was dead, he let the dead warrior fall to the floor. The King of Heaven had
seen all this and could only judge, that the Shadow King must die. So, he sent his
battalions of angels, clad in gold armor, to kill the evil king.
The Shadow King had heard these requests from the sky, and had plans of his
own. He stood in the courtyard, and held his hands over his head. A dark cloud appeared
over the kingdom, and lightning bolts had erupted all over the kingdom raising those who
were dead, back to life. They were now his slaves. Now he had an army to clash against
the angelic horde. The angels though were too powerful for the evil king and they used
their holy powers to counter the enchantment, freeing the zombies of the kingdom. The
Shadow King now held great fear, for he had never encountered anyone who could best
him. Nevertheless, he drew his sword ready for combat. The angels flew at him and
began to fight him. They had surrounded him and were trading off blows. Many angels
were killed by the evil sword, but the evil kings life would end soon. A stray sword point
had caught the king in the back and he fell on his knees to the ground. The leader of the

angels, an archangel, stepped forward to deal the killing blow. He took the Sword of
Truth and with one clean sweep, sliced the evil kings head off. At that moment, rain
began to fall upon the kingdom which freed those dead under the Shadow Kings spell.
The archangel who had slain the king was Vardawings father. He made his way upwards
towards the war room where the slain warrior Lawrence lay. He cried and the King of
Heaven found pity for the warrior. As reward for the warriors valiant effort, he took the
warrior as his head archangel general. The armor that he had once worn, though could not
be brought back to Heaven, neither could the sword. Vardawings father took the armor
and weapon and waited for another warrior who would prove himself able to wear these
holy instruments.

Now Malog had raised the Shadow King back from the bleak Netherworld, and
calls upon his oath that he had given to Bezel. The Shadow King could not speak because
his tongue, along with everyone else who went to the Netherworld, was cut out. He knelt
before Malog and pledged again his oath. Now Malog had everything he needed for his
siege of Turonoso to take place.

Chapter 11
Vardawing opened his eyes and his vision was very blurry, and he felt a powerful
pain in the back of his head. He shook his head to try and get a better look at his
surroundings. He couldnt remember what had happened to him. All he could remember
was the beautiful warrior woman he had last seen at the pool. Maybe she had been a siren
who had put a spell upon him. Highly unlikely though because the sirens had been extinct
for over two thousand years. He tried to move his arms and get up but he couldnt move
at all. He tried again with a little more power, but he wouldnt budge. He felt around as
much as he could and figured out what was wrong. His hands were tied around a pole and
his feet had also been bound as well. He had been captured and since his hands were not
free, he couldnt use his powers in order to find out where he was. One question raged
around within his head though: Who had captured him? No one had come to see him yet
or question him. His head still hurt so much and he slowly began to fall asleep in order to
try and combat the pain within his head. His eyes closed and he was soon fast asleep.

He dreamt of his friends at Turonoso and how things were back in times of peace.
He remembered traveling through the Forest of Elnore with Crusher and the hunts they
would have. He could smell the trees and the flowers that had bloomed only in the
springtime when the forest was the most beautiful. The happiest memories took place
during that time and this made Vardawing smile all the more. This dream went on
until..
SPLASH

Wake up scum! exclaimed someone.


Vardawing opened his eyes and noticed that his head was completely doused in
water. His eyes were now blurry with water, but now he could see someone standing in
front of him. He shook the water from his face like a dog until he could finally see well
enough. He looked at where the person stood and noticed something very strange. The
person standing in front of him had two furry, clawed paws like that of a feline instead of
two normal feet. He now looked higher and could see that the fur spread all over this
persons body and they had clawed paws where their hands were. He now looked at the
head and figured out what had captured him. It was a Catharian, creatures who were like
the Lupine but instead of a canine aspect, having a feline aspect instead. Vardawing had
thought that they also had been wiped out completely as well. From the legends though,
they were a matriarchy and coexisted with the Lupine who was a patriarchal race.
I have many questions for you elf scum and the first is this: What are doing in
our sacred wood? asked the Catharian.
Your sacred wood? I am confused I was under the impression I was still within
the Forest of Elnore. I come from the city of Turonoso. replied Vardawing.
Foolish elf, you passed into our woods. The edge of the Forest of Elnore is about
a mile from our wood. As for your allegiance to Turonoso, it is probably a stinking elf lie.
You are probably one of Malogs spies come to lead a trap, but your trap has failed. One
of your slime may have been able to slip past our traps before, but not anymore. replied
the Catharian.
I am no spy of that evil minotaur. I am Vardawing the elf-angel of Turonoso. I
am traveling to combat Malog at his castle.

Still lies. You are no angel, for where are your wings. We Catharians have been
allied with the heavenly forces along with the Lupine for centuries. You are no angel.
replied the Catharian.
I tell you, I am who I say I am. said Vardawing.
We shall see about that, said the Catharian.
The Catharian left the hut and left Vardawing to thing about a question that no
one had ever wondered until now. Why did he not have wings if he was part angel? He
had never asked his father why. He mustnt think about it now, he had much more
important things to worry about, like staying alive.
He heard someone enter through the hut and this time it was a different Catharian.
This Catharian looked bigger than the first and had more of a regal look to her. She had
more armor than the first one and she looked as if she was ready for battle. Vardawing
looked to be more afraid of this Catharian than the other. She approached Vardawing
carefully and looked him fully in the face.
My guard tells me you say you are Vardawing, the elf-angel from Turonoso.
That is a very strong accusation. How do we know you are telling the truth? asked the
regal Catharian.
Vardawing tried to think of a way to prove his identity, and then he remembered
the pendent around his neck. Look at the pendent around my neck. It was given to me by
my father, an archangel of Heaven.
The Catharian took the pendent from Vardawings neck and examined its
authenticity. She tapped it a couple times and it began to glow with white light. She then
brought her right paw near the pendent, and Vardawing noticed the ring on her paw

began to glow blue along with the pendent. The Catharian looked very shocked and
amazed. She put the pendent back around Vardawings neck and took a dagger from her
belt. She cut Vardawings bonds and knew that he was who he had said he was.
Do not move Vardawing. I have undone your bonds only because you are allied
also with the heavens. Why have you entered our wood and why are you armed for
battle? asked the Catharian.
I had no idea I had entered your wood. I had been following a woman who had
killed several goblins in the Forest of Elnore. I followed her to a sacred pool not far from
here. Replied Vardawing.
Then you speak truthfully Vardawing. Im very sorry for these circumstances,
but since Malog started sending out goblins we have needed heavier security around the
forest area. That is why Syrah was sent out to stop recent goblin attacks in the area. My
name is Rathia. I am the commanding leader of the Catharians and am an ally to the
heavens as well. Do not leave the hut just yet. I must tell the others who you are and I
must tell them that you are not dangerous. Someone will come by and give you food and
drink. I will return soon and give you leave from this hut. Do not worry Vardawing, you
are safe here. Said Rathia.
Vardawing then heard loud howls coming from outside the hut. He then looked
scared.
Hmmmm.must be Ramclaw and his pack of Lupine. Said Rathia.

Chapter 12
Rathia walked outside of the hut and noticed that her observation was correct, for
standing in her camp of Catharians was a group of not so happy looking Lupine. The
Lupine leading the pack was Ramclaw, who stood taller than any human warrior. In his
right hand he carried a large battle ax. He noticed that Rathia had come out and he
signaled his Lupine to follow him. Rathia walked towards the Lupine and two heavily
armed Catharians followed her.
Rathia! What is this I hear from your warriors that you have taken in another
non-Catharian? Are you mad? You will endanger all of us! Ramclaw exclaimed to the
Catharian leader.
First of all Ramclaw, if you have come to badger my decisions, than you are
wasting your timeand breathwhich by the way is very rank. Rathia said to
Ramclaw.
Ramclaw grew stern, but then Rathia could see a smile slowly spread across his
face and there was a glint in his one scarred eye. Something was strange about the smile,
as if he knew something Rathia didnt know.
Why are you smiling like that Ramclaw? Rathia asked the Lupine.
There is something very special about your captive, isnt there? asked
Ramclaw.
Rathia did not answer him and looked with a powerful look and she stared into his
eyes.
Well if you must know Ramclaw, we do not have a captive. We have a guest; A
weary traveler who has come through our territory by chance and accident. We have

pardoned him and have allowed him to share some of our care and food, Rathia replied
coolly.
Ramclaw now looked even more suspicious and a grim look spread across his
face.
Who is it Rathia that you keep hidden? I must see him. Ramclaw replied.
You will see him when he is in a better state, for as I said, he is still very weary
from his travels and will decide when he wishes to come out of the hut. Rathia replied.
Ramclaw looked upset that he would have to give in to the Catharians orders if
he was going to be able to see this strange guest. He bowed to her wishes but then
replied.
Then do we also have your permission to stay in your camp until he is ready to
be with people? Ramclaw asked.
Rathia bowed to the Lupine, and the wolf creatures bowed also. The Lupines went
over to a log near a campfire so they could wait for this guest. Rathia watched them and
knew that she had nothing to fear from these allies. She noticed that Syrah had been
watching the conversation, and Rathia motioned for her to come over to her. Syrah
obeyed and came to speak to Rathia.
I wish for you to do something for me Syrah, will you please go to Vardawing in
his hut and see if he needs anything and to also inquire if he is well enough to speak yet?
Rathia asked of Syrah.
Of course I shall, Syrah replied and walked off towards Vardawings hut.
Rathia just looked towards the heavens and wondered what waited for her people
in the near future.

Chapter 13
Vardawing looked around the hut wondering why no one had come to talk to him.
He noticed the near him there was a pot filled with water. He moved to it in order to get a
drink. He took a couple of sips from the pot and splashed his face a bit. When the water
had settled, he noticed that the reflection began to warp into the face of the Shadow King.
Vardawing looked with interest at the face of one of the most evil villains of legend. The
eyes of the Shadow King began to glow red and the pot water began to boil and smoke.
Vardawing could not look away. He began to bring his hand to touch the evil water.
Before he could touch the water, there was a flash of blinding light. Vardawing couldnt
see anywhere within the hut.
Vardawing, do not touch it! Exclaimed a voice in the hut.
Vardawing looked and noticed that the light began to fade and he could now see
who was in front of him. The water in the pot had now returned to normal. Vardawing
could now clearly see the person. It was his father, an archangel. His fathers golden
wings were outstretched and Vardawing could now see why his father was so highly
thought of in heaven.
Vardawing you must not let yourself be taken like that! If you had made one
more move towards the water you would have been lost, his father said.
What was that? asked Vardawing.
The Shadow King has been trying to spy on people and has been searching for
you. Now he has found you at last, replied the archangel.

The real reason why I have come to you was to warn you about what is
happening all aroundand also bring you sad news. Bard the King of Turonoso has been
slain. The archangel said.
Vardawing looked wide-eyed at the thought that if his friend Bard had died,
perhaps Durin was in danger as well.
How was he killed? asked Vardawing.
We believe he was slain by the shape shifter Gelmore, who is in service to
Malog. Replied Vardawing.
Malog! exclaimed Vardawing.
Rage and fury began to grow in Vardawings eyes. The thought that his friend had
been killed in innocent blood fueled his fury.
Calm yourself Vardawing! There are more things to worry about at this time.
Malog and the Shadow King are gathering their forces and are preparing to attack
Turonoso. You must gather the Catharians and Lupine together to combat part of Malogs
army. There is another warrior who will help you in this as well. I will contact him but
you must meet him. Go to the city of Rondor. There you must ask for the warrior Malek.
He will help you out. Go now and may the heavens protect you. The archangel said to
Vardawing.
Vardawing wished to ask more of the archangel but the heavenly being had faded
already.
Who are you speaking to? a voice asked coming from the entrance of the hut.
Vardawing turned to see the girl he was following at the entrance of the hut.
No onewhat is it that you want? Vardawing asked bewildered.

Rathia wishes to know if you are ready to speak with her. Ramclaw also wishes
to speak with you. He and his pack of stinking Lupine are also waiting for you. Well
what is your answer? asked Syrah.
Tell Rathia that Im grateful for her kindness and that I will meet her in a
minute.
Syrah left the hut and Vardawing was left to wonder what he would say to his
strange hosts.

Chapter 14
Durin walked through the dark, sad hallways of the castle of Turonoso. It had
been a three days since Bard the King of Turonoso was slain. His funeral was upon the
same day. Durin remembered the ceremony too well.

