Complete Origonal Advent Guard Book

I have a newer version in journals that I have not yet gotten typed up. It is much better then this, I just have not had the time.

Adventgarde Universe

Book 1, Addy

Authors introduction:

Adventgarde means “the coming of protection.” A word I created when I was much younger and very naïve. I made it up because at the time I really liked the French word Avant-garde and I also really like the word aegis, which I discovered in the RA Salvatores series Drizzt Do’urden, aegis fang being a weapon from one of the characters. As aegis-garde did not sound right, I looked around the dictionary and found advent close by, coming up with Adventgarde. Liking the word so much I wrote a poem about it, and named all my book characters and World of Warcraft characters after it.

I tell you this because I want you to see the randomness that life really is. It is neither simple nor straightforward but chaotic and messy, yet I still found meaning in it like everyone does. To me this is one of the beauties of human life.

Adventgarde or Addy is me, it is who I see in my head. Though the main character in this book is female, I see myself as a male in my mind, choosing a female only to help promote more female main characters. So I apologize for any mistakes I make in the pursuit of this endeavor.

The Adventgarde universe and the person are not perfect. Like me, they will have points in which they fail and points in which they succeed. I have been an alcoholic, stoner, done drugs, cheated in relationships, hurt people mentally, and failed more times than I can admit to myself. I have had many years in which I was a good person, but I feel that it would be a lie to tell you only those.

I created Adventgarde when I was so young and naïve that I took my character named after “the coming of protection” and put him on a spaceship in which I flew around different worlds helping people and creating wondrous things with scientists and engineers in my mountain laboratory on another planet far away.

And now, as I grow older, and look back at my life, I wonder with all my heart… why that person disappeared? Why when I got off my spaceship and switched from Adventgarde to Robert did I fall oh so far?

That is because I forgot who I really was, imperfect and flawed, weird and silent. Our life’s are not fantasy, and I cannot take back what I have done. However, I can choose in which direction I take my life right now, and I choose the spaceship, I choose Adventgarde and not Robert.

This is my universe, forged from years of loneliness that I am only now starting to realize were never lonely, and were never sad. No matter who you are, or what you have done, know that you can always change your life. Welcome aboard my spaceship, you are always welcome here, but please, try, not to forget who you are when you leave… like I did.

Thank you, Adventgarde

 

 

 

Chapter 1

Prague, 1:35am

Human year: 2007 AD

Magic year: 9987

 

 

Psyphon hesitantly stepped out of his portal and out into the city of Prague. He stood next to the famous astronomical clock perched on the side of the old city hall. He had chosen this area because it was tucked away, hidden from view from the city center.

He moved forward, staying near the tower to remain hidden.

His shoes clicked lightly on the stones beneath him. He chided himself for not casting a spell to muffle them, but he doubted it would make a difference.

Reaching the edge of the tower he peaked his head around, spotting the person he had come here to find.

Vizix, the leader of South America, strolling casually around the square like he did every several weeks.

In the human world Psyphon would explain him as being similar to the leader of North Korea.

He was tall with white hair and wore magical items all over his body, including his robes which were covered in things that were meant to be there and some that where not.

200 years ago Vizix and his father Resdal had brutally taken over the magical cities in South America, leaving only the wild elven city of Jukal intact. Jukal existed on another plane of existence, like all magical cities around the world did, but Jukal was unique in that the whole city was a large forest inhabited by all manners of creatures.Resdal had deemed the loss of soldiers too great to take, leaving Jukal and its people stranded from the world, deep in the western Jungles of Brazil.

Before that the magic world and the human world had stayed separate.The magical community had decided long ago to leave the humans alone to let them evolve in whatever manner they liked.

9,978 years ago the magical world had reached its height, a golden age. In the capital city of Rjovak located in the icy plains of northern Greenland they created a portal network connecting earth to 104 other planets, along with 6 other portals spread across the world. The magical government or Roja governance began to spread across the stars along with its people, leaving earth to the humans. With 10 major cities, and a handful of smaller ones spread across the world, the magical world had stayed realitively quite for millenia on Earth.

The Roja governance was forced into action as Resdals armies destroyed or captured all the human cities in south america. But in the time it took them to mobolize troops spread across worlds, Resdal had easily spread mass delusions across the human world, replacing the old South America with a new one. By the time the Roja governance was prepared, life had turned back to normal, and the loss of life required to take back the continent proved to high for a goverment that had not seen war for over 4000 years.

Within two years Vizix had assassinated his father and moved his country towards a black market, trading magical items with the human world.  Making magic a bad kept secret around the world, though few if any found their way into the magical cities because of this knowledge.

Psyphon had come to assassinate Vizix.

He had become aware of Vizix’s plan to wage war several years ago when he was an arch mage with the Roja governance, now that he was one of the 6 high mages he was privy to the knowledge pointing to the war coming anytime now. With his daughter now 10, and growing into such the little lady, he had come to the conclusion that he had to at least try to make it so she grew up in a world that did not know war, like he had.

With his one-year stent as high mage almost over, and his powers being reverted back to that of an arch mage, he had made the last second choice to follow through. As a high mage he was granted limited access to the vaults in Rjovak that contained items collected from across the universe. He only had access to a limited selection without alerting anyone to his plans, but the item he had grabbed made his chances go from none to some, and that was enough to at least try.

The item was a powerful staff known as the “Dark Apox”. From what he had read about the few times it had been used in history, the staff should easily destroy the dissying array of shields that surrounded Vizix.

With only enough magic left in it for one shot, the bigger problem was moving quickly enough to finish the job. Vizix was frightenly powerful and the magical items he carried were not harmless trinkets.

This however was as vuneruable as he ever would be, Prague being the only place outside of South America in which he went without being surrounded by his generals or bodygaurds.

Psyphon had also learned over the last year while survieling Vizix that he always went on his walks while wearing a ring of divurgance. Completely illegal, but it subtly changed the minds of every human for hundreds of yards, leaving the town square empty.

Psyphon stepped out of the alley way and took a deep breath, pointing the staff.

He had never killed anyone before, but he had seen images of the thousands Vizix had  in his own country, making it much easier then Psyphon had imagined.

Pushing the magic out of the staff, the air in front of it warped and stretched as a small black blob silently popped into being. It quickly grew black tendrils and expanded in size as it moved forward, following Psyphons thoughts as it veered towards Vizix. The tendrils reached down into the stones carving long lines as it devoured silently.

It quickly closed the distance smashing into Vizix as it rapped its tendrils around his shields which flared to life in bright colors as they began to quickly pop one by one as the powerful magic made quick work of them.

But as Psyphon watched, a white light flared, his vision gone faster then he could think. Stepping backwards in surprise he felt a wave of pressure rush past him.

Luckily his vision was already coming back and he watched through the bright lights that still danced in his vision as the black blob flew through the air away from Vizix, now much smaller as it hit the stone ground and sank from sight.

Psyphon looked over to Vizix, his shields were half gone shattered like a glass globe, the edges flaring in blue and red making purple and turquoise as they mixed together.

Psyphon quickly pulled out a sapphire from his robes, he did not have much time, it would only take Vizix a moment to activate any number of items once he caught site of who the blob had orignated from.

Psyphon shoved his hands forward, palms touching as he began his spell in Opac, the complex language created during the magical golden age that most earth mages used. The sapphire floated in front of his hands, reality shifting around it as multi-colored rips appeared. Magic was not a whimsical thing as human fairy tales made it out to be but the result of energy constantly spilling out of all life, permeating the world around us. In the magic world a mage was viewed as an engineer, taking this energy they used words and their mind to construct their spells.

Psyphon did not need the sapphire for his spell, it only served as a vocal point in current reality to help hasten his construction of the spell.

Vizix turned towards Pysphon as he heard him begin the spell. On his knees, blood pouring from wounds all over his body, he swept his hand to the side shifting what was left of his shields to block the attack.

As Psyphon finished the spell, he had an odd thought about how he would of normally taken much longer and constructed a jade dragon rushing forward or stars falling in a rain of colors. War was not the time for beauty or aritists, he relized.

The front of the sapphire was warped with reality as it reached out and filled the space between them in a long blue line. Vizixs eyes went wide.

Energy flared in the rips around the sapphire as the spell snapped it forward like a rubber band.

The sapphire exploded into his shields, the air itself distorting as the shockwave rushed outward flinging stone and dust into the air. Windows cracked and shattered around the square.

Vizixs body was flung like a ragdoll, the center of his shield gone leaving only a halo of shattered glass that swung round and round as his body flew through the air to land several hundred feet away.

Before Psyphon could even think, a roar pierced the sky and the moon over Prague castle went dark.

There was only a handful of things that could eclipse the moon in such a manner, and Psyphon knew before he even looked up that it had to be the hammerhead dragon Sindralla, a general in Vizix’s army.

He had no time to spare…

Beginning a new spell, Psyphon looked back down in time to watch as Vizix began to float upward, his mouth moving to cast a spell. A gem on his robes flared as Vizix vanished leaving only the slight distortion of a minor teleportation spell.

Psyphon looked around, Prague was a rarity in the magic world because of its enchantments that stopped teleportation away from the city. Only minor teleportation was aloud thanks to the crazy king Tytus who had ruled several thousand years ago. He had put the enchantment in place to force the city to use his portals, which he charged for. The city had kept it after his death simply because they were used to it, and to keep all the tourists coming who enjoyed being in the only city in which walking was the only choice. A rarity in the magic world.

Quickly scanning the skys for Vizix, the approaching form of Sindralla filling more and more of Psyphons paripheral vision, Psyphon was unable to find him.

Growling a little under his breath, Psyphon turned towards Sindralla, he had to buy himself some time. He knew Vizix could not have gone far, but if he did’nt do something about Sindralla it wouldnt matter if he found Vizix or not.

He rushed out into the town square in front of the old town hall, he needed more space for what he was about to attempt. It would take a score of high mages to defeat a dragon such as her, but Psyphon only needed to defeat her in this one clash, not defeat her.

Reaching into his robes he grabbed 6 rubies. He was’nt sure if this spell was even powerful for what he was about to try, but it was the only plan he had with any chance of working.

Sindralla was a hammerhead dragon, her skull flat and several feet thick. Large eyes sunk into her face with her mouth hidden behind her skull. Psyphon remembered from security briefings that her skull and verterbrae could interlock, so the force of all her significant weight would be funneled to her head when she used it as a hammer or ram.

Psyphon began his spell, throwing 5 of the rubies in a circle around him, and holding the 6th in his hand. As he began the words to the spell he also started to construct the result he was after as firmly as he could in his mind. Adding in as many words in Opac that he knew to re-inforce his magical construct. The air and stone around the 5 rubies began to distort and pull inward as if they were holding on as hard as they could for what was about to happen.

Sindralla roared, shaking the ground as the arc of her flight took her upward for a moment, then she folded her wings in and began her descent.

Psyphon watched, to focused on his spell to be afraid. But he could’nt help but notice how she kept her eyes open, making small micro corrections in her plummet with the tips of her wings, her aim freighteninly perfect.

Finishing his spell Psyphon waited as patiently as he could, he would only be able to maintain it for a few seconds so timing was everything. Focusing instead on maintaining the mental construct in his mind, as he calculated the perfect time to activate it.

“Now!” Psyphon said as he thrust the 6th ruby above his head, red beams arced out of the other rubies the second his hand began to move and formed a complete cage around him by the time his hand was fully above him. The beams quickly went from arcing red energy to a complete glowing red shield, making a slight pop and swooshing sound as it came into being.

Sindralla’s face smashed into the shield, sending all of the force through the shield and down into the 5 rubies, making the ground explode around the shield. The shockwave lifting and flinging huge chunks from the ground. Sindralla was deflected up and straight into the old town hall, her considerable weight and size easily smashing the entire front to pieces. The tower and roof above the town hall quicky gave way, falling on top of her.

Psyphons shield had fallen away millaseconds later, barely long enough. But he did’nt have time to think about how close he had just come to death, he immedietly started scanning the skys again for Vizix, already hearing SIndralla begin to stir in the rubble.

“There!” Psyphon said as he a saw slight shimmer of light off to his left that led his eyes to Vizix, who floated above the buildings.

Psyphon began a quick teleportation spell to bring him closer. As he finished the spell he felt himself shoved forwards,  his vision popping from one area to the other as he found himself 20 feet away from Vizix and slightly below him.

Psyphon activated the levitation spell in his robes before he could begin to fall, turning himself to fully look at Vizix. He must of drank a potion or activated an item because he looked better then when Psyphon had seen him floating up into the air, blood dripping down and torn robes. His robes where still in tatters, and there was certainly a lot of blood, but he could see from here that most of his wounds had healed.

Psyphon heard the spell before Vizix even started to turn. His eyes glowed red and around his hands fire swept in circles as he made arcane motions.

Pysphon had no idea how long he had been casting or how long he had left before he finished the spell so he quickly jumped into action. Lifting his hands he began to funnel as much magic as he could straight at Vizix, hoping that because he had already destroyed his shields once that Vizix would be vunrelable now.

But to no avail, Psyphons attack met Vizix’s new shield disspipating into nothingness. He had to think of something, he could feel that his shields were much weaker as he continued his attack, raw energy pouring from his hands in the form of blue electricity, Psyphons favorite way to manifest his power, though he could of made it look like anything.

Psyphon began scouring his memory, trying to think of something from what little he knew about combat magic. But his studies and last 450 years of life had mainly focused on magic that built things not destroyed things…

“Ahh.” Pysphon said as an idea popped into his head.

He remembered an old mage who lived about 4000 years ago back during the Magical world war that had taken place on numerous other worlds the Roja governance had cities and embassys on.

His name was Valcas Numbra, an engineer before the war who had become a high ranking general during war time. One of the tricks he loved to do was instead of breaking enemy shields, he would instead make them stronger to the point in which the shield would deflect the enemey mages attacks back onto themselves.

Shields were normally like a one-way mirror, letting attacks escape from the inside but not letting them come in from the outside. All Psyphon had to do was put enough energy into his shield to reverse it, or at least that was the simplest way to put it without going into complex magical enginering.

Psyphon began focusing his electricity with words from the Opac language, not exactly casting a spell just simply telling the energy what to do. He also started funneling all the energy from the 4 rings on his hands, their enchantments meant for something else but he needed as much energy as he could get.

Vizix’s shield began to glow slightly in multi-colored hues and Psyphon hoped that he was to focused on his spell to notice what he was doing. If he did all he had to do was simply wait for Psyphon to stop before he released his spell.

Roaring the last few words of his spell, the fire gathered around Vizixs hands as he shoved them forward. His entire body erupted in roaring red fire as a fire elemental tore its way out from Vizix and rushed forward towards Psyphon.

Hitting the shield the fire elemental roared, smashing its fists against the cage. Psyphon watched as it gasped for breath, his new shield must of been so strong it did not even allow air to enter or escape, and the fire elemental must have burned away all the air instantly its fire dimming low.

Vizix screamed as he caught fire, the fire elemental desperately running around its new confines, not caring if it hit Vizix or the shield as it tried to escape. The elemental finally broke a hole, shovings its mouth over it to breath in air, its body flaring fully to life. Vizix screamed again, caught in the fire elementals renewed flames.

Pysphon looked below at Sindralla, she had killed most of the clock work monks. Roaring she stomped the few remaining monks down as she got a running start as she took to the skies, circling away from Psyphon as she gained altitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He tried to assassinate Vizix? There hasn’t been an assassination attempt for millennia, I thought we were over that point in our history…” Ainamaf said, to the 4 other presidents in the room. They were in Rojovak, the capital, kind of… The room in which they stood was inside a construct called the Roja Mon, or as humans would call it the Roja moon. It was a large floating moon that hovered of the capital, constantly moving. It even resembled a moon, a moon filled with different colored windows, but most of it was still the dark grey rock of a moon. Because it was an actual moon, around 8000 years ago the government on the planet High Fall, their main trading partner then and now, had giving it to them as a gift.

“Is he alive?” Ainamaf asked hesitantly to Mikal, who had just gotten back from Prague with the report.

“No.” Mikal shook his head, sad, but he quickly moved on, they had much to do this day. “18 clock monks were also killed during the fight, and the town square was heavily damaged. The magical governance took quick action to remedy this, but the humans…” he looked off into space thinking, “they will find out.”

“Visix’s armies hold their places,” Pulla said. She was a small Tysa, or what human fables would call a gnome, though she was more a cross between a fairy and a gnome, having glossy wings that folded up and complete hid in her robes, but when unfurled spanned almost 15 feet to carry her weight, though with magical levitation she hardly ever used them.

“But we should still prepare, he is unpredictable at normal times, who knows what he could do now.” Pulla said.

“Word has already spread among the generals, they have begun to prepare and will form a line at the northern tip of south America within hours.” Burlap said, a large man covered in black plate armor, he was a descendant of one of the several human lines that had joined the magical world millennia ago.

Because of a wall of sorts, the Roja governance had put up years before, a line of 15 crystals encircling the continent to stop teleportation in or out, Vizix had to push his armies out through the northern borders of south America. There were many ways around the crystals, they had even done it on purpose to allow people to escape, but the main point was to stop him from teleporting his whole army out.

“We have to warn the humans. If he does not start his war right now, he will begin other plans.” Ainamaf said, making them all look skeptically at him. The magical world may be a bad kept secret, but they had never actually spoken to each other in such a manner.

“How?” Mikal said, “Just teleport all the leaders around the world here?” Mikal laughed along with the other 3, except for Ainamaf who looked at him seriously.

“You can’t be serious.” Mikal scoffed.

“Do you have a better idea?” Ainamaf said.

They all looked at each other, curious about how all this would play out.

 

 

Addy woke up suddenly as a bright blue flash filled her eyes, sitting up in bed she saw that Daedalus was still there sitting in front of here in his large brown spiky armor. Her dad had left him there before he had gone out, saying he had something to do.

She realized the bright blue light must have been a portal as she looked around noticing Ainamaf standing in the corner, along with his imp Beesu. Addy loved Beesu, even though everyone told her the imp was evil, she still loved it whenever Ain came to talk to her dad because her and Beesu would sit there and make faces at each other. Imps were not very powerful, but he still had the magic to cast illusions to transform his face and body.

 

 

Vizix tried to fling the priest off him and rise from his chair in his war room, but he barely managed to even move his arm. The priest finished his spell, light leaping from his fingertips and into Vizix, the last of his burns healing completely. Vizix smiled, thinking he was back to full strength he pushed his way up to stand but he only made it half way until his mind exploded in pain and his legs gave way. He sank back into his chair, gritting his teeth he used sheer anger to power through the pain, his fingers bleeding as he gripped his chair as hard as he could to focus himself.

“What is this priest, why am I not cured.” Vizix whispered in a threating tone.

The priest, Ovoran, was a bishop under the god Nótt, and probably the strongest person in the room with Vizix in a weakened state. But still the priest shrunk back in fear.

“The fire elemental you summoned did more than damage your body, it ripped apart your soul. Also…” Overan trailed off as he began walking backwards towards the door unconsciously.

He tried to continue speaking, but he only managed to open his mouth.

“Speak!” Vizix screamed, sending himself into a coughing fit.

Overan swallowed hard, waiting for the coughing fit to stop before he continued.

“When I went to fix your mind… it…” He held his hand apart, fingers splayed as he looked down at them as if representing his brain, “Your mind… is in tatters.” He looked up at Vizix, who’s eyes where not slits, in pain or anger the priest could not tell, but he continued anyways.

“I was able to restore everything, memories, habits, feelings, everything you are. But they are mixed and corrupted. It could be years until you are able to re-order them.” Overan finished, backing up a few more steps, this time on purpose.

Vizix growled as he pushed his way to his feet. He stood unsteady, no one rushing to help him, he took several deep breaths then a ring on his right hand glowed green as he began to levitate upwards and then forwards to the center of the room.

He opened his eyes, looking down at the large map that took up most the room, his 8 generals standing too the sides, 4 on each.

The map showed the continent of South America, his current kingdom. It was a complete to scale depiction, flowing out of the floor it was if you were looking at it from space just all colored brown like the stone floor. He looked at the area highlighted blue, representing the Jukal kingdom that still existed to his constant annoyance. Then at the two small swirling portals that represented the gates to Pestrian and Killtog, both of which he had recently convinced to join his war. Then at his border to the north, where he could see the Roja governance massing troops miles away from his entrenched lines.

“Prepare the troops, we hold our defensive line.” Vizix said, still a whisper, but a little stronger.

“Then we attack!” Malinfraught said, smiling her insane smile as she looked towards the front line, then up to Vizix, the entire time saying things under her breath no one else could hear. She was a slight whisper of what humans would call a wood elf, or Minks elf in the magic world. Wearing tight black leather with two daggers at her hips, her tail was multi-colored and constantly swirled in hypnotic patterns.

“No.” Go-fri said, stepping forward. He was the only human in the room, be he stood proudly, his beard grey with age, wearing shinny grey armor like an old knight over his massive frame. He had lead the army for several hundred years now. Even in a place like this and leading an army known for its massacres, he was known as honorable, or at least as honorable as anyone could be in this place.

“We are years from being prepared.” Go-fri finished.

But Malinfraught did not even move her head as she continued to look at Vizix, her lips still moving.

Vizix looked over to Malinfraught, who lit up as his eyes met hers. He laughed, Malinfraught was his favorite general. Leading his spy network, she never failed to amaze with what information she could discover.

“We wait.” Vizix said looking away from her.

She twitched once, her mouth turning to a frown, but quickly regained her smile.

Vizix was breathing heavily now, far past being exhausted. He looked to Go-fri who nodded and began to address the others, knowing which direction Vizix wanted to take.

“We will move forward with the plans we already have in place. The Roja governance will not attack, Psyphon acted alone so they are only responding in self-defense. If we only strength our line, they will lose interest quickly enough. Then we can move forward with the first step in our plan with our new troops from Pestrian and Killtog.”

 

Portland, 3:35am

Human year: 2017 AD

Magic year: 9997

 

Lights strobed and flared through Addy’s eye lids as she danced to the music that pulsated through her body. She was in a warehouse rave in the human city. The magic city had similiar clubs, but something about the human ones always made her feel…

Alive! She thought as she opened her eyes.

Her hair hung in front of her face, seeming to dance for her as it changed colors thanks to a spell she cast on it. Behind her hair the other people all seemed connected somehow, pulsing together with her as if they where all some large organism.

Behind her she instinctively pushed off another guy who tried to dance with her. Moving forward as she continued to dance she caught a glimpse of him and realized that she wouldn’t of minded, but she had come to dance, at least for now…

 

 

Trummel swung his sword at the rock beast that towered over him. His Sword, called Rammsworth, a 6 foot long chunk of moon iron from the moon RAMS. It was heavily enchanted and glowed a bright blue as it connected with the rock beast. Sending only a small fleck of rock off.

“Damn it.” He said as he retreated as fast as he could. Which was not very fast. Trummel was a paladin of the god Nótt and wore large spaulders along with a full set of glowing yellow armor, highlighted by dull black iron.

The rock beast swung its arm at him the size of a small car and glowing red with energy from the weird rocks that covered this planet.

He lifted his plane blue shield quickly reciting a few words to his god. The front of the shield filled with glowing blue text, and white energy flared outward in a circle reaching up to slow the arms descent.

A white puff of energy flew over Trummels head as he had just begun to prepare for the blow.

The puff lightly hit the rock beast in the head as it gently exploded outward.

“What the…” Trummel thought, even the rock beast had stopped, confused, as white particles gently floated around its head.

Quickly, however, they started glowing with purple energy, 15 of them rapidly enlarged in size to 2 feet as they reached critical mass and ruptured in miniature explosions.

Both the rock beast and Trummel flew backwards, the balls ripping huge chunks out all over the beast.

Trummel skidded to a stop right below Athelaz who put his cloth foot on his head.

“This is why we wait for backup.” Athelaz said, removing his foot from his face to look him in the eyes.

“I was fine.” Trummel said as he got up. The rest of the Forgotten now arriving.

“Sure didn’t seem like ol rammy was fine at all.” Esymyth giggled as she sent her large Scavarian panther she called “Lord Biron” at the rock beast before it could get up.

“Lord Biron” was from a planet with almost 2x earth’s gravity, and weighed almost 2 tons. She was a beautiful white panther, with purple and blue stripes that shined like the feathers of a peacock. Her maw was exceptionally large, which she currently used to hold down the right arm of the rock beast, as Dullblades and Ark peppered its head with blows.

“Did you get the sword?” Trummel asked after he got up and brushed himself off.

“Yeah it was just sitting over there in that cave.” Athelaz pointed to a cave a good 3 miles away across the deselect waste land that glowed red from the red rocks.

“Not sure why you had to attack the rock guy.” Athelaz said, referring to the rock beast which was pretty much rubble now.

Ark, the mage of the group, was floating up in the air off to the side of the battle. His black robes danced with small distortions of reality, which opened up small rips that flared with multicolored light.

He finished his spell, sending the finishing blow into the rubble , which was pretty much just one last moving arm and leg.  It was a line of red light that arced its way into the pile of rubble, which glowed and shook as the energy wormed its way in. After a few moment the pile exploded everywhere, sending  rock everywhere.

Trummel looked around trying to find Tucker, the last team member of the Forgotten. He quickly found him running towards the group somewhere between them and the cave.

Tucker was a large dwarf who partook often of beer in Portland. He was followed closely by his pet “kitty”, a large red sebertooth like creature who was robust like Tucker. She gently nudged Tucker with her giant maw, trying to get him to go faster as she easily loped behind him.  This caused Tucker to go flying in the area forward, half the time landing and keeping running and the other half sending him into a roll that he only sometimes managed to control.

 

 

As Tod finished putting on his pants in Addys room, he asked “So how do I Leave this place?”

O yeah that, Addy thought as she finished throwing on her favorite dress Esy had gotten

Her from some weird alien planet a few years back. It was white and covered with blue text that slowly crawled all around.

She flicked her hands, and Tod disappeared in a small ripple of distorted reality back to the warehouse she had met him at last night. She smiled, no magical safe guards made it possible to do almost anything to humans.

The forgotten should be back almost anytime though, so she didn’t have time to worry about what would happen to him in the warehouse at this time a day.

She stepped out from her room onto the balcony on the second floor. Right as the portal down below connecting to Rojovak began to flare to life. The “portal” wasn’t exactly anything real,  just a place next to the wall they started to become distorted in multi colored rips that opened large enough for a person as everyone stepped out one by one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addy and the Sultans orb

 

Chapter 1: The showdown.

 

Psyphon rose up after being thrown down by the swooping dragon. It was a hammer head dragon named Sindralla that most kids grew up hearing about but never thought was actually real. She definitely lived up to her name Psyhon thought as he got up and brushed off his robes scanning the surrounding city for the rider of the dragon.

Around him was the rubble of downtown Las Vegas, Vizix really wanted to make this battle public. If I ever get out of this alive theirs going to be a lot of minds to wipe and covering up to do. Most of the buildings were smashed from where Sindralla ran into them.  She was called a hammer head because of the dragon’s flat face and thick skull that it used to ram into things with. Which more than made up for her not being able to breath fire or some other heinous toxin most other dragons did.

Psyphon spotted her again way up high, swinging back around for another shot at him. Coming down she straightened her back and folded her wings in preparation as Psyphon dove for cover in the water in front of Caesars palace. Right when she came down though the water fountains splashed up in roar of water as some catchy pop song came on the speakers. Missing the water she careened into Caesars Palace smashing through and disappearing into the center of the building.

Psyphon levitated out of the water, not wet at all thanks to his magical robes, water cascading down him. “Where are you” he said looking around again. Vizix had been out of the fight now for at least a minute. And who knows what he could accomplish in that time. Not willing to wait he cast a spell to find him.