All the inhabitants gathered to the center of Turonoso to witness their first king
and pay their respects. Bard was laid on a mattress laden with a red cushion and gold
outline around the edge. He was dressed in his armor and was holding his sword, a gift
made by the smithy elves of Vardawings clan. The sword had a curved blade and was
made of the same white metal that Vardawings short sword was made of. The blade was
inside its sheath which was green with Elvin runes etched all over it. It may have seemed
too simple for a king, but with its light weight ability, Bard could wield it and strike with
extreme speed. The blade was also stronger than any steel sword. Many goblins were
more afraid of that blade than many others. Durin was sad that such an amazing blade
must be buried away, but then he remembered that it would dishonor Bards spirit if he
was not buried with his magical sword.
The priest of the temple of Turonoso spoke the Words of Sadness over the body
of Bard. All the people of Turonoso were crying and dressed in black. Durin stood next to
the priest and was wearing his dwarven funeral garb. Once the priest was done speaking,
Durin spoke to the people of Turonoso about the adventures Bard had had with
Vardawing and himself. He spoke of how Bard had helped take down Bezel and how
Vardawing and Durin had first met at the temple of Turonoso, when they had cleansed
the temple of the four black demons that made the temple a place of executions and

torture. The people had heard the legends, but not this well spoken. Once Durin was done
speaking, many people could see that his eyes were bright from tears. Durin then laid
Bards magical mandolin in Bards hands. Four warriors then carried the mattress
throughout the city and they took it to the tomb that was made for Bard.

Durin remembered the funeral and cried. He then saw a bright flash at the end of
the hallway. He went over to see what had caused the flash. At the end of the hallway he
could now see who was there.
Durin! called the mysterious figure.
Who are you? asked Durin.
I am Vardawings father, an archangel of heaven. I am here to warn you. Malog
is gathering a huge army and will attack Turonoso within two months. You must prepare
your armies for the attack and fortify the city walls. I will gather the heavenly forces to
help you defend Turonoso since Vardawing will not be here to help. Do not worry
though, he is fine and is in good hands. He will help out in holding off many of Malogs
forces. Do what I say and Turonoso will stand. Replied Vardawings father.
The angel then faded away and Durin rushed to the bell tower to call the city to an
emergency meeting. How the city would take the news would be a different story.

Chapter 15
The sun was just rising in the city of Rondor at the North end of the Forest of
Elnore. Malek was just starting to wake up from his sleep when it was disturbed by a
large crash and a flash of blinding light. He looked at the other side of his room and there
stood a man wrapped in golden wings. The wings unfolded and they revealed a shining
man dressed in white.
Hello Malek. Do not be frightened for I am a friend. I have come bringing a gift
from the heavenly king, but you will only receive this gift if you do what is asked of you
from the heavens. You will receive these gifts only if you become a priest of heaven.
The angel said.
The angel clapped his hands and another flash of light brought forth the gifts. In
front of the angel laid at his feet were an armor suit and a double bladed staff with curved
blades. Malek looked at the armor with great intent and noticed how amazing these gifts
were. The armor was gold with white metal design all over the armor. The helm was gold
and was made to look like the head of a hawk with a face coverer made of gold. The right
arm hole looked as if it was coming out of a bears mouth and the left arm hole looked as
if it was coming out of a lions mouth. On the chest plate, there was an angel with
outstretched wings, and it had diamond eyes. The arm greaves looked like foxes where
the wearers hands would come out of the foxs mouths and the leg greaves looked like
badgers with the wearers feet coming out of the badgers mouths. The double bladed
staff was made of gold with one blade coming out of a wolfs mouth and the other blade
coming out of a horses mouth. Malek looked longingly for the heavenly gifts.

This armor and weapon were crafted by the archangel Zigdraisel who can shape
shift into any animal he wished. He has passed his animal magic into this armor. While
wearing it you can change into any animal you wish just by thinking about the animal.
The armor and weapon are made of a special heaven metal that will not break and can
slice easily through any steel or iron. Will you Malek of Rondor, do as the heavens
command? asked the angel.
Malek looked at the gifts and thought about it very deeply. With these gifts he
could very well become the greatest warrior to walk this land. Maybe even greater than
Sir Lawrence he thought. He had made up his mind.
I accept these gifts and pledge my life to the heavens. Malek pledged.
Very good, then here are your first orders, replied the Archangel.

Chapter 16
Vardawing walked out into the sun and saw that each and every one of the
members in the camp was staring at him. He looked at the newly arrived Lupine warriors
and marveled at their strength. He was shocked to even see them. His father had said they
were all extinct. He really hoped that they were on his side. Vardawing walked forward
so he could speak to Rathia, Syrah, and the large Lupine who he believed to be their
leader. The large Lupine moved forward to greet Vardawing. He bowed his large wolf
head and Vardawing mimicked his action. The Lupine raised his head and looked with
amazement at the warriors courage against such a large warrior.
Hello Vardawing, elf-warrior of Turonoso, tales of you have reached my ears
and those of my Lupine. We believe that it is you who can liberate our land of the filth
that calls itself Malog. My name is Ramclaw, leader of the Lupine. Ramclaw said.
Ramclaw returned to the lineup of warriors along with Rathia.
Everyone, Im sure that by now, you all know who I am. Know this! I have a
new mission given to me by my father, an archangel. I must go to the city of Rondor,
north of the Forest of Elnore. I am to enlist the help of a warrior called Malek. I am also
to warn all of you. Malog has raised the Shadow King back from the dead. Vardawing
could see many of the faces turn to shock. Malog is preparing his forces to lay siege to
the kingdom of Turonoso. My friend Durin is fortifying the walls and the kingdom. He is
readying the men of Turonoso for the battle. The heavens have asked that the Catharians
and Lupine join together to stop as many forces that will move through the forest. I leave
for Rondor as soon as I get my weapons and supplies. I will return back to this camp after
I get Malek. Vardawing knew that filling his new allies with this information so quickly

was not really the best thing to do but it needed to be done. Ramclaw and Rathia looked
at each other in disgust but they knew what had to be done. They went to each other and
grasped one anothers right arm, a symbol for alliances. Vardawing smiled at the action.
Rathia turned to speak to Vardawing, Vardawing, we have joined with the
Lupine. I will speak with Ramclaw about what will be the best way to stop Malogs
forces within the forest. Your weapons are being held in my hut. I will fetch them for
you. Rathia now looked at Syrah, Syrah, I have trusted you since I found you within
these woods. Now I wish you to do something for me. Please accompany Vardawing to
Rondor and protect. I want you as his personal bodyguard. Syrah bowed her head to
Rathia. I will get suited for travel. Syrah then left the crowd. Vardawing had to accept
the company although he did not like the idea of having another person to look after, but
he didnt really think he needed to worry about her too much.
A couple minutes later Rathia emerged from her hut with Vardawings pack, his
hunting knife, his short sword, his hunters bow and his quiver filled with arrows. She
gave them to Vardawing and he immediately took his green cloak out of the pack and put
it on. Everyone marveled at the green flowing cloak. He put is bow into its sheath within
his quiver. He strapped the quiver to his back and strapped his knife to his belt sheath.
Finally, he put the pack below his quiver on his back. He strapped his short sword to his
belt. He pulled it out to check it. All was well and no rune on the sword was destroyed.
He sheathed the sword. He was ready to leave and it seems that Syrah was also ready.
Syrah stood clad in her quick armor and her weapons looked like brand new. She was
waiting for him. Vardawing moved over to her. She nodded to him and they were off.

Chapter 17

Vardawing and Syrah left the camp at the time of early morning. The
Lupine and Catharians had packed them with as much provisions that may aid for several
weeks, only enough for them to reach to Rondor. Within a good hour, both warriors were
deep within the dark woods. Vardawing crouched down in the grass near a large, ancient
tree and placed his hand upon the ground. The grass around his palm began to ripple and
he closed his eyes for a long while. Syrah looked at him very strangely and walked over
near him. Almost immediately she felt as if a great wind had blown through her.
Vardawings eyes immediately opened his eyes and looked up at Syrah with a quizzical
smile.
Is there something wrong? he asked. No theres nothing wrong, but what did
you just do to the ground? she replied.
I was communicating with nature. The trees and the winds allow me to see traps
and anyone nearby, almost a mile away. If you must know, we are safe for a while. There
doesnt seem to be any of Malogs scouts in these woods and there is a pack of deer
nearby. If we hunt them, we can eat tonight. Vardawing said to Syrah. Syrah still looked
very concerned about what she had just witnessed. Vardawing got up from the ground
and walked onward while Syrah followed from behind.
How did you learn to use that skill? Syrah asked him. Vardawing stopped
walking entirely and gave a slight sigh. He turned to Syrah and relayed his tale to her.

When I was younger, my father would take me hunting in the woods near our
home. I was just learning how to hunt with my bow and my father wished to show me a
skill, which would aid in the hunt. I saw my father crouch down unto the ground and he
told me to do the same thing. So I did. I crouched down next to him and placed my hand
upon his hand. As my father closed his eyes, a strange shock went throughout my whole
body, as if I could not move from the spot, planted still with a gust of wind surrounding
us. Soon I closed my eyes as well, and now I could see my father and I standing within
the woods but everything around us was darkened. I ask him where we were, and he
replied that we were nowhere, but in fact we were in very presence of Nature herself. I
looked around, but could see no one with us. He told me that by using this connection
with Nature, I could locate game easily and detect traps as well. All I would have to do
was place all myself within Nature and she could give me the power of sight. When my
father closed the connection, I found myself on the ground near him, weak and drained of
energy. He carried me back to the house and nursed me back to health. It seemed that for
my first time I was not strong enough to keep a hold with Nature. Since that moment, I
trained myself to become stronger with Nature until I could withstand her powers.
Syrah looked amazed at the tale and asked, but how come when I approached
you, the power would not allow me within? Vardawing replied, Well thats simple. Its
because youre a human. Only elves, and strong elves, can be brought into the connection
with Nature, for us elves are her children and we were born from the very blossoms of
her tree.

Vardawing turned and walked on into the woods. Syrah again followed closely
behind and soon was next to him. After a long while she asked him, Vardawing, what
happened to your parents?
Vardawing stopped this time for a long while staring at the ground, and finally
looked Syrah deep in the eyes and seemed to go lost. He came to and remembered the
question. My parentsmy parents were killed. Syrah looked very sad at him, how?
Vardawing looked away and began to delve into the sadness of his childhood.
My parents lived on a farm in the woods near Bezels castle. When Bezel had heard of
rebellious words spreading through our village, he took his forces into the village and
tortured several of the elves in the village to get answers. Soon word got out that my
father been the one spreading the rebellious words. My father you see was once a great
warrior who fought many times to protect our village against the forces of Bezel. His
sacred short sword was often stained with goblin blood in the fights. This very sword that
I carry was his. It was forged by Nature herself, and was blessed with these sacred runes
by an archangel; it has never left my side since its last master was slain. Bezel came to
our home and my father was out hunting for dinner and was not at home. My mother saw
Bezel approaching with a troop of goblins, and held me close to her heart. I was about
twelve years of age. Bezel burst through the door to our home with ease and threw my
mother and I outside. The goblins surrounded us and began to tease us with their spears.
Bezel seized my mother and held her close to him. I could see the terrible beast for what
he was, a ruthless demon. I had never seen a demon before, but this one I feared the most.
A great beast with huge bat-like wings and great antlers that came from his skull, and
eyes that burned red as embers. Bezel continued to ask us where my father was and we

told him that he was gone. He believed us to be lying, and grabbed my mother again. He
choked her tight around the neck and asked her again where my father was. I got up to try
and help, but two goblins grabbed my arms and held me. She looked at me and back to
Bezel and denied knowing where my father was. Soon I saw my father coming from the
woods, and I noticed that he drew his short sword and his hunting knife. Bezel looked at
my father and gave a fiendish smile. He gave a final squeeze and my mother fell to the
ground. The goblins threw me to the ground and I shook my mother, but she didnt move.
She was dead. I looked with rage burning in my eyes at Bezel and held my mother close.
My father now rushed at Bezel with great speed and agility. Bezel drew his sword and
tried to strike my father, but missed. My father swiped at Bezels leg and cut into his
thigh. My father soon noticed that the goblins were surrounding him and so using his
knife, he blocked every blade and answered back with a sword swipe. Soon all the
goblins were dead and my father stood there breathing heavily with blood all over him
and soaking the earth. Bezel readied himself, as did my father, and they fought. My father
got sliced from behind while evading a strike from Bezels fist, and so my father fell to
the ground. Bezel readied his sword and plunged it into my fathers side. My fathers
body fell completely still on the floor. I got up and grabbed my fathers sword with both
hands and slowly raised it to attack Bezel. The demon just laughed at me and with one
large arm swipe, he hit me and I flew against our farmhouse. I woke up to Bezel fighting
with a golden figure with wings, an angel from the Heavens, and the last thing I saw was
Bezel retreating. When I got up, the winged figure was gone, and I buried my parents.
After that I trained myself to fight with the short sword and Nature took care of me.

Vardawing finished his sad tale, and sat down by a tree nearby to rest. Syrah sat next to
him and took off part of her armor to rest. She looked to him, Im so sorry Vardawing.
He looked back and gave a slight smile, Its ok. I got my revenge anyway and
killed Bezel with the help of my tiger, Crusher. Vardawing gave a slight sad look as he
remembered his old friend. She looked to see his eyes, Crusher?
He didnt answer and instead looked towards her armor with a strange look on his
face. You have asked me, now what about you? Where did you get this armor?
Syrah took off her arm and knuckle blades, and placed them upon her perse head
cover, its quicksilver half-mask gleaming by a rogue ray of light. It was originally my
mothers armor. She, like me, was a Sherick. She taught me from a young age in our
training. I was secretly tested in the art of stealth and the knowledge of the legendary
ninja. My parents ran the training in the temple of our city, and oversaw all the training of
the apprentices. As soon as I turned eighteen, I had become top of my class and was
given the rank of shadow eagle, the highest of honors. My honor and celebration were
short lived however. Soon, my city was called to fight for the demon Bezel in a battle not
far from our city. My people had no choice but to go to fight, otherwise the consequences
would have been far worse for all. My mother was chosen as leader of our troop. I wished
to go but she did not allow it. I watched as our warriors marched off to war. I never saw
any of them again. Several days later, we heard drums coming from the woods, and we
saw torches lighting up the night. An attack force by Bezel had been sent upon our city
and goblins were lighting homes on fire all over. My father grabbed his sword and told
me to run to the woods. I ran from my home, made my way into the woods and watched
from a distance as my city burned and my people died. I could not stop crying and

drooped near a tall tree. The smoke from the fires began to make my eyes tired and I fell
asleep on the ground. When I came to, it was morning and the fires had all burned out.
Smoke still rose from the buildings but no fires persisted. I walked amongst the ruined
shambles of my city and looked at my people massacred on the ground. I went to my
home and found my father on the floor. I went to him and pushed him to wake but
nothing happened. I looked at my hand and saw blood on my palms. He was dead. I wept
for him and looked to the temple. I went inside and found apprentices slaughtered upon
the holy floor, and at the back of the temple I saw it, my mothers sacred armor. This
armor was only meant for a Sherick warrior of great renowned. I wanted vengeance for
my people, and so I put on the armor and armed myself for battle. I traveled far before I
finally reached the forests in which you found me, and it was there that Rathia found me.
Showing pity for my story, and myself, she adopted me and took me in as a Catharian. I
never found out what had happened to my mother or the warriors that left. I had heard
that she died in the battle, but I never understood why Bezel attacked my people. Syrah
completed her story and looked at her pink, slight worn hands. Vardawing saw the pain
she felt, and was compelled to do something. He took her hand and compared it with his
own, and told her aloud, for the amount of goblins youve killed, Im surprised your
hands arent like sandpaper.
Syrah looked at him with a small smile and they both laughed. They looked at
each other again with a similar look but slightly different. Vardawing could not place his
thought on it but he couldnt tell what he was feeling. Without thought he said, Syrah
I
What was that? Syrah asked.

They both turned to look at a small bush that seemed to rustle. It stopped for a bit,
and then continued to rustle. They decided that they should check it out. They approached
the bush slowly. Vardawing was the first to interrogate the mysterious bush.
Who is in there? I am Vardawing of Turonoso and I demand you show
yourselfnow
The bush stopped rustle and the cause of it stepped out of the bush and from two
big eyes, Vardawing and Syrah had seen something they had never seen before.

Chapter 18

Please do not hurt me great warriors! I mean you no harm!


There standing before Vardawing and Syrah was a small creature up to the height
of ones kneecaps, with giant blue eyes, and large floppy bat-ears. The creature certainly
looked harmless and the two warriors relaxed themselves. The creature seemed to cower
from Vardawings voice and used its ears to hide its face. Syrah couldnt help but giggle
at the sight. Vardawing slowly came forward and knelt to the little demons height.
Were very sorry if we frightened you. We do not mean any harm either. We
were actually on our way to Rondor when we ran into you. Vardawing said this as he
placed his hand on the head of the demon. He removed his hand, and he could see one bat
ear flop away to reveal the blue eyes he had seen before, and then the other followed suit.
Soon a smile followed across the creatures face and Vardawing was relieved.
Now thats better. If you dont mind us asking, and Im sure this will sound
strange, but what are you? Vardawing asked quizzically.
The creature placed one small hand on his chest and began his introduction. I am
a Dianite, and my nameis Fendor. As he completed this, he bowed his head, touching
his ears to the floor. Again, it was certainly worth a giggle or two.
Well Fendor, why were you hiding in bushes just now? Syrah asked the little
thing.
The bushes? Fendor said and looked confused at the bushes. Suddenly, his eyes
grew very wide and he screamed. Frightened again he grabbed his ears, only this time

stretching them out so the warriors could see everything, from the veins in the ears to the
large shadows created on the floor.
Calm down Fendor! Why are you screaming? Vardawing asked confused.
Fendor stopped screaming and moving with a goofy pucker look on his face, and
placed his hands near his mouth as if to think. HmmmI cant seem to remember now.
But I remember it was BAD! Fendor yelled with a crescendo.
Vardawing looked at Syrah for some type of confirmation but just got the mirror
image of confusion from her as well. Well is there anyway that we can help?
Fendors eyes lit up and he jumped with joy at words of the half-elf. He grabbed
Vardawings hand and skipped away from the glade. Syrah followed them and laughed at
the little thing leading them. His ears seemed to flop to and fro, and once slapped
Vardawing in the face by accident. After a long while they approached a little village. No
one seemed to be around to greet the guests, and Fendor looked around and called about.
Soon Vardawing and Syrah could see other large ears and eyes peering around small huts
to see them. Others began to walk out to test the danger, and when they realized that they
were not going to be harmed by the strange, tall visitors, they all came out. Soon the two
were surrounded by dozens of little floppy eared demons. Vardawing tried to get their
attention but they all seemed to bombard Fendor with question after question. Suddenly,
from one of the huts came a loud, booming voice.
SILENCE!
Everyone stopped speaking and backed away from Fendor and his two guests.
From out of the hut came a little demon dressed in a crown many sizes two big for his
head, and a robe that seemed to engulf his entire body. He walked with a sense of pride

and majesty, and he did this on two, very large jingle bell shoes. Every jingle made
Vardawing wonder, what this world would be like if all the kings looked this way. When
the demon had come within a good range of them, he opened his eyes and pointed at the
tall guests, with the sleeve of his robe going over his entire hand. One could only tell
from the imprint that he was in fact pointing.
Fendor! Who are these people you have brought within our midst? the demon
said hugging his hands close to his chest.
I am Vardawing of Turonoso, and this is Syrah of the Catharians. We have come
because of an issue of some sort?
The small demon squinted his eyes and began to walk around the two guests,
searching them with his eyes. They had to avert their giggles from seeing the bobbing
crown going up and down. Finally he stopped and looked at them once more. I am King
Jarol of the Dianites, and yes we do have an issue. He said as he began shake his hands
as if to describe the magnitude of this problem. We have, as of late, been plagued by a
terrible creature. A demon if you will, that terrorizes our very lives. Many of the
Dianites became frightened at this notion and began to hug one another. Vardawing just
looked around and then back to the king once again. We do not know its name, but it is
extremely frightening. It takes the shape of a giant hound with purple eyes, like jewels.
Its fangs and claws are like sharpened steel, and his paws, thunder booms. It brings with
it the mist and leaves it surrounding our village. This thing comes to our village at night
and eats of the Dianites. My peoples tiny, tiny hearts have been crushed by this demon
and we implore you, oh great warriors, to stop it. The king finished and bowed his head,
a sight that created an amount of gasps all around.

Vardawing asked Syrah, What do you think we should do? I believe that perhaps
these people can help us get to Rondor quicker if we help them. Syrah gave a nod of
approval. Great King Jarolwe accept.
The crowd of Dianites cheered and that very night threw a great party. Vardawing
and Syrah sat on a log near one of the fires and marveled at the customs of the Dianites.
They began to hum in a high-pitched tone, but as they hummed, a blue glow began to
shimmer in the trees, but Vardawing noticed something very strange about the sky. There
was a slight mist or fog and he did not feel right. From one end of the village, a loud
cacophony of noise began. This was no hum however, but was instead the crying of
voices. Vardawing got up from the log and drew his sword for battle. Syrah left to get her
armor on, and Vardawing did not wait for her. He went towards the noise and saw many
Dianites running away. There he saw it come around one of the corners of a hut. It was a
great dark beast that had a corpse in its jaws. The creature stalked about and dropped the
body to the ground and Vardawing moved closer to the creature. At that moment, the
beast looked directly at Vardawing, and more specifically, into his eyes. Vardawing
could now see the purple gems staring at him and he froze. He dropped his sword, and
everything around him went black. All that he could see was himself and the hound. The
beast smiled and said Hello Vardawing. I am Zervan. Vardawing felt a cold chill run
down his spine as he heard those very words.

Chapter 19

Vardawing stood staring at the face of the beast, into the purple gems that lit up
the darkness. He tried to move but found that he could not. The hound walked towards
him and soon Vardawing could see the mist surrounding the both of them. Vardawing
could now see the true height of the demon hound, as the creature got closer. Zervans
face lined up with Vardawings and the half-elf could feel that chill spread from his
spine, to his ribs. Vardawing tried to reach for his knife, but could not move his arm.
Do not try to move, it is impossible. Zervan sneered.
Who are you? Vardawing tried to ask.
Zervan gave a dark grin and walked a few steps back. Vardawing couldnt believe
it but he swore he could have seen a mark glowing around the hounds neck. Zervan
turned again to look at his victim.
Like I said. I am Zervan.
Yeyes, but whawhat are you?
Now that is better. I was born centuries ago when the earth was created by
Nature. My father is the Wind and my mother, Nature. The Stars assigned me, the everpresent judges of life, to guard the gates of the Heavens. I became the very feared Hound
of the Holy King. Soon however, I did not find that the Heavens held the same ideals and
values that I saw as important. The archangels seemed to find themselves as having more
power than I and many of the other angels, and the Holy King backed up his archangels.
Zervan brought his gaze down and stared at the misty floor. He looked back at

Vardawing. I know what you are Vardawing, for you see I know that you are a demon
just as I am. You are an elf-angel, with one foot in this world, and the other in another. I
will show you all you need to see, for I can see that you have had much pain in your past,
as will be in your future as well. I will give you the power to match the vengeance you
seek. But for now farewell, great warrior. Vardawing now felt a great surge of energy
flash through his whole body. A purple haze clouded his vision and soon he was back in
the Dianite village staring as the dark hound stalked back into the woods, his purple eyes
still glowing in the darkness. Vardawing fell to his knees and could not breathe very well,
nor move his arms. Syrah went to his side and held him behind his head. The last thing he
saw was her face, and her mouth speaking something he could not make out. Then,
darkness