Sensing him above Psyphon looked up scanning the skies as he prepared a fireball spell to try to get Vizix to come down. But he failed to notice that water he had just come out of had begun to tendril its way up towards him.  He made it half through his fireball spell before realizing the water had entwined half his body before squeezing down on him. Squirming he tried to work his way out before it engulfed him completely, but he was already too far gone and the water quickly covered him completely.

The water encircled him and rushed all around him in a large ball as Vizix descended down towards Psyphon. He began casting lightening spells in quick succession into the water leaving Psyphon almost completely immobilized and unable to cast a spell.

As Vizix reached the ball he stopped casting and began a new spell, one almost certainly fatal even against Psyphons shields and magical protections that had been keeping him alive this long. He finished the spell, ice flowing from his fingers and jumping to the ball of water. The ball froze solid and plummeted back to the pavement out in front of Caesars palace. Cracking a little as it hit and finally rolling to a stop.

Vizix chuckled as he tapped the ice “Is that all you have Chancellor Psyphon, head of all magical things and in charge of the secret Government.” He stopped, looking over to a wide eyed suspector on the sidewalk. “Aren’t you supposed to keep people like this man unaware of us? Hmm?”  The man was videotaping everything but as he saw Vizix looking directly at him he started running away.

Vizix laughed and pulled out a wand, pointing it at the man he said a trigger word for the wand. An almost unseen black line popped out and hit the man who stopped running, making it a few more steps before he collapsed to the ground, his camera smashing down next to him.

“Do you know what I like about this wand?” Vizix said, tapping the ice ball.

“I like that it isn’t flashy, no colors and bangs.” He said walking around the orb. But as he was talking he noticed a small flame in the center of the ball, getting brighter and brighter. Realizing what it was Vizix started to fly upwards, but not fast enough, the ball exploded.

Psyphon came out in a ball of fire erupting like some primordial fire god. Psyphons arms shot up reaching all the way to Vizix with their fiery tendrils.

Vizix screamed as he tried to move his burnt hand still holding the wand and point it at Psyphon. When he finally got it into place he shouted the trigger word over and over until Psyphon let him go. Vizix floated away, his robes and entire body burnt to a crisp as Psyphons flames quickly went out.

That spell was probably my last chance Pysphon thought as the fire primordial he had summoned faded away leaving him drained. But as he started to recover his strength he noticed the rubble over at the Caesars palace start to move as Sindralla started to work her way out. Poking her head of the hole she quickly spotted Psyphon.

Working her way out she spread her gigantic wings and flew directly at Psyphon. Straightening her neck and lining up her head to hit Psyphon she began to plummet straight towards him. He knew it was the end, he hadn’t regained his strength enough yet to cast any spell or even use any of his many magical items to get him out of the way of Sindralls path.

Psyphon looked up towards Vizix and said “This isn’t over.”

Vizix, barely able to keep himself aloft with his levitation spell looked down at Psyphon and said “It’s over for you, atleast.”

Sindralla hit Psyphon, smashing him into pavement and all the way across the street, her immense weight continuing all the way until she crashed into the Luxor across the street taking half the building with Psyphon to his grave.

 

Chapter 2: Adalins rescue.

 

Ainamaf teleported into the hallway of the 74th floor of a New York high rise in front of a door few could see. Knocking, he adjusted his robes and helmet. He was a warlock, second only to Pysphon who had just died so he was now the president plus one of or the most powerful person in the world. His helmet was purple skull, the color most warlocks wore, with horns jutting out the two sides, most likely from some demon he killed. His robes were the same dark purple color along with his boots and gloves.  A small green imp trailed behind him, jumping up and down.

The imp said “Hurry hurry, we must hurry. If he comes here we won’t win.”

Ain replied, “I know Beesu, but doors only open as fast as the people behind them want them to open. At least this door.”

Beesu ‘herumped’ in complaint and sat down on the carpet cross-armed.

The door opened and a small old women came out asking, “What are you doing here…” she trailed off before she continued. “Is he gone?”

“Yes.” Ain said trying to push past her, but she wouldn’t budge as if she was made out of stone. Ainamaf new why so he just went around her instead of trying to move her.

“What? But how, Psy couldn’t possibly be dead, he just went out for some food a few hours ago.” Ainamaf just looked at her, they both knew Psyphon lied all the time about what he was doing even to Ainamaf his second in command. At that she shrugged and conceded the point.

“Why do they want little Addy then?” she asked.

As Ain walked towards Addy’s room, Beesu following behind, he said “Her blood. She is the last known person other then Psyphon capable of opening the door. Now come on, we don’t have much time to hide her before they arrive.” He finished pushing his way into Addy’s room down a small hallway just off the living room.

Agnus rushed to catch up, moving faster then her old frame looked possible of moving.

Coming into the room she found Ainamaf in a heated conversation with Daedalus, head of security at the Government of the Unseen, and Addy’s bodyguard while Psyphon was gone doing his nightly “errands”.

“You can’t take her, the safest place for her is here with me.” Daedalus said, brandishing his giant sword, Melbourne the Destroyer, its 6 feet barely fitting in the room.

“Stop your dramatics and put away your sword, you aren’t going to fight me.” Ainamaf said staring at him, he could technically order him to do it but Daedalus wasn’t your average employee to boss around. He finally put away his sword after a few tense moments.

“Good. Now Psyphon.” Ain gave Daedalus a second to absorb that; he looked over at Addy then back at Ainamaf waiting for him to continue.

“Vizix will come after her, for pure spite against Psyphon and also if he ever finds the door. The safest spot she can be is somewhere far away and preferably if they think she’s dead also.” He finished as he looked down at her curled up with her stuffed Unicorn. At the age of 2 she was still small as could be and fast asleep this late at night even with them arguing around her. Though Ain suspected Psyphon had the crib enchanted so she couldn’t hear any noise around her.

“And let me guess, the safest place is some hidden warlock palace. Surrounded by skulls and screaming victims, atleast her unicorn will fit in.” he finished lifting up the unicorn and giving it to Ain.

“Like the government is any better… you know as well as me that they will find out she’s alive and hiding their if you take her to any government facility.” He stared at Daedalus for a bit judging what he was thinking but gave up and looked towards Agnus. “Can you gather everything she needs?” She nodded as she started gathering things from around the room and putting them in her pink diaper bag.

Daedalus went over to Addy, picking her up and gathering her in her blanky, he grabbed the unicorn back from Ain and gave it to her when she started to look for something to snuggle. She grabbed onto it and quickly went back to sleep with her thumb in her mouth and her other arm rapped around the unicorn.

“I agree that she must leave, but your warlocks aren’t the must trust worth either.” Daedalus said still holding Addy as he rocked her lightly keeping her asleep.

Ain began to disagree but he knew he was right, they where better then the government but not exactly the safest option either. Shrugging he waited for Daedalus to continue.

“The orphanage.” Daedalus said. “Miir will keep her just as safe as me or you could, and I highly doubt Vizix has spies their.”

Ainamaf hadn’t thought about the orphanage, it wasn’t exactly the best defended or safest of places. But he was right, their wouldn’t be any spies their and it would be the last place Vizix looked. In this case secrecy would make it safer then any other option.

“Done.” Agnus said, handing Ain the pink bag.

“Orphanage it is.” Ain said as he started a spell to open a gate their.

A large blue gate popped into existence as he finished the spell,waking Addy up in the process. Luckily she dint cry, just looked at the swirling blue gate in wonder only a child could have.

“You first, I need to go last to close the gate.” Ainamaf said motion to Daedalus and Agnus. Daedalus quickly jumped through but Agnus stood her ground.

“What? Ainamaf asked Agnus.

“If you want them to believe she’s dead then someone must stay to make it look like she’s here.” As she finished she walked out of the room. Ainamaf quickly walked through the gate before it closed, not having the time to question her anymore.

He came out of the gate in front of small house in downtown Vancouver Washington. Daedalus looked over at the gate that had just closed without Agnus and gave Ainamaf a questioning look.

“Agnus stayed to make Addy’s death look a little more authentic.” Ainamaf said.

“Well then whoever Vizix sends is going to have a fun time.” Daedalus laughed and so did Ainamaf.

“Agnuslurous. The red dragon of china. Psyphon did not mess around when it came to choosing his  nanny’s.” Ainamaf laughed.

But Ainamafs happy demeanor quickly faded, as President now he had to deal with whatever mess Agnus made in dragon form in New-York City and he also had to deal with the mess in Las-Vegas. So many minds to wipe, stories to fabricate, and messes to clean up magically.

“Let’s get this over with, I have a lot more to do tonight.” Ain said as he pushed his way into the house, opening into a huge courtyard that shouldn’t have fit inside the house.

 

Chapter 3: The orphanage

 

“You took them to a brewery again! This is the 5th time Tucker, you can’t keep using the kid’s field trip as an excuse to see all the brewery’s around Portland!” Miir screamed at Tucker while he tried to keep himself upright in the door frame of Miir’s office.

“Well you see, I did take them to somewhere else. Melanoma falls, but on our way back we happened to stop at full Sail because it was happy hour and I was trying to save money on food…” Tucker slurred.

Miir sighed. “That isn’t even on the way back. It’s an hour the opposite direction! I don’t care if you take them to the restaurant, but don’t take them on the tour while you stay in the bar and get smashed!”

 

 

 

Addy was now 12 after her birthday a few months back. She a little over 4 feet tall, but still hopefully had a lot of growing to do. She had black hair that went down to her neck and she was always being called cute by the grownups so she considered herself not horrible looking. But none of the boys ever said anything to her nor did she really care at this age.

Her and the others kids sat in the courtyard, while Tucker got yelled at in Miirs office in front of them. While the courtyard was technically outside, it never seemed to be cold. Even in the middle of fall like it was now neither rain nor snow ever came through the open top. It just always stayed sunny with clouds drifting about which most likely meant it was type of magic Miir had made.

The other kids dint really seem to like me because Miir and the other teachers always gave me special treatment, which tended to just cause more problems than be helpful. But this year I was going to start school and hopefully never see any of the other kids again because they dint get to go. Ainamaf had put me into a special school none of the other orphans could obviously afford to go to.

Tucker came tumbling out of the door, flames around him as Miir followed with his hands pointed outwards. He must have cast a fireball on Tucker Addy thought laughing a little as Tucker rolled around trying to put the flames out in his beard and clothes.

“Get back to the kids; make sure they spend their day at least semi-productively.” Miir said as he closed his door and went back into his room. As one of the most powerful shamans in the world Miir usually had other things to tend to then the kids, so he had hired the Forgotten to teach them. A group of adventures who were more than suited to teach them what they needed to know before going to an actual school. Especially sense the one the rest of the orphans went to after reaching 12 wasn’t anything special. But Addy always did find it weird that he would hire a group of people who mainly sought out ancient artifacts and dint teaches kids before this.

Finally putting out the flames and coming back to his senses Tucker looked around at the kids all laughing at him and started to growl. He rushed up to his feet then stomped over towards the kids saying “What are you all laughing at!”

One of the boys down the line said “You”. Oliver I think.

Tucker glared at him, then after a moment started laughing at himself. Letting go of all his anger, if he was ever really angry in the first place, Tucker never seemed to take anything seriously and just liked acting tough in front of them.

“Well..” Tucker said as he looked at his watch “you still have several more hours of light if you want to go play. Don’t get into too much trouble otherwise I’ll be getting into trouble for that too.” At that he let out a dwarven bwahaha, winked at us and turned around to go back to his room, probably to drink more beer with his brother Shooter Mc Gavin. Off to the side his pet tiger, named Kitty, if a 700 pound Bengal tiger could really be called ‘kitty’, got up and started following Tucker. Kitty brushed up against him as she went, easily knocking him over in his drunken state.

“Darn cat.” He said disappearing around the corner.

“Well, off to the Nutty Cog everyone?” Oliver asked as he turned around and started to head out of the orphanage, not waiting to see if anyone else was following him. Because he dint have to, he was the impromptu leader for most of the kids here.

Addy sighed, if she tried not to go one of the other kids would just force her too. And sure enough Ashely and Kim came over and looped their arms around Addy’s as they pulled her along and asked “Your coming right?” not really giving much choice in the matter.

 

 

As Miir entered his office again he noticed a figure behind his desk fiddling with some of his totems on the back wall. The entire wall was filled with items he had collected over the years, stacked on shelf’s and bookcases all around the room.

“Nice of you to drop in Ain. I guess this is the year she starts isn’t it.”

“Yes. She’s twelve already.” Ain said, walking back around the desk and sitting down into the chair there.

Miir walked around the desk, sitting himself in his chair. Looking at Ain he asked “Does Vizix still not know she’s alive?”

“He’s smart enough to assume she’s still alive. But as far as we know the stories the Government put out that she died still hold.”

“Good. The school of magic in Seattle is too big of a place to risk taking her if he knew she was alive. I still assume that’s were your taking her, correct?”

“Yes.  I can easily watch over her their, now that I am the President of the school. And Daedalus says he can provide some spies. Though as head of The Unseens security, he can’t risk putting to many on a school for teenagers.” Ain pulled a bag of coins, pushing it over to Miir.

“What’s this?”

“Compensation for taking care of her.”

Miir pushed the bag back over and said “Psyphon was a good friend. There is no need for compensation when it comes to her. She will always have a place here if she needs.

Scooping the bag up, Ain rose and asked “Where can I find her?”

“Knowing Tucker he probably let them go do whatever they wanted, so they should be at the Nutty Cog by now. A pub around the corner.” Miir replied.

“You let them go to a bar?” Ain asked skeptically.

“Well yes.” Miir got up, laughing a little as he went to a scrying orb in the corner of the room which showed the inside of the Nutty Cog. “It’s the only magical restaurant in the area and it’s not like they’re going to server a bunch of kid’s alcohol.”

As Ain got up and looked into the orb, he saw an old tavern with a little over 10 kids sitting at a long table with some type of boiling drink in front of them. They all started to drink at the same time, and one by one they started to change into different things, a bear, one kid started to shrink, another got larger, but the one Ain was focusing on was a white panther that was growling at the other kids.  It was Adalin.

“They serve potions at this bar?” Ain asked incredulously as he rushed from the room before Miir could even reply.

As the door shut behind him Miir said “I wonder where one of the kids got that…” Miir asked out loud, always amazed what the kids at his orphanage where capable of. That’s one of the reasons he had hired the Forgotten to look after them, even if it wasn’t the main reason. Miir had a lot of work to which he started on again before Tucker had interrupted him, fully trusting someone Ainamaf or one of the Forgotten to care of the problem, it was what he paid them for.

 

Chapter 4: The Nutty Cog

 

Addy was being pulled along with the two girls towards to the Nutty Cog. Ashely, the one pulling from the left was a red head, madly in love with Oliver she followed him anywhere. She also had a brother, Steven. Both were druids, or technically sense they hadn’t had any druid teachings yet they were just good at talking to animals. Kim, pulling from the right, was a brunette. She was usually pretty nice to Addy, but only followed along with the others so she could fit in. 11, she was already new how to cast basic mage spells, like small fireballs, more a dot, and telekinetic hands to pick things up.

“Oliver has to be the cutest boy here.” Ashley was going on about, like usual. The only one who dint know about her obsession was Oliver.

“No, Fredric is. He’s already muscular, and he’s the tallest.” Kim looked at Fredric, next to Oliver, already almost 6 inches taller than anyone of us.

“What do you think Addy? Oliver is the best isn’t he?”

But before she could respawn Kim jumped in and asked “No, Fred is the cutest.”

As Addy started to finally say something, along the lines of she dint care about either of them.

They finally got to the Nutty Cog, and they forgot about what they were talking about as the rushed forward without her to get a spot close to their intended “targets”. Addy hung back, not caring which spot she got.

The Nutty Cog was in the back of an enclosed alley way. To her right was a bar called the old shanty, some British like pub she had never been in. And to her left was a fancy Asian restaurant, in a small, old, brick structure. But because it was the Portland area, the run down demeanor probably meant  it had some of the best Asian food in town, if she ever cared to go there. In the back of the alley way was a brick wall. Or if you knew the words to break the illusion the Nutty Cog, with a huge metal Cog door. Anyone entering the door would instantly be forgotten by the normal walking by, thanks to the illusion.

As Addy walked towards the wall she mumbled words under her breath “Gnomes butin vartan tan.” Or translated from gnomish, “gnomes always out built man.” An old gnomish sane thanks gnomes love saying when any human does something stupid. And sure enough as she said it the cog appeared and she stepped inside. The place was full this time of day sense it was happy hour. Mainly with gnomes. Though she saw Shooter at the bar, Tuckers brother, who winked at her and held up his class her way as they made eye contact.  And also a couple other humans about, probably mostly her teachers if she could get a better look at them.

Straight ahead at the longest table, sat the rest of the orphans, Oliver at the farthest side, surrounded by Fred, Ashley and Kim. She sat down at the only spot still open, next to Steven. He was one of the few people actually always nice to her. He smiled at her as she sat down.

Oliver got up and went to the bar keep, a big gnome, as gnomes go, named Buddles. And dropped some of the coins Miir gave them for spending money in front of him, ordering something that made Buddles look a little taken aback. But he took the coins and disappeared behind a door in the back.

Not really paying attention, Addy zoned out for a while. Snapping back to attention after a cup gets slammed down in front of her from a waitress. Everyone had some kind of drink in front of them, or more likely some potion now she was looking at it. At the front of the table Oliver lifted up his glass and said “Drink up everyone.” Addy dint really respond, just looking at the glass thinking how she would rather be back at the orphanage reading. Until Steven picked up his glass and banged it against hers smiling. Shrugging and thinking what’s the worst that could happen she picked up the glass and drank it down with everyone else.

 

 

Ain teleported directly to the entrance of the Nutty Cog, bypassing the illusion and pushing his way into the bar. Which was in complete chaos by now. The problem with a potion of polymorph, is its random, you can either by a giant tundra yeti, or a small teddy bear. Which in normal circumstances is hilarious, but with 12 year olds who have barely studied magic it can turn to the more dangerous side. They are in constant battle with what they were turned into when they don’t know what they’re doing. One second wanting to talk and walk, the next wanting to run and eat salmon.

In the corner was a bear trying to reach a stuff salmon hanging on the wall. At the table where it started, was a girl shrunk to about a foot tall standing a chair, and below the table was a boy 10 feet tall trying to hide but only succeeding in pushing the table upwards. On the bar was a white panther, Addy. Ain rushed over next to Shooter, who was trying to calm her down. As a Ranger he was capable of taming and controlling most animals. But he seemed to be only slightly succeeding because every time he reached out to comfort her she tried to smack his hand away her claws.

“Is their anymore of the potion they drank.” Ain said to Shooter.

“No, why. Maybe I guess. Ask Buddles.” Shooter ducked under a swapping paw. “Why do you need more, you feel joining them?”

Not answering. Ain looked around for the barkeep. Who he found popping his head out of the door behind the bar. Going around  the bar, trying to avoid Addy, he pushed his way through.

“Why would you give kids a potion of polymorphing?” Ain asked glaring at the gnome.

Buddles straightened his shoulders and stared right back.

“I dint, how stupid do you think I am. The potion I gave them makes them slightly smaller or larger. One of the kids must have put something in it.”

Ain deflated a little at that, obviously no one would give kids an actual potion of polymorph.

“I need some of the potion you gave the kids. I think I can reverse it with a spell.” Ain asked looking around the shelves in the backroom.

“Yes.” Over here. Buddles rushed over to a back shelf lined with potion vials. He grabbed one and gave it to Ain.

“Thanks.”

Ain rushed back out the door. Forgetting Addy, he almost ran straight into claws as he bursted  out.  Falling down though to dodge them, he got back up and ran a little way away thinking about the spell to reverse this. By now the bear has gotten the salmon, realized it was fake, and was trying to play with some of the gnomes underneath one of the back tables. A gorilla he hadn’t seen before sat near the entrance rocking a gnome like a baby, who was too scared to move.

Not having much time to waste he went with the first thing he couldn’t think of. Launching into the spell, he sprinkled some of the potion around him in a circle. As he was nearing the end of the spell shooter flew past him, as he landed, he saw Ain and said

“You better hurry up with whatever you’re doing. Shes not really listen to me anymore.” As shooter said that his eyes got big looking behind Ain.

Finishing the spell Ain flung the rest of the potion into the air, which immediately turned a bright blue and pulsed outward. Following shooters eyesight Ain turned around, watching the white panther soar towards him, but turned back into a human mid jump. Realizing what was happening Addy started to fling her arms around trying to stop herself. But still ended up crashing to Ain.

“Hi, uncle Ainamaf.” Addy said, trying to smile as she was laying on top of Ain, who was glaring back at her.

 

Chapter 5: The beginning

Addy stood in the portal room back at the orphanage, with Ain, Miir, Tucker and of course kitty in front her. The portal room was a circular room on the first floor,  that was usually off limits to anyone but teachers. The room had room had 15 doors, or things that functioned like doors like two pillars or some even bricked up, each door either going to some far off place or into another room with even more doors. The rooms were color coated so people dint get lost, this room was the blue room. Addy had gone through some of the doors before for field trips, one going up to a monastery in the Himalayas, another going to New York when they got to look around the Governments main building there. The room also always had a wardrobe between two doors, she dint know exactly what that was doing in a room full of portals though.

“Adalin.” Miir said, trying to get her attention so she would come over and join them.

As she was walking over to join them Miir started talking again.

“Adalin, I am going to give you something very special. A key, allowing you to go through the portal from here to the school in Seattle.”

“But I thought only teachers were allowed to use the portals.”

“Yes normally, but with Ain being busy and me or the other teachers not always able to come get you, you being able to travel back and forth seems the best route.” As Miir finished he handed her a necklace, it was plane silder with a small swirling opal hanging from it. When she peered inside of it, the opal itself seemed to a swirling blue mess.

“This necklace, similar to the ones the teachers have will allow you to come and go as you please. Except yours only allows passage through one portal, this one.” Miir pointed to the door behind them. This door was just two rock columns going from floor to ceiling, but as she approached blue streaks started to connect the two pillars, filling in slowly to form a swirling pool that seemed to get smaller and smaller at the center.

As she was just about to reach out and touch it Miir interrupted her.

“Adalin. Heres your stuff.” He handed her the suitcase she had sat down while they were all talking. After that he swooped down and grabbed her in a hug.

“Come visit often, my door is always open.” Letting go over her and setting her down, he realized everyone was staring at him so he added “I’m sure the kids will want you back.”

At that she laughed, she knew the kids wouldn’t miss her at all. “I’ll miss you too Miir, I will come visit whenever I can.”

“So what are we waiting for, bwah.” Tucker said as he picked up an old duffel bag and began to plod straight threw the portal with his cat.

“Whys Tucker coming? I thought it was just me and you uncle.” Addy said looking to Ain as he begin to go through the portal too.

“He’s my new ranger trainer. And I thought it would be nice to have some you knew at your new school.” At that he disappeared through the portal, and with one last look back at the orphanage she gladly plunged threw the portal.

 

 

Back in the orphanage, in one of the lower levels, a group called “The Forgotten” met. They specialized in finding and collecting ancient items from the time before the pact of the unseen. The pact that formed the Magical Government.  The pact was created because of a seer; an ancient seer predicted that there would come a time when the non-magical human race would save the planet, but only if the magical races disappeared. Because for them to both exist out in the open, the non-magic races would disappear as the magic races took over as rulers.  The seer never said what they would save the planet from, but a government was formed, the Government of the Unseen, to hide and make magical creatures “unseen” from then on. Many items and magic creatures became forgotten. The elves went to special lands hidden away. The dwarfs hid in the ground and slowly died off until there was only a few left. And history even says some even went to other planets through ancient hidden portals. The items they forgot are what The Forgotten seek, hence the name.

Trummel, the leader of The Forgotten, a paladin of awe inspiring reputation. He fought beside Daedalus in the Governments war with Vizix 10 years ago. But had a falling out when he found he could make more finding treasure. So him and 4 others founded The forgotten. Tucker Mc Gavin, Athelaz a priest at the orphanage, Esmyth a ranger that teached at the orphanage, and Allison a mage who died several years back in a cave-in down in an ancient dwarfing mine.

Because of Allison’s death they had been searching for a new mage to replace her, currently they had a mage named Ark, a moon elf quite powerful in the art of destruction magic and more importantly in finding magical items for them.

“Now that Tucker is gone we wait, we can’t do much until he locates were the glove is.” Trummel said to them all as they sat around a table in a candle lit room.

“You know we could at least get some windows down here if Miir is going to insist we keep our stuff down here. It’s not like he can’t make them in a basement, look at that huge thing in the courtyard.” Esmyth, or Esy as most called her replied, swatting smoke from a candle away from her face.

Athelaz sighed at Esy and replied back to Trummel. “It could take Tucker years to find the glove at the school. Why couldn’t I or Ark go. Anyone but him.”

“Because the school dint need a new priest or mage teacher. But Ain is working on a way to get us on campus for a while. But who knows how long that could take. With Ark’s bracelet though he should atleast have some luck. You need to have some faith, Priest.” At the last remark Trummel smirked, because while Athelaz was a priest, he was always doubting others and look on the bad side of things.

“My bracelet will find it, or at least close enough Ain won’t have any excuse to keep us away from campus.” Ark replied, annoyed that Athelaz was doubting his power. He was after all a several hundred year old Elf.

“Then we wait.” Athelaz said sarcastically as he leaned back in his chair and brought his hands like he was surrendering.

 

 

Chapter 6: Seattle’s School of magic

 

 

As Adalin walked through the gate she was stunned. She had been to Seattle several times on orphanage field trips, but she had never seen the school of Magic before. She was in an open air courtyard surrounded by huge columns. The columns were other portals from around the world. People were streaming through them, some in with snow trailing after them, others with sun poring through. There were elves, dwarfs, half-Orcs, gnomes and other races she dint recognize. Around the columns were cherry trees in blossom, even though it wasn’t time for them to be blossoming.

“Addy.” Ain said, getting my attention. “Tucker here will show you around today. I don’t have time with school just starting. I will see you tomorrow when all the new students meet for orientation. Also, you’re going to have to use a new name, Adalin Trest, you’re my neice, my sisters daughter. Remember if anyone asks. ” At that Ain nodded and walked away towards a group of teachers showing kids and parents were they needed to go.

Tucker came over with Kitty by his side and slapped me in the back, jostling me forward. I glared up at him, but all he did was “Bwahah” at me.

“So we need to go by you some school things and then afterwards I was told to show you to your dorm.” Tucker said pulling out a list. Which looked comically small in his hands. Even though Tucker was only 4 feet tall, he was also 4 feet wide and all muscle. His orange beard hung down into the list which he kept moving trying to read, but failing because his beard just came straight back on top of it.

Growling he said “Here take this.” Shoving the paper over into my hands.

The list was short, and written vellum by hand, more than likely Ains secretary sense it was easy to read. Addy laughed a little out loud, remembering Ains letters he always sent here, she was always only barely able to read them.

The list had 10 things

 

  1. Vellum, a lot of it.
  2. Spell ink, for writing spells.
  3. A weapon of your choosing
  4. Beginners books, list will be provided in The Golems Eye Library
  5. Beginners Robes
  6. Spell Components, mage starter box.
  7. A familiar from the Rangers Friend
  8. A scrying orb from the Seers Tent (Don’t let her rip you off, they only cost 15 silver!)

And at the very bottom was writing ‘Other items will be needed later once you have a specialization.’

“So were de we find these things.” I said looking up at Tucker.

“Over in the magic district.” As Tucker spoke he turned in circles, looking for where he was going. Finally spotting it he said “ Ahh hah. “And started walking away from the school towards a small gate with a guard beside it.