Vardawing dreamt very strangely while he was unconscious. Or at least he


believed that was what it was. He would find that he was not unconscious, only holding
onto the connection created by Zervan. Vardawing saw himself in darkness and
wondered if he was still alive. A purple haze began to fill the entire area around him, and
he soon saw a scene created from the mist, only shadows at first but then created forms.
Winged forms and bright clothing; however, there were two clear creatures standing the
front of the scene. A large dark hound sat next two legs. The hound turned his head and
looked at Vardawing straightway, and the half-elf could see the bright gleam of purple
looking back at him. Vardawing walked closer to see the other creature. It seemed to be a
man with wings on his back, an angel of some sort. Vardawing crept closer and the hound
grew wild, growling and barking at the half-elf. Vardawing stopped where he was and

looked to see the angel. The angel put his hand on the hounds head to calm him and
turned his head to look at Vardawing. The angel was wearing a dark leather cuirass that
went around his wings and torso. He had short, light hair and a tall build. Vardawing
seemed to be mesmerized by the face however. The mans face was exactly as
Vardawings, but where green eyes should have been, purple eyes glared back at their
green copies. Vardawing tried to ask the creatures questions, but could not speak at all.
The two figures began to fade into the mist and the background scene began to take shape
creating what looked to be a trial. Three angels seemed to be judging from high seats, and
two guard angels were watching the sides. One of the judge angels made a call to one of
the guards to bring in the condemned subjects. The guard left and brought back into the
court two angels in chains. Vardawing noticed that one of the condemned was the angel
of the dark cuirass, and following behind the two condemned was an angel carrying a
bright glowing sword that seemed as if it were on fire. Vardawing noticed this
executioner and thought that he seemed to be familiar to him. Vardawing shook his
confusion away and paid attention to scene at hand. The judges condemned the first angel
to death for a crime Vardawing could not make out, for the angels were speaking in their
own language. The condemned angel was forced to kneel on the ground and the
executioner prepared the fire sword. Placing it above the sternum, he thrust the sword
down into the angels chest and when the angel had stopped moving, removed the sword.
The body then disappeared into a strange fog or dust; Vardawing could not make it out.
He could not believe what he had seen. He had always considered angels to be
invulnerable. The next angel was brought forward and read his charges. Before the judge
could finish his reading, a loud clamor came from beyond the doors, and the doors burst

open. Three angel guards holding the chains of a great hound created the clamor. The
dark hound growled and barked with a brazen maw in a wild fray. Pulling the chains, the
guards had difficulty holding the beast. The judge ordered them to control the beast and
so the guards began to beat the hound with their fists. The hound turned on one of the
guards however, and caught the angels hand in his maw, and bit down on his hand.
Pulling away, the angel saw only the bleeding stump of the hand he once had. The rogue
angel tried to stop the beating, but was held back by the guard angels. Soon the beast no
longer moved and seemed to be unconscious. The judge ordered that the hound be
executed for his crimes. The two guards, who brought the beast in, grabbed the two
chains around the hounds neck and began to pull with all their strength. The hound tried
to breathe but found he could not and writhed in pain. Scratching at the floor, his purple
eyes seemed to pulse from his very skull. Soon he did not move at all; the hound laid on
the floor. The rogue angel looked straight at the head angel leading the judging and then
at the executioner. His purple gaze seemed to find a similar anger and sadness,
Vardawing saw a similar gaze that he gave for Crusher. The rogue angel said something
to the angels within the court and spat upon the floor. Condemned, he was forced to kneel
on the ground. The executioner held his gaze on the rogue angels purple eyes, and
slowly approached the condemned. He placed the sword near the angels sternum, as he
did the first, but he held longer. Vardawing wondered why he was waiting so long. He
raised the blade above his head, but within a flash, the scene was gone, and Vardawing
was alone amongst the mist.
Vardawing woke up moments later sweating in his tent. He placed his face in his
face and cried at the thoughts he had.

Chapter 20

Durin walked about the Great Courtyard within Turonoso. He could remember a
week ago when he called all the people of Turonoso to the very courtyard he now walked
in. He spoke to the people of Turonoso and explained to them that Malog was raising an
army to try and take siege on Turonoso. Many of the people began to panic. With the loss
of their king, who would defend the city and who would train the troops? Riots rose up
all over, but Durin stood fast. He told them that he would train the troops and rally the
defenses of the city. The people did not believe him, but the captain of the guard, called
Dresden, took his blade and cracked the bell of the city, causing the commotion of the
people to subsidize. Dresden walked up with his guards to where Durin spoke to the
people. He was a tall, strong man with a large scar through his left eye, the sun shining
off his silver armor. He spoke to the people.
Everyone be silent. I have seen Durin fight bravely against the forces of Malog
and Bezel. I received this scar from a goblin that was killed by Durins mighty axe. I owe
him my life and my allegiance. While I can still hold a sword, I shall fight for him. At
this, Dresden took out his large silver blade and knelt before Durin. His guards followed
suit and soon the rest of the troops began to kneel as well. Dresden had won over the
confidence of the people, and also helped Durin to gain his confidence as well. Who
would have thought that in a week, they would already be training the troops.
Durin took Dresden as his second-in-command and placed him in charge of
training the men in artillery combat and sword fighting as well. Durin trained the men in

defensive strategies with axe work, and shield work. As Durin strolled around the
training ground, he saw that many of the new recruits were learning very quickly. One
recruit kept tripping in the quarterstaff training, but when he got up from his fall, he
learned to block his legs as well as his upper body and countered each blow. Durin made
his way then to the sword fighting and it was there that he saw the best fighting he has
seen in a long while. Dresden was sparring with a young man who was shorter than
Dresden, but with brown hair. He must have been a recruit, for he had the basic steel
sword and iron shield that was given to all the basic troops. However, his handling of the
armor and weapon were like nothing he had seen in swordsmanship. The young man used
his shield as a blunt weapon, pushing at Dresden and then striking with his sword,
spinning and twirling to catch his opponent off guard. Durin paid close attention to the
lad approached their sparring grounds. The young man was able to catch Dresden off
guard, and pushed him over with his shield.
ENOUGH! Well Dresden, I fear we may have found your match after all these
years. Durin said to Dresden with a little smile as he helped the captain up.
Yes he is very good at combat. Replied Dresden with a great smile on his face.
And who might this fantastic prodigy be then? asked Durin of the young man.
I am Lucius, son of Dresden, captain of the guard, said the young man with a
proud smile on his face.
Oh, of course it would be your son who would best you Dresden. I think at this
rate, we may make him a part of the head guard. Tell me my boy are you good at
stratagems? asked Durin.

To tell the truth sir, I have never learnt them, but must confess that in strategy I
can be quite creative, said Lucius with a smirk.
Ah very good. Well then you will certainly not mind learning the strategies and
would not be opposed to being a part of my war council. As a novice of course, but I
could use a bright young mind like yours on my council. What say you Dresden?
Dresden looked at his son with a proud smile on his face and nodded his head in
approval.
Very well. Then its settled. We will have our first meeting tonight, after training
and dinner. We will meet in the war room.
Lucius bowed to Durin in compliance, and Durin left their training grounds. Once
he had left, they went back to sparring and Durin could not help but look back at his
troops. Soon, they would be some of the finest fighters in the land, and right now all he
could concentrate on was that boy. There was something special about him that drew his
attention, but he could not figure out what.
Does this young man interest you master dwarf? Mind your eyes, or they may
send him to his grave, remarked a voice behind Durin. Durin turned to look behind him
and found standing under the archway in the shadows, a figure. A man emerged from the
darkness in a tall, forest green cloak. He had tall leather boots and wore a dark leather
tunic. Around his waist strapped was a brown belt with a dark scabbard, filled by a long
sword. Upon his back was a quiver full of arrows and hung on his right shoulder was a
yew long bow. Durin could not see his face, for his hood hid that well. Durin pulled a
small hand ax from his belt.
Who are you? asked Durin with his ax ready.

The stranger held up his hands in submission. Whoa! Theres no need for
aggression. Put that blade away, youll hurt yourself. Durin lowered his ax and the
stranger lowered his hands. If you must know, I was summoned here by an old friend.
Here is the letter if you need proof. The man pulled back his hood to reveal his face. He
had dark brown hair that seemed to cover portions of his eyes, and his face was
weathered from the sun, showing some dark stubble. He reached around and searched his
pack. He pulled out a parchment with the wax split a part, a clear sign that he had read
the letter. He handed it over to Durin, and the dwarf read it. The date written was stated
and it was sent out several months ago.

Dear Randor Miletas,


I do hope this comes to you in much better light than what we have here in
Turonoso. It appears that Bezel is not gone. His forces poison the forests near Turonoso.
Now I fear that as they creep closer to our city, they shall try to take Turonoso and
enslave the people within. There are few people I can trust in matters protecting
Turonoso. Bard can lead his people, and Durin can lead my troops, but no one has
clarity and accuracy like that of my own. I feel that my time here in Turonoso is almost
up. I will soon have to leave and stop these skirmishes before they get any worse. I will
take Crusher with me and perhaps the skirmishes will stop. This is why I need you
brother. Come to Turonoso and train my archers. You are the only one who can match
my bow. Use the techniques we were taught and protect my city. I know I can count on
you brother.
Your Brother in Arms,
Vardawing Miletas

Durin looked very shocked about the letter. He closed it once again and saw an
inscription upon the back that read, When night falls, we shall spread our Light. Durin
was confused slightly about all of this, and wanted some answers. Vardawing sent for
you? But why he did he not tell us? And why does he call you brother? Who exactly are
you?
Randor took the letter back and stored it within his pack and prepared himself to
answer this plethora of questions. How much do you know of the Cult of Light, master
dwarf?
Its a myth, a legend used to scare evil men. A group of vigilantes taught to drive
darkness from the world. Yes Ive heard of it, but I find it very hard to believe.
Rest assured master dwarf, it does exist and you are looking at just one of these
vigilantes. There are many of us. I cannot say much more, but realize that Vardawing and
I are brothers of the Light. You wonder about Miletas at the end of his letter? It is a
title given to strains within the cult. Vardawing is one of my brothers within our
strain, and is now also my only brother. Our other brothers have been killed or turned
rogue. I am glad to see that you have all watched over him so well and I thank you for
that. Randor bowed his head to Durin in gratitude. Durin still looked amazed at this new
batch of information. Was it credible? Was Vardawing really a Vigilante of the Light?
Something was not right here, and Durin wanted more answers. He opened his mouth to
speak, but Randor held his hand up.
I am very tired from my journey Durin. We shall speak later this evening. As I
heard from your conversation with that young man, you are holding a war council
tonight. I shall be present to hear how you wish to protect Turonoso, and afterwards I

shall answer whatever questions you still have for me. Randor bowed his head again and
walked away. Durin had never met a man so rude and so blunt. How could Vardawing
consider him a brother?
He realized though that in the days to come they would need to do some hard
artillery training to counter Malogs massive numbers. Through the gates of the training
courtyard, a young soldier came through heaving for breath. He stopped in front of Durin
and stated that he had a message for Durin. He told Durin that Malog had prepared his
forces, and they were now being lead to Turonoso by the Shadow King. Some outside
scouts apparently sighted them, several weeks from Turonoso. Durin gave a grave look
and nodded his head, dismissing the messenger soldier. He looked at his troops again, but
this time realizing that he was running out of time, and that these men will not last if they
do not pick up the pace.

Chapter 21

Malog sat in his throne room, listening to the small sounds around him. He could
hear the torches burning and mice creeping about his floors. He shook it all form his
mind and realized what was the issue at hand. The troops he sent several days ago lead by
the Shadow King would take too long to siege the city of Turonoso. He got up from his
demonic throne and paced about to think of how he should speed up the process. He
remembered the march out of his city, the Shadow King leading the way. Every one of
his goblin troops feared that dead demon king and Malog respected that greatly of him.
He walked out of the room, his hooves creating a steady clamor in the air.
He made his way to the trophy room where he saw his many treasures won in
battle. He looked from curved blade to spiked mace, each battle treasure different than
the next. On the other side of the room there were heads of the beasts he had claimed in
hunts. His eyes however, drew towards the head of Crusher that he had mounted after his
encounter with Vardawing in the woods. Crushers eyes seem to stare straight through
Malog and the Minotaur soon felt a strong chill up his spine. Never before had he felt this
fear from such a creature, and it indeed frightened him. He looked at his hands and there
seemed to be blood dripping from his hands and he called out at the disgusting filth. He
looked up again at Crushers head and what he saw mounted was his head on the wall.
The orifices of his mounted head seemed to drip the same blood from his hands, and he
was even more frightened. He yelled in his trophy room.
Sir? a small voice asked from behind him.

Malog then tried to regain his composure and looked at the goblin that had spoke,
and looked back at the mounted head. There staring back at him was Crushers head
perfectly normal. Malog seemed puzzled by what had happened, and wondered if there
was a deeper magic within this mounted treasure. He turned back to the goblin and asked
him, What do you want?
Sir, our scouts from the woods have returned to report. They say they have seen
a great deal of Lupine setting traps within the woods. They believe that the traps are
meant for the Shadow Kings troops, said the goblin.
Malog dismissed the goblin and watched as he ran away. He dared not look back
at the tiger head on his wall, and walked out of the room. He thought of what he to do
now in order to combat these Lupine. He remembered when the Lupine had once fought
alongside his fathers troops, but had no recollection that they still existed.
He wandered to a separate corridor where he looked at a picture hanging upon the
wall. The picture showed a winged demon chasing after a maiden, revelers in the back at
a wedding. The inscription on the bottom stated Legion claiming his Bride. Malog
stared at the picture until the scene within began to move. The frame grew bright and
opened up into a dark stairway. Malog followed it all the way down till he reached the
very bottom which lead to a large vaulted room. In the middle of the room was a large
statue of what seemed to be a great demon. You see Malog built his castle upon an
ancient temple devoted to a great pagan demon called Asmodeus. According to his
worshippers from the East, he was the creator of earthly chaos. Malog had worshipped
Asmodeus since he discovered his shrine. Malog knelt before the statue and began to
chant in an ancient language. He discovered the chants carved into the stone walls,

encased around the statue. Asmodeus had the body of a werewolf and the head of a large
serpent, and his eyes were two bright rubies. Malogs chanting began to crescendo and
soon the statue began to glow all over. Soon, the statue broke apart and the terrible
demon stood before Malog. The demon stretched to feel his new body and looked about
him. He looked down at Malog and gave a cruel smile about his wicked mouth.
What is your bidding? said Asmodeus in a deep hissing tone.

Malog lead Asmodeus up the stairs and into the main chamber. There he
presented him with a lineup of armor and weapons to choose from. Asmodeus ran his
paws over the steel and silver armaments. Finally, he chose a great silver breastplate with
shoulder guards. It had a great wolf upon its chest and it shone in the firelight. The
weapon was a great spiked mace made of steel. Asmodeus was now ready to lead
Malogs elite forces, the Krator. These were the finest warriors at Malogs disposal and
were the fiercest of beasts. They were covered in a leathery skin, and long black hair that
came out a spout at the back of their bronze helmets. They were covered in bronze armor
from shoulders to greaves, and they were armed with curved scimitars and large bronze
shields. They were known as the golden army for their armor shone brightly in the sun.
They were as tall as men and built strong like a steel shield.
Asmodeus took his new force and marched out of Malogs fortress. Soon, you
could no longer see the gleam of their armor, nor the demon king who lead them. The
Krator disappeared into the forests.

Chapter 22

Vardawing buttoned up his tunic and strapped his sword around his shoulder so it
saddled at his left hip. He buckled his hunting knife near where his strap met his sternum.
He had to be ready to battle Zervan in his cave. However, he also knew that he needed to
get some answers from the demon hound. He hung his bow upon his right shoulder and
strung his waist quiver at his right hip, filled with several long-tipped arrows. He left his
cloak in the hut and crouched his way outwards. Since Vardawing and Syrah had arrived
at the Dianite village on such short notice, the villagers could only afford to give
Vardawing and Syrah the long huts in order to sleep in. Vardawing offered to make a
small camp for Syrah and himself just outside of the village, but they would not allow it.
Though it was very kind of them to give up their long huts for a couple days, the two
warriors did not realize how cramped their new living area was.
Vardawing walked out into the sunlight of the glen and looked about for Syrah.
He finally spotted her talking to a couple of the Dianites; Fendor was following her.
Vardawing remembered the dream that he had and wondered if Syrah had dreamt
strangely as well. He walked over to her.
Good morning. What happened last night? Vardawing stated amongst the
group.
Everyone looked at Vardawing as if he were crazy. They did not know that
Zervan had caused Vardawing to relapse and thought he knew all about what had
happened. The only one to not be shocked was Syrah. She looked into his face and
relayed all that had happened.

Last night the demon attacked the village and killed many of the villagers,
including King Jarol. I saw it try to attack you, but you both seemed to stand staring at
each other. I was so confused about what had happened that I walked near you to try and
break you from whatever hold he had upon you, but soon the beast backed away into the
forest and vanished from sight. You collapsed to the ground and I went to see if you were
all right, but you had passed out. I placed you inside your long hut so you could rest.
How are you feeling today? Syrah looked with somewhat concern upon her face.
Ive been better to tell the truth. I hit my head on the ceiling when I woke so now
I have a slight headache, but I think I should be ok. I believe we need to stop the hound
today. Syrah nodded her head and made her way to her long hut to grab her armor.
Vardawing looked at Fendor who stared as if he wished to say something, but could not.
Fendor, do you know where the demons cave is? Fendor slowly nodded his head.
Good. I need you to lead me to his dwelling. Fendor began to shiver all over. So
Vardawing crouched down to look at him and placed his hand upon the demons
shoulder. Fendor, I need to find the beast and stop him. Otherwise more of your people
will die. I only need you to lead me to the cave; you do not need to enter with me.
Fendor nodded his head and made his way to the edge of the forest. Vardawing look
around and saw that Syrah was now ready to leave as well. They both made their way as
well and soon were following Fendor into the forest.
After several minutes of walking within the forest, Vardawing began to slowly lag
behind and soon Syrah realized that he wished her to lag as well. When they were out of
earshot of Fendor, Vardawing spoke to Syrah. Did you have any strange dreams last

night? Syrah looked at him funny, as if he had spoke in another language. She shook her
head. Why do you ask? she replied.
Vardawing looked forward as if to try and see something within the trees. When
you saw me staring at the beast, you were right, he was trying to make a connection with
me. His name is Zervan, and he is the Hound of Heaven. Syrah looked confused Why
would a hound of Heaven be here on land asked Syrah.
Not just any hound, THE Hound of Heaven. Apparently, theres only one.
However, Im not sure how he got here, but I might have a good idea. He told me that
there was some rebellion in the Heavens that he was a part of. It was a rebellion against
the Holy King, and many of the archangels were split between Zervans side, and the
Holy Kings. He said he was made the Hound of Heaven by the order of The Stars, a
power higher than that of the Holy King. Thats all he told me but then he showed me
something else while I dreamt.
Syrahs look now went from confusion to shock. Vardawing, what did he show
you? Vardawing told Syrah about the judgment scene and the killing of the rebel angels,
and finally the killing of the hound. He also told her about the strange appearance of the
angel with the purple eyes, the same angel that looked like Vardawing. Syrah looked
completely speechless.
Therefore, I need some answers from Zervan. I dont believe that he wants to
harm us, but something is definitely not right here. Syrah nodded her head and they
continued to follow Fendor through the forest.

After a while, they finally reached a small glade and across from them stood the
cave of Zervan. Fendor stopped leading them and waited for them at the edge of the
glade. Vardawing and Syrah walked across the healthy grass and noticed that everything
was very quiet all around. The only noise was a slight wind that came across the both of
them and seemed to welcome them.
The maw of the cave looked as if it were ready to devour its next victims; a beast
within a beast one could say. They wandered into the mouth of the cave, working their
way through the belly of the beast. Vardawing drew his sword and it began to glow all
around them and he could now see the walls of the cave. There were drawings of
different figures all around them. Vardawing saw repetitive icons all around: a double
dagger with one pointing upward and the other pointing downward. Vardawing saw two
figures kneeling with a figure behind raising a weapon. He remembered the two angels
who were executed and shuddered. As they continued onward, the drawings seemed to
become far fiercer and bloodier. Vardawing raised his sword higher as the cave became
darker and he flashed it around the walls. He noticed a mist began to swirl around him
and he saw a strange picture upon the wall. It was the perfect icon of a dark beast with
purple fur all around, and a jaw lined with steel fangs. Its eyes were a bright purple and
they gleamed in the darkness. Vardawing walked on, but Syrah stopped where she was.
There seemed to be an invisible wall holding her back but allowing Vardawing to
continue.
I will continue on; I think I am getting close. Vardawing turned back around
and faced the darkness of the cave. Soon, he could no longer see Syrah behind him. He
could now hear a slight breathing other than his own and now to this point wondered

something very strange. If this demon had killed so many Dianites, where were all the
bones?
As he continued onward, he now saw two bright purple gems glowing in the
darkness and when he brought his blade closer, he now could see the face of Zervan,
gleaming teeth and all. I was wondering when you would show up. Said Zervan with a
slight smile. Vardawing went to draw his knife, but something stopped him, and he could
not move. I wouldnt do that if I were you, replied Zervan to the aggression. The mist
surrounded them both and soon they were standing in an abyss with wind flowing all
around them. There was no sound from the wind, but Vardawing could feel its mighty
rush. Where are we? Vardawing cried out. Zervan only looked at Vardawing and
smiled as if their surroundings were obvious. Soon the winds died down and they were
within a dark wood; everything was now silent except for a few birds here and there.
What you just saw was a hundred thousand souls funneling through a whirlwind
of despair. The Holy King betrayed each one of those souls; each one was deceived. The
reason I brought you there was to show you some foresight to your own future and your
friends futures as well. Vardawing looked very confused.
Why would the Heavens betray us? We have always had help from them before
and they have given it willingly. And why should I trust you?
Zervan turned to look Vardawing in the face. Because I do not wish to see your
fate be the same as mine, and neither does my master. This war between you and Malog
goes deeper than you would think. It spans the very reaches of time and space, this
ongoing battle of good and evil. If you kill Malog, the Holy King will be worried that you
will come to take his throne, for he knows who and what you are.

Vardawing looked very puzzled. And what am I? Zervan smiled, a bright


light within a world of darkness.
I dont understand, replied Vardawing.
Zervan turned around again. The mark you bear upon your lower back; the very
mark you received when you joined your brotherhood of soldiers. Do you know what that
mark states? It means that you and your brothers devote their lives to the urgency of
enlightenment within the world. You serve a light far brighter than your own. This is why
the Holy King fears you. He fears what you will do to him; what you are destined to do.
Vardawing brought a sense of fear across his face.
I could never take on the Heavens, and this mark does not grant me that power.
Besides, how did you know about the secret order? And who exactly are you? I saw the
judgment image. Was it you that was executed?
Zervan turned back to look at Vardawing and an orange mark burned around his
neck. Yes, it was me who you saw, a younger me though. A renegade angel created the
secret order that you joined. He is my friend and is also my master. It is he who controls
the main power that I have. Yes, I am not of this world. I am merely a shadow, a phantom
cast to this world to find you. Do not fear Vardawing, even after I am gone, I shall still be
with you. I will not speak with you any longer of these matters. Soon we shall speak and
my master shall make his presence known.
Is the man with you from the image your master?
Yes, that was he. However, another to bring about change within this world
has now called him; change that you shall aid him with. Now, I shall be gone from here.

These people will no longer be haunted by my shade. You have saved them Vardawing,
and more so than you know, you have saved me.
A great wind flew around them again and Vardawing placed his arm to cover his
eyes. When the winds had died down, he was alone in the cave, his sword upon the dark
ground. Its calm glow flickering in the darkness and calm growl rolled in the dark.
Vardawing felt a wild feeling in his body, as if it was not just him within his own self.
Vardawing picked up his sword and raised it to see around him. The light illuminated an
image on the wall that he had not seen before. He looked closely at drawing and seemed
puzzled. The drawing was in fact two images in once scene: One was of a young man
speaking to a great hound, and the other was of two men shaking hands with an X
above their hands. Vardawing looked at one of the men and noticed that there was a
strange hump upon the back of one of the men. The elf-angel noticed that the X was
similar to the mark on his lower back, and he remembered his training years ago. He
slowly closed his eyes to meditate.