Running to catch up with Tucker I looked around.  The gate was in the wall, which from what I can see surrounded the entire school. It was about 20 feet tall and large enough to support people walking on top of it. It had small watch tours every once in a while with a fire pit built on top but not lighten yet. How the school this large kept hidden in the middle of Seattle she had no idea. The gate they were headed toward had a huge statue of a man on the right side holding a spear and shield, it looked almost life like, but it was build into the wall. To the left of the gate was a small guard house, literally just a small house like structure that looked fairly comfortable even with it being quite cold out at the moment.

When I finally got their Tucker in an argument with the guard, apparently he wasn’t exactly allowed in and out yet until he got something to prove he was a teacher at the school. The argument started to get heated, even Kitty started to growl.

Tucker yelled “Then ask someone you buffoon, do another part of your job other than shutting and opening a gate. How many years of school did you need to get this job? 8, 9?”

Giving up, the guard looked over to Ain, who was now watching the scene and shaking his head. As the guard shrugged and looked Ain, Ain nodded his head and waved for him to let them out of the gate.

Going back to his gate house the guard grabbed a wand and came back and waved it at the gate while saying something under his breath. The gate had barely started to open before Tucker started to push his way through muttering words under his breath.

As I caught up Tucker said “Damn elf’s, always thinking their better than us kindly folk like me and you.”

“Im pretty sure he was just doing his job.” Not wanting to argue, but not really knowing what else to say.

After going through the gate they had come straight out into an alley that led them 10 feet or so ahead and onto a street. The street was lined with new and old businesses, and even weirder humanoid races walked around then back at the school. Too my left I could of sworn I saw a half giant, and right in front of my was an Orc.

“Where are we, I never remember seeing any of these places when we visited here on our field trip.”

“This is the magic District; almost every major city has one of these. Miir dint want you seeing Portlands or this one because who knows what kind of trouble you kids would have gotten in here. You guys almost destroyed the Nutty Cog and killed Ain.” Tucker reminder her while laughing and kneeing her in the side. “Both this and the school are in a dimensional pocket, basically all this is only inside a few inches somewhere in Seattle as long as you know how to get here. Now, what do we need to get.”

“We need…” pulling out the paper and looking at it again Addy finished “paper, lots of it, and ink.”

“Then let’s get going.” Tucker said as he elbowed past the Orc in front of us. Who immediately started to turn around and say something before Kitty growled at him as she walked by wagging her tail into his face. Spitting in front of me the Orc walked away.

“Orcs. Why I hate the city.” Tucker said looking up the business signs as walked down the street.

There were new age stores mixed in with stores selling thousand year old magical jewelry. The modern day items were usually magical too, computers that read minds, cell phones that not only talked back but talked to you. The items ranged from necklaces that gave you special gifts like night vision to weapons that burst into flames. But most of the really dangerous things were out lawed by the Government or they were the only ones with them, most of the time.

“Do you know where you’re going Tucker?” I asked, as Tucker had stopped now, scratching his head and looking around, as Sat next to him licking her paw.

“Yes, of course. I just haven’t been here in a couple years. Or centuries. It couldn’t of changed that much.” Spotting something down another road, he pointed and said “Ah hah, told you.” And started marching towards it as me and Kitty started to follow.

He was walking towards a store with a sign over it with a sheet of paper and a hand writing on it. The paper said “Bergun’s and Son Vellum and magical Ink.” It was in an old brick building next to a shop proclaiming “magical wonders form around the world”.

Entering was extremely strange, because while the outside was old, the inside was completely new. With careful shelves on every side but two, completely filled with different kinds of paper. The other two sides were a counter, were the what looked like the owner sat with a young boy playing with some kind of toy soldier. The front of the store, up against the windows facing the street, was solid bottles of different types of inks. Labeled neatly and stacked in rows, with drawers beneath holding even more with little name tags on them.

Tucker was already talking to the owner, asking about what a beginner at the school of magic would need as far as paper and ink went. Reaching below the front desk he came back with a small box.

“This is a beginners ink box. It only has little of everything, but unless you become a scribe at the school most of these should last you several years at least.” He handed the box to Tucker and came out from behind the counter walking towards the right wall. He grabbed a stack of paper from the left and another stack form the top right.

“This one.” Handing me the left stack “is normal paper. Use it for notes or whatever else.”

“This one.” Handing me the right stack “is for writing magical spells on. This paper is designed can either be used as scroll or in a book of spells. Only use the ink with stars on it to write on these, otherwise your magic won’t work when you read form them.”

Tucker gave the man a couple gold pieces then we walked out, meeting Kitty were sat sleeping.

“What next kid.”

“A weapon of my choosing.”

“Ooo. Finally something fun.” Tucker said, was walked away, this time knowing exactly were he was going.

 

 

Addy swung the sword at the dummy, as it connected the dummy burst into flames and the sword went right threw.

Tucker applauded along with Buster Shieldbreaker, the owner of Bucklers and Swords.

“Its name is the fiery wrath of Typlhon.”

“Whos Typlhon?” Tucker asked.

“My mother in law.”

They both burst into laughter again. It was rare dwarfs got to see another of their kind these days, so Tucker was really enjoying being around Buster. Apparently an old friend from some war they fought in several centuries back in southern America against ogres, giants and orcs. Most dwarfs seemed to know, or know of all other dwarfs with their being less than a thousand on the planet.

Getting bored, Addy set down the sword from were Buster brought from. And started to look at the other weapons Buster had. Which he had a lot of. His workshop was littered with all types of armors and weapons. Almost anything you could think of, and most of them magical. The note said she could pick any weapon she wanted, but she doubted that the fiery wrath of Typlhon was what it meant.

Walking around she wasn’t very interested in any of the weapons, bows she sucked at, she almost shot Esmyth when she was trying to teach them at the orphanage. A pair of Scimitars, one with panther on it seemed interesting, but she moved on. A battle axe was too big. A crossbow not her style either. A long of row spears rested on a wall, she picked one up trying its wait. Going back to the dummy she tried to throw it but missed completely as it clanged on the floor.

Tucker and Buster only looked over long enough to laugh then turned around again going back to their conversation.

Definitely not a spear then. Grabbing the spear and bringing it back she passed a case full of old daggers. Now these she could handle. Not well but at least something more wizardly. Wizards dint exactly need training in the martial arts, but with guns outlawed by the government and with them being almost completely useless to any wizard able to cast a simple stone skin spell, learning how to use a couple weapons dint hurt. She opened the case and picked up a set of two old long daggers or dirks, she wasn’t quite sure. One of the cases was engraved with happy scenes of small fairy’s dancing around and other similar creatures. The other was completely different, it had dark symbols and creatures she couldn’t quite make out on it and seemed hot to the touch.

Finish their talk Tucker and Buster walked back over.

“Ahh, nice choice laddy. Those two be the daggers of an old elven wizard called Lirtron the Old if I remember right. They’re not much of a fighters weapon, which is perfect for you” Buster smiled. “From what I can tell the darker one protects the wielder from fire, and the left one I was never able to figure out what it does. But they’re both heavily enchanted with the basics like an enchantment of sharpened edge and such. But I doubt they’ve ever been put to use by the old wizard with what great condition their in.”

“Bah, you should go with an axe. Always keep you safe.” Tucker remarked, picking up a huge axe and slamming it against his other hand.

Addy laughed and said “I think I’ll stick with the daggers. Their perfect.”

 

Chapter 7:The library

 

After a hearty goodbye and a long exchange of Buster refusing payment for the blades they finally left and work their way to the Golems eye book store. A huge library in the center of the Magic District. It was like some old Roman building, with huge columns on the front and a long row of stairs leading up to the giant front doors. The place was packed, with students and people just going about their daily business. In the magic world books were still the main source of information, while they had the internet, books were the only way to transfer a lot of magical knowledge still. But the bigger problem was that most of the books were one of a kind, thousands of years old and couldn’t leave the library or they would follow apart as they got away from the library’s enchantments keeping them together. The librarians also weren’t the most of sharing people with their collections.

Walking in Tucker and Addy were instantly lost and amazed at the same time. The library was massive, way bigger than the outside suggested.

“Are we supposed to search through all these books to find the ones I need to buy.” Addy said looking up, and up, as the books just seemed to keep going everywhere she looked.

“No no no my young girl.” A robotic voice said as some type of mechanical human wheeled up to them. It was like a library cart with books piled on it, with a human torso stuck to the back. It was all shining gray metal with black and red checkered shirt on with a small name tag in its pocket sticking out. Addy was able to make out the words “Fred, librarian # 368”.

“All books sold are in the back, in section four thousand and fifty eight. If you just follow the markers.” He pointed to arrows between two books shelves with a sign above it saying “for sale”.

“All the other books are just for reading, and a select few you can check out.”

“What are you?” Addy asked, stepping close to look at him, she thought she could hear gears going inside him.

“I am librarian # 368. Built by the gnomish librarians as caretakers to catalog, search, and maintain the books in the library.”

At that he wheeled away, speeding along two rows as his cart extended up as he placed a book on a shelf, disappearing around the corner.

With nothing else to do they started to walk toward were he pointed, following other people starting the trek to were ever the for sale section was.

Tucker Sighed and said. “This is why I hate libraries, a bunch of walking and searching just to find something you’re never going to read, just set somewhere in your house and forget.”

“It can’t be that far.” As Addy said that they both stepped out from the bookcases revealing more of the library. It actually went down on top of going every other way you could see. To the left was a sign saying “For sale, 3.6 miles” with an arrow pointing to the back of the library.

Sighing even more Tucker said “How on earth are we supposed to get all the way there.”

At that moment they both looked down from the sign as a family walked underneath, stopped then stepped onto something. And all of a sudden they were wooshed out of sight. Looking at each other, Tucker and Addy walked over to were the family was. A sign  read “Please step on the square, keep all hands and feet inside at all times, in case of an emergency yell stop until a librarian can assist you.”

Looking at each other again they both stepped on to a square on the floor. They instantly started going, launching out from the square, railings sprung up around them to their waste, they oddly also dint get pushed back. They were a metal track way above the library, flying along they dipped down below a floor, ducking as they thought they were going to hit their heads against it. As they adjusted to their surroundings they realized they were now below the library, in some gnomish city, there was cogs and buildings below them, with things moving around that could only be gnomes. They saw other people riding along beside them, below them and on top of them, each disappearing through different holes as they went along.

Finally their ride went up again, going back into the library, for a brief moment until they went straight into a wall. This time when they’re adjusted to their surroundings they noticed water all around them, they were in some kind of tube going through the bottom of some river or ocean. They couldn’t make out much during, but near the end as the went back into the library they noticed a huge dark shape flow over them. Coming out their ride finally started to come to a stop. Stepping off what seemed finally like a more normal library, just inside a huge one. It was on the back wall, but covered in a lower ceiling then the rest of library. They had cashiers standing closest to them blocking anyone coming out from where all the for sale books were.A sign above said “ Golems eye Book store”, With a blue eye the moved around tracking people as they walked by

“Did you see that thing at the end?” Addy remarked, slightly scared.

All Tucker said was “I hate libraries” as he walked forward towards the books, the Golems up looking down at him.

Chapter 8 : Memories and wardrobe

Walking out the front door of the library, after spending several hours getting lost on their way back, Tucker and Addy stood at the tops of the stairs.

“What do we need to get now?” Tucker asked, obviously tired of this long quest.

“It says robes.” Addy replied, looking at the list she had stuffed in her pocket.

Tucker and Addy started to walk again, meeting up with Kitty who was at the bottom of the stairs playing with a couple children. As Tucker walked by he said “Come kitty.” As The large cat got up and walked away, rolling kids of her as she went, all the children went “Owww” at once.

“So what are you anyways kid?” Tucker asked, walking down a road, where he hopefully knew where he was going.

“What you mean.” Addy asked.

“A mage, druid, warrior? Ive never seen you really use anything before.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m a mage, like my dad.” While it was true she never really used spells around in the orphanage. Ain personally taught and tutored her in the basics of magic over the last couple years.

“Your dad huh. Do you know anything about him?”

“Not really. Just that he was very powerful Ain always said.”

Tucker laughed at that. “Powerful. Your dead wasn’t just powerful. He was the most powerful wizard this world had seen sense probably Rufflen the Fire.” Rufflen was a mage who was thought to have destroyed Pompeii using a spell to control the Volcano.

Addy wasn’t really shocked; the way Ain always talked about him always made her assume there was a lot he was leaving out about him. He always spoke as if he was in awe of him, as if he was afraid to dishonor his name even talking about him a decade after he died.

“One time your dad turned an entire underground lake into beer when he visited the dwarfs in their underground city a while back. Wasn’t a dwarf alive that wouldn’t kill or be killed for your father.” Addy had actually heard that story before, it was actually only about 15 barrels full of water he changed, but dwarfs tend to forget what actually happened after they get drunk.

“Do you remember anything of him?” Tucker asked.

“No, not really, I was too young. But I do have flashes of memory sometimes about a man, but I’m not exactly sure it was him.”

“It’s too bad; he was someone to be remembered.” Which was true, the government still used his picture and speeches on posters. Like one they were just passing, with a picture of an elf boy with a cop a human in front of him staring in amazement at the boys’ ears. Below the picture it said “Remember, cast a spell to remain unseen”.

“Here we are.” Stopping in front of a sign that said “Maggie’s robes and garments.” In a bright pink background with a girl twirling around in a robe.

As they went into the store a small bell chimed. Alerting a stunningly beautiful women behind the counter that she had costumers. Dropping her magazine she came around the counter. She was a tall half elf with long flowing red hair. She held herself regally like most elves, and she wore a green flowing gown encrusted with what looked like small lights throughout forming moving shapes. It had to be magical.

“Yes, what can I help you two with? I’m Maggie of Maggie’s robes and garments. I have one of the finest selections of magical clothing on all the west coast.” She said motioning around here to all her clothes.

“Umm.” Tucker started to stutter. Taking off his helmet, he continued.

“I need to get the youngen here a beginners robe for school.”

“Ah yes, if you would follow me.” She said swinging around and heading to the back room.

As she went Tucker elbowed Addy in the ribs several time and whispered:

“Now this is better than a library.”

Tucker rushed to catch up to her, as Addy sighed and slowly followed looking at all the beautiful items around the store. She certainly did have a fine collection of magical clothing, most of the clothes she passed shimmered or danced in some way that showed they were magical.

Following Tucker, Addy went through the curtain in the back. As she went through the curtain she was astonished to find a work shop in the back. Rows and rows of gnomes, humans, elfves and she could even see a dwarf, all knitting and sowing away. Making Different garments and things. To her right, were Tucker and Maggie, next to a row of changing rooms and a pedestal in front of curved mirrors. Tucker still had his helmet in his hand, trying to impress Maggie.

As she walked up Tucker was saying:

“Well I don’t like the brag, but that night I drank 30 beers and smashed in 4 other dwarfs faces.”

Looking to change the subject, Maggie grabbed Addy as she approached and led her onto the platform.

“Yes, very interesting. But let’s get her into her robe now.” Maggie said changing the subject.

“Whats your name little girl?” She asked with a huge smile.

“Adalin. But most people call me Addy, if you would like.”

“Interesting name. Dint the old Chancellor of the unseen have a daughter named that?” Maggie asked.

At that Tucker jumped in. “No, no. This is Adalin Trest. The Deans niece. Not Psyphon’s daughter.”

“I assumed as much.” Maggie said smiling at Tucker, who instantly blushed. “Well now let’s get on with it.” She said, motioning toward a small gnome standing off to the side this whole time waiting for Maggie to say something.

The gnome rushed in immediately with a small measuring tape. Taking every measurement Addy could think of, and even some she couldn’t.

The Beginner robes we sell her automatically adjust.  After Dorus here is done measuring her, the robe we make will fit perfectly, and change as she grows older. The robe has just the basic enchantments though. It will resist small amount of fire, won’t get wet, and won’t conduct electricity. The inside will be lined with pouches for spell components. The inner pockets have a small dimensional enchantment, meaning the inside of them is larger than the outside.”

Finishing, the gnome stepped away, bowed a little to Addy, then to Maggie and walked away towards one of the desks to have the robe made.

“If you would follow me to the front, we can get the payment out of the way, and the robe will be delivered to the school within the day.” Maggie said as she smiled and motioned them to the front.

Chatper 9: Spell Components.

“What’s up next, kid.”

“Spell components.”

“Does it say were?” Tucker asked, obviously never having before to buy spell components as a ranger.

“Nope”

“Let’s ask.” Tucker said walking into a store they were near, a few down from Maggie’s wardrobes and garments.

Addy stopped, looking at the store as Tucker went in. It was old, one of the windows was boarded up, and the sign hanging in front of the store hadn’t been touched up with paint for years. She could just make out “Wardrens Everythings.”. It would seem closed if their wasn’t several candles on the inside lighting it up. Addy headed in, prepared to encounter anything.

When she got in her eyes had to adjust to the candle light. Tucker was up at the main counter asking a small old man were they could find spell components. Around the room were hundreds of ancient things, covered in dust and cobwebs. Addy was sure she could see a skeleton in one corner, and she wasn’t sure it was actually sure it was supposed to be there or not. He did have some interesting things obviously hundreds of years old. In a glass case she could see rows of jewelry that gleamed slightly, enchanted. On the wall hung a double edged battle axe covered in notches were someone had nicked the handle. Below it was a broken helmet.

Walking closer to the skeleton she saw that it was held up by metal bars behind it. The skeleton only wore gloves, which she thought was weird. Both of the gloves looked like they had moving liquid around them and they were both deeply black. They must have been extremely enchanted, because she had never seen anything like them before.

“Why here of course!” Wardren replied to Tuckers question about if he knew were to get spell components.

Enthused to have any customers at all, He hopped down from a stool he was sitting on and ran around the counter.

“Here at Wardrens Everythings we have everything.”

Tucker tried to stop him, not wanting to buy anything from the place at all. But Wardren stopped him saying .

“Ahh, don’t you be fooled with this old place. Everything I sell is still in tip top condition.” At that he held up a small statue of a lady singing, which immediately fell apart.

“Except that. That was always trash.”

“Ofcourse.” Tucker sarcastically replied back.

But the old man continued to look around, trying to find something not deterred at all.

“Ah hah. Spell components.” Wardren held up a medium sized chest, slightly bigger than a head.

“It has everything.” He said opening it up. It was lined with hundreds of different spell components all marked in different pull out drawers.

Tucker and Addy were actually surprised, the box seemed fairly new, and it looked like it had more than enough spell components for a beginning student.

“You looked surprised. But here at Wardrens everything, we have everything!”

“Mmhmm. How much?” Tucker replied, sure that he was going to charge him a small fortune.

“500 silver.”

“haha.” Tucker laughed. “Ill give you 10.”

“No no no. Look it even has ruby dust.” The old man showed them a drawer that actually said ruby dust on it. “400 silver. It is quite a deal.”

“25. No more.”

As the old man began to try to bargain again, Tucker started to walk out, not willing to spend such an outrageous amount when all they needed was beginners spell components not something so elaborate.

“Fine fine. 30 Silver.” The old man said giving up. He obviously hadn’t had any customers for a long time and was willing to part with it no matter what. Even Addy knew the ruby dust in the box was worth more than 30 silver.

“Deal.” Tucker handed the old man 30 silver and he gave the box too Addy.

After they finally got out of the shop with only being offered to buy 50 other things they both started to walk away quickly as the old man followed them out still telling them about some fantastic deal he had on fresh dragon meat.

As Tucker continued on he felt a tingling on his hand, looking down he noticed the coin hanging from the bracelet Ark had given him was glowing a light red, he looked back wondering what it meant. But started to walk forward as Kitty ran into him pushing him onward towards Addy.

 

Chapter 10: Baby Rue

 

“Now a place I finally like.” Tucker said as we got to the Familiar store “Niloofar Rhamni’s exotic sanctuary”

Tucker walked up to the front glass with Kitty and peered in, in the glass was a new litter of small tiger cubs. Kitty put her paw up to the glass and started to play with one that tried attacking the her paw but only ended up smacking the glass with her little paws. Tucker couldn’t stop saying awww as the small cubs rolled all over each other playing. Addy knew Tucker could be here all day, so she went inside to look around while they played. They would probably just come in in a moment and try to talk the owner into letting them play with them anyways.

The place was huge, with hundreds of different animals, most of them loose. The back wall was a solid mountain inside the shop with a small waterfall cascading down it. There were rope bridges going form the upper levels, and cages all around. They had tigers even bigger then Kitty, gorillas, and she even saw some weird type of giant duck that was floating in the pond in the center of the store while children threw it loafs of bread that it immediately ate. She walked around the isles, admiring all the animals she saw in the cages while occasionally a loose animal would run in front of her.

She walked to the back and up some stairs to the upper level, half way up the mountain. The room was in the mountain, in a cave. On the far side of the room was only one cage, but it took up the entire wall. From what she could see the cage was huge and must of taken up most of the space inside the mountain because she could see trees and dense forest going on and on until it became too dense to see the other side of the room.

On the otherwise of the cage bars was an owl. And not just an ordinary owl, it was huge, about her size. Its ears had long feathers that out, coming up several feet of its head forming almost a half crown or horns depending on how you looked at it. The owl looked right at her the whole time as if it knew who and what she was.

It hooted at her.

From behind her a voice said, “I don’t know who she is. But I’m pretty sure I could ask if you like.”

Turning around Addy saw a female wood elf; she had long green hair in a ponytail hanging down to her waist and was wearing light leather armor.

She smiled, and Addy ask “Who are you.”

“I am Niloofar Rhamni’s, or Nil for short. And this” Nil said waving towards the owl, “is Dromphil. And may I ask who you are? Dromp is curious, not many come up here, the owls tend to not be as… entertaining as the other animals.”

“Im Addy Trest.”

“Ah. Ains niece, he mentioned you last time he was here.”

“You know Ain?”

“Yes, you would be hard pressed to find someone around here who doesn’t. As Chancellor of the university he tends to have to know everyone his students are buying things from. That and I supply the school with most of their animals food needs.” As she talked she walked up to the cage and opened a door. The owl jumped over, and she started to pet its head.

“Kings owls tend to not be, exactly familiar animals. So what brings you up here.”

“I was mainly just curious.” Addy said, walking up to the owl, she reached out her hand looking up to the elf to see if she could pet it, she shrugged. But the owl leaned its head over allowing her to pet it.

“He likes you.” Nil said. “But how say you and me go find you a smaller familiar.”

 

 

Much later, Addy still hadn’t found a familiar. Everything just seemed wrong to her. Familiars were supposed to bond with their magician. They can be extensions of will; they can provide boosts in intelligence or strength through that connection and even communicate through it. But she still hadn’t met an animal that was having that spark. She met some cats she liked, and a few of the smaller owls were nice too. But none of them bonded.

“How do you do it Tucker.” Addy asked, getting frustrated.

“Do what?” Tucker said as he held a small kitten that was asleep in his hand. He had found it when they came in and it hadn’t left his side sense. Kitty was over playing with another tiger she found.

“Bond with animals so well. Be a ranger and everything.” Addy said as she tried to get a cat to come to her, but it just came close, then ran away when she tried to reach her hand out.

“It’s not that I do anything special, it’s that I treat them like they want to be treated. Like this one.” Tucker said referring to the cat in his hands. “She doesn’t want to be pet repeatedly or played with, she just wants to sleep. And maybe a little belly rubs. Try to the pet the cat by letting him do all the work and you just standing there with your hand out.”

Addy stuck her hand out again as a cat tried to walk up to her, curious. This time instead of running though the cat rubbed its head up against her and let her pet it. But after a couple seconds it got bored and walked away.

“Well, maybe its stroking technique. Bwaha” Tucker laughed.

“I’m going to go see the owls again.”

She had never been close to animals before, but she never thought animals wouldn’t bond with her. Every young mage had a familiar; they were one of the first magical connections a mage made. Without it she would be the laughing stock of everyone she went to school with.

Walking up the mountain again, she passed other students finding and bonding with different animals, just making her cringe more and get away. When she got back up to the owls Dromphil was gone. Now sad that she couldn’t even see the owl again, she sat down in front of the cage and looked into the forest.

The forest was full of sounds; there must have been thousands of animals in it other than the owl. Looked out and saw leaves starting to move, hoping it was the owl she got up and tried to look closer. As it came closer and closer the leaves started to rattle more, but not nearly enough for it have been the huge owl. When the animal finally revealed itself coming out of the leaves she surprised to see some kind of squirrel. It ran up the tree and stood on the branch the owl was standing on before. It was the size of a large cat, grey with no tail, and smaller ears then a squirrel had, it had huge eyes. It stared at here, then got curious and jumped over to the cage bars. When it jumped it spread its arms and underneath it had wings. It glided over and peered through the cage at her.

Curious Addy got up and walked over to the cage and opened the door Niloofar used. The flying squirrel came over and peered around the bars, finally coming around then jumping at Addy. She screamed and turned around, not sure what the animal was trying to do to her. But it landed carefully on her shoulders, then pushed its head up against her hair making a slight almost purring sound. Addy calmed down, realizing it wasn’t trying to harm and reached her hand up to pet it. When she did it rubbed its head on her hand then crawled over her shoulder and plopped down into her arms. Were it curled up. When it noticed Addy not petting her anymore it looked through its arms up at her with its huge eyes, telling her she should continue to pet her. Addy complied and it instantly fell to sleep.

Finally she though she found a familiar, she ran down the mountain to Tucker. Finding him playing with the litter of kittens sense the kitten he had had apparently woken up and was playing with its brothers and sisters.

“I finally found my familiar.” She said to Tucker as she held out the flying squirrel, which peeked its head out at Tucker then curled up tighter and wait back to sleep.

But before Tucker could respond, Niloofar came around the corner and said:

“Interesting choice. Elven flying squirrels usually don’t like humans.”

Addy smiled at that and started to pet her new familiars tummy again. When she started it spread its legs and arms out and lounged in arms making sure she could get all of her belly.

“I think I’m going to call her Rue.”

 

Chapter 11: The seer’s tent

 

“Finally were almost done with this. I dint think it would take an entire day when Ain told me to do it.” Tucker grumbled as they walked towards the “seers tent” to get her scrying orb.

Addy was barely interested in Tuckers grumblings because she had Rue on her shoulder. Who was eating the treats they had bought at the familiar store. Addy kept giving her one after another.

“You’re gonna fattener up until she can’t fly if you keep at that, bwaha.” Tucker laughed. But Rue dint find it as funny, because she snickered at Tucker who just laughed harder at her small display of anger.

Rue jumped to Kitty, riding on her back. They had become really fast friends.

Moving back up to Tucker Addy said:

“I agree though. It’s been a long day, I’m ready to go to bed after this last stop.”

“I, me too.”

They arrived at the seers tent, which was an actual tent in the middle of the street need to the wall of the School of Magic. It was a fairly large purple tent, with just one flap at the front, at the very top of the tent at the point was a sign that only had an orb on it that seemed milky and changed from one thing to another. She thought she could actually see places or maybe people in it, but it was too far away to be sure.

Before they went in Addy said “Remember the list the orbs only cost 15 gold.”

“Bah.” Tucker said. “I’m a dwarf, you can’t rip off a dwarf, we invented the art of bartering.”

Addy wasn’t so sure about that, sense she had never heard of dwarfs being good at all at bartering but she shrugged and entered the tent after Tucker. Kitty and rue staying outside.

The inside had a plush carpet with an elaborate design on it. Everything had a pillow on it or next to it no matter what it was. And small magic fire, or more commonly known as fiery fire, burned around the room in small sconces. As Addy walked in their was a small glass case to her right. Going closer to it she looked inside, a wand was clenched in a fist, with a small plaque below it reading “H.P’s wand”. Never hearing the name before, Addy continued walking forward and looking around.