PART II
Chapter 23
Vardawing, you must concentrate on your studies. If you dont, you will never
strive to be a great warrior. A warrior must be able to have both knowledge and strength
to over come evil in the world. An old man spoke straight to the young elf-angel, who
was no more than the age of fourteen.
I am sorry Master Jengo. I have not been able to sleep lately, replied the young
lad.
Still having bad dreams? Vardawing nodded his head. I am sorry boy about
your nightmares, but you must put the past behind you. I promise you they shall go away.
Darkness has no place here, and I am sure that your dreams are darker than many. The
mentor placed his hand upon the boys shoulder. The boy turned his head back to reading
his books. After your studies are done for the day, you may have the rest of the day to
do as you please. The boy smiled at the old mentor and Jengo smiled back. The old
mentor walked out of the room. Vardawing continued to read from his book Histories of
the Ancient Fire Empires, until he was finished. He returned the book to one of the
bookshelves around the room and strolled out of the room.
Within the next room, there were ten great bookshelves made of cold granite
blocks. These bookshelves carried some of the most influential and controversial
mediums of knowledge from each corner of the world. Within the middle of this library
were two long stone tables where students sat and read their studies. Vardawing noticed
that one of the students, a Dragoon named Kitstar, was reading a book called Angelic

Histories. Vardawing approached the half-man, half-dragon and asked him if he could
borrow the book after Kitstar was done with it. The blue-skinned boy nodded to
Vardawing and went back to study the ancient tome. Vardawing felt bad for Kitstar, for
even though there were many elves and men, Kitstar was the only Dragoon. His people
came from lands far to the north of the shrine and Vardawing could not figure out how he
was so far from his people. In many ways, Vardawing gave him the most respect amongst
the other students. Across Kitstar was a boy reading what looked to be Ancient Myths of
the Light, but as Vardawing walked past, he noticed that on the inside was a picture
book of crude drawings, which the lad was hiding.
Vardawing walked out of the library and was now within a large courtyard, with a
fountain at one end and a large statue of Sir Lawrence at the other end. There were some
students practicing their sword skills, being tutored by the sword master, Master Hongou.
It was Hongou who taught Vardawing how to control the agility of his short sword and
hunting knife. However, there were no weapons allowed within the shrine and so
Vardawings weapons were taken by Master Hongou and would be given back once his
training was completed. One of the students Hongou was teaching used a quick technique
on the other student and knocked him down. Hongou stopped the boy from striking the
other boy with his own wooden practice sword. He chastised the boy for using such a
base technique on an inexperienced swordsman. He slapped the boy across the face and
the boy fell to the earth. Vardawing went to help the boy up, but the lad pushed
Vardawings hand away.
I dont need help from you! The boy said to Vardawing. Understandably, he
looked upset and Vardawing could see a slight bruise upon his right cheek.

Zaxor, have some respect for young Vardawing. He should never have even tried
to help you up, being the worm you are. Hongou said to the lad. From what Vardawing
could tell, Zaxor must have been about 13 years old, just a bit younger than himself.
Zaxor gave an angry look at Hongou and moved back to his spot in the practice field. The
other student had been standing behind Hongou watching the whole scene and looked at
Vardawing. Master Hongou looked back to Vardawing.
Vardawing, I have not seen you practice your sword fighting in a long while.
Perhaps you could teach Zaxor some manners in battle
There are not manners and formalities in battle! Only anger and hate! replied
Zaxor behind Hongou. Shut it, you little weasel! This is why you can never be a great
warrior. If you could only learn to control your hatred like Vardawing does, then you
could be a great warrior. Hongou beamed upon Vardawing, but Vardawing only looked
to the floor. Well, what say you Vardawing? Will you practice with us, that is if its all
right with Randor here. Vardawing looked at the boy standing behind Hongou and saw
behind his dark hair, grey eyes, timid and shy. He nodded his approval. Excellent! Well
Vardawing choose your sword. Hongou stated as he pulled Randor aside.
Vardawing walked over to a small chest containing the weapons for practice.
Hongou had never met a fighter who fought with a knife and sword before, so he made
one especially for Vardawing. He pulled his sparring knife out and picked up a practice
short sword.
Zaxor pointed at Vardawing. Thats not fair! He shouldnt be allowed two blades
when I have only one.

Hongou looked at Zaxor. Zaxor, when Darkness fights you, it shall have more
than two blades. How then will you fight? If you would practice more, you would be able
to fight with two blades like Vardawing.
Once Vardawing had his blades in hand, he positioned himself opposite of Zaxor.
Both readied for their sparring practice. Zaxor charged at Vardawing and brought down a
hard blow with his practice sword, but Vardawing was ready to defend it. He placed his
short sword above his head and countered with a knife swipe, which caused Zaxor to
jump back. Both began to circle each other as a means to gain the upper hand. Zaxor tried
a lunge, which Vardawing parried with his knife, and Zaxor returned with a sword swipe
around, almost dealing Vardawing a blow to the head if he had not ducked just in time.
Vardawing was impressed by Zaxors speed, but Master Hongou was right, he did fight
with anger and hate. Zaxor struck back with a double blow from the right and then left,
both times blocked by Vardawings blades. Vardawing attacked and brought their blades
together. They tried to push one another back, two great opposing forces. Vardawing
caught a glimpse of Zaxors eyes and noticed that they were the same color grey as
Randors. Vardawing jumped away from Zaxors blade and Zaxor tried to use his quick
swipe on Vardawing, but in seeing it before, Vardawing knew how to counter it.
Vardawing quickly parried the swipe and brought his knife to Zaxors throat. Both were
heaving from tiredness, but Zaxor looked shocked at the knife blow. Hongou approached
them both.
Well done Vardawing! Master Hongou patted him upon the back with a great
smile. You could learn much from him Zaxor, and you too as well Randor. Randor
smiled at Vardawing, who couldnt help but smile back. Vardawing and Zaxor brought

their blades down and Vardawing bowed to show respect to Zaxor, but Zaxor did not stir.
Vardawing felt awkward by the gesture but tried to act accomplished from the battle.
After all, he was one of the best swordsmen in the shrine. He looked into Zaxors eyes,
and wondered why there was so much hatred in them. Hongou took Randor by the
shoulder and spoke to him about Vardawings double blade technique, a technique
Randor wished to learn.
As Vardawing turned to return the practice blades, he did not realize that
treachery stood within just feet of him. Zaxor was not too keen about losing the fight,
something that does not normally happen. He raised up his blade and ran at Vardawing.
Randor saw Zaxor charge at Vardawing and looked with shock.
Vardawing! Randor shouted. Hongou turned about to see what was happening.
However, it was not quick enough, for Vardawing heard his name and turned, but
very soon he felt the hard wood of Zaxors blade strike his head. He fell to the ground
and before Zaxor could strike again, he was charged down by Randor and then held by
Hongou.
Vardawing only saw Zaxor about to strike him, and then with blood running down
his face, everything went black.

Chapter 24
Vardawing opened his eyes very slowly and saw light coming through a window
into his face. He sat up in his bed. He was lying in the infirmary of the shrine. He felt
around he head and noticed a slight pain coming from the side of his head. His hand felt a
wrapping placed around his head. The blow must have done more than he thought,
possibly causing a concussion. He laid back down to rest for a while. Hopefully, he
would get some news about what had happened.
He noticed movement coming from the door and turned his eyes to see who it
was. It was Randor.
Vardawing! Youre awake! Oh thank the Stars youre all right. How are you
feeling?
Im doing well. I have to say my head still hurts slightly. What happened? Why
am I here in the infirmary?
Randor looked down at the floor and then back into Vardawings eyes. Zaxor
was upset that he had lost, and charged at you from behind. You got hit in the head and
there was a gash upon your left temple, but Master Jengo healed you up and carried you
here. The Head Council is not pleased with Zaxors actions. He is being punished as we
speak.
What are they doing to him?
I heard Master Jengo speaking to Master Hongou about that. They spoke of a
whipping. Hopefully, this punishment will teach Zaxor to control his emotions.
Vardawing could not help but feel slightly guilty for the punishment, but deep
down he did not feel right about Zaxor. Something about him seemed to disturb

Vardawing greatly. Vardawing looked back at Randor. Why does he hound you all the
time? And why do you let him?
Randor looked again at the floor, but did not look back up. Before he could speak,
Vardawing noticed a tall figure standing at the doorway. It was Master Jengo.
Well I see you are awake finally. You know, being unconscious for two days
does not excuse your studies, Jengo said with a great smile on his face. Vardawing
smiled back. Who said I wasnt studying within my subconscious. Vardawing looked
brightly at the two of them.
Well, Im glad that youre ok. It seems that you are either very lucky, or very
fortunate Vardawing to have such a friend as Randor. He practically saved your life and
watched over you for two days. That is certainly what I call dedication. Randor blushed
slightly at the comment. Jengo lowered his head to Randor and shortened his smile. Im
sorry about your brother. It seems that his tutorship shall go on hold for a while. The
council has deemed him to be a danger to himself and others. Randor looked up at Jengo
and Jengo looked back to Vardawing. Vardawing, when you are ready, come to my
office. I have to speak with you on a certain matter. A personal lesson if you will.
Vardawing nodded his head and Master Jengo gave his leave of his two pupils.
Once the master had left, Vardawing looked at Randor, confused at what he had
heard. Brother? Randor nodded his head and looked at Vardawing.
Zaxor is my brother. Twin brother to be exact, but he would like to think he is
the older one. That is why he haunts me constantly. I do not know why he is filled with
so much hatred and will not tell anyone. What I am really frightened about though, is that
he cannot control who he is. Vardawing still looked surprised at Randor.

Randor again looked at the floor, unsure of how to tell his new friend about his
great secret. Vardawing, my brother and I are half-man, half-Lupine. Many call us
werewolves, but we dont change at a certain time like a full moon. No, we are not cursed
in that sort of manner, but if our emotions take hold of us, the Lupine soul within us takes
over, and we cannot control it. Not very many people know about my brother and I.
Master Jengo has been trying to teach me how to control the Lupine soul, and use it
against evil, not for evil. Zaxor does not see this control however, and he only seeks to
destroy. Randor looked back at Vardawing.
I thought all the Lupine had been wiped out by Bezels forces.
Randor smiled back at Vardawing. Not wiped out, simply driven into the forests.
There are some left, but not many. A man, a woodsman, found my brother and I in the
forests near here. He had bright blonde hair, almost like yours and he had a sort of
perfection about him. He always wore a long dark coat and kept to himself for the most
part. He taught us how to read, write and speak. He taught us how to survive in the wild,
but the strange thing was that when either of us let our Lupine spirit go, he was not
frightened. Instead, he watched us and gave us special herbs to calm our spirits. About a
year ago, he brought us here to the Shrine of Light with a letter. Master Jengo took us in
and read the letter. He looked very shocked at the words in the letter and immediately
brought us to our new rooms. I never did find out what was in the letter but what ever it
was, it was enough to convince the High Council that there was something special about
my brother and I.
Vardawing gave a smile back and gave Randor the notion that he too was brought
into the shrine with a sense of mystery. My parents were killed by Bezel many miles

away from here. I would have been killed too, if it were not for the winged man who
saved me and drove Bezel away. I never did get to meet him or thank him. After I buried
my parents, I vowed to get my revenge on Bezel and roamed the forests. Soon, I came to
the forests around the shrine and snuck up upon Master Jengo. He was unarmed, but he
still was able to hold me down with a strange force. While I struggled under his grip, he
noticed the pendent around my neck and looked at it carefully. He spoke to me and held
his hand over the necklace, causing it to glow with a small hum. Master Jengo smiled and
let me up. He called me by my name and told me to come with him. Being hungry, I
followed him. He gave me food, water, new clothes, and a bed to sleep on. This was
about two years ago. Master Jengo took me in and began to train me. Master Hongou
trained me in my own fighting style, and I began to grow in strength and concentration.
My anger dissipated into almost nothing, but I never did learn why my necklace was so
interesting.
Vardawing laid back down and blinked an eye at Randor. Perhaps Randor, there
is something very important about us. Let me ask you this, do you practice at the archery
fields? Randor nodded is head. Ah excellent. You should meet me there after my lesson
with Master Jengo, and then I can show you how to fight with two blades. But for now, I
think Im going to try and get some more rest before my lesson. Randor nodded his head
and walked out of the infirmary.
Vardawing felt something very strange about Randor. Something very important
was going on with that boy, but he couldnt think what it could be.

Chapter 25
That very night, the healing master removed Vardawings wrappings and
examined the wound. Her name was Mistress Asclepula and she was in charge of tutoring
pupils in the arts of medicine and herbal works. She also ran the shrine infirmary when
any of the students were sick or injured. She was a sweet woman, like a lioness with her
cubs.
Though it was nighttime, and many of the students were asleep, Vardawing still
wished to see Master Jengo. He walked around the courtyard and looked up at the statue
of Sir Lawrence. Vardawing had read many different legends about Sir Lawrence, but his
favorite had always been about his battle with the Shadow King. For years, the masters of
the shrine had spoken to their pupils of the evils of the Shadow King, and not only of him
but also of the evils of Bezel, the Demon King.
He looked on Sir Lawrence as a role model, as a shining star against the darkness.
Sir Lawrence stood with his sword blazing by the moonlight, his marble shield steady at
his side. The statue faced towards another statue, its very opposite. The statue was that of
the demon Shadizar. He was one of the oldest demons in existence and was among the
demons that aided Sir Lawrence within many of his adventures. The statue of Shadizar
had large webbed wings, like that of a bat. He held aloft two short scimitars in defense.
Not very many people knew about Shadizar and considered him to be one of the evil
demons of darkness. Vardawing looked proudly upon the demon. The statue represented
more than just a demon. It represented the fact that though there is good and evil in this
world, there is no real evil being and no good being. A demon can be good and an angel

can be evil. This was a fundamental teaching of the shrine, a teaching that was unique to
this holy shrine.
Vardawing looked above the demon statues head and saw a light still on within a
room. Vardawing was glad to see that Master Jengo was still awake within his office. He
left the courtyard and made his way up the right staircase where Master Jengos office
was. He noticed that the light was on and the door was ajar. Vardawing peeked within,
but did not see Master Jengo anywhere within. Vardawing opened the door and let
himself in, Master Jengo? No one answered back.
Master Jengos office was round at one end and rectangular at the other end,
where the entrance was. The round end contained a high bookshelf that spanned the
entirety of the wall. There were more books upon the shelf than Vardawing would ever
care to read in his lifetime. There was a ladder next to the bookshelf that led up to a loft
where Master Jengo slept. Something seemed to be moving up in the loft. As Vardawing
crept forward, he looked around to seem if there was anything amiss within the office.
Upon Jengos desk was a book with a pearl emblem upon the front; there was nothing
else upon the desk. Vardawing looked up towards the loft, Ma-Master Jengo?
Whatever was moving up in the loft stopped moving and peered down at
Vardawing. It was very dark, but Vardawing could make out the face of his mentor, but
something was wrong. His eyes looked like two small moons, and his lips were glistening
in the moonlight. Jengo squinted his eyes to see who it was, Vardawing is that you?
The young pupil nodded his head with a slight confused look upon his face. Jengo gave a
slight smile back to his favored pupil. Give me one second. I shall be right down.

Vardawing backed away and stood next to the desk to await his mentor. Jengo
disappeared within the loft and returned once again to climb down the ladder. Once he
had reached the ground, he turned about to face Vardawing. Vardawing noticed that his
eyes were slowly returning to their normal status, and the glistening of his lips was gone
as well. UmmmMaster Jengo, are you all right? Master Jengo smiled back at
Vardawing to try and reassure him. I am completely all right. Vardawing smiled back.
You wished to see me sir? Vardawing asked. Jengo walked over to his desk.
Yes, yes I did. First of all, I imagine you are feeling better, otherwise you would
not be here speaking to me. Vardawing nodded his head to answer. Well that is
excellent to hear. The main reason I called you here Vardawing was to speak with you
about a very important matter. Vardawing, do you remember when I found you outside of
the shrine, just before I took you in?
Vardawing nodded. Yes. If I remember correctly, you were very interested in my
necklace.
Jengo looked a bit troubled by the statement. Yes, your necklace. Do you
remember by chance how you came across that pendent around your neck?
Vardawing looked a bit confused again. I do not remember. I have had it since
before I can remember.
Jengo looked even more troubled. And you have no idea about what it says?
Vardawing did not think that anything was written upon his pendent. He simply
assumed that the scratches upon it were simply wear marks. He shook his head. Jengo
nodded his head slowly.

It is written in a language that not many can read. Every master and mistress here
at the shrine can read it. It is the language of the celestial beings. It is the language of the
angels. Vardawing held a confused look upon his face.
The angels? But what do I have to do with the angels? I am just an elf.
Vardawing asked his master.
Master Jengo looked at Vardawing with a look of resolve. I do not know why
you have that necklace Vardawing, but I am fairly certain that celestial powers are
protecting you. Jengo looked back at the book on his desk. Vardawing, do you know
who built this shrine and began its teachings? Vardawing shook his head. Centuries
ago, several angels came to this world to spread their teachings and give their knowledge
unto us. These were said to be fallen angels, cast down from the Heavens because they
wished to help mankind. There were many of these holy shrines all over the land, each
one teaching about the concept of light conquering the darkness. Soon, the Holy King
found out about these shrines and sent angels to destroy them. These celestial beings
known only to historians as the avengers, slaughtered all the teachers and their pupils.
Statues were overturned and books were destroyed. The shrines were left in ruins, and the
angels who created them were sought out as well. Only a very few survived, but those
that were found held a greater punishment: the fiery sword of an archangel, said to be the
highest of angels, executed them. There were only so many archangels in the universe,
possibly even about a dozen or so.
Jengo stopped telling the story and looked at Vardawing. Vardawing had no idea
how to take all this information in. He was the product of something so controversial that

the Holy King would despise it. Vardawing could only wonder why would they all be
destroyed.
Master Jengo, why were they all destroyed?
Master Jengo looked back at the book on the desk and picked it up. He walked
over to Vardawing and handed it to him.
I translated this from its original language into our language. It may hold the
answers to your questions. However, I must ask that you do not speak of what we have
spoken here. None of the students know of the shrines true origin. Vardawing nodded
his head and took the book. It seemed very light and the pearl emblem upon the front was
of an angel with its wings outspread and where his eyes were, there were two purple
gems.
What is this book? Vardawing asked. Jengo looked back at his desk and looked
again at his student.
It is the untold history of the angels, written by the head of our order. That is all I
can tell you right now, but rest assured, I shall relate more to you in good time. We shall
have another meeting to speak on such topics; possibly after the Equinox, when you will
be placed in your families. Vardawing did not realize that his rite of passage was only
two weeks away, and he did not know which family he would be apart of. Now,
Vardawing, I must get some rest. I am very tired from the day. Besides, you need rest as
well. Vardawing nodded his head with a concerned look upon his face. Jengo took him
by the shoulders. I am sorry that this night has turned to a frightful night for you, but I
believed it to be my duty to give you all the clarity and insight that you deserve. There is
something very special about you Vardawing, and I am frightened that you do not know

what that is. Hopefully, with some help I can create clarity for the both of us in this
matter. Now, keep that book hidden, and only read it when you know you are alone.
Vardawing placed the book in his jacket pocket and looked back at Jengo. You are not
alone Vardawing. Vardawing smiled back at his mentor and left the office.
Vardawing looked back up at the moon as he walked to his room to sleep. He
couldnt help but wonder if someone was watching him.

Chapter 26

Vardawing woke up in his room, shaking from the nightmare he had had. For
weeks he had the same terrible nightmare: Bezels terrible face, grinning with steel fangs
and red eyes burning deep within him. Even though Master Jengo had taught Vardawing
to give up his sense of vengeance against Bezel, part of him still wanted the demon dead.
Vardawing placed his face in his hands. He looked at the window of his room; the sun
was shining through.
Vardawing got up from his bed and walked to the window. He looked out to see
that clearly the morning had come without any notification to the young elf. Vardawing
saw the ancient book upon is small desk. He walked over to the desk to observe the book.
Upon the pearl emblem, there were two purple gems, as if two purple eyes were staring
back at Vardawing. He changed into his tunic, took the book, and left his room.
Walking down the hall and to the steps, he made his way to the kitchen to perhaps
grab a snack before he began his quest of angelic knowledge. Within the kitchen, Muglug the chef was finishing cooking up breakfast. Now, Mug-lug was far more interesting
to everyone at the shrine, for no one could understand how a large troll could cook so
well. The troll noticed Vardawing stepping into his kitchen, and approached the young
elf.
Well hello Vardawing! What brings you to my kitchen? shouted the troll with a
booming voice.

Hello Mister Mug-lug! I was wondering if you had any snacks or such that I
could take off your hands. You see, I slept through breakfast, and need to get to my
studies. However, one cannot learn on an empty stomach.
Right you are my lad! Well, I guess you can lay claim to a snack if youd like!
The troll smiled, and Vardawing could see the healthy bottom fangs pierce up over the
upper lip. Mug-lug went back to carving meat for dinner that evening. Vardawing walked
about the kitchen and could smell all the spices and seasonings for the dinner. Everything
smelled delicious in that kitchen, and Vardawing would have sat in the kitchen and had
taken all the scents in. However, he needed to get to his reading. He quickly took a pear
and some dried meat that Mug-lug had been curing for sometime. He placed the food in
his tunic and made his way out of the kitchen.
Vardawing finally made his way outdoors and saw his favorite tree was open just
for him. It was a great oak tree that held immense amounts of shade in the summer days
when it was sweltering. Vardawing constantly felt at home with this tree, as if it were
Nature herself. He sat down under the branches, and pulled the pear from his tunic. He
took a bite from the soft fruit and tasted all the juices within. It was soothing and
refreshing to his senses. He then took the ancient book from the other side of his tunic
and opened to the first page. He noticed that the first couple pages were all an
introductory. The pages read:
To divulge upon the nature of light and dark, good and evil; I, Luce, son of
Ardente, Star of Water, shall explain the untold histories of the angels and archangels
alike. I write this book on the eve of a great revolution against uncouth tyranny, to
explain many things, including the events leading up to this great revolution. Within

these pages, you shall find the origin of the Heavens, angels, and the Holy King himself.
Other sections shall explain the powers of the angels and finally, the great revolution.
May my knowledge give you as a reader a better understanding in the pursuit of The
Light.
Vardawing looked a bit confused by the whole introduction, but read onwards
until he came to the origins section. It read:
To begin, there was nothing within the world. Darkness ruled over all as if a void
encompassed everything. From within this void came five great lights. These great lights
had their own name, which none knew but themselves. Strictly speaking, if one were to
hear their actual name, doom would come to the listener, and a primeval curse would
follow them throughout their days. We angelic beings knew them only as the Stars. These
five Stars were not only lights pervading the darkness, but they were also ancient deities,
just rulers of the world. Each one represented and ruled over an aspect that they gave to
this world: To begin, Gaea, Star of Earth, forged with her words, fertile land and
vegetation. She created the land you stand on now and she has been within it ever since,
protecting it. It is from her bosom that the elves and sprites sprang forth from.
Vardawing thought for a moment. All this time, Nature had been Gaea. The very
entity watching over him was one of the all-powerful Stars. He couldnt help but feel a
twinge of importance. He read on:
Once Gaea had formed the land, Ardente, Star of Water and mother of Luce,
cried and her tears made rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Some of these waters held her
healing powers intact and were said to cure all ailings. Within these waters, Ardente

placed all of the animals of the seas. Some may even hear whales crying for their mother
Ardente.
Healing waters? Vardawing had never seen anything like that before in his life.
Perhaps if he was able to find one, he could be cured of his nightmares. He bit again into
his pear and noticed that the flesh had lost some of its flavor. He continued to read on:
Once the land was set in motion, Falcor, Star of the Sky, created the azure
heavens to guard the land. He flew over it in the shape of a great eagle, and noticed all
that was beauteous in Ardente. Therefore, Falcor was determined to make Ardente his
wife. However, Makento, the Star of Fire, saw the desire of his sky-clad brother and
became jealous. Makento tried to seduce Ardente with gifts, but none would win her
heart. Makento placed the sun in the sky, as a means to show the shimmering of
Ardentes waters. Still, Ardente would not submit. Makento finally created from his fiery
hairs, hundreds of winged demons, and gave them as a gift to Ardente to wait on her
every whim. Still, Ardente refused.
Makento had had enough, and so he took Ardente to his home, within the depths
of Mount Phalakai. However, as clever as Makento was, he did not realize that Falcor had
entered his lair undetected to rescue Ardente. Within her cell, Falcor noticed her beauty
was still shimmering, even underground. He whisked her from Mount Phalakai before his
brother could find out about the escape. Falcor took Ardente to his lair within the
Heavens, the very home where I live now and detail this tale.
When Makento had found out that his bride had disappeared, he became furious
and caused his mountain lair to erupt. He called upon his demons to take back Ardente,
and so they flew to the Heavens. However, they were held at bay by a strange force. For

you see, amongst the Stars, there is a great understanding of justice and law. This law has
its own great power and the final Star of Beings upholds it: Thea, the Star of Darkness.
Now I do not speak of darkness as an evil substance but I speak particularly of the night.
Thea honored Falcor and Ardentes wedding nuptials and so, the demons were
expelled to a cave near Mount Phalakai, where Thea created a wall composed of
shrouded mist to keep them within, and they still wait behind that wall. May those evil
beings never leave their damned domain.
As for Makento, he feared the night greatly, and so fled each night from Theas
watchful eye, the moon. Together these beings created a sense of harmony for the world.
Which led to the coming of the other worldly beings.
Vardawing finished reading the section and was still slightly confused. He now
had many questions to ask Master Jengo, but he could not read any more of the history
book. The sun was high and it was time to train with Master Hongou. He placed the book
back within his tunic and left the pear near the tree. Hopefully, an animal will enjoy his
leftover snack. Vardawing walked towards the main gate of the shrine.
Hopefully, he would not be training with Zaxor today. Otherwise, he might end
up in the infirmary againor worse.