A small old lady was in the center of the room, next to her was a table with a large scrying orb on it, and on the other side of her at the table was a lady. Addy and Tucker walked up to a small desk with a young women behind it, who was obviously the old lady’s secretary. When they got their she whisper them “Just wait a moment for madam La’Land to finish please. And I will help you find what you need.”

Tucker and Addy watched the old lady who was whispering under breath and looking into the orb.

“I will now try to divine your future and hopefully your husband if he’s willing to talk from where he’s at. But there is no guarantee that anything will be seen.” The old women said to the women in front of her.

Whispering into her scrying orb again, her eyes turned white as she looked into it. After about 30 seconds she waved her hand in front of the orb and it started to fill with images. Images of cities, people, a glove, things Addy had never seen before but that seemed oddly familiar.

“You will have many troubled years ahead of you, filled with many trials you might not escape. But…” The old lady caught off suddenly. She started to look around the room blindly.

“Someone is contacting me.” She waved her hand in front of the orb and it switched from the images to a person, but it was too foggy to make out who he was.

The women in front of the old Lady said “Ned? Is that you.” But it was to foggy to make out clearly who it was.

“He is saying ‘When he finds you, you must find the door first, it doesn’t do what he thinks it does.’ And that’s it. Hes gone.” The old lady said waving her hand in front of the orb, the images and smokeyness went away leaving it blank.

“Does that mean anything to you?”

“My husband did have a brother I’ve never seen. And my husband did make portals. So maybe his brother knows were the door is?” the Widow in front of the old lady said.

“Maybe. But I got the feeling however it was, was trying to say something more important. Anyway our time is up and have customers, we can try again next week if you would like.”

Madam La’Land got up as the women in front of her walked out of the tent, not paying attention to anything around her as she tried to figure out what the ghost was trying to tell her.

The secretary waved Addy and Tucker forward.

“What may I help you with…?” She looked at them then continued “Tucker and Addy.”

Addy was taken aback with her knowing her name. But it dint seem to bother Tucker at all who had seen this trick many times before from magicians.

“We need a scrying orb this young one.” Tucker said.

“Ahh yes.” Madam La’Land said walking over to a shelf lined with different sizes of orbs. “For beginners the orbs start at 30 silver pieces.”

“Bah.” Tucker replied. “I’ll give you 15 and no more, I know your tricks witch.”

She smiled at that. Whiles dwarfs weren’t the best at bartering, she did know they were stubborn enough to argue for hours when they were set on a price. And if he knew she sold them for 15 silver to others he would stay at that price for hours without changing no matter what she said.

Giving up without even trying to fight. Madam La’Land shook her head agreeing and said “15 Silver it is then. But may I interest you in a reading.”

“No, we have to get going.” Tucker replied, ready to get back to the school and settle in finally.

She smiled and grabbed the orb bringing it forward to Tucker who gave her 15 silver in exchange.

“At least let me give advice to your little friend here.” Looking at Tuckers scowl she said in reply “ Free of charge ofcourse.” Smiling she leaned into Addys ear so just she could hear.

“Don’t be afraid to follow your friends.”

Which confused Addy. Because she dint even really have any friends. Madam La’Land opened the flap to her tent and let them out. As they were coming out Addy kept thinking about what she said, why would she need to follow her friends, what friends? And wouldn’t following your friends into something scary be something you shouldn’t do?

 

Chapter 12: Introduction to the magical School.

 

Addy and Tucker arrived back to the school. Rue was asleep in her arms. Getting through the gate was easier this time, sense the guard dint want to deal with Tucker again and let him in without a fuss.

The portals were empty now, only a view people were walking around and every once in a while a portal would open letting a family through, rushing to get their kid to school sense they were late.

Tucker led her up stairs behind the portals, going through the cherry trees, the stairs were littered with pink peddles. Mid way up the stairs they started to hear people cheering. Looking at each other, they both had no idea what was going on. When they got up the stairs they found a crowd of people several hundred away. They were surrounding a huge translucent cage, and the inside two mages were fighting. The cage was filled with smoke, and a huge explosion rocked the ground which made the crowd cheer. Rue was awake now and on Addys shoulder looking up at the fight going on.

“What’s going on? Why are their people fighting.” Addy asked confused.

“It’s a magical fight. They can’t die inside the shield.” Tucker pointed towards the translucent cage. When he said that a mage flew into the shield from an explosion were his nose must of busted because there was blood left as he floated away.

“But it doesn’t mean that can’t be hurt.” Tucker laughed a little. Now just as curious about the fight as everyone else around them.

The mage who hit the shield wiped his nose. He had three small orbs floating above his head and wore shimmering red orbs. Looking at the mage across from him he started to cast a spell, taking something form his robes and rubbing it in his hands. In response the other mage, who had on black leather armor and was holding two swords in his hand, was standing on the ground and began to run towards him. The sword mage whispered a spell and jumped on the shield running on it towards the mage. The mage finished his spell, throwing a ruby in the air in front of him, it floated their until he put his hands up behind it. From the ruby shot a red beam, hitting right behind the sword mage as he ran along. He jumped towards the mage as the beam struck him, putting his swords in front of him to deflect the beam. As the beam wore out, the sword mage spun with both swords, swinging them towards the mage. As he swung he said a spell loudly and his swords burst into flame.

Eyes opened wide the mage mentally cancelled his levitation spell dropping to the ground. The sword mage hit the shield with his swords throwing sparks and fire as his swords screeched across it.

“That’s your weapons master.” Tucker said. Referring to the sword mage. “Zanak Farfall.”

The mage on the ground looked up, realizing he had just left his non levitating opponent above him. Zanak was quickly descending, with his swords pointed down towards the mage. The mage pulled out a wand pointing it towards Zanak and quickly said a word, sending lighting arcing out towards him. But Zanak dint flinch at all, in fact the lightening just went straight threw him.

The mage stopped, feeling a sword point behind him in his ribs. Zanak must of cast an illusion sending an image of him falling down towards the mage, and teleported behind him instead.

Most of the time, a sword wouldn’t penetrate a mages magical shields. But Zanak Farfall wasn’t just a normal warrior, his swords were heavily enchanted and could easily go through the mages shields and cut him.

“Surrender.” He said.

“I do.” The mage said turning around looking Zanak in the eyes.

After  that the shield disappeared a fat human walked into wear the shield use to be.

“Zanak Farfall has defeated Rubon the Red.” He loudly said. The crowd cheered.

“What was the point of that?” Addy asked, curious why two teachers would fight at a school.

“It’s a game, either to prove your better then someone, or to get something the other person has.” Tucker pointed to the two mages, Rubon was handing the three small orbs he had floating above his head to Zanak.

“Either way it’s just good fun. One of the few things you humans get, a good fight can cure everything bwaha.”  Tucker laughed as they walked onto the dorms.

But Addy looked back at the sword mage. She had never seen one before, and it amazed her how someone could use magic and swords in such harmony.

 

After the fight, Tucker left me at the dorms. Rue was a small enough familiar that she allowed to stay with me in my room as long as I kept her clean. The first year girl’s dorms were over in the center of the campus. Near the PUB, or the Peoples Union Building, the main building of the school of magic. She hadn’t really got to explore on her way here, and she was too tired to really remember anything. Lying in her bed with Rue curled up at the end she thought about the day, unable to sleep. She in a room with 9 other girls, all randomly selected. Tomorrow after they figured out what she was going to become, mage, ranger, warrior or something else she would put her into another dorm with people of our same skills.

She got, making sure not to disturb and wake up anyone else or Rue. She needed to walk a little. This was the first time she had been away from the orphanage by herself. And ever since whatever happened the night when her father died she had been alone with no parents. Yes she had Ain and others like Tucker or Esmyth, but it was never the same as having a father or mother. And now she lost what little of a home she had again.

She got put on her robe, which was delivered before her and Tucker even got there, and a coat over it. Walking past the girls who were mostly sound asleep, except for one that was snoring. Leaving the building, which was just an old brick building that had its insides redone. She walked  towards a fountain she saw on her way here. It was a huge dragon in battle with a wizard, the dragon statue spit water at the wizard and it bounced a shield he had in front of him splashing all around.

There was stone seats around the fountain, she found one and sat down.  Across from her she noticed another person sitting there. He dint seem to have noticed her yet so she just sat there and watched the dragon statue for a while thinking.

After about thirty minutes of thinking Addy got up wanting to go back and at least get some sleep for tomorrow. But right as she got up the other person did too, noticing Addy. Both dint really want to move, sense they shouldn’t of been out their anyways, and neither really wanted to talk to someone else. But the guy started to head towards her. He was wearing some type of light leather armor. He was tall for his age, which must have been around 12, because he dint look much older then her, and had his hair short. She could make out slight pointy ears so he must have been at least a half elf. He was also extremely handsome and had a sword on his hip, which he probably knew how to use with the way he was walking.

“What are you doing out here this late.” He asked.

“Umm, I, don’t know.” Addy replied, not really wanting to talk.

“Missing home?” He looked at for a second waiting for a response, but when he saw she wasn’t going to give one he continued on anyways. “I miss home, a lot. They train you to be the most powerful wizard or warrior, able to slay dragons. But then they leave you with a bunch of other kids hoping that you will do alright, and that seeing your family every holiday is enough. If you ask me, it’s not that best way to go to school.”

Addy just stood there, not saying anything. She dint really know what to say. She could barely talk to the boys at her orphanage let alone one at night after she had just left what little home she did have.

He tilted his head and looked at her a little longer. Then said:

“Well. My names Thomas. If you ever feel like talking I’m here most nights.” He started to walk but before he got more than 10 feet away he said over his shoulder “Don’t stay to long, it’s said the dragon gets cranky after about midnight.”

As Addy walked back to her dorm she couldn’t believe she dint say anything. Berating herself she was at least happy that it was a big school and unless she went back to the statue she probably wouldn’t see him again.

 

Chapter 13: First Day, Druids

Addy was in a yard in front of the main Building the Pub with about a thousand other students. They were all gathered around the teachers, who floated up above them. Even the non magic teachers like Tucker, who must have had another teacher cast the spell on him because he looked very uncomfortable and about to puke. Around her were the girls she stayed with last night, they had walked here together after being awaking around 8 am and told to get ready for the day.

“You all have a special privilege coming to this school.” Ain said loudly, he voice obviously projected threw a spell. “Not many get to come to this school. And fewer actually graduate. You all have traveled a great distance, from places as varied as the elven cities to the dwarfing halls. Today is the day you get to find your path for the rest of your college career. Will you be a wizard, like me. Or a druid like Professor Timbers.” Ain pointed towards a large professor who must have been professor Timbers. He nodded then transformed into a large bear with symbols on his face and roared.

“Will you be a priest.” Ain pointed towards a man wearing white robes. As the man nodded translucent wings sprouted form his back, then quickly disappeared. The crowd awed, never seeing something like that before.

“Or will you be something more mundane, but no less fearsome.” Ain looked over to a group of proffessors by Tucker. All of them wore some type of armor. Zanak was over near them. When Tucker tried to wave he just made himself sicker and had to cover his mouth with his hand. Making some of the students snicker.

Smiling at Tuckers display, Ain continued:

“Over the next week all of you will undergo training in each path, and at the end of the week the professors will choose which you will become. But whatever you become, remember, this school is proud to have. May you all have a good year.” At that Ain and the other professors floated down. Giving orders for certain students to come to certain areas. They were all being split into groups.

Addy heard her named called, but almost missed it because it was Addy Trest and not Addy Gaurds.

Walking over, other kids were already assembling around a small purple haired elf lady who was calling out names in a very powerful voice that seemed to not match with her body. After about 50 or so kids had been called and arranged themselves around her she started to tell them what to do.

“I am professor Onomaris, you may call me Ono.” Her voice was oddly now small and very feminine compared to her yelling voice. “ I am a druid, and will be teaching you today about what a druid is and seeing if you can grasp the spells of nature or turn yourself into an animal by shape shifting.”

Next to Addy a kid said to her:

“I hope I’m good at this, my mom would kill me if I dint become a druid. What do your parents want you to become.” The kid was tall for his age, with long brown hair and his sleek figure she dint have to see his ears to know he was a wood elf.

“I’m not sure. Anything is fine with me.” Addy replied, not wanting to bring up she dint have any parents.

“Hmm. Most parents always want their kids to be something.”

“I guess my dad was a mage. So I kind of want to be that.”

Not mentioning the past tense she used to explain her father, the kid nodded.

“I’m Michael.” He said extending his hand outwards.

“Addy.” She said shaking his hand.

“Now let’s head over to the druids part of campus. You’re going to be spending the rest of the day with me, so you better get comfortable with staying outside.”

 

 

They were in front of a huge obstacle course in the center of the druid’s part of campus. The druid’s grove was enclosed in a forest, and most of the buildings she could see were up in trees, or somehow worked into the surrounding forest. They had passed a huge building on top a waterfall; the building actually went over the water, the waterfall going beneath it.

“If you have your familiar yet, you may call them to you. Druids always accept animals into our grove no matter what we are doing. Unlike the mages, or other classes you will encounter.” Ono said.

Addy dint really know how to call Rue. She had left her in the room, like she was told by the people in her dorm to do. She looked around, a lot of the people had their eyes closed and seemed to be thinking about something. Maybe she could call her? Familiars were supposed to have a special connection with the people they bonded with.

She closed her eyes, picturing her dorm, picturing Rue. And all of a sudden she was seeing threw Rues eyes, and even hearing her thoughts. Rue was on top of another girls suitcase, rummaging through it, she had a chocolate bar in her hand. When Rue sensed that Addy was their somehow though she dropped it and looked around, confused. Addy thought and said out loud: “Come Rue. I need you; I am in the druid’s grove on the North-West side of campus.” When she said it she saw through Rues eyes as she jumped onto the window, and worked it open. She flew out of it heading towards the druids grove.

She snapped out of the connection as she heard the professor start to talk again.

“Your familiars aren’t needed yet so let’s begin as they work their way here.” Ono said, walking between two huge trees that must have been the beginning of the obstacle course.

‘The first test is the obstacle course. To be a druid you must control the different aspects of the animal spirits within you. Agility of a cat, the ferocity and power of a bear, the swimming ability of a dolphin, and the sight of an owl. Now I don’t expect you to have mastered these by now. Or to be able to transform into these animals yet like some of  you can. I am just looking for what I can see within you. You may begin when you wish, it isn’t a race. But everything must still have a winner.” As she said it she changed into a large deep lavender panther and hopped onto a platform above us.

Some of the kids began right away, sprinting as fast as they could through the start. Some even were able to transform into animals already, one was a small cat, and another was a small wolf.

“Don’t feel like racing?” Michael said. He had been standing next to her the whole walk over to the grove.

“It’s not exactly my specialty.” Addy said.

“Well then let’s make it just between us two? Whoever gets to the end first wins and has to buy the other a soda.”

“Hmm” Addy pretended to think for several seconds, but then started to run before Michael could figure out what she was doing.

“That’s cheating.” Michael  yelled from behind her, but he was laughing, not really that concerned. Which made Addy wonder, sense she was already a good 100 yards ahead when he said it.

 

 

Addy ran past the starting line, jumping onto the logs in the water. The first obstacle was a flowing river, but there was thick cut trees sticking up out of the water going across. The landings on the trees were big enough to hold several people, but some of the jumps in-between them were almost 20 feet long. The main route, which was the longest route, wound way to the side, while it had the shortest jumps and biggest trees it was almost 3 times longer than going straight down the center. She saw several kids already soaked and trying to get back up on the logs in the center. So she took the long way thinking her head start would still allow her to keep ahead of Michael.

She was never the fastest or most agile kid at the orphanage, but she had more stamina than anyone else there. They use to run around Portland all the time and she always the only one not out of breath.

Jumping from tree to tree she managed to make her way across in decent time, beating most of the kids that tried to go through the center and failed when they fell off into the water. When she got over to the other side she looked back for Michael but she couldn’t spot him. Turning back around she spotted a purple cat coming towards her before she could start running again. Before her eyes it transformed into a human, Michael.

“What took you so long?” He said. Smiling.

“I dint know you could do that. It’s unfair!” Addy said, thinking she actually had a chance to beat him before.

“The whole point is to prove how good of a druid you are. I don’t think using druid powers is exactly unfair.”

Scowling, Addy pushed past him, running towards the next obstacle. Not exactly wanting to talk to him anymore.

The purple cat came up beside her and started to pace her.

“Don’t you want to win the race? You cant exactly do that next to me.”

The cat meowed back to her, as if not really caring. He was actually able to transform into quite a large cat also, she dint know much about druids, but the more powerful and more in control you are the bigger and varied the animals you can change into are. And his had purple hair and was a decent size, so he must have already been trained as a druid before even coming to school.

As they worked their way up a hill coming around a bend they saw the next course. In front of them was a large hole in the road with a waterfall rushing down into it. In the hole were groups of rocks large enough to step on leading across to the other side. As they were coming around the bend they saw a kid fall and scream as a rock he tried to step on slipped out from underneath him. Gasping they stopped, thinking the student had just seriously been hurt. But he came shooting back up landing on the side closest to them. The kid looked wide eyed not sure what just happened but sure they he almost just hurt. After a couple of seconds he started to run across the rocks again, this time much less scared.

Michael looked up at her, and smiled, if cats could even smile, and ran across the rocks easily, clearing several with no trouble at all. He started to walk away slowly, raising his tail up and swaying it back and forth trying to enrage Addy.

And it worked. She ran across the rocks, even leaping over a gap almost 10 feet wide. Mid way across a kid came from behind her and jumped on the rock she was standing on almost sending her over the edge. She was a small elven girl, after looking at Addy in what almost looked like disgust she jumped away almost sending Addy tumbling again.

Not sure of what she did to deserve that, Addy jumped again finally clearing the waterfall and the rocks.

 

After going through more obstacles, not seeing Michael or that girl again, she finally came to what she hoped was the last one. It was a group of bridges up in the trees at the top of the mountain they had been climbing this whole time. When she got their she actually saw Michael again, he was out of cat form and waiting by the start of the rope bridges.

“What are you still doing here? You should be done by now.”

He shrugged. “I already know I’ll get into the druid program, I’ve been exploring the forest. Did you know there’s an actual hidden temple over past that hill?” He pointed to a hill; she could just make out some type of concrete sticking up from behind it.

“No. I just want to finish. I’m starting to get tired.” Addy was covered in sweat by now, it was a cold day but she still had probably ran and jumped a good several miles by now.

“Ok. After you.” He said motioning towards the rope bridge.

She stepped on, it lead upwards then went from tree to tree lopping around in a circle from what she could see.

They got to a zip line area with about 5 zip lines lined up in a row. They could still see a kid zipping down. When they heard him get to the bottom and let go, after a few seconds they saw the handle come back up to the top automatically.

Addy grabbed on and swung herself off. She rushed down into the trees not knowing were this thing would go. She could hear Michael behind her on the zip line right next to her. Once she came out of the trees she finally saw what they were rushing towards, the top of the waterfall. The waterfall began in a small river that must have been magical because it was coming out of the side of a rock then only went about 10 feet then rushed off the side of the cliff.

Addy started to scream, trying to find a place to jump off before she hit the water, but she couldn’t find one. Several seconds letters the zip line hit the end launching her and Michael into the river. She started to swim away from the waterfall, trying to reach the shore.

As Michael went over the edge he screamed “This whole course is desgined to be safe, just let the water take you!”

Not really wanting to listen to him, but remembering the rocks floating over the hole and how if you fell you safely ended up on the side you started on, she stopped fighting the current, letting herself go over the edge. She was free falling now, she looked down and saw she was approaching the hole with the rocks above it, but now the rocks were gone. Thinking she would just be flung up by magic she let herself fall. But after a few seconds of falling into the hole she realized she wasn’t going to get flung back up, and now it was pitch black and she was still free falling. She started to scream, not sure what she was supposed to do.

But after a couple more seconds she felt her body start to get lighter and lighter as she hit some water gently. Looking around she saw she was in a large underground cave, one side was filled with water and the other side had land. She could make out people standing on the land. Around the cave there a bunch of green colored moss that seemed to glow in the dark, lighting up the cave so she could see fairly well.

Starting to swim towards the land she noticed splashing in front of her that was coming towards her. Not really worried that the school would put something dangerous in the water she continued but slower not sure. She could see a fin pop out. Then a head that popped up looking at her, it was a seal!

A purple seal she realized, Michael. And sure enough it stopped in front of her and started to change into Michael.

“This school has the funnest rides. I don’t remember seeing that one at Disney World.” He started to swim on his back lightly paddling.

“Fun, that was one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life.”

“Then you’ve had a boring life.” Michael laughed as transformed back into a seal, swimming towards the shore.

Shaking her head Addy started to swim towards the shore.

When she got to the beach she saw about half the kids already their standing around Professor Onomaris who was back in her human form. Also all their familiars were there, when she finally got out Rue came running towards her and jumped on her. She scratched her stomach as she walked over to the group of people who were standing around a fire drying off.

She walked up towards Michael. The girl who almost knocked her off the rock was talking to Ono.

“That girl almost made me fall off the floating rocks.” Addy said to him.

“I wouldn’t be surprised. She’s Emma Frost. Her parents Jacob and Freya Frost are one the most powerful mages in the world. Which makes her think she’s better then everyone here.” Michael was petting his familiar, a small owl that was sitting on his shoulder.

They could both hear Emma talking to Ono, she was asking the professor why the school taught druids when been a mage was clearly better and what the world needed.

“She really is full of herself isn’t she?”

“Mmhmm” Michael said as they both walked forward. All the kids were here now so Ono wanted them to gather around as she went over the next exercise.

“The next exercise is to see how in tuned you are with nature. Down here, you can find nature everywhere. The tree roots above us, the dirt, the water that feeds it all, and of course wildlife.” As she finished she held up her hand which had a spider on it, she bent down letting it go.

“You will now try to transform into an animal, any animal. Your familiar can help you with this, us them as an example if you must. I know some of you can already transform, but for those of you who can’t, could you please explain to the others what to do.?”

One of the girls who had transformed into a cat at the begging of the race raised her hand.

“Yes, go ahead.” Ono said.

She cleared her throat then began talking.

“It’s not like a spell, at least not exactly. You have to feel it inside you then let the magic transform you. There isn’t any words or spell components, if you’re able to do it then you should be able to feel it.”

“Good explanation Stephaney. This cave around you will help you; it is a holy place for druids. This may be the only place and time your able to transform in your life, but remember this week is about finding what you will become, not all of you are druids. Go ahead try.”

Addy wasn’t sure what to do, just feel it? She closed her eyes and felt around for magic. Which she found, like she always found when she cast a spell. But she dint know how to focus or use it without words and spell components. So she just thought really hard about transforming into something easy like a cat. But all she managed was to giver herself a headache.

When she opened her eyes she saw Michael looking at her, with his faced all screwed up right before he burst into laughter.

“What’s so funny!” Addy asked. “I wasn’t taught how to do it like you were.”

“No, no that’s not it. It’s just you had your face all scrunched up like you were going to the bathroom.”

She tried to stay mad, but she remembered the things she was doing to her face trying to concentrate on the magic and laughed a little herself. Her face probably had looked ridiculous.

“Do you want some help?”

“Sure”

“Try what she said, picture …” He was looking at Rue.

“Her names Rue.” Addy said.

“Picture Rue in your head, and let the magic flow through you like a spell, but focus it on the thought that you should be transforming into Rue, instead of focusing into a spell component.”

Addy tried again, this time holding Rue in her hands, she looked at her then closed her eyes, concentrating on Rue and magic. Thinking about transforming herself in the animal in front of her.

After a minute or so of trying she was about to give up, but then felt her body start to shift, and Rue slip out of her hands. When she opened her eyes she was looking at Rue still but Rue looked really confused. Looking up she Michael, but she had to tilt her head all the way back up to see him.

She did it! She leaped around a little, happy that she was able to do it. But after a little bit she started to feel her body change again. And she was back to her old self in a couple seconds.

“Good job, I know the cave helped, but few can figure out so quickly.”

“I doubt I could do it outside the cave, both of my parents were mages not druids.” Again Michael dint say anything to her talking about her parents in the past tense.

“The difference between a mage and druid is smaller than you think. Most of the time the only difference in the two magic’s is the choice you make about which you will become.”

That she dint know, she always thought mages were born mages and druids born druids. Ain never taught her any other kind of magic when during his lessons. She would have to talk to him about that.

 

The last and final test of their druid powers was in a small clearing next to the pond at the bottom of the waterfall they passed walking to the obstacle course.

“Your final test for today is trying to master the true power of nature. It can be used to heal and help others, giving them strength or helping to mend wounds.” She walked over to a tree that had a broken branch, touching it blue lights swirled around. And when she took her hand away the tree had healed and a small green twig stuck out were a new branch was growing again.

“Or it can be used to destroy.” She stepped on the ground in front of her. Outshot roots, spilling upwards form the ground. It started towards the center of the kids, who quickly got out of the way. When it stopped, the roots went back into the grown, disappearing to where they came.

“These are actual spells, and something I can teach you all. The more in tune with nature you are the more powerful they will be. The first is a spell to make anything in nature due what you want, make water move, tree limbs bend, or leaves to not rustle as you walk past. Vellum tron deum. It is only a basic spell that requires no spell components, try it out.” She waved indicating everything around us.

Addy walked over to a tree, Rue jumped on the branch in front of her, so she thought that was the perfect thing to practice on. Focusing her energy on the branch she said the words. “Vellum tron deum.”

When she finished she felt a connection to the branch so she tried moving it with her mind. As she thought it started to move, scaring Rue as she had no idea what was going on, but she held on for the ride. She made the branch bend forward towards her.

“Good job.” Ono said, coming up beside her. But when she said it Addy lost her concentration and the branch flung itself back to its original spot, flinging poor Rue into the forest.

“Oops.” Addy said as Rue spread her arms and landed safely 15 feet away.

Turning to Onomaris Addy said:

“Thank you. I have always been fairly good at spells.”

“And nature. These spells don’t always work for mages. You need a gentler touch for nature to respond to you.” As she said it she touched a flower down on the ground in front of her, as she did the flower bloomed open, even though it was already fall.

Addy smiled as Ono moved on talking to different students. As she looked around she saw most of them were failing at this test. They probably hadn’t been taught yet how to cast magic spells. Even Michael could barely do it, he was over sitting in the grass repeating the words over and over again trying to get them to move.

Addy walked over and sat in front of him. Rue had now caught up to her and was laid down next to her, no wanting to get on her quite yet after what had happened.

“You’re trying too hard. Spells are just rules that you say that the magic around you must follow.”

“I know what magic is.” Michael said quite harshly. But he dint mean it and seemed to calm down immediately realizing he put Addy on age with the way he raised his voice.

“I’m sorry; I’ve just never cast a spell before. My parents taught me how to transform into animals, but neither of them was very good at spell casting.”

Smiling Addy said. “Try again. This time think of what you’re trying to accomplish, give the words meaning. And try to get the magic in you to flow to into the grass.”

He said the words again, and then waited as nothing happened.

“See nothing.” Michael said frustrated.

“No, not nothing. Think about what you want the grass to do now.”

He looked down at the grass and started to think. The grass started to sway, then parted, and the fell completely flat.

He smiled. “I finally did it!”

“Good job.” Addy said.

 

“The final spell I will teach you before letting you go is a spell of healing. It is a simple spell, but one that you must acutely be in tune with nature to pull off. Vellum quen hium. It should heal you as long as you have something from nature on the wound, like water or sap. Now it won’t heal huge wounds, but simple bruises and scrapes it should fix right up. I am sure you all have some of those from the obstacle course you could try on, so please try. And after you’re done you may leave. Remember to check your schedules tonight, they should be posted in your dorm when you get back”

Some of the kids like Emma Frost just left, not even caring to finish her last test. Ono noticed but she dint say anything, just moving around to the kids actually curious about druid powers.

Addy tried the spell, walking over to the pond and dipping a cut she had on her into the water. She said the words “ Vellum quen hium.” And nothing happened. The water seemed to respond to her spell but it dint actually heal anything when she took her hand out to inspect it. Next to her Michael splashed some water onto his arm, where he had sizable bruise. He said the words and it instantly healed.

“Hey. How did you do that?” Addy asked.

“What, am I actually better at a spell then you.”

Addy just stared at him, not amused.

He laughed then continued:

“My parents were always good at healing magic even though they weren’t good at spells. It must be something about being in tune with nature like Onomaris said. It’s not just a spell, it’s trying to take nature into you like transforming into an animal was.”

“Hmm” Addy said as she dipped her hand back into the water and tried again, but still failed.

“Here let me.” Michael said grabbing Addys hand.

She felt really awkward; she has never had a boy touch her before. He said the spell and her cut healed as the water went into it.

He let go of her hand saying “There go, good as new.”

“Thanks.” Addy said, still feeling awkward.

 

Ch 14: The night

 

Addy walked back to her dorm room. She was looking forward to her actual dorm, but until they put every kid into what classes they were going to become she had to stay in her dorm with 9 other girls in one big room.

When she got back and fell into her bed about to pass out, Rue sleeping at the end. Her stomache started to rumble. Making her realize she hadn’t eaten all day. It was only 3 in the afternoon, but still it had almost been 10 hours sense she had gotten up. She promised herself to grab something for breakfast tomorrow on her way to her next class.

Only three of the other girls were there, they were getting ready to go out and get something to eat, but were trying to not use any words to make it sound like they were so they dint have to invite her. Addy dint want to deal with it so she just pretended to sleep until they left.

After they went out she got up, and changed into another pair of clothes, something more comfortable and headed out to find the cafeteria. Walking down the stairs she stopped to ask the person at the front desk was she could find something to eat. It was just an upper level student, playing on the computer. Trying to be polite, but only really wanting to get back to whatever he was doing, he said “Near the PUB, you can’t miss it.”

Heading out with Rue on her shoulder she made it to the PUB in short order. The PUB was a huge brick building in the center of campus. It had turrets rising up randomly and walkways going every which way. Walls sprouting up blocking your view of certain parts but allowing you to clearly see others.

“Cool building isn’t it?”

Turning around Addy saw a small elven blue headed girl behind her.

“Yes, yes it is.”

“It was built by a professor back during the wars in southern America. The professor thought we would be attacked. So he made this building specifically to confuse people walking around. So students would be able to hide or easily defend themselves in it. Now adays however it just confuses everyone who goes to school here.” She laughed at that. But stopped when she saw Addy wasnt laughing also. Looking down, obviously embarrassed, she started to walk away until Addy said:

“Stop, sorry, it was interesting, I was just caught off guard was all.” The girl turned around, looking happy now.

Addy smiled back saying “My names Adalin, whats your yours?”

“Trinial Highgarden. Or Trin for short.”

“Nice to meet you. You wouldn’t happen to know were a cafeteria or place to eat would be to in this maze?”

“Ofcourse! Follow me. The PUB has 5 places to eat, the Roost at the top of that tower.” She pointed towards one of the towers several hundred feet above them. “The main cafeteria, and 3 other places I haven’t been to yet.” Addy was nodding, as she continued to talk on and on, it was all very interesting, but she dint really care as long as she got her food.

They entered the building through two large metals doors that were already swung open. The main room had sweeping sealing’s above them with arching wooden beams that were more decorative then structural. On both sides you could see windows, stair cases, walkways, or doors opening every which way.

“O my god.” Addy exclaimed. “This really is a maze.”

“I told you so. If the students going here can’t even find their way around, how could an invading army.”  Trin said laughing.

Every hundred feet or so a wall stuck out into the middle of the room, obscuring a Addys view of the entire room. They alternated so at most you could see in front of two walls. Trin started to lead them straight ahead, going around each wall, almost colliding with other students coming around also. Once they got past the fourth wall they were finally at the end of the entry way. Which was just a plain wall with only one entrance and two platforms near the ceiling were she guessed archers could stand. Below them was a mural of an angel with its wings spread.

“If you look up you can see were the head staff work, the Chancellor and such. The central tower.” Trin said.

When she looked up she could see the same angel, but this times its backside, as if the angel was flying upwards. In the center of the mural up top was a hole where people could fly in and out, as several such people were doing right now, descending down towards them.

As they were looking up Addys stomach grumbled.

Trin laughed then said, “Let’s get you something to eat.”

They walked the hole in the wall, going up some stairs, turning so many ways Addy wasn’t sure she could find her way back if she tried. They came out of a door onto a walkway leading above a cafeteria. It was a metal bridge going several hundred feet across to another door way, and branching out here and there going to other doors also. Above them was a class ceiling covering the whole cafeteria. Trin walked over to a hole in the railing and looked at Addy before she jumped. Shocked, Addy ran to where she jumped and looked down. Trin was slowly descending to the ground floor where she was looking up at Addy.

“Jump, its safe, the spell has only failed three or four times sense the building opened.”

Not exactly feeling confident in what Trin had said, Addy worked her way to the edge and jumped.  Sure enough she started to slow midway down and gently landed on the floor.

They were in the center of a large cafeteria. Around them sat at least several hundred kids all on different raised platforms around them, they all sat on different types of brick tables and chairs.

“Over there.” Trin said pointy to a food court area with a bunch of kids surrounding different trays of food.

Walking over she saw everything she could possibly want to eat. Pizza, ice cream, bacon, yogurt, and even a full turkey. Grabbing a plate, Trin went to work piling things onto her plate. Addy dint even know where to start.

 

 

Tucker and Ain sat up in his office, at the very top of the central tower in the PUB. The same tower which Addy had just passed underneath.

Neither was talking, Tucker was looking around the room. It was a large circle, completely surrounded with book cases except one large glass window behind Ain. The tower was slowly rotating showing the whole campus.

Throughout the bookcases were odd little things, orbs, chests, and things Tucker couldn’t possibly know of what they did. The room had several other dressers and a rack of staves and swords that all glowed. In the center of the room was an octopus, whose arms that’d open whenever Ain wanted to let someone in or out.

As the tower rotated, Ain looked out and down towards a glass ceiling. He knew Addy was down there, this school had many little birds to tell him anything happening around, and he had several focused on her. Turning around in his chair to look back at Tucker, who was wiping something on his pants until he noticed Ain looking at him and stopped quickly.

“Do you have any leads?”

“Yes.” Tucker said looking at the ring Ark gave him. “When Addy and I were at a place called Wardrens Everything, the ring started to glow. I’m not sure if it was detecting it, or just something else.”

“The ring only detects powerful magic similar to or exactly the same as the orb. If it wasn’t there, it must have been there before. Or something to do with the orb is there. Either way you will have to go back.”

At that Tucker sighed, not wanting to go back anymore then he wanted to jump into the flames of a dragon.

Ain’s Eyes narrowed at Tucker’s sigh and he stood up looking at Tucker.

“Do you think this is a game? Is there something else you would rather be doing? When Vizix returns do you think he will find other things to do then killing you? Just because he hasn’t been seen sense Psyphons death doesn’t mean he isn’t there anymore. Last week The Government had to cover up his army massacring people in Los Angeles. We can only cover up so much before people start realizing some of their neighbors are elf’s or wizards and he gets what he wants. War between us and the humans.”

“No. That’s not what I meant.” Tucker said, but quietly. Quite scared of Ain. When he had stood up the whole building had stopped rotating.

“I know. My friend.” Ain said, sitting back down in his chair. As he sat the building began to rotate again.

“We just have to find him before he comes back.”

 

 

 

Addy and Trin walked together to an empty spot where no one else was sitting. When they got there Trin started to sit down on the floor, but as she sat the floor rose up beneath her making a chair and table.

“Ummm. Isn’t that unsanitary to eat off the floor.” Addy said, cautiously sitting down on the otherside of Trin, sitting down slowly until the floor made a chair for her.

“That’s why you have plates.” Trin said smiling; gobbling down more firstful of bacon and some type of weird looking salad then she thought was possible for someone so small.

As Addy ate she was looking up at a TV on the wall next to them. It was muted but she could read the subtitles. There was a reporter from New York standing outside a building that looked oddly familiar.

“10 years ago today, a terrorist took the life’s of 11 people at this apartment building on the top floor. Setting of an explosion harming seven inside and four pedestrians walking by to their families. While some people have speculated that it was not a terrorist attack but instead some large creature, the FBI was able to retrieve and analyze explosive residue debunking that idea.” Behind the reporter was a man holding up a sign in front of the building that said “They can’t hide the truth forever.”

“I always liked New York. Ever been?” Trin said, seeing that Addy was watching the TV.

“No.” Addy said, looking back to Trin. She noticed the piece of Pizza she was eating while watching the tv wasn’t in her hands anymore. Looking over to Rue, sitting on the table next to her, Rue was eating it, gobbling it down as quickly as she could.

Shaking her head Addy grabbed the other piece on her plate.

“We should go sometime.” Trin said happily. “I heard the school lets you use the portals to travel around during vacations if you have your parents’ permission.”

Addy thought ‘Yeah sense I don’t have any parents anymore let my just go get the head of the schools signature so we can go travel. Except he won’t ever let me travel because he’s afraid Vizix might find out I’m alive.’ Wanting to say it, but instead only saying “Yeah maybe, we’ll see.”

Behind Trin, Addy spotted Michael coming towards her.

“Hey”Michael said sitting down off to the side of her and Trin.

“Hey, who are you.” Trin said before Addy could say anything.

“Michael. Me and Addy here were in the same group today.”

Trin looked over at Addy, who nodded confirming his story.

“So what do you want kid?” Trin said to Michael.

“Kid, were all the same age.” He laughed; amused because Trin was the only one sitting at the table that looked like a kid sense she was barely four feet tall.

“Anways.”Michael continued “I just came over to say hi, I don’t really have anyone to talk to yet. The people they stuck me with in my dorm aren’t exactly my type.” He looked over at the table he came from. They were throwing food around and talking so loud she could make out most there conversation half way across the cafeteria.

“At least yours invited you too the dinner. Mine just pretended I wasn’t there and left.” Addy said, swatting Rue away as she tried to get her last piece of pizza from her plate.

“Then whos that.” Michael said, nodding his towards Trin.

Trin got mad and said “I am Trinial Highgarden, Addys friend.” Matter of factly.

“Ahhh ofcourse. My apologie. When did you two meet?”

“mmm” Addy thought. “15 minutes ago?”

“So that technical makes me Addys friend also if it only takes 15 minutes to be her friend. Actually I think it makes us best friends sense I spent several hours with her.” Michael said starting at Trin, who just seemed to get madder as Michael tried to hide his smile.

Addy felt a sensation in the back of her head, she had felt this before, Ain was calling her. She never really learned how to answer or to stop it from happening like Ain always told her he would teach her to do, but atleast Ain waited several seconds before talking so she could prepare herself.

‘I need you in my office as soon as you can get her.’ And then Ain was gone from her head.

Trin and Michael were fighting over something she hadn’t heard when she stood up and said “Im sorry, I have to go meet my uncle.”

“Right now? I thought all Family was gone from the school sense yesterday.” Michael said.

“Well mine kinda works here…I’ll see you two later.” She said turning around, leaving her plate there on the table.

“Whos your uncle.” Trin said.

“Ainamaf.” Addy said as she walked away, Rue jumping onto her shoulder.

Behind her they both looked at each other, both now very curious about their new friend.

 

Addy was below Ain’s office pacing around the circle rogue in the center. She had gotten up here after 10 minutes of waiting when finally a teacher had passed by and told her the command word to activate the levitation spell in the angel mural. And now Ain had kept her waiting for another 10 minutes after she told his secretary she was here. Apparently he was in a meeting with someone, and hadn’t expected her to here so fast. If she knew that she would have finished eating!

The floor she was on had rooms all around the outside, with about 10 doors going into faculty members that must have been directly below Ain in rank to be up here. A few of them came and went not paying Addy any attention.

Finally she saw movement from above her as the bottom of an octopus spread its arms and created a hole and out came Tucker. She was surprised to see him here, she Ain and Tucker obviously new each other, but she dint think they hung out or needed to talk about anything.

As Tucker came down she heard Ainamaf yell “Find it.”

Tucker started to grumble about some orb and how he always had to do all the work with no time to drink, seeing Addy though he stopped and waved. When he touched the ground he grabbed the secretary’s desk and tried not to barf, holding it in successfully.

“Hes in a grumpy mood kid.” Tucker said walking by her to the hole in the ground leading to the level below them. He slapped her back as he went by. Then stopped at the hole, gave a quick few intakes of breath and kissed some amulet he had in his hand and jumped down.

Addy looked up to the hole, preparing herself for a grumpy Ain. He was always nice to her, but as the former vice Chancellor and then Chancellor of the Government, angry Ain could be a very scary sight too see.

Before she could say the command word she started to float upward. Ain must have activated it sense she had been waiting so long sense Tucker came down. Getting up to the top she was amazed to see out of the window were Ain stood. She could see the entire school and most of the dark clouds sweeping past almost ready to start raining, or maybe even snow this late in fall.

As she walked over towards Ain he dint turn around, just kept staring out of the window, so walked up to him and stood there looking out with him.

After a few minutes he finally said something.

“I still miss your dad every day. I just can’t keep myself from thinking that if he were things like this wouldn’t still be happening.” He motioned behind him to his desk, were some photos and sheets of paper were spread around.

Addy looked closer, she saw a man in Los Angeles, she had never been there before but a caption told her. The man was wearing a dark robe, and had purple translucent wings sprouting out of his back. He had gnarled staff in his hand with a purple ruby on the top that he was pointing at something off camera; a beam of light was shooting out of it. Looking over the piece of paper she figured out the man was Haladar the Dark, priest of Sivilin, general in Vizixs army. The Government had covered up over a thousand deaths, using an earthquake as cover.

“Is Vizix back?” Addy asked.

“No. He still hasn’t been sense the night him and your dad fought. But things like this,” He nodded to the papers and photos “never stopped happening. The Government just covers them up, even from magical people.” Ain turned back around and walked back to his desk to sit down. He motioned for Addy to go to the other side.

“But I dint call you hear for this.” Ain said, waving his hands over the desk making everything on it disappear.

“I want to talk to you about your first day.”

“It was… eventful. I never thought I would be running obstacle courses, or changing into animals my first day.” Addy smiled thinking about all the fun things she did that day, even if they weren’t exactly fun at the time.

“Onomaris did tell me about that. Its rare someone un trained could transform their first time. Maybe being a druid  is your specialty and not being a mage.” He looked at her slyly, curious what she would say.

“I was thinking sword mage.”

“Why would you think that.” Ain said curious to how she jumped to that conclusion, Addy had never mentioned she wanted to be a sword mage to him before.

“After seeing Proffesor Farfall fight yesterday… It was amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Addy said very excited as she remembered the fight.

“I can’t say your father would be disappointed in you becoming a sword mage. Let’s see how good you do tomorrow.” Ain leaned back in his chair. “Have you made any friends?”

“I think so. Two, Michael and Trin. I really like them so far.”

“Good. Hopefully they will be in your dorm when you move at the end of the week. “

“But Michaels going to be a druid. I thought you moved into class specific dorms.”

“No. You move into group specific dorms. Basically about 50 of you, all different classes. Throughout being in school here your group will be tested on how well it works together,  if the warriors protect the mages, or the priests heal and shield everyone.”

“So my grades depend on 50 people?”

“5. The 50 is just so we don’t have to house so many groups, so you will be with 9 other groups of 5.”

“ahh.” Addy really couldn’t think of anything more to talk about, and Ains silence probably meant he couldn’t either. After sitting there for a couple more seconds Ain continued on.

“Well, I have work to do. But it’s good that you’re doing well.” He said standing up.

“If you need anything, just come ask my secretary were to find me.”

Addy nodded, as she got up the octopus in the center of the room spread open. Ain was already looking at the files on his desk before she had even left, looking very concerned about what he was reading.

Addy got back to her room right as the sun was setting. When she opened the door there was only one girl inside who was reading on her bed. Going over to her she saw a piece of paper on it listing her classes for the week before she fell onto her bed, Rue barely jumping away in time to not be smashed, and went straight to sleep. Too physically and mentally tired from the day to even take off any of her clothes. .

 

 

 

Chapter15: Day of the Warrior

Addy actually woke up early the next day. As silent as she could she washed up a little in the bathroom they had in the room, and changed, grabbing her daggers from her chest which she assumed she needed that day. She left Rue in the room because she was afraid of her being around so much fighting.

She walked to the PUB, wanting to grab some breakfast this time before she started the day. Mid way there she realized that she dint even know if it was open this early, but she continued on with nothing better to do anyways.

Getting to the cafeteria was easier this time, but she still thought she was lost several times on her way there. Descending down into the cafeteria she looked around, there were several people hanging around eating. It looked odd with any chairs or tables up yet, the floor was almost completely flat except for were the few people sat. She grabbed some eggs and bacon then walked over to some were empty in the floor and hesitantly tried to sit down, not knowing if there was specific spots or what for the floor to come up. But sure enough the floor came up and she sat down. The news was on again, saying something about an earthquake in Los Angeles which she knew was a lie from last night with Ain. She was curious what was actually going on, and why Tucker was up there last night also. Maybe he knew something more if she asked, Ain would never say, but Tucker would if she handled it right. He was talking about some orb, maybe if she brought that up…

Before she could finish her thoughts a guy sat down opposite from her. It was the guy from a couple nights ago at the dragon fountain.

“Hey, I dint see you at the fountain last night.”

Addy started to stare at Thomas again, remembering the last time they talked. But she forced herself to say something, not wanting to be known as the girl who just stared at people.

“I was too tired. I passed out almost right when I got back to me room.”

Thomas laughed a little bit. “First days will do that to you. I remember when my brother started his first year; I was only 6 or so if I remember right. But he wrote to my mom every day the first week complaining about how he thought he wouldn’t make it.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” Addy thought about how she only mildly tired last night, it was the school and everything happening that really made her tired.

“Tell that to my brother. He’s a 5th year and he still complains to my parents every chance he gets.” He looked at her for a bit, then asked. “I never did get your name.”

“Addy, Addy Trest.”

He looked a little puzzled at that. “As in Ainamaf Trest.”

She dint really want so many people knowing she was somehow connected to Ain, but it would have gotten out sometime anyways. “I’m his niece.”

“So you’re the kid I should get to know this year.” He said smiling at her.

“I don’t think I can influence Ain if that’s what you’re getting at.”

“Well you’re the only person I have heard call a former Chancellor of the Government by a nickname, so…”

All Addy could think at the moment was ‘damn it”.

 

 

Apparently the groups were randomized every day, so she had Thomas in her group today. Which unfortounatly realized when Thomas got suddenly happy that she was going to the training grounds for her class, telling her he was also in that class. She was looking forward to seeing Michael again at least. But now that she knew that classes were random, she was looking around hoping to see Trin in her class. But neither of them were their yet.

The training grounds were a huge coliseum not far from the pub. It was split into little coliseums spread around the main building. All connected by open causeways made of huge pillars. It all looked very old, and she realized that it might have actually been as old as it looked considering the schools magical origins. They were in one of the smaller coliseums, it was lined with training dummies all around the sides, and weapon racks were also lined up on every side, with almost half the weapons she had never even seen before.

Thomas and her had gotten there early so they started to look around the weapon racks. Thomas had his sword again, and she noticed this time he had a dagger on his other side, both of which had small rubies and emeralds on them. She knew enough about elves to know that his weapons were probably family heirlooms, which meant they were probably several thousand years old at least.

She grabbed a long spear, trying to waste time, Thomas was playing around with a flail, a stick with a pointy ball connected with a chain to it. Even though he said he had never used one before, he was still better with it then she was with any weapon.

She poked the spear at the dummy completely missing were she was aiming at and tumbled forward not.

From behind her she heard she heard footsteps. Turning back around she saw Zanak Farfall, standing with his hands on his hips looking at her.

“I see Ainamafs niece isn’t much at the finer art of swordplay. Though the last time I trained Ainamaf I don’t recall him being much better.”

Straightening herself up as fast as she could so Zanak dint think her as big of buffoon as she thought she looked. She started to say an excuse for her missing so badly, but he raised his hand before she could to stop her.

“Ainamaf told me you wanted to try to be a sword mage. I don’t judge by someone’s skill just starting, I judge by their skill after years of practice. I did the same thing as you the first time I held a spear, so what kind of teacher would I be if I dint assume you could do better in the future.” He smiled at her, everything he said made her feel much better.

“Ain told you? I thought for sure he would have wanted me to be a mage.”

“Ainamaf is much wiser then you give him credit. You must learn for yourself your own path.”

 

 

A little while later everyone was finally there. She and Thomas had played around with a couple more weapons while Zanak gave them a couple pointers during the wait. She dint recognize anyone from yesterday in the class, neither Michael nor Trin were there.

Zanak was in the center of the arena, with all the kids around him.

“The first part of today will be training exercises, you will find the weapon you are best at and then find a sparring buddy to train with. The second part of the day we will hold a tournament, the winner will be granted special privileges along with the other winners during this week in their warrior classes.”

“What if a mage wins. Do they get special privileges in their classes?” Addy said the Thomas.

Thomas laughed at that, “If a mages win then I think Zanaks out of a job, because then their isn’t true warriors here. And last time I looked I was a true warrior.” As Thomas finished he flexed.

Addy just shook her head and continued to listen to Zanak.

“This coliseum is imbued with magic allowing you to come to no harm from the weapons you handle today, though if you hit hard enough you can still leave a hefty bruise on your opponent. Because this is primarily a warrior class, only spells that effect your weapon can be used. So no fireballs or lightning bolts are allowed unless they are coming out of your weapon.” When he said that he was looking at the half of the class wearing mages robes, the other half was actually wearing different types of armor.

“Begin.”

She had already tested most of the weapons in the place and knew she was horrible at all of them. So Addy thought it was best to stick with the two daggers she had purchased, they probably weren’t going to win her the tournament, but at least she could hit the dummy with them.

“Do you want to practice?” Thomas asked from beside her, he had been standing next to her during Zanaks speech.

“Sure. But I don’t think I’ll be much of a challenge for you.”

He laughed. “I don’t need the practice; I was more concerned with you getting some before the tournament. Do you know how to use any sword mage spells?”

Addy wasn’t sure, she knew how to cast several basic fireball and lightening spells, but she had never tried casting them on or from a weapon before. Wanting to try it out she pulled out her daggers and said:

“Only one to find out.”

Thomas smiled pulling out his sword and dagger. Getting into a ready position.

Addy had had practice at the orphanage with weapons, but not enough to even come close to defeating Thomas, more than likely just block a few attacks at most before he slipped his sword in for a killing blow. So she tried instead to cast a spell on her daggers.

She began to chant a fireball spell on her left dagger, the one that was supposed to be immune to fire. She assumed that also meant it would be good at absorbing and sending out fire from the blade.

When she finished the spell she tried focusing on the dagger to get it inside, she wasn’t sure it was going to work. But when she finished the dagger began to erupt into flames. She pointed it Thomas, trying to fire off the spell. Thomas realized he should probably do something before she finished, moving in he slashed his sword across from his right, right before he connected Addy figured out how to get the fireball to come out of her dagger and small gout of flame went out from the dagger connecting to Thomas. The fire made his shirt start on fire.

Wide eyed he dropped his weapons and started to pat his shirt putting the flames out before it could spread.

“Good job.” Zanak said, walking over to them.

“Next time you should attack once your spell goes off. It wasn’t powerful enough to defeat him, but it did accomplish putting his guard off long enough to attack. That it is what most of a sword mages spells are for, confusing or providing advantages for you to exploit into winning the fight.”

Addy nodded, as Zanak continued onto other students beginning to spar also.

“Now that I know all you can do is scorch my shirt I won’t stop next time.” He said seriously, though he couldn’t keep a smile form his face, he was having fun.

“Again.” Addy said going into a stance, even though she wasn’t exactly sure what she was doing. This time she cast a lightening spell on her right dagger, the one the dwarf dint know exactly what it did. When she finished to her surprise the dagger erupted into sparks, letting off more lightening then her weak lightening spell should have given off. She smiled, realizing she finally had an advantage.

When Thomas came in for an attack with his sword, slashing from the right for her mid-section she blocked with the lightening dagger. Thomas smiled thinking he could easily deflect the dagger  but when the sword connected he got jolted from the dagger, which sent a spark of lightening through his sword into him.

Jumping back Thomas straitened, his surprise wearing off. He came back in, this time prepared to avoid that dagger. He brought his dagger in from his left, going for her mid-section again, but when she went to block with her dagger he stopped and swung his sword in from the right going straight for her neck. She wasn’t prepared and barely got up her left dagger in time deflecting the sword. She was thrilled she had actually blocked it, but as quickly as her excitement came, Thomas’s dagger plunged into her stomach, it was deflected instantly from the coliseums protection spell but it still felt like she was getting punched. She fell back, it wasn’t too bad, he obviously hadn’t been using all of his strength but it still made her question how much she really wanted to become a sword made and not a mage who could have blocked the dagger with a shield or stone skin and not felt it at all.

“Good job Thomas said.”

Addy looked at him doubtfully. She could see everyone else fighting, and almost all of their fights were lasting way more then only two or three swings back and forth.

Thomas noticed and looked around also.

“You started out only an hour ago missing a stationary dummy that doesn’t fight back with a spear. To going back and forth with me in a fight, someone who’s been trained almost his whole life on how to fight. In my book, you already surpassed half the people in this arena. So let’s go again, you can only get better.” He finished, lifting his sword and dagger up.

She smiled, realizing she had made a lot of improvements in a really short time. She may not ever become a sword mage like she wanted. And may be stuck as a mage, but at least she was going to be better than some of these people. She raised her daggers, casting another spell as she moved into fight Thomas again.

 

 

“Stop.” Zanak yelled from the center of the coliseum.

“It is time for the tournament. Everyone form a circle around me.”

Addy and Thomas stopped fighting, even though at this point they were more just messing around. After fighting for almost 3 hours they were tired and had figured out each other’s moves to the point to where they couldn’t do anything without the other countering before they started. Even Thomas being trained for most of his life, he was still 10 and only knew so many moves.

Walking to the circle together they both hoped they would have a break soon.

“We will start the first rounds of the tournament now. Those who win will be put into a winner’s bracket, those who loose will be put into the losers’ bracket. After the first round, we will have lunch.” Everyone cheered at that, most of them hadn’t eating breakfast like her and Thomas did.

“The school was kind enough to provide a small feast for you here in the coliseum. So let’s began so we can eat!”

The first two to fight neither of them knew. One was a small boy with leather armor and two small daggers. The other was a huge kid with a shield and sword.

“This doesn’t seem that fair.” Addy said, thinking the little kid was about to get smashed into the dirt.

“Fighting isn’t always about the biggest. It’s one of the first things you learn growing up as an elf. Size isn’t everything, theirs skill, determination, but most of all luck.”

“Luck. Doesn’t it seem odd for a warrior to favor luck? Shouldn’t skill be the thing you should favor most.”

“Battles are unpredictable. No matter how skilled you are a stray arrow or spell could still take you out. That’s why even Zanak believes in the goddess of luck, Ebisu.” He pointed to a small bracelet Zanak was wearing; it had a small coin attached to it with a face on it she could barely make out.

The smaller kid went in first, running straight towards the large kid. He smiled thinking it would be an easy win. He lifted his sword swinging with his right arm from right to left. The crowd gasped thinking the kid was about to be swatted away like a fly. But at the last moment he jumped up barely clearing the sword. With his legs tucked in he hit the larger kid on the shield. Growling the larger kid swung his shield upward launching him up into the air. But the smaller kid dint seem surprised with this because he actually seemed to push off from the shield giving himself even more air. As the shield swung down exposing the larger kids face, the kid up in the air whipped one his daggers downwards, plunging straight into his head. The magic kicked in and saved the kid from any serious harm, but the dagger still carried enough weight that it made the bigger kid tumble backwards and fall down into the dirt. The smaller kid did a back flip on his way down and landed perfectly 10 feet away.

“Eick Quicksight wins.” Zanak said over to the side.

As Eick walked towards the bigger kid, who was still getting up, to retrieve his dagger, all of a sudden he started screaming:

“It’s unfair, he cheated. I demand a rematch!”

Eick continued on, eyeing the bigger kid as he grabbed the dagger. But just as he grabbed it the bigger kid launched into another attack, running his shield into Eick and sending him flying. But before he could make another move Zanak was there with his sword to his neck. The bigger kid thinking he was invisible with the coliseums spell began to move again. But before he got any farther he noticed Zanaks sword had left a small line of blood on his neck.

Zanak leaned in a whispered to him. Thomas and Addy could just make out what he said because they were close enough.

“My swords are powerful enough to break the schools magic. If you show such disrespect in my arena again you will be expelled from the school.”

Walking back to his side, Zanak called two names again. One was Thomas! The other was a mage named Zonkers Spellsbottoms, he was a small gnome wielding a mage with a spiked ball almost as big as his head. But he dint seem to be having a problem caring it. Addy noticed the shine on the outside, it must have been enchanted, quite a bit actually sense if it wasn’t she dint even think she could swing the mace with how heavy it would be.

Thomas went in slow, curious about Zonker’s, why he was small and probably not that skilled with his mace sense he was a mage, the enchantment on the mace still made him quite dangerous. When the gnome got closer he suddenly ran forward, launching his mace in a swing at Thomas’s knee cap. Thomas dropped his sword down blocking the mace partly; the mace smashed through his sword and hit his knee cap sending him to the ground. But thanks to his sword blocking it dint hit with full force, so Thomas was able to roll with the blow and get up quickly. The gnome charged again, but this time Thomas wasn’t going to try to block one of the blows. Instead he let the gnome come in and swing at his knees again; jumping over the mace Thomas landed and swung his sword toward the gnomes face. But he reversed his mace quicker than someone so small should have been able to and knocked his sword away right as it was about to connect.

They both jumped back, giving eachother space to think of another tactic. The gnome cast a spell on his mace, making it dance with lightening. Addy could see Thomas sigh as he figured out that his options were very limited. His eyes became determined though suddenly, he must of thought of something to try.

Charging in Thomas dove low and began to slide in the dirt as if he was about to swing at the gnomes face. Zonkers swung directly at Thomas’s face, but right as it was about to hit Thomas dug his sword down into the dirt planting it there. The mace connected, ringing as steel met steel, only inches from Thomas’s face. Near the gnomes neck was Thomas’s dagger, resting their as they both looked into each other’s eyes.

“I surrender .” Zonkers said stepping back.

“The winner is Thomas Aranion.” Zanak said walking out to congratulate him.

Thomas walked back over extremely excited that he won.

Zanak called out two more names, this time a girl in leather armor and a boy wearing mages robes stepped out into the center.

 

 

After what seemed almost everyone had gone, finally Addy got called. She was going up against another girl. This one was wearing leather armor too, but one of her swords had flames coming off of it so Addy assumed she was a sword mage. The other sword was plane, but Addy knew when it came to magic that dint always matter if you couldn’t see something.

From behind her Thomas said “You can do it. Just remember our fights.”

Addy had been assuming up to this point she would just loose her first fight and then loose her second in the loser’s tournament. And even with Thomas’s encouragement, as she looked at her opponent she still thought she was going to lose. The way she moved was just so precise and elegant compared to herself.

But Addy dint want to give up, she was still hoping that maybe being a sword mage wasn’t completely out of the realms of possibilities. Casting a lightening spell on her right dagger, and a fire spell on her left Addy went into the ring.

She looked impressed; she probably had thought I was one of the other mages who couldn’t cast spells on their weapons.

When we got closer she exploded into motion, running towards me trying to go for the quick kill. Raising her daggers Addy stopped and prepared herself, ready to dodge out of the way at the last moment or block he swords with her daggers. But mid-way to her she did something unexpected; she pointed her sword towards Addy and let out a fireball. Addy held up her daggers, not really knowing what else to do. As she did though the fireball flew into her left dagger getting consumed and making the fire on her side even larger. The other girl looked shocked but continued on. Addy pointed her dagger at the girl, sending forth her fireball that was much larger now that it consisted of hers and the other girls. Jumping out of the way the fireball only managed to scorch her boots as she rolled coming back up trying to put the fire out. Addy came in swinging her right dagger, trying to catch her by surprise, but the other girl stopped patting the fires and swun her sword back to deflect the dagger but she immediately got shocked as Addys lightening spell leaped from her dagger into the sword. The other girl got her senses back fairly quickly, dodging Addys left dagger as she tried to plunge it into her chest before she could got over the shock of the lightening. But the other girl did, and also began to start to take the offensive, sending attack after attack at Addy that she could barely counter.

That’s when Addy knew she was doomed, it was possible she might have got lucky and defeated this other girl, but now that all her tricks were played out the other girl was just too skilled. Swinging her swords she smashed them into Addys daggers sending her to the dirt. Before Addy could get her daggers back up to defend though the other girl had a sword at her neck.

Addy looked up, the other girl smiled and said “Good fight, you almost had me there.”

“Almost, but you always had me beat after I ran out of my two tricks.” Addy said laughing, actually enjoying loosing because she did way better then she thought she would against such a skilled opponent.

“Veronica Evergale wins.” Zanak said.

Reaching down veronica grabbed Addys hand and pulled her up.

“Now it is time to eat.” Zanak said as several school staff memebers started to come in from the doors. They brought in tables layered with food, placing them around the coliseum.

Thomas walked up, looking at Veronica and Addy.

“Grab your new friend and let’s go eat. Im starving.”

As if on cue all three of their stomachs growled as if they were all agreeing.

 

 

Addy, Veronica, and Thomas all sat together near one side of the coliseum. They ate different kinds of smoked ham, and other assorted meats. Apparently Zanak only liked meat because she couldn’t find any vegetables or other types of dishes.

“Were did you learn your sword mage magic at Addy?” Veronica asked stuffing her face with bacon covered in syrup.

“I dint, I learned magic from my uncle. I only just figured out how to do sword mage magic.” Addy said shyly, not wanting to bring up Ain teaching her.

“Your uncle must have been a great teacher, because it took me several months to be able to use my magic on swords.”

“Her uncles Ainamaf Trest, so of course she figured it out quickly.” Thomas said, mid-way through he noticed Addy glaring at him and chocked off the last part of what he was saying though.

Not noticing the exchange Veronica carried on “Wow. Getting taught by him must have made learning the basics of magic extremely easy. My dad’s decent at magic, but he only has an office job, so he doesn’t really know much combat magic.”

“You still fought better than me.” Addy said trying to get away from talking about Ain.

“Maybe, but you still would of beat me if you could of used all your magic.”

Addy doubted that, she knew quite a few spells, but nothing able to counter a sword flying at her face. Maybe if she studied the spell book Ain gave her and came up with spells to counter Veronica she could win, but even then Addy had never really dueled someone before today.

After a few minutes of silence and eating Thomas spoke up saying. “Did you guys hear about the Los Angeles fight? Their saying that one of Vizix’s generals destroyed an entire neighborhood.”

“How did you hear about that?” Addy asked, remembering what she read in Ains office.

“What do you mean? I read it online in a blog about everything the Government is keeping from us. It’s not like they can cover up something that big completely. Why, how did you know about it? Did Ainamaf tell you?”

“He might have showed me some things.” When she said it Thomas got really excited, but before he could ask her anything more she said “But I don’t know anything more then you, he just said it had happened.”

Thomas got sad then, thinking he had finally found the truth, but only what he already knew.

“But I do know he’s looking for some orb.” As Addy said that she immediately regretted it, she curious what Ain and Tucker were looking for, but dint want anyone else to know just in case it was a secret.

“What orb?” Thomas asked really excited, as if he had just been let into a big secret.

But luckily before Addy had to say anything more Zanak started calling for them to form up again in a circle.

“We start with the first round of the loser’s tournament. Zonkers VS Addy.”

And that’s when Addy knew she was right about losing her first and second fights and being out of the tournament, because even Thomas barely beat Zonkers.

 

Tucker stood in front of Wardrens Everythings, looking it over. It still looked almost dilapidated, and one more of the windows had been shattered by a rock, probably from some kid, and was now boarded up. Tucker held up his hand looking at the small coin hanging from the bracelet Ark gave him, it had been glowing a light red color ever sense Tucker had gotten close to the place. He tried walking over to the places nearby hoping it was one of them, but nope it glowed the strongest near Wardrens.

Tucker sighed swinging the door open. Wardren immediately started offering him things once he recognized who Tucker was. Ignoring him Tucker walked around, holing up his bracelet to items in the store to see which one made it glow the most. It kept around the same glow the whole time though; the magic must have been so strong in the room the bracelet was picking it up everywhere.

But as Tucker walked past the skeleton he noticed the gloves, he hadn’t put the bracelet up to them because he dint think a skeleton would be enchanted and hadn’t seen the gloves before. Sure enough once he put the bracelet up to them it started to glow even darker red, almost changing a whole hue to an almost black red.

“How much for the gloves.” Tucker asked.

Wardren stopped talking, trying to figure out what Tucker said to him sense had been talking this whole time. Figuring it out he said. “10 gold pieces.”

“Deal”

“Ahh I thought you would say no.” Wardren continued, assuming Tucker would say no. “But the gloves are from…”

Tucker shoved a bag with 10 gold pieces in it into Wardren’s hands before he could finish. Tucker grabbed the gloves and walked out of the store, the whole time Wardren dint say anything, to shocked that he actually sold something at his inflated prices to form any thoughts.

As Tucker left however Wardren stopped counting the coins and realized why someone would pay his price right away without trying to bargain. The gloves must have been worth way more. But he shrugged, remembering that he had gotten the gloves for almost free years ago when a strange man came in wanting to sell them.

Tucker stopped mid-way down the alley as Ark contacted him with a floating image of himself and the other Forgotten members. Ark had been sitting back at the orphanage watching Tucker with the other members of the Forgotten gathered around a crystal ball.

“There is no record of gloves connected to the orb in any of my history books.” Ark said to Tucker through the connection.

“Well then you need new history books. Because they are defiantly connected.” Tucker said holding up the gloves next to the bracelet, the coin on it glowing almost black with how close they were.

“I don’t disagree, but until I can do more research on them you will have to continue searching.”

“What! How is this not enough for Ainamaf to allow you to come yet? Look at the thing glow.”

“I’m afraid you will actually have to go through with teaching children Tucker. Untill you can find something else, or Ark has more leads on the gloves.” Trummel said through the crystal ball.

To the side Athelaz made a cross motion over his heart and shook his head at the thought of Tucker actually teaching children. He could barely take care of them at the orphanage let alone teach them about something.

To the side Esmyth laughed as she watch Athelaz.

Tucker heard it and yelled at Esy “Why if you’re gonna laugh at me then why don’t you come do it, you’re a ranger too!”

“Ahh but I am not nearly as good of a ranger.” Esmyth smiled at that, knowing if she played on Tuckers ego she would calm him down.

“Well yeah. If these kids are going to learn about Hunting it should be through me not you.” He said pushing out his chest. At that Kitty laid down putting her paws over her head.

“Just continue. I’m sure the gloves will lead to something more very soon.” Trummel said. At that the connection blanked out and Tucker continued on back to the school. But soon got side tracked at a bar, grumbling that he deserved a drink.

 

 

 

Addy threw her dagger at Zonkers as he ran towards her begin to swing his deadly mace. He flinched as the dagger came, but when the dagger dint actually hit him he stood their confused about what happened. Addy happily waded in as he looked confused and gently poked him in the stomache.

“I win.” Addy said smiling, as Zanak said the same thing loudly from the crowd.

“But how?” Zonkers asked.

“Magic.” Was all Addy said walking back to Veronica and Thomas. In actuality though Addy had learned it from Veronica, she showed her the spell to cast on her dagger to make it look like it was going towards the person she pretended to throw it at.

“Good job” Both Thomas and Veronica said once she got back to them. Though it really wasn’t, she couldn’t have beaten Zonkers without using magic.  The other two were the ones actually doing a good job. Both of them had already defeated opponents much more powerful than Zonkers. Thomas had fought two people so far, and won both matches within the first 5 seconds by using sword play Addy had barely been able to follow. Veronica had only fought one so far, and was just being called to fight again as Addy reached them. She had won her fight by using the spell Addy had just used, pretending she had thrown both of her swords her opponent had recklessly came in swing his swords around, and was quickly taken from surprise as Veronica produced her apparently thrown swords.

Veronica was up against an elvish girl with a bow this time. Addy really couldn’t of a way for her to win this fight, swords couldn’t deflect arrows very well.

The girl shot her bow at Veronica, Veronica rolling out of the way at the last moment. The arrow went straight into the crowd, several people jumping behind pillars to get away, but it was all in vain because the arrow stopped short of the crowd at a barrier no one had noticed was their yet. As Veronica got up she threw a sword at the girl, the girl had seen her last fight and knew her tricks so she leveled another arrow at Veronica. Veronica was up though and running at her, swirving this way and that. But before the girl could get off an arrow the sword actually struck her, knocking her arrows loose. Veronica had known the girl would think she would use the same trick again, so she assumed the girl wouldn’t dodge her sword at all.

As Veronica reached the girl she grabbed her other sword from the ground and swung both of them at the girl. She dropped her bow and rolled away dodging the attack.

Getting up, everyone noticed she was unarmed now and Veronica would have a swift win. But as she got up Veronica threw one of her swords at her fight and got into a fighting stance while she picked it up. Zanak nodded at that, and several of the students cheered.

Picking the sword up, the girl got into a fighting stance also. But as quickly as she got prepared Veronica attacked. Launching her sword point first at the girl’s stomach. She barely dodged in time, unprepared for Veronica attacking. Immediately reversing the direction of her sword to the side, Veronica swung for the girl. She stuck her sword down though blocking it. But as she did she was shocked by Veronicas spell on her sword. Not being able to move for several seconds gave Veronica enough time to put her sword at the girl’s neck.

“Veronica had defeated Elwin Evergale.” Zanak said from the side.

Walking back over Thomas said “I could of sworn you would of have lost, having to go up against a bow, even I would have lost if I dint get lucky dodging the arrows.”

“Well that is why women are better at fighting. We come up with plans you would never think of.” Veronica said smiling. But Thomas just shook his head not knowing how to respond.

 

 

“So more about this orb thing you were talking about earlier.” Thomas said as the semi-final battles started. A guy with a bow was up against a spear wielding girl, whose spear came back to her after she threw it. They were both going back and forth, seeing who could get the first hit.

Addy sighed on the inside, not wanting to talk about it. But said:

“I wasn’t talking about it. I just accidently mentioned something I shouldn’t have.”

“Well now were talking about it why don’t you tell me a little more about it.” Thomas smiled at her, genuinely not hearing the part about her accidently mentioning it. As he smiled a spear flung itself into the shield only inches from Thomas’s face, but he dint seem to notice, just kept smiling at her.

Addy sighed again. “Fine, all I know is that he’s looking for an Orb, honestly. And that Tucker Mc Gavin is the one looking for it for him.”

“Hmm. The new Ranger teacher. Interesting.” Thomas thought outloud, ignoring Again as he thought about something.

“You really shouldn’t tell that one anything.” Veronica whispered to her, laughing.

“It’s not like he can find any information from just from knowing hes looking for an Orb anyways.” Addy laughed back her, not thinking she let out any big secret or anything.

As they had been talking the fight was won by the spear wielding girl. After they had gone back to the sides Zanak announced the next two names.

“Next up in the semi-finals for the losers bracket is Addy Trest Vs Argnot Madra. The winner will go to the finals in the loser’s bracket.” Zanak said.

Both Veronica and Thomas gasped; Argnot was the kid from the first fight who had not accepted his loss very valiantly, sending a kid flying into the crowd after he had lost.

“Maybe you should just forfeit.” Veronica said, scared Addy might actually get hurt even with the shield.

“The Shield will be fine.” Thomas said, knowing what Veronica was thinking. “He’s slow and big, you shouldn’t have any problem tiring him out. Or maybe try why the first kid did and jump off his shield.” He said smiling.

“Umm. I doubt I could even jump high enough to reach his shield…” Addy said walking out.

As she got out there, he smashed his sword against his shield, ready to fight. They had heard him during the lunch wanting to win the losers bracket and demand a fight against the winner’s bracket winner for who was the best. He still believed he was the best fighter after getting defeated and was prepared to demolish anyone who got in his way.

Addy cast her lighting and fireball spells on her daggers, not really thinking they would do anything against him, and the illusion spell wouldn’t even make him flinch. She did however think if she could get her lightening spell off on his shield she might by herself enough time to go around him and stab him.

But before she could even think he rushed at her from the other side of the stadium. HE put his shield down trying to bowl her over. Not knowing what else to do she side stepped him, letting him bowl past her. As he went past she stuck her dagger on his shield letting the lightening spell loose. But as he turned back around, he dint even look like it did anything to him or that he even noticed if it did. He must have been so hyped up on adrenalin it wasn’t effecting him.

Not knowing what to do now that her spell failed she put up her left dagger and let loose the fireball spell, aiming for his head. But it just bounced harmlessly off his shield.

He laughed, saying “Is that all you have? How did you even get this far. If it wasn’t for that little brat at the start I would have crushed all of you.” As he finished he swung his sword at her.

Addy jumped backwards, thinking about maybe she should have just been hit and had this finished now, before he flung her into the shield or something even worst. He came forward, trying to shield basher her. Addy let him do it, not seeing a point, but as the shield smashed into him he flung her upwards. Making her think of what Thomas told her to do, she dint think that would exactly work again, but she did have an idea. As she flew upwards she cast her illusion spelling, sending the fake one sailing towards his head. He yelped and threw up his shield as she landed, he was still complaining about the other girl as Addy walked up to him and jabbed both her blades in his chest.

Before he could do anything in outrage. Zanak was there staring at Argnot to make sure he dint try anything this time. But he dint, he just glared at Addy and said something under his breath as he walked back to the side.

“He will be a great warrior one day when he gets over his own vanity.”Zanak said shaking his head as he watched Argnot.

“But you.” Zanak said looking at Addy now. “Might make a better sword mage then I thought. If you’re still interested.”

“Maybe.” Addy said not really sure anymore. “The reason I’m so good is because of my magic. I would make a better mage then I would ever make a good sword mage.”

“I know. These classes are about learning what your strengths are. Most students already know what they really want to be, but it takes showing them to make them realize, like you.” Zanak smiled and patted Addy on the back as he walked back over to his spot calling out the next two names.

 

 

It was now around 3 in the afternoon and they had finally worked their way down to the final two in each category. Thomas was up against Veronica, and Addy was up against the spear wielding girl, who was apparently named Aria Longsattle.

Addy had no idea how she had gotten this far, but she actually kind of wanted to win now. She was trying to think of other spells she might be able to use with her daggers, but all she’d been able to come up with was a spell Ain taught her for holidays, that sent out small fireworks. If she could only just use her spells she would be able to win this.

Thomas and Veronica were on both sides of her, trying to not talk sense they realized they were about to fight each other.

“First up is Addy Vs Aria.” Zanak said.

“You got this” Both Thomas and Veronica said at the same time. They both looked at each other angrily for saying the same thing, and then looked away.

Addy shook her said as she walked into the arena. She was thinking about how badly it was going to hurt when the spear hit her in the head, hoping at least she was close enough the other girl might just put the spear point up to her chest and ask her to surrender. But she doubted she was that lucky.

As Aria walked in she was looking directly at Addy, trying to judge how much of a challenge she really had.

Aria threw her spear before Addy even realized the fight had started. She tried dodging, but the spear hit her shoulder slightly as it flew by. She could hear both Thomas and Veronica gasp, thinking it was almost over so soon.

But Addy got up and started to cast spells on her daggers as Aria’s spear flew back to her. Addy had somewhat of a plan, even though she thought it wouldn’t work against such an experienced opponent. But it was all she had, she just needed to get closer to her for it to work. The problem was everytime Addy tried to closer though Aria just circled around staying as far away as possible. She threw her spear again, Addy was more prepared, but still barely got out of the way in time.

This time however she stepped on the spear, it wiggled trying to go back to Aria, who pulled out a sword and started to advance towards Addy. But as she started Addy let go of the spear which flew back to Aria, who shrugged and dropped her sword preferring to fight with her spear anyways. When Addy let go of the spear though she started to run directly behind it, she had realized Aria’s spear only flew back in one direction, it could change course once it started so Aria had to stay right there.

Aria dint blink though, just stood her ground fully prepared to grab her spear and stick it into Addy before Addy could even get close. As the spear reached her she turned it around and pointed it directly at Addy, but that dint matter, Addy threw her dagger at Aria who dodged to the side completely ignoring the dagger as it bounced off the shield and landed at her feet.

Addy smiled, thinking perfect as she said a few magic words. The spell in the dagger went off, the fireworks Ain had taught her, but they were amplified 10 times over from the power of the dagger that amplified magic.

Aria was completely blinded as fireworks flew all around her. She started to randomly poke her spear forward were Addy use to be, but Addy was now to her left. Moving in Addy said a word to stop the fireworks and gently poked Aria in the rib cage, not seeing a point to leave a bruise when she dint have too.

“Adalin Trest win!”Zanak yelled from the side. The crowd of people erupted into applause.

She couldn’t believe she won, it was the loser’s bracket but still she never thought she would even get close to winning. Thomas and Veronica congratulated her when she got back.  It was clear they both thought she was going to lose and were genuinely surprised she had won the way she did. But she dint care, she still won!

“Next up is the final battle,”Zanak began. “The winner will be at the head of the warriors class with the other winners from this week, granting them special privileges for their classes to come. May the best fighter win.” And at that Zanak stepped away and both Thomas and Veronica walked out in the arena spreading apart.

Thomas walked to Addys left, spinning his sword and dagger around in his hands, looking very anxious. Thomas had been telling her while they practiced at the start of the day that he hated fighting anything magic, and Veronica was defiantly a sword mage. He just dint know how to defeat them, but Addy thought after spending the whole watching sword mages that he had just as much of a chance of beating Veronica as she did beating him.

Over to the right Veronica looked composed, not swinging her swords around, just staring straight at her opponent. Addy personally thought Veronica would win because of her magic, which gave her an edge over Thomas. Both of them were almost completely matched when it came to sword play.

Veronica made the first move, launching one of her swords at Thomas, who knew it was a ruse and casually stepped to the side as it disappeared for the illusion it was. But Veronica dint care, she knew Thomas knew all her tricks so she was just simply starting the fight. Running towards him, Veronica prepared her fireball spell launching it towards Thomas, trying to keep him busy until she got closer so he dint throw his dagger at her. But Thomas dodged and waited for her, not willing to relinquish his dagger so early in the battle for a slight chance it might hit her.

Veronica double swung both of her swords from the left to the right, trying to overwhelm Thomas. He put his sword up, but instead of trying to counter her swords he let his sword get moved aside by hers as he stepped backwards. With Veronica now completely open, he launched his sword into her chest, but she rolled her body out of the way, the sword coming mere inches from her torso. Reversing her swords, she launched an attack at Thomas, who was more than willing to turn anything she gave to him back at her.

Thomas’s dagger was her only advantage, giving her more reach on her right side, and Thomas having less reach on his right side. She kept trying to push her swords past his dagger every time he blocked her sword. Going back and forth for several more minutes it seemed like a stale mate, all they had to show so far was a few hits they both had made on the other, but nothing fatal enough for Zanak to declare a winner.

Thomas started to look tired, dropping his sword and dagger low. Veronica saw this as her chance, casting a lightening spell on both swords. Thomas’s eyes widened, realizing if he blocked Veronicas attacks he would get stunned and she would win, and if he dint block her attacks she would just end up hitting him and winning anyways.

Veronica launched both of her swords from left to right again, thinking to no matter what she would win because he blocked he lost and if he dint block he still lost. Thomas brought his sword up again, trying to block. The crowd gasped thinking it over, but as Veronicas two swords connected Thomas’s sword went flying to her right. Thomas had let go of his sword right before her swords had connected and had jumped back. Now he stood with his dagger ready to jab at Veronica, whos swords were both still moving rapidly right as she couldn’t slow them fast enough and reverse their momentum to block Thomas.

Thomas jumped forward poking Veronica in the chest. The crowd erupted, thinking Thomas doomed but watching him come out of nowhere and win.

Addy looked at Veronica, she looked stunned, just staring at Thomas as if she dint know what happened.   But finally after Thomas retrieved his dagger and walked back to her she said:

“I thought I won…”

“Me too.” Thomas said laughing.

Veronica couldn’t help but laugh also as Zanak called out Thomas’s name in the background as the winner.

 

 

Chapter 16:  Tucker and the Orb

 

 

After the fight Veronica went back to her dorm while Addy and Thomas went to go get something to eat at a little coffee place Thomas knew about. They walked over near the church, which is where Addys class for tomorrow was if she remembered right. The coffee place was small and tucked in with a bunch of other little of shops next to the church. There were quite a few students their playing around on laptops and other things. Most of them seemed to be older than them, Addy wondered what the beginning of the year was like for them, she guessed they dint have to go through the week she was going through.

As they ordered two coffees, both the special of the day, a 20 ounce latte marsh mellow and smores with two crescents, Addy realized she dint have any money. The coffee place was one of the non-school places to eat that actually cost money for students.

“Ummm.” Addy started to say, once the lady behind the cash register said how much it was.

“You forgot your purse dint you?” Thomas said recognizing her trepidation.

“Yeah…”

“How about I get this.” Thomas said handing the lady the money. “ And you tell me more about the orb you were talking about earlier.

“Deal.” Addy said smiling, she dint know anything else about the orb, but Thomas dint know that.

As they walked to a small table over in the corner to sit down, Addy realized she probably need to ask Ain for some money if she was ever going to want to eat any place other than the campus ones.

Sitting down Addy looked at her latte in a large cup with a handle. To her surprise out of the coffee came a small whale made of foam, splashing up and sending a little wave around her coffee. It circled around, sending little spouts of coffee up. Looking at Thomas’s she saw a cat in his, which was licking its paw as it lounged on the edge of his cup.

“That’s amazing.” Addy said staring at awe at the foam art in her coffee.

“I know.” Thomas said patting his little cat on the head. “It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here, the owner is one of only a few people in the world who can make these. But to something more important, the orb.” Thomas finished looking back up at her.

 

“I don’t know anything more. I don’t even know why you care so much honestly.”

“How many times do you get to find out about something potentially secret from one of the most powerful people in the world?”

Ain told Addy quite a few things that were probably secret, so Addy thought maybe once a month, but she dint say that to Thomas, sense he would just be curious about what else she knew.

“Fine, Tuckers probably drunk anyways if we want to find him and ask him what he knows.”

“I know just were to start” Thomas said, really excited.

 

 

As Addy and Thomas were walking to the Ranger part of the campus, which was part of the druids forest, they ran into Trin and Michael who were walk back to campus after spending their day apparently doing the Ranger class.

“Hey,” Michael and Trin said as they came closer.

Michael looked at Thomas, not knowing who he was. Addy noticed and said:

“This is Thomas, we did the Warriors class today together.”

“Were you two going? Classes are over and not really anything over their except that drunk ranger that taught us today.” Trin said, looking curiously as both Addy and Thomas.

Addy looked at Thomas who was smiling at her, knowing the drunk ranger was Tucker.

“Where going to visit Tucker, hes a friend of mine and we needed to talk about something.”

“I don’t think nows the best time. Tucker left at lunch time and came back to the class completely wasted.”

“I think now’s the perfect time.” Thomas said still smiling

“And whys that.” Michael said looking at Thomas.

“Because he might actually tell us about the Orb.”

“What orb?” Trin  said confused.

“It doesn’t matter, let’s just get it over with so I can go to bed sometime tonight.” The sun was already starting to set, it was late fall so it got dark around 5 pm or so. Addy started to walk as the others followed her.

As they went along she let Thomas tell them about the orb, because he looked about to explode from not talking about it as he was almost minutes away from figuring out what it really was. Addy thought about how in the future she probably shouldn’t tell him any secrets, because he would probably tell half the school before the day was done.

They reached Tucker in a small village in the Rogues forest, were all the professors and senior level students in the Ranger classes were. It was just the professors right now though because of the senior level students were back in their group dorms, reconnecting with people they hadn’t seen all summer. Which Addy knew from Ain telling her things about the school over the years.

The village was stuck about half a mile away from campus through a forest of tree, with a large path going straight to it. The path was more of a trail, naturally occurring in the forest from thousands of people walking over it for hundreds of years. It was said some druids could make trees move or walk, which must have been the case because it seemed like the trees were just moved to the side wherever the trail led. The cabins were small  and encircled a large bonfire burning in the center, which seemed to be a fake fire sense the logs weren’t actually on burning, just in the center of what Addy assumed was a magical fire.

They weren’t sure which was Tuckers little cabin so they walked around for a second until they heard his voice. He was yelling at another teacher who was standing in the door of Tuckers.

“I cant believe you got drunk during launch, you were still teaching class! If this happens again I will have to report you, I don’t care if Ainamaf got you this job, the board can and will take it away from you.” The man said standing at Tuckers door. He was a small man, but from the way he held himself and the fact that he was just wearing a plain shirt and wool pants with a sword strapped to his back Addy was able to tell he was more than human before she walked close enough to see his horns. He must have been a demi-demon, or some other type of hybrid human.

“Board, Board, bored. Why do you talk so much about people no one ever sees. If you want to threaten me you should use Ainamaf, not assume that he will protect me.” Tucker laughed, louder then he probably should be. “I once saw him summon a Bailor demon just to make a point. A 12 foot tall, 4 armed behemoth almost 12 feet wide also, to make a point that he’s correct and they were wrong. All to pass a law. A Bailor demon!”

“I know what a Bailor demon is.” The small man sending, referring to his horns.

“Because he was your brother.” At that Tucker burst into more laughter, bwahaha’ing as he slapped his knee repeatedly.

The small man reached behind his back as he approached, tired of hearing from Tucker and ready to show him some respect. But as he approached he noticed Addy and the others.

“What are you kids doing out here this late? Shouldn’t you be eating dinner or playing games before bed.” Them said as he stopped, ignoring Tucker who was still laughing, to actually do his job as a Professor.

“We came to talk to Tucker, he’s a friend from where I came from.” Addy said, stepping forward.

“Hmm, Ains niece, correct.”

Addy shook her head up and down in reply.

“I don’t think your friend will be around much longer at this rate. Maybe you can talk more sense into him then me.” At that he walked away, back to his own cabin.

Addy actually felt bad for him, having to deal with Tucker. Miir was barely able to keep Tucker in line. Tucker probably would have been fired years ago if he wasn’t a part of that group Addy always sawaround the orphanage. That and Tucker was one of the few grownups she ever met that actually cared about the kids at the orphanage. He might get drunk occasionally, or make stupid mistakes, but he genuinely cared for them, he use to spend every night teaching Oliver how to read and write after he arrived at the orphanage. Even though Tucker thought he was just as annoying as Addy thought. And when the other kids found out, Tucker made threats at any kids trying to make fun of him. Addy hated Oliver and would of never been able to do the same thing in Tuckers shoes, that when she had realized Tucker was one of the nicest persons she had ever met, even with his ruff dwarven outside.

“What are you kids doing here?” Tucker asked stumbling to the door, squinting his eyes trying to see who was there.

“I just came to visit, and I thought I would bring along some friends.” Addy said, trying not to give away why they were really hear, so she could maybe ask it casually without him even realizing he was giving away a secret.

“Good, I need some company. Everyone here,” Tucker waved to all the other cabins, “is full of shit.” At that Tucker went back into his house, waving for everything to follow him. Kitty was sleeping on Tuckers bed, taking up the entire thing. When everyone came in she lifted her head, perking her ears up as she saw Addy.

Tucker sat down at the only table in the room with four chairs, motioning for Addy to sit down somewhere with him.  Addy sat down, as Thomas quickly followed, taking the chair from her left from Trin as she tried to sit down. Trin sighed, looking down at Thomas, but he was too riveted on what was about to happen to notice. Michael whoever noticed and gave his seat to Addy’s right to Trin, choosing instead to lean against the fireplace. The fireplace had something cooking over it which smelled delicious; Tucker was always a great cook. He regularly helped cook in the kitchen back at the orphanage.

“So I heard that you know something about…” Thomas started but Addy kicked him under the table for him to shut up.

“How are you.? Seems like you’re having trouble. ” Addy asked before Tucker could think about what Thomas had said.

“Ahhh, you know, takes a while for people to warm up to the greatness that is the dwarven lineage.” Tucker bwahaha’d as he slapped Thomas on the back way harder then he probably meant to, or meant to just dint realize Thomas wasn’t a dwarf. Thomas lurched forward all his air rushing out as he tried hopelessly to suck in more.

Tucker continued not even noticing Thomas. “But the bigger question is how are you. Ainamaf told me you had made friends, but I dint expect you to have so many from what I remember about your social life at the orphanage!”

Addy cringed at that, she knew the others would figure out about her being an orphan sooner or later, but she dint expect them to learn this way.

“You raised an interesting young lady, sir dwarf. What can I say; we were all drawn to her for one reason or another.” Michael said, leaning down to the pot of boiling soup over the hearth. “May I” he asked.

“Sure, you can all help yourself, just a bit of stew I whipped up for me-self.”

Michael and Trin went at the soup; they hadn’t eaten sense lunch and were starving. Addys stomach rumbled and she realized other than the crescent she hadn’t eat anything sense lunch either. Addy and Thomas also got up, scooping up some soup. It was potato soup with thick cuts of bacon and potato in it, with season she couldn’t quite make out but that added a little bit of spice to it.

Sitting back down, Tucker was talking to Thomas about the dwarven city he came from. Trying to figure out where it was located, but Tucker kept telling him he couldn’t tell without killing him. Which was kind of true, Tucker wasn’t supposed to tell where the dwarven city was, but he had told her about 10 times over the years when he was drunk. It wasn’t really secret anymore other than more of a hope that not everyone knows where it is.

Kitty came over and laid underneath the table near Addy, purring to make her pet her. As she walked over, Michael jumped, scared of such a huge Tiger walking so close to him, which made Tucker laugh as Micahel spilt some of his soup. Kitty laid down as Addy pet her, going fast to sleep again.

“So what really brings you here.” Tucker asked looking at Addy.

Addy realized Tucker wasn’t drunk anymore, it took way more alcohol then any human could ever drink to get a dwarf drunk, and even then Tucker would only be drunk for a quarter of the time a normal person would be.

“Yesterday, you said something about an orb. I was just curious what it is.”

Tucker narrowed his eyes, looking at them all.

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt if you knew. I don’t know why you would care though.” As Tucker walked over to a chest, Addy stared at Thomas as if to tell him I told you so, but he looked away still to curious about what Tucker had to say.

“The Forgotten is looking for an orb for Ainamaf. It’s just an old scrying orb though; he likes to collect old things. He thinks its somewhere around the school. And sense I’m here and the Forgotten are off on another mission right now I’m the only one looking for it.”

“Who are the Forgotten.” Thomas asked, intrigued by it all, even if it was just some old scrying orb Ainamaf wanted to collect.

Addy answered before Tucker could. “They are a group that finds forgotten relics or items for money.”

“Make it sound like were all about the money, but pretty much.” Tucker said.

“But aren’t you pretty much all about the money.” Addy replied, knowing everyone in the Forgotten she knew what they really wanted.

“Well yes, but doesn’t mean we just go around saying it.” Tucker huffed. “I found these gloves today.” Tucker said holding up the black inky gloves he had found at Wardrens Everythings that day.

Thomas reached out and took them from Tucker, putting them on he looked at his hands, moving his fingers around.

“What do they do?” Thomas asked. Looking wide eyed at them.

“Your guess is as good as mine. I’m bringing them to Ainamaf tomorrow to see if he can tell me what.” Tucker said.

As Addy watched Thomas she noticed his eyes get large, and then he looked back at the school at slightly down. Then he seemed to shrug his head as if he dint know what happened. He dint say anything so she just continued to listen to Tucker.

“They might not even be related, it’s just the only clue I’ve been able to find so far. It is supposed to just be an old scrying orb, nothing special about it, so it’s likely the gloves were just made by the same person or something.”

Addy disagreed, what she knew about magic told her if he found those gloves looking while using magic to find the orb, they must have had something to do with the orb.

“Thanks, I was just curious was all.” Thomas said.

“If you find anything about it, just tell me and that will be thanks enough” Tucker said, looking out the window. “You all should get going, don’t want to get yelled at even more for keeping students out past curfew.”

As Thomas gave the gloves back to Tucker he said:

“Wait, there’s a curfew?” Thomas had been going out almost nightly looking around the school and hadn’t run into anything about a curfew.

Tucker laughed. “Just for new students, don’t want any of them to get lost at night, or run into something they shouldn’t, like any of the golems that portal at night.”

Thomas mouthed “Golems” as they stepped out of Tuckers, saying goodbye and thanking him for the soup. Addy promised to come visit again.

 

 

As they walked down the path Thomas and Addy fell back behind Trin and Michael, who were talking about a new show on TV, that used magic so you could actually smell the food that they were cooking and take samples when they offered. They seemed to be coming fast friend’s sense the last time she had seem them both.

“When you put on the gloves you felt something, dint you.” Addy asked Thomas.

“You saw.” Thomas asked.

“Yes.”

Thomas looked away, thinking. “I’m not sure what I felt; it just made me sense something under the school. I think it was the orb, but it could have been anything.”

“Interesting, an ordinary scrying orb wouldn’t need gloves. Tucker was lying about something. The Forgotten are to expensive to use to get just a plain scrying orb, they only collect rare relics.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Thomas said.

They walked back to their dorms, not talking but thinking about what exactly this orb was. Addy was far more interested now, she had seen some of the things the Forgotten found, they were all interesting.

 

 

 

Chapter 17: The Forgotten

The Forgotten were in a deep underneath an old castle in Scotland. Tucker hadn’t been making much progress other than finding the gloves that probably dint mean anything, so they had taken a job to find a phylactery. An ancient object that could be anything, containing the soul of a merchant who died thousands of years ago. They had been hired by a Chinese collector that wanted the object for something he dint specify about, but an object containing a soul is almost invaluable because of its rarity.

“How did a fat merchant get a phylactery?” Athelaz asked.

“The same way he got anything, he bought it.” Trummel said. As they walked down a corridor lit by old sconces on the wall that burned with blue fairy fire.

“He probably hoped to come back as a Lich, but the mage who made his phylactery dint tell him you had to be an extremely powerful mage to correctly transfer your soul back into your body after you die.” Ark said, walking along with his hand out, trying to sense were it was at.

They came to a huge double door with two skeletons to the side of it. Trummel smashed one with his hammer, while Athelaz cast a bolt of light at the other making it drop to the floor in a heap of bones.

Their wasn’t really much resistance so far, they had run into a couple of undead other than the skeletons, but the most trouble that had had was sneaking onto the property. The owner hadn’t let them on, so Ark had to teleport them in and make them invisible until they found the secret tunnel beneath the castle.

Pushing the doors open, they walked into a huge gallery with two huge sweeping staircases going upwards and several dark tunnels going off to the sides on the ground floor.

“So why are we getting paid so much if were just collecting a small whatever.” Esmyth said as she moved her bow around trying to refer to the phylactery. “If all we have to kill is a couple weak skeletons.”

They had all been thinking the same thing every sense they got down her saw the first enemy which put up almost no fight for them. Most of the time they either had to fight ancient magic, a hidden cult, or something long forgotten to reach whatever they were looking for.

“Do you guys usually expect more? I quite like the simplicity of not having to fight my way through hundreds of undead.” Said Cypher, a rogue they had hired for the excursion in case they needed to break into anything with a lock, or disarm traps. They had found from previous encounters, someone of his skills usually came in handy. He was a slight man, with twin daggers which glowed with some type of magic, wearing all black with his hood up.

“We either fight them now, or we fight them later. Their isn’t ever the option to not fight them at all.” Trummel laughed, trying to get rid of some of the tension that was going around the group from waiting for something really bad to happen.

They continued on to the staircase, following Ark as he followed the spell he had cast trying to find the phylactery.

“It’s this way.” Ark said, pointing towards the staircase. “But I can’t tell if it’s a level up or on the same level we are.”

“Fine we split up and meet back here in several minutes.” Trummel said. “Me and Ark up stairs, the rest of you down here.”

 

 

Esmyth took lead with her panther Lord Birin. Cypher kept disappearing off to the side, coming back into their midst without them even noticing, scaring Athelaz several times, but he kept trying to hide that he jumped. Athelaz had cast a spell of his own, searching as they went.

The hallway was adorned with old wallpaper of decorative gold flowers with a background of red. About waist level was a wood molding, with wood going down from that to the floor. On the walls were creepy old paintings, Esmyth had accidently shot one with an arrow thinking it was somebody just to realize it was a fat man riding a horse that dint seem that happy for its situation. The blue fairy fire sconces continued, leading them deeper into the place.

“I feel something, up ahead, it’s not strong but it’s definitely a soul.” Athelaz said, his right hand was held a glowing orb of light, which he was using to try to find the phylactery.

“On it.” Cypher said right next to Athelaz, who jumped again, not realizing he was there.

Moving forward, with Athelaz in the back, they opened a door he pointed to. Cypher launched through expecting something to come as Esmyth readied her bow behind him. Lord Birin silently came into the room.

But it was for naught. The room was empty, it had fancy wallpaper like the rest of the place, and sconces around it, but other than a small pedestal in the center there was nothing there. Cypher walked over to the pedestal, looking at it curiously.

“I think this is a…” Cypher began as they all walked over to the pedestal to look at it, but before he could finish the floor gave in sending them falling down below screaming.

Were the pedestal use to be, a blue flamed outline of a fat man laughed at them.

 

 

Up above Trummel and Ark heard screams, looking at each other, they both recognized the voices.  They started to run down stairs. Trying to find the source, Ark finally found it, locating the same power Athelaz had been sensing. As they burst into the room the merchant was still their laughing.

Without a second thought Ark send a bolt of energy into it, not really thinking it would do anything. But the merchant disappeared. Trummel went over to the hole that almost took up the whole room now, looking down.

“I can hear them, I think their okay.” As Trummel said that Esmyth screamed out as something happened.

“Let me cast a spell of levitation and we’ll be right down their.” Ark said beginning a spell.

“No time.” Trummel jumped down the hole.

Ark looked over the hole as Trummel jumped down, hoping he was ok.

He started to cast spells of protection on himself, preparing for the battle that ahead.

“Always has to be a fight, can’t have one time were we just walk in and grab something.”

 

 

Trummel landed hard, he had cast a spell on himself to make sure he dint break anything before he landed, but his paladin god dint do things like levitation. Trummel hit at full speed, bending his knees and watching the floor crack as he hit, his spell making his body able to take the impact.

Coming out the tunnel from where he landed he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He was in a huge underground cave a good half mile across. He must have fallen several hundred feet because he could barely make out the ceiling. In the center was a giant square platform, with a river going around it which was also square. At the very center of the caves top was a ball of glowing fairy fire, just bright enough to illuminate the entire room. On the four sides of the platform, were huge hundred foot tall statues of elves, that looked slightly different than the normal elves he usually saw. Out of their mouths shot streams of water landing back in the river in front of them. On top of the platform behind the elven statues was a small city, only taken up about a third of the cavern, but still large enough that Trummel was able to make out atleast 30 buildings or so, several of them substantially large.

But Trummel dint have any time to think about the underground city or what it was for, as he looked around he saw Esmyth to the right of the platform, shooting arrows at something he couldn’t see. But that dint last for long, as Trummel watched a huge shape came from around the corner, a hammerhead dragon. Esmyth hit it in the head sending it careening into the back right statue as it came around, hitting it in the center the statue started to crash down into the river, sending water flying.

As the dragon landed on the ground it spotted Trummel, completely forgetting about Esmyth. It started to run towards him, hopping up into the air mid-way to him it started to gain speed preparing to smash its head into him.

Trummel stood his ground, sticking his shield out in front of him. The shield was heavily enchanted and would hold up against the dragons attack, and with the spell still cast on him so would he. Luckily the dragon was quite young and was only about the size of a minivan. If it were fully grown, spell or not nothing would save him.

The dragon straightened its neck and tucked in its wing launching straight into Trummel sending him smashing into the wall behind him right next to the hole he came down from. Trummel was pushed into the rock face several inches as the stone cracked and turned to dust behind him. He could feel his spell almost fail, but luckily it held true. Trummel took his hammer and smashed it over the dragons head, which did almost nothing, its head was designed to small into walls.

Lifting its head up though, it snapped at Trummel, which is exactly what he wanted. He blocked the attack with his shield and then smashed his hammer into the side of its face, which enraged it even more. But before it could attack again. A multi-color darts flew into its body, making the dragon screech in protest. From Trummels left he saw Ark, already casting another spell.

The dragon had had enough was flying upwards trying to get away. As it flew around the corner, going to the left of the platform and around it. Ark finished his spell turning its tail to ice as it disappeared.

“Glad of you to join us.” Athelaz said as he and Esmyth ran up to them, Athelaz had been over near Esmyth just out of sight.

“I found the phylactery; it’s up on top of the platform. Cypher is grabbing it now hopefully.”

“Good, we just need to keep it distracted then.” Trummel said as he smashed his hammer into his shield, walking out into the cave to see were the dragon was.

But needn’t have worried, Cypher came running and jumping off the statue closest to them, the front right one. As he jumped, the dragon plowed through the head of the elven statue trying to claw at Cypher who twisted in midair dodging. As the dragon came past Cypher, he jumped on it, stabbing as he ran up its body, jumping of stones and parts of the dragon as he tried not to get smashed from all the falling debris.

The dragon clawed as it fell, dragging down more and more of the statue on top of it. As it finally hit the ground all that was standing was the legs of the elf, which slowly started to fall on top of the dragon also, making a swooshing sound and sending dust flying as it settled.

They all looked at eachother, sure Cypher died. Running to go through the rubble, Cypher came out of a cloud choking, holding what could only be the phylactery in his hand, a purple gem.

They worked their way across the river, congratulating Cypher as Athelaz healed a couple wounds he got in the fall. But other than those he was remarkably ok for falling several hundred feet with a dragon.

“Now I see what you meant about you always have to fight something.” Cypher laughed as he handed Ark the gem.

But as they talked they noticed the rubble moving. Ark began a spell and Esmyth pulled out an arrow as Lord Birin began to growl. But before they could do anything Trummel held up his hands and said:

“Let’s leave.” Putting away his hammer on his back. “The dragon was just protecting its lair, and we all know the Governments policy on killing endangered dragons.”

They all nodded, moving away quickly, trying to be as far away as possible when it worked its way out.

But as they levitated upwards, Cypher couldn’t help but look back. When he was up top and was looking through the houses for the phylactery he had noticed a lot of non-normal elven things. And he could have sworn he saw something behind the platform when he looked out of a window of one of the back most houses. The river lead into a tunnel, and he could make out humanoids moving in the darkness.

 

 

Chapter 18: Day three, Priests.

 

Addy woke up the next morning extremely sour with numerous bruises about her person from the day before in the Coliseum. Getting up, she almost rolled off the bed, Rue squeaking as Addy pushed her off the bed. Rue jumped back up, going back to sleep at the end of the bed as Addy got up, stretching.

The other girls were getting up also as one of the dorm care takers came around knocking on all the doors. She was really looking forward to the end of the week when she only had to share her room with only one other girl. She changed into her robes, making sure to grab this time, sense Rue dint shut up yesterday after she got back, mad at her for leaving her in the room all day.

With Rue on her shoulder she rushed down stairs, grabbing a couple silver pieces she had saved up so she could get a coffee and something to eat from the little bakery next to the church she was meeting at. She was doing the priest classes today, meeting at the shrine of Dormaru, goddess of saints.

She got to the bakery a good 30 minutes or so before she had to be at class, and sense it was literally right there so she got her coffee in a ceramic cup and her scone on a plate so she could sit down and eat. Today her coffee was a marsh mellow man, which jumped out of her coffee and started to rampage around the coffee table making her giggle. As she ate the little marsh mellow man picked up a piece of her scone and ate it, pretending to roar in victory.

“That’s amazing.” Trin said sitting down opposite of her.

“I know, Thomas showed me this place yesterday and I couldn’t believe someone could actually make this kind of magic just for a drink.” After a couple seconds pause Addy continued. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m in the priest class today; I’m guessing you are too if you’re here.” Trin replied.

“Yeah.” Addy said as Rue jumped on the table from her shoulder. Rue looked at the small marsh mellow man, that tried to attack her, picking up a piece of scone and throwing it at her. Rue dint flinch, obviously not even close to hurt from the small piece of food. The marsh mellow man looked outraged that Rue wasn’t defeated and started to wordlessly bellow with its mouth open. Launching itself into a full frontal assault on Rue, smashing its little fists into Rues side, making little squash sounds as it hit. Rue looked mildly annoyed as she hit the little man sending him flying across the table to land against Addy’s cup, splattering.

Both Trin and Addy giggled as the little man lay their lifting its arm up pretending to die. Finally surrendering its arm fell to the side as Rue started to lick it up.

“I definitely need to get one of these coffees tomorrow.” Trin said smiling.

 

 

Addy and Trin walked up the steps leading to the church. It was a huge building lined with different statues of gods Addy had never seen or heard of. Around the whole church was gardens with ancient trees towering over it all. She could hear birds still chirping up above her and she was barely able to make out the coffee shop from the top of the stairs with all the trees in the way. Addy had been able to see a cemetery in the back walking up the stairs. She saw a creek running through the property, giving the outside the sound of a forest as the creek trickled past.

Pushing open the doors Trin and Addy walked in, the 50 foot double doors winging in easily. As they stepped through the felt invigorated and cleansed as if the church had a spell over it, which it probably did sense they were on holy land.  The church was lined with pillars, rows of seats going all the way from the back to the front. At the front of the church was a small man wearing a robe, with several kids around him. Most of the people weren’t here yet, Addy only counted maybe 10.

“This place is amazing.” Trin said, running her hand over a carving in the back wall, depicting a battle between two gods.

Addy couldn’t agree more. She had never been in a building so large, and so beautifully designed with so much art. Addy knew a little about priests and monks from what Ain had told her. He had said one of the most powerful people he ever knew was an old priest when he first started to work with the government. He was a priest of a little known god Nótt. Usually a priest or priestess’s power comes from how powerful their god is, or how many people worship them. But as Ain explained to her, their true power comes from them, their god can grant them any power or spell they want, but the spells power really comes down the priest or priestess.

That’s how the priest was able to defeat one of the most powerful mage’s of all time when he was younger, Njörun Farsfel. Back in the 1800’s Njörun took over all of South America; it took the government years to stop him. Addy wish she could remember the priests name, he was quite important to history, but all she could remember was it started with a D.

Addy and Trin walked up to the alter, which seemed to take forever with how big the church was, the seats just kept going and going. The place could probably seat tens of thousands.

When they got up their the old man in a plain brown robe was still standing their leaning against a wooden staff almost as tall as him, not saying anything. The other kids were talking about some TV show they watched were everyone died, they were arguing about how the magic and dragons were so fake.

The old man saw Addy and Trin and scooted over to them.

“Personally I prefer a good book to a movie anytime, imagination can do so much more than a movie can.” The old priest said looking at the kids as they talked.

“Maybe, but seeing a dragon in real life is more jaw dropping then imagining a story.”

“I would personally stay in my imagination then see a dragon again, young one.” The monk said laughing.

“I wouldn’t.” Trin said smiling mischievously.

Smiling, the monk continued. “So did you two come here to become priestess today? Or did you come like they did.” He said pointing to the kids. “To just be annoyed all day as an old man rambles on.”

“I’m going to be a mage. But I don’t think you’re annoying.” Addy said, not thinking the old man was that serious, but not wanting to offend him. She dint want to be here either, but mostly because she just wanted the week to be over so she could get her own room and start doing what she was good at, magic.

“Good.” He said smiling widely, Addy noticed his teeth were crooked now that he actually had opened his mouth fully.

“I don’t like when people find me annoying.” As he walked past Addy to go stand back by the other students he said something so silent only Addy heard. He said Addy’s real name, “Adalin Gaurds.”

Addy racked her brain trying to think how this man new who she really was. Obviously other people knew she was alive, and Ain probably told some she dint even know about. But anyone  knowing was a threat, and quite a serious threat at that. She either needed to figure out how he knew about her, or even go tell Ain right now.

Addy listened to the man as he introduced himself to all the students as Dawa Neverseen. Dawa was a monk of the god Tet, the god of the moon. He seemed harmless, as he waddled around with his staff. Addy decided to wait it out and ask him when she got him alone. She was safer here then almost anywhere else in the world, so if even if he wasn’t what he seemed, she wasn’t in that much danger.

“The priestly, monk and paladin arts aren’t something I wish to force on you like the others do with their classes. So there will be no classes today unless you want to stay. And if you do stay, I promise you quite a boring few hours you do stay for.” He smiled at this, looking at all the kids cheer up suddenly realizing they dint have classes today, and then seeing some of them look sad as they realized they had to stay through the boring because they were going to become a priest, monk or paladin.

“Those of you who want to, leave now. The rest follow me.” As he finished he turned around and walked through a side door.

Addy had to follow him, if she dint she wouldn’t figure out how he knew her name. So she started to follow him. And so did Trin to her surprise.

“Why are you coming?” Addy asked. As they walked through the door behind Dawa.

“I’m going to be a priest. The bigger question is why are you coming?” Trin said.

“I just find this place interesting, so I wanted to see what he had to say.” Addy said, lying.

Going through the door they walked into a huge library, not nearly as big as the one Tucker and her went into earlier that week, but it was still the second largest she had seen. All the books had old bindings, sitting on shelves made of intricate wood with carvings running through out, the whole room smelled of old books. But it seemed subdued somehow, as if a spell kept it from smelling as bad as it actually should of. The library was two stories, with wood railings running up on all fourth sides and numerous tables were spread around with books on them and several monks sitting reading.

“Good, quite the turn out this time.” Dawa said.

Addy looked around and only counted 5 more kids, not counting Trin and Addy which made the turn out 7.

“I usually get two or three max. And every once in a while 0, 7 is quite a change of pace.” Dawa said, standing happily in front of them leaning on his staff.

“This is the library of saintly hood. Or something, I’m not really that sure sense it technically doesn’t have a name but some priests insist on calling it that, so do with that as you will. But the key point to remember is the library contains one of the most in-depth collections of religious texts in the world. Some place in Europe usually likes to say they have more, but who knows for sure when you ignore what they say.” At that Dawa turned around and started to walk away. All the kids looked around, not sure what to do, but started to follow him after a couple seconds thinking it the best option.

He led them down into the catacombs from what Addy could tell. Going through the door he they went lower and lower. Finally they reached the bottom, Dawa was waiting, his glowing a soft white light that filled the entire chamber. They were definitely in the dungeon. Addy could make out skulls stack up against the wall behind Dawa, who still had a smile on his face.

“Down here are the catacombs of numerous ancient priests from almost any god you can think of, even the evil ones. While some of us don’t really like having them down here with fellow priests we actually admire, the church keeps a policy that any religion is welcome for the honor of being buried here. I honestly just think we like keeping them here so we can keep them from getting resurrected. And that goes for some of the good ones too.” Laughing he turned around and started to walk away again in the darkness.

Everyone rushed to catch up with his light, not wanting to get left behind. The catacombs were fairly large, the ceiling going almost 20 feet upwards. As they walked along they passed tombs, each different. Some were modeled after the person inside, showing a statue of a human laying down on top of a slab tomb. Others were intricate with sigils and depictures all around the tomb, showing great battles and achievements. Some were plain, showing nothing but a simple name carved into the stone on the floor, the priest buried beneath.

One of the kids next to Trin spoke up, asking:

“Are you going to tell us anything about the people where passing?”

“Why yes. That there is old dead person number 45.” He said pointing to a statue of a small elf laying down, carved beautifully from a piece of some shiny rock material that shined in Dawa’s light.

“And that there is.” He paused, pretending to think, “Is another one.” Turning around he continued on.

“Now let’s get out of here and see something interesting.” He said turning a corner that lead to stairs leading back up.

“Breakfast.” Addy heard him say as he started up the stairs. Faster than someone his age and with a staff should have been going.

“I think he’s crazy” Addy said.

“Yup. And I have to classes here, were he probably teaches.” Trin said, cringing at the thought.

“To be fair, mages aren’t much better.” Addy said, which made Trin brighten up slightly. Everyone knew mages could be acentric, but Dawa was bad even compared to them.

 

 

They got up the stairs, opening up into a cafeteria somewhere inside the church. Addy really couldn’t tell anymore where they were, she dint even know if they were in the church, she just assumed from the architecture that they were.

Other priests and monks were sitting around a group of tables, talking and eating. Addy spotted several female ones too.

“At least theirs some females, it can’t be all that bad.” Addy said, pointing to a table of priestess’s.

But as Addy spoke, a short old lady walked up to Dawa saying hi. As she started to speak, they realized she was just like Dawa.

“Hi, I’ll be taking over the tour now so Dawa can eat. It tires him so at his old age to walk up and down the stairs.” Looking over at Dawa, she realized he looked less winded then almost all the kids, making her doubt he was any normal old man.

The old lady continued to talk as she led them off to the side of cafeteria. But as she tried to go through the door she felt a hand on the back of her shoulder. As she turned Dawa was standing there.

“Please come sit with me, I have some things to discuss.” Trin looked back, hearing the conversation. “Go ahead young one, you friend will be fine. Not like she needs to finish the tour sense she’s a mage.” He said smiling. Trin looked back at Addy who nodded they she should continue, looking back once more she hurried up with the group.

“Grab a seat with me.” Dawa said, sitting down with a plate full of food. She dint even see him get it.

Addy sat down, staring at him. Not knowing if she should just ask, or wait for him to bring it up. Rue jumped of her shoulder, landing in the middle of the table, she started to get close to Dawa’s food. He picked up a grape and gave it to her, she grabbed it and ran back to Addy jumping back on her shoulder as she began to eat it. After a minute or so of eating he wiped his lips, and looked up at her.

Addy couldn’t wait, she asked “How did you know who I was.”

“I was a friend of your dad’s and… well just a good friend of your dad’s. I was in his group back when he started at the Government. Me, your dad, and a few others use to do things like cover up magic or bring in mages that got out of control.” Dawa looked at her, trying to see how she was taking what he was saying.

“But how did you know me, Ain told me he only told a few people , and he never mentioned you.”

“He never had to tell me. I have spells of my own to tell me the truth, spells even Vizix can’t do. Mainly because he doesn’t worship a goodly god, but I like to think it’s because my power is stronger.” Addy tilted her head at that, doubting he was more powerful the Vizix.

Addy realized she dint like knowing that people could just figure out who she was without very much trouble. True Vizix probably couldn’t, but what was stopping him from hiring a goodly priest from finding her?

“I wouldn’t worry too much; there really isn’t much motivating Vizix to find you anymore other than spite for your father.” Dawa smiled, but Addy could see there was something he wasn’t tell her, something he wanted to say but couldn’t quite figure if he should. So instead he finished his food. And they talked about her dad for a little bit. He told her stories, some of which she hadn’t heard before. She liked hearing the stories, they made her realize there wasn’t any reason to mourn her dad, and he would be remembered for a long time. But it did give her a reason for something else, paying Vizix back for taking him from the world.

 

 

Chapter 19: The tunnels

 

“The gloves are… interesting.” Ain said, as him and Tucker where in a lab in Ainamaf’s office, apparently his office had many rooms, this one tucked behind his book cases. Even though it was impossible for the room they were in to fit in the tower. It must have been magic.

“They seem to be connected to something, hopefully the orb, but I can’t tell, the magic seems to be gone. Whoever owned the gloves before must of used all the magic putting them on, probably not knowing what they were connected too.” Ain put down the gloves, sighing. “We need to try something else.”

Tucker thought about how one of the kids last night had put on the gloves. He realized he probably should tell Ainamaf, because that could have been what used up all the magic, but he decided against it, hoping it the previous owner was the cause and not him for letting a kid try the gloves on.

“Maybe should get the Forgotten here and we’ll find it in hours.” Tucker said, smiling, thinking he finally found a good enough excuse to get his team here.

“No, the board is already furious with me for hiring you on. And I suspect Vizix has people on the board. He cannot figure out what we are doing.”

“Then…” Tucker was thinking about other people that could help, because he defintly couldn’t do it. He was by far the worst person to be given this task, and no one would of if the school dint need a ranger teacher. Esmyth would have been better, but now it was too late to switch. Thinking of Esmyth and the orphanage gave Tucker an idea.

“What if we  get help from people already at the school.”

“Fantastic idea, if we could trust any of the professors at this school. There is a few, but unfortunately none of them would be better then you at finding the orb. All the mages that could help are… untrustworthy to say the least.”

“I was talking about the students. Addy and her friends came to yesterday already asking about the orb!” Tucker said excited that he had come up with a good idea.

Ainamaf’s eye got large as he stared at Tucker. “You told Addy and all her friends about the orb.”

“Well, it’s not like any of them are on Vizix’s side.” Tucker said laughing slightly, trying to get rid of the tension in the air.

“I know that! But kids aren’t exactly the best at keeping secrets, they tend to tell everyone.”

“All I told them was that you were looking for an old orb you thought was on campus. You just wanted it for your collection.” Tucker said, trying to fix the situation.

Ainamaf breathed in deeply. “People knowing I’m searching for anything is too much information. But, if they already know then I guess why not use them to help.”

“I knew it was a good idea when I told them, Addy’s always been a smart kid, and her friends don’t look half bad at that either. Now I can tell them the truth and see what they can find out.” Tucker said smiling.

“No, it was a horrible idea and you won’t tell them anything more then you did.” Ainamaf snapped.

Ainamaf calmed down then, realizing he was yelling at Tucker for something that wasn’t as bad as it seemed. While kids do talk a lot, the chances that they would tell anyone connected to Vizix were slim to none. And Ainamaf trusted Addy more with the task of finding the orb then he would ever trust in Tucker.

“I finally got you access to the tunnels below the school tonight, for ‘research purposes’. Don’t waste it, it will probably be the only time I can get you access down their without people wondering what I’m doing. Bring Addy and her friends, but give Addy the bracelet. I taught her how to use magical objects, she should have more luck then you at using it. The orb should be with one of the statues, it could be almost anything, stone, glass, metal, just looking for anything that could fit in your hands.”

At that Tucker nodded, leaving the room before Ainamaf could yell at him anymore. But as Tucker was about to jump down as the octopus opened its arms Ainamaf said, “Don’t let anything happen to her Tucker.” from behind him.

“I would never dream of it.” Tucker whispered as he jumped down.

Ainamaf dint hear what he said, but he dint have too. Ainamaf already knew Tucker wouldn’t let anything happen to her. And the tunnels weren’t dangerous anyways; they were just closed because kids kept getting lost exploring them, a couple even got killed from a ceiling collapsing. But Tucker was born and raised in deeper and darker tunnels sense he was a dwarf, there wasn’t anyone safer to go with. Ainamaf did remember a kid’s story about a secret tunnel leading to an old pirate ship guarded by creatures, but he just assumed it was a story to get out of getting in trouble.

Those tunnels were explored years ago by master magicians and expert explorers, Ainamaf assumed the orb was something that just only gave off magic to those looking for it, and the explorers overlooked it. He knew the orb was still at the school somewhere, he had scried for the orb himself, but his powers only told him the orb was somewhere around the school. The orb was probably protected from scrying attempts. But Ainamaf wasn’t that worried he could only get that much information from scrying, it was better than looking around the school without even knowing it was even her anymore.

 

 

After Addy was done talking with Dawa she met up with Trin at the end of the tour. They were in the back of the church next to the creek, the old lady finishing up, the kids all dispersing. As Addy came, Trin saw here and waiting for her to catch up.

“What was all that about.” Trin asked.

“Nothing, he just knew my parents.” Addy said, not really wanting to talk about it.

Trin sensed it and dint mention anything more about it.

“Well I guess we have all day free.” Trin said. “Want to go do something! Like, ummm…” Her eyes narrowed and opened as she thought, moving her lips around as her eyes darted around.

“Video games?”

“Sure.” Addy really hadn’t played any video games before sense the orphanage dint have any. Miir chose to entertain them the more old school style, with books, exploration and horrible human contact with kids she dint like.

“Sweet! The pub has a lab with every game you can imagine, and some you probably couldn’t. Atleast that’s what the website said.”

 

 

Trin was telling Addy about an online game were you played magical beings who fought all types of creatures to gain more and more powerful items. She actually really liked the idea, defeating creatures few others could or will to gain more and more power. If only life were like that, the Forgotten did something similar but they always sold their powerful objects to gain money instead of become stronger. Addy realized how much more exciting life would be if you could just go around collecting things to make yourself more powerful, not worrying about classes or making money, just collecting things like a crazy hoarder.

As Trin was going on about a story she heard about a group of people who spent more time online then in real life, Addy noticed Tucker and Kitty coming towards them.

“Ahhh, I’m glad I found ya two.” Tucker said, almost out of breath from just walking across campus at a slightly fast pace. Which made Addy laugh as he tried to get his breath, she had seen Tucker get winded just going up stairs before. Yet he still managed to be very large and muscular, must be a dwarf thing Addy thought.

“Why did you want to find us.” Trin asked. Curious to why he wanted to find her also.

“Remember that orb thing I was talking about yesterday night.”

Both of them shook their heads, obviously remembering sense it had only been 12 hours.

“Well me and Ainamaf came up with a new clue to where it might be. We knew it had to be on campus somewhere because that’s where all the stories point to it being, so we’re guessing the best shot of finding it is in the tunnels underneath the school, the only place something could be without someone already finding it.”

Addy knew Tucker meant Ainamaf found out about everything when he said “we”. But Addy let him have it, she knew Tucker had a huge ego, mostly jokingly, but a lot of the time he really felt like he accomplished something others did. It must come from working with the Forgotten so often, being  part of a group were someone else finds the object, then numerous other people help you get the object must make him feel self-conscious about what he’s actually doing.

“You mean we get to explore the ancient tunnels under the school?” Trin said super excited. “Those have been off limits to everyone for decade’s sense a couple kids died in a tunnel collapse.” Trin continued, really excited now. “Those tunnels are supposed to be older then the school. People think they were made by gnomes or dwarfs, but no one was able to find anything except for a bunch of statues and torches still lit by ancient magic. It’s like one the biggest unsolved mysteries in history.”  Trin finished, sucking in breath because she said it all so rapidly and in a single breath. “I doubt we will be looking for any of that.” Tucker said looking at Trin, who looked slightly embarrassed about her outburst. “The orb is probably just with one of the statues, overlooked years ago because the explorers dint know what they were looking for.”

“You said we, did you mean everyone that came to your place last night also should come?” Addy asked, curious, because she dint want to walk around miles of tunnels at night with only Trin, Tucker, Kitty and Rue.

“Yes, yes. The more people the more ground we can cover. Ainamaf was only able to get one day worth of access. So let’s go get them and get going, we have a lot of ground to cover.”

“I don’t know where anyone else is though…” Addy said, realizing she had no idea where Thomas or Michael where.

“I do.” Tucker said, pulling out a piece of paper that had the scedules of Thomas and Michael on it. “Perks of being a teacher.” Tucker said as he bwahaha’d, walking away to somewhere she hoped he actually knew where he was going.

 

 

After grabbing Michael, Thomas, and Veronica who was in the mage class with Michael so they grabbed her to come along too. All of them were quite excited to get out of class and most of all to go explore something that’s off limits to everyone else. But mostly Thomas and Trin were excited, going on and on about what they knew.

Tucker led to the PUB, going in a back way Addy dint know about. They were past the front door and the cafeteria, somewhere in the very back.

“Why are we going up to the third floor?” Michael asked, curious about why they were walking upwards if they were going to the tunnels below the school.

Before Tucker could reply Trin jumped at the question, answering it. “The tunnels out date the school by several thousand years’ people think. The PUB was built on top of them, so the only entrance is in a hillside covered up somewhere in the pub.”

Michael looked at Tucker to see if that was correct, Tucker just nodded and kept on walking, not wanting to get Trin going even more then she was about the tunnels.

Tucker was covered in his full leather and metal armor this time, and had his large crossbow over his shoulder with two small axes riding on his hip. Addy assumed he was just being cautious, sense Esmyth had once told her their motto was “Bring every possible weapon you have with you one searching for magical objects, their always seems to be a dragon around every corner for some reason.” But most of the Forgotten made up ‘mottos’ for themselves all the time, Tuckers was “always keep beer in your water skin, you never know when it could be your last.”

Tuckers armor was beautiful; his leather had special depictions of animals running around, with trees and different wilderness scenes in full color. The only metal he had was the armor breastplate he wore; that had a tigers face on it that looked like Kitty. Though the breastplate had three huge gashes threw it. Which is why he got it, Esmyth had found it during one of their explorations, she was going to have it shrunk to fit her but she found out if she did the magic would be lost, so Tucker got it. It seemed to fit him better anyways, the battle scars worked a lot better on him then on Esmyth who was always clean cut and well kept, even in her armor or after coming back after months searching through dirty dark caves.

His crossbow was huge with intricate wood work throughout it, it gleamed as he walked, and telling her it was enchanted. He had probably found it during the Forgottens different explorations in some deep dark cave or ancient castle.

“So why are you packing enough weaponry to assault an army.” Thomas asked. Him and Trin had been talking about how the tunnels were completely safe, other than cave ins or accidents of course.

“After going in your fifth or tenth dungeon where people said it was completely safe, then running into an undead, a mage who took up shop there or my favorite, ghosts who realize you’re trying to steal something from them and then attack you. Well it makes you pack slightly on the heavy side.” Tucker finished as they got to the top of the stairs they were walking up.

“But were not in danger are we?” Thomas asked.

Tucker just shrugged and turned back to the door. The door was set into what looked like the top of a hill. To either side of the door were two huge statues, the same ones placed around the walls around the school. To the sides of the statues you could actually see the hill between the walls on both side the staircase they were on and the door in the hill. Addy walked up to the several foot wide crack, next to the statue and peered down, she could see a good thirty feet down but then it got too dark to see the bottom. It really was a hill in the middle of the building.

Tucker walked up to the door, looking up at the statues.

“We have permission to enter, I am Tucker Mc Gavin, and these are my quests.”  Tucker said, motioning to us all.

The statue Addy was standing closest to as she looked down the hill started to rumble to life. Addy jumped back scared, not knowing what was happening. Rue also flung herself away, jumping on top of Kitty who growled at the statue not knowing what was happening also.

“Entrance… allowed.” It rumbled as the door to down below opened up by itself. After the door opened the rumbling coming from the statue stopped, and it stood perfectly still again.

Tucker motioned for them to follow him downwards.

“I hate golems.” Tucker said as he started down the stairs.

Addy and the others followed, Rue jumping back onto her shoulders as the descended into the dark, the door shutting behind them blocking off all the light they had been getting form the PUB.

 

 

“We have 24 hours to find the orb now that were down here.” Tucker said beginning to hand out torches when they got to the bottom of the stairs from his huge backpack he was carrying. It had almost everything Addy could possible think of in it for exploring things like this. Rope, food, and a bunch of things she couldn’t make out.

“These are simple to use.” Tucker said as he finished given the last one out. “Just say the elven word for on, and it turns on. Orong, for those of you who don’t speak elvish.” As he said it his light flickered on, bathing everything in pale yellowish light. One by one everyone said it, revealing their surroundings.

“Why don’t we have fire torches, it doesn’t feel very adventurey using these.” Trin asked, waving it around like she was battling some unseen foe.

“Because when we use to use regular torches the tunnel would fill up with smoke in minutes when you burn 5 or so of them, they can burn away the oxygen in some of these tunnels so you choke to death, and my favorite tripping and falling into water while getting chased by an orc now you have to fight in the dark.”

All Trin said was “Oh” as she started to look around,  trying to not make eye contact with Tucker because she was embarrassed.

They stood in the center of a large room with several tunnels branching away from them. The one going to the left was decorated with symbols and two statues were on both sides. One a human, the other an elf both standing with weapons in their hands. To the right the tunnel was plain, something had carved it but they hadn’t decorated it like the other. Other than that the place was quite undecorated, Addy had expected more from all the stories Trin and Thomas had been saying.

Tucker handed her something, opening her hand Addy saw a bracelet, the one Tucker had said he had used to track the gloves.

“Ainamaf had said you would know how to use this better than me. Once you put it on and get a sense of where were going, we’ll move out, so take your time.” Tucker nodded, walking away to examine the tunnels, probably looking for something a dwarf would only notice in stone.

Addy put on the bracelet as everyone started to look around; Thomas even went down the left tunnel a ways. As she put it on and focused her magic towards the bracelet trying to activate it, she did start to feel something down in the tunnels. Ainamaf had taught her how to use magical objects years ago, though any actual mage would be better at it then her. She was still curious about this whole thing, if Ainamaf wanted this orb, why a professor or the mage in the Forgotten down here.

Addy held up her hand, seeing if she feel something. She definitely could, but it was so distant and vaguely in the center of the tunnels she couldn’t even begin to guess which way to go.

“Getting anything.” Michael asked. He hadn’t moved from her side while the others had begun to explore, he was being patient, something Addy admired in someone so young. Especially sense she wouldn’t be down here if Thomas was as patient and in control as Michael. But she did have to admit, she was enjoying herself, she had never been on an adventure, and she was safe with Tucker and Kitty around.

“No. I just feel something vaguely that way.” She said point directly in front of her.

Michael laughed. “Perfect, the only way without a tunnel or stairs.”

“Nothing ever as easy as going this way that way and then grab the thing and go back.” Tucker slapped Michael’s back as he came up from behind him hearing what he had said.

“The right tunnel is dwarvish, or gnomish. I can’t actually tell which I should be able too.”

“That’s because it’s both, no one’s really sure of the purpose of this place, but they are sure that all four of the main races made it. Elves, humans, gnomes and dwarfs.” Trin said, jumping at a chance to say more about the place.

“I still don’t understand why the orb would be down here. I get that the original explorers would overlook it, not knowing what it was, magic can be masked many different ways. I just don’t get why it would be down here, they never found anything magical down here. Actually almost nothing except for statues thousands of years old that make no sense honestly.” Michael said.

Tucker looked flustered, Addy could tell he was keeping something from them.

“All me and Ainamaf know is that someone put the orb down here. It wasn’t the people who made the place though. But trust me, we were just as surprised as you to find out that it was somewhere on campus, not in some deep dark dungeon long forgotten in a forest. Now let’s get moving were wasting time, pick a tunnel and let’s get going.”

Addy still had no idea where to go, but before she randomly picked a way Thomas came back from the tunnel, hearing the last of what Tucker had said.

“Ide say this one, it has more statues and places to hide things.”

At that Tucker set off, not wasting any more time deciding, wrong or right, Addy knew the orb was a long way off no matter which way they went.

 

 

Walking about a 100 yards they came to the first room. It was about 30 feet tall and about twice that long and wide. In all the walls were statues, some on ground level, and others all the way at the top inside alcoves.

“Spread out and look for any orbs. If you sense anything Addy yell it out.”

“Ok” Addy said as Tucker walked away looking around.

Addy was walking up to a wall look at all the statues, she was amazed at the detail, the statues were almost life like. Each depicted some scene between one of the main races.  A dwarf giving a small elven child a toy he had made. An elf protecting a gnome from a charging Orc.

“Each of these is actually a person, entombed in stone, depicting something they did in their life.” Thomas said coming up from behind Addy.

“Ahh gross.” Addy said, jumping back, she was just about to touch one.

“hes lieing, their just statues. They are depicting real life things though.” Trin said, walking over to them.

Thomas just laughed as he walked away. “I totally had you tricked though.”

Addy shook her head, looking at a statue of a small elven girl who was riding a horse, their hair whipped back, perfectly depicted in stone somehow.

“They are beautiful. Scholars think this was built as a moment to our history, thousands of years ago to show future generations the meaning of peace between us all.” Trin said as she walked up to the horse, touching its main, and looking into the little girls eyes.

“Why would they hide it down here then? It should be something everyone sees.”

“The prophecy. The reason all us magic creatures hide from the humans. If humans found it they would realize magic was real, and then the prophecy wouldn’t come true. I guess it defeats the purpose, but at least it’s still here.”

Addy knew about the prophecy. The reason the Government of the unseen was made and the reason all magical creatures hid themselves. Thousands of years ago a great seer predicted that everyone on the planet would die if magic stayed as the dominant power on the planet. The only way to save everyone was to let the humans develop by themselves, let technology prosper, though some humans did keep magic. The seer never was able to say what technology would save the world from, but it was taken serious enough all magical creatures hid or were hidden, and the Government of the Unseen was made to insure they remained that way. Everyone once in a while seers still got predictions that the world would end whenever magic was accidently seen in the world, forcing the Government to crack down even harder on using magic in front of anyone non magical.

“Let us keep going.” Tucker yelled to everyone. “Unless you sensed anything.” He said looking at Addy.

She shook her head as she walked towards the next tunnel leading out of the room, the orb she was sensing hadn’t gotten any stronger sense they had been walking.

 

 

The next room only 50 or so feet away this time, was smaller and only had one statue scene in it. The center of the room had a huge fountain, the water turn to stone as it came rushing out the top. Around it was about 15 figures, all laughing and talking together as several little kids splashed around in the fountain.

“Amazing.” They all said at the same time. The water almost looked real, even though it was stone.

Tucker just grunted, looked around and dint see any orb.

“Do you sense anything?”

Addy held up the bracelet, not feeling anything in this room, but she did feel like the orb was getting closer, not much but it was definitely slightly strong.

“No, but it is getting stronger.”

‘Then let’s go.” Tucker and Kitty went for the next tunnel as everyone sighed, not being able to look closer at the statue.

As Addy walked along Thomas came up beside her.

“When I put on the gloves I got a sense that whatever it was showing me was near water.”

“Are you trying to say it was back at the fountain?” Addy asked, not sure what he was trying to get at.

“No. I just know from what I have read about these tunnels that there isn’t any water down here, no underground river or lake, nothing.”

“So where just wasting our time then looking in the tunnels?”

“It’s possible, but I doubt it. Every place in the school has been explored thousands of times by students and Professors; this place is our best bet. If we’re going to find a secret tunnel or hidden cave with a lake or river in it, it’s going to be down here. I just thought maybe if they hid something down here they might have given us clues like the fountain. But you dint get any strong sense their so that’s obviously not it.”

“I’ll keep my eyes out for anything looking like water when we get closer.” Addy said. She doubted they would find anything the explorers before them dint find like a secret passage or something; the explorers had had years to explore every inch of this place. We only get a day to search miles of tunnels.  The only chance they had of finding the orb was the benefit of actually knowing what they were looking for so they could sense the right magic.

 

 

They continued on for several hours, passing room after room of statues. Not finding anything that looked like an orb except for a ball a human kid was playing with it a scene of a bunch of kids playing together. Which made several Trin and Thomas really happy, realizing kids dint have balls back then, but the ball dint react to the bracelet when head it up to the ball. Apparently kids found a way to have balls even thousands of years ago.

They hadn’t really made any progress length wise, they had gone several miles, but apparently the tunnels stretched on for many more miles. And the bracelet had actually started to sense the orb less and less after about mid-way through their journey. Tucker though maybe the Tunnels circled back around, and that they might have been getting closer. But Thomas pointed out from the maps he had seen about the place, both the dwarf/gnome tunnels and the human/elf tunnels went fairly in a straight line for miles and never circled around or connected. The tunnels were supposed to represent how dwarfs/gnomes were underground and the humans/elves were above ground, so their paths never connected except for the beginning, the highest point of the tunnels.

Thomas had pointed out with the direction they were going, and how close the school was to the ocean, they were probably actually underneath the water by now, which made everyone just more scared of the tunnels as they realized how many millions of tons of rock and water were above them at the moment. He was the only one happy to be under the ocean, realizing that if the orb was anywhere it was probably somewhere underneath the ocean from what he had sensed from the gloves.

Addy sat down at a bench next an old human lady in one of the biggest caves they had been in yet. She was exhausted, not physically, they had only walked several miles because they had to stop and search every statue for anything resembling an orb. But she was exhausted because of just doing something so tedious for several hours. The statues were beautiful and fascinating to look at, just a kid could take only so much without any actually happening. Even Rue was tired, she had jumped on Kitty’s back about an hour back with her arms and legs splayed out to either side of her back, fast asleep.

“You sense anything.” Tucker asked, coming up and sitting next to her.

“Nope.” Her stomach growled. “I do sense that I am hungry and officially bored though.”

Usually Tucker would laugh at that, but he just stared.

“Me too.” Ignoring the part about her being hungry, Tucker continued on. “Usually something happens by now, someone gets chased by a ghost, or theirs at least weak skeletons to smash or shoot. I’ve never actually been in one of these situations where nothing happens. I’m an adventurer, I don’t want to look at thousands stupid statues.” As he finished he punched old lady in the face, thinking to push it off the edge, but it just stopped his hand completely, shaking it in pain he spat at it instead.

“Maybe we should go eat, explore a little more then try to come back another day.”

“I agree we should go eat. But the whole coming back another day is a no. Ainamaf barely got permissions for us to come down this time.  He has power at the school, just not as much as he use to have as Chancellor of the government.”’

Addy doubted that, Ainamaf might have lost a lot of power but he still demanded immense respect and loyalty from many people. She had her suspicions that Ainamaf dint want draw attention to what they were doing down here, so he could only get them down once, not that he dint have the power to go down here whenever he wanted to. Or send anyone he wanted to down here.

Tucker stood up.

“Were going to start heading back, will stop for launch on the way there. After which were going to head as far as we can threw the dwarven/gnomish tunnel sense the bracelet has just been getting weaker going this way.” Tucker said loudly so everyone could here.

Addy heard several people sigh about them continuing on and not going home and several just happy to eat. She