Chapter 27

Vardawing walked into the courtyard of the shrine. There he saw Master Hongou
training several of his pupils to fight using hanger-backs, hard wood melee weapons held
with the grip to the side of the wood. They could only be used at close range, but one
could do serious damage with a hanger-back if they knew how to use them properly, and
Master Hongou excelled in hanger-back fighting. Randor was there, practicing along with
Kitstar. Both seemed to move seamlessly with their hanger-backs. Vardawing approached
the training grounds and sat near the training area. Hongou was teaching them how to
block blows with the hanger-backs, allowing the pupils to protect their forearms. Randor
blocked every strike and swung his weapons around his head to create a perimeter around
himself. Vardawing could see that Randor had chosen his weapon of choice. Hongou
raised his hanger-backs and crossed them, signaling the boys to stop the exercise.
Well done Randor! Fantastic work with the hanger-back! Vardawing, did you
see how wonderful these boys did? Hongou asked the elf.
Vardawing looked shocked to be asked such a question. They were marvelous to
say the least. Perhaps if I practice, I could maybe learn how to use a hanger-back. The
elf smiled up at the instructor. Hongou smiled back.
I think you should stick with your double blade fighting. All right boys! Good
training today. Tomorrow I will teach you how to utilize a slasher. Hongou had a bright

look on his face. The boys became excited, and Kitstar ran off to finish his studies before
supper. Randor stayed back to see Vardawing.
Vardawing, can you believe that Hongou is going to teach us how use slashers?
Vardawing kind of remembered Hongou telling his students about the ancient fighting
style of the Kraal; it was very similar to hanger-back fighting, but the hanger-back had a
blade attached to a chain that extended from the wood; what looked like small scythes to
the Kraal, were known to the ancient warriors as slashers. If Randor could learn this
ancient fighting style, he could very well be one of the greatest warriors of his age.
Vardawing smiled back at Randor. That sounds great Randor.
Now Vardawing, what brings you to my training area? How are you feeling
since Zaxors attack? Hongou crouched down to Vardawings level, so he was now
looking into the elfs eyes. Vardawing noticed that his instructors eyes had a strange
shade of red within them. Vardawing recovered his thoughts and answered Hongous
questions.
Im feeling a lot better, master. I was wondering if I could train for a bit with
you. It seems my skills may have dwindled a bit. Hongou placed a firm on the elfs
shoulder.
I do hope you are not speaking about Zaxor. Vardawing, he betrayed the rules of
combat with revenge. No warrior sees honor in that. You are a far greater warrior than
Zaxor. Master Hongou stood up in front of Vardawing. However, if you do wish to
perk up your skills, I may have exercises that shall help you. Grab your blades and face
me. Vardawing nodded his head and got up from the ground.

The elf walked to the weapons chest and took his practice blades from the chest.
He squared up in front of his instructor; Hongou matched his stance. Hongou nodded his
head to his pupil. Vardawing slowly nodded back. Hongou raised his wooden blade to a
middle stance, a sign for Vardawing to approach.
Vardawing raised his blades, his left at his eye level and his right behind his head.
He approached his master, and slashed his right blade for Hongous head. The middleaged tutor blocked the blow quickly, but Vardawing slashed back with his left blade
barely catching Hongous neck. The tutor dodged the attack and struck back at his pupil;
Vardawing stopped it with both blades. Vardawing backed away quickly and answered
the attack with a quick backhand slash of his short sword towards Master Hongous gut.
Hongou dodged the attack and backed away from Vardawing. Very good, Vardawing.
Let us stop sparring for a moment. Vardawing lowered his blades into a relaxed stance,
while Hongou lectured. You have improved in your attacks, but your defense seems to
be lacking something. Have I taught you Ethereal Defense? Vardawing shook his
head. Ah, very well. I think you are ready to learn it. Now, bring your blades up in a
crossed stance, as if you were to block a downward blow.
Vardawing obeyed and brought his blades in the defensive stance. Now, I want
you to close your eyes, and try to think of nothing. Once you are able to clear your mind
of all thought, you can block even the most dangerous attacks. By clearing your mind,
you place your trust and your blades in to the hands of the Ethereal Beings. They will
be your blades and your insight. Now, clear your mind.
Vardawing tried to clear his mind, but find it to be very difficult. After a few
moments, Vardawing thought he had cleared his thoughts and nodded to Hongou.

Hongou swiped with his blade at Vardawing, but since Vardawings eyes were closed,
the young elf did not realize the attack was coming and Vardawing soon felt the hard
sting on his right arm. Vardawing, I thought you had cleared your mind. You must clear
your mind completely. Otherwise, you will not be connected with the Ethereal Beings.
Vardawing continued to look confused at Master Hongou, and thought about his
connection with Nature. Perhaps if he creates a connection with Nature, he can block
Hongous attacks. Vardawing crouched to the ground, while Hongou looked very
confused at his pupil. Vardawing placed his palm upon the ground and a pale green light
glowed about his hand. What are you doing, Vardawing? Vardawing could not hear the
question. His mind was cleared and he had gained a connection with Nature. Vardawing
opened his eyes and he was back at the training grounds. Hongou was staring at his pupil
with a look of shock across his face. Vardawing stood up and nodded his head. Hongou
readied his blade and moved to attack the young elf. Vardawing though was quicker this
time, and seemed to stop the attacks with quick reflexes, and after several blocks, was
able to parry Hongous blade, and bring his knife to the masters neck. Hongou looked
incredibly shocked, and many of the other students watched on as the sparring had taken
place. Enough! came a shout from nearby.
Both Vardawing and Master Hongou looked to see who the shout had come from.
It was Master Jengo. That is quite enough Vardawing. Go to your room and get back to
your studies. I shall deal with you later. As Vardawing dropped his blades, trying to
figure out what he had done wrong, he turned to look at Jengo. But Master Jengo, I
didnt know whatI

Now Vardawing! Jengo boomed loudly, shocking many of the pupils around
the training arena. Vardawing dropped his practice blades and ran past many of the
students towards his room. Jengo stared at Master Hongou, who still held his confused
look, as if he had seen some amazing feat. Jengo looked around at the students staring at
him. Dont you all have studying to do? The students immediately went back to what
they were doing, and Jengo just looked at Hongou.
Once the arena had cleared, Jengo moved to leave, when Hongou called out to
him. Jengo stopped, but did not look back Hongou.
Jengo, you knew about this. You knew that Vardawing was an Ethe Jengo
stopped him talking with a turn of his heel, and continued to walk back to his office.
Hongou just stood there agog at what had happened.

Vardawing closed the door within his room and slid down his door, curling up his
knees. He began to cry, burying his head into his lap. Vardawing could not figure out
what he had done wrong. All his life he had always thought that his connection to the
earth was a good thing, but now he did not know what to think. Master Hongou was
shocked and upset and now Master Jengo may be in trouble as well. Vardawing wiped his
eyes and resolved to see Master Jengo right away.
Vardawing made his way down the hallway outside of the courtyard. All the
students stared at him as he walked down the corridor. He could pick out the details of
the whispered conversations and knew that each one dealt with him. He quickened his
pace and lowered his vision in order to get past his leering colleagues.

Once he had reached his mentors office, Vardawing noticed that Master Jengo
was not within his office. There was no light within the room and no one seemed to
answer when the young elf knocked at the door. Vardawing looked about the courtyard to
see if he could spot his mentor, but Master Jengo was nowhere to be seen. Vardawing
leaned against the wall adjacent to the office door and slowly slid down until he was
sitting upon the ground. He closed his eyes and slowly fell asleep, tired from the events
that had taken a toll on his body.

Chapter 28
Vardawing awoke to the sound of a strange howl. Darkness had fallen over the
shrine, and no one had awakened Vardawing at all. Strangely enough, he was not
surprised after what had happened earlier that day. The young elf slowly stood up and
looked at the office door. The door was slightly ajar now.
Vardawing slowly opened the door and looked inside. The only light within was
that of a tall candle upon Master Jengos desk. Vardawing could see about the office with
the slow flicker of the flame. No one was within but himself, but he still decided to be as
careful as possible. He approached the desk slowly, and placed his hand upon the wood.
A light, airy motion caused the flame to flicker, and Vardawing could feel a strange
twinge down his spine, yet no creature made its presence known within the office.
Vardawing inspected the desk slightly, and noticed red spots upon the desk. He ran his
palm along the wood and inspected his palm. There was a crimson smear upon his upper
palm, and shocking more, was fresh as well.
Master Jengo? inquired Vardawing of the darkness. A low hissing noise was all
he heard.
From the darkness, a large beast swooped down trying to attack the young elf, but
Vardawing ducked as quick as lightening. The beast went like a flash out the open door
and with its motion, wisped away the flame of the candle. Darkness upheld sway within

the room and pitch was all Vardawing could see. Moonlight had shown through the open
door and Vardawing followed it out into the courtyard.
A shaft of moonlight shone through the courtyard and casted a shadow of the
beast upon the courtyard grass. Vardawing moved with caution to see his mentors
murderer. The beast was perched upon the shoulder of the statue of Shadizar. It unfurled
its elongated webbed wings, like a great bat, and within its skull, Vardawing could see
two great crimson eyes. Vardawing had to think quickly, lest he be killed in the way his
mentor had. He thought about where he was, and realized that he was only steps away
from the sparring chest. If he could reach the chest, he could grab is sparring weapons.
Vardawing turned and made for the chest. He thrust it open and searched for his
sparring blades. He heard the airy noise once again, and turned about to face the beast,
his sparring weapons posed and ready.
The beast stood several feet away from Vardawing and looked to be slightly taller
than a man. It had blood dripping from its jaws, and it had a face similar to that of a fox.
It had dark grey fur covering its chest and rust colouring on its sides, from its legs to its
ears. Its wings, when spread, spanned the length of two arms and the webbing cast a deep
shadow upon the ground. It seemed almost pointless for Vardawing to defend himself
against the creature with the wooden blades in his hands, but at the moment, he had no
other choice.
The creature snarled at the young elf and began to circle around Vardawing,
sizing up his opponent, more or less his prey. Vardawing raised the sparring blades in a
defensive stance as the beast approached. When the beast was within range, Vardawing

swiped with his right blade, but the beast was quicker and dodged the blow. It returned
the attack with a swipe of its wing, but Vardawing blocked the attack with his knife.
Vardawing spun around and slapped the beasts side hard with his wooden short
blade, causing the beast to howl from the bruise. The beast slammed his claws upon the
blade, cracking it in half. Splinters flew into the air and now Vardawing was at a
disadvantage. The beast swiped at the elf and Vardawing tried to dodge the creature as
best he could. He was finally able to slip underneath a right swing of the beasts wing and
with a strong stab, thrust the splinters of his broken blade into the beasts side. The
creature howled greater than before, as blood began to drip from the blade hilt. The beast
pushed the elf down, causing Vardawing to hit the ground hard. The beast pulled the
blade from his side, crimson streaks staining the ground around the creature. The beast
growled at Vardawing and flew back into Master Jengos room.
Vardawing got up and ran after the beast, following the trail of blood to his
mentors office. The door was now wide open from the beasts overt entrance. Blood
dabbled upon the floor in small pools leading into the darkness of the room. Vardawing
held his wooden knife up in defense, the moonlight illuminating the opening to the room.
Vardawing could hear the beast breathing in the room, but could not see it. Following
instinct rather than logic, Vardawing reached for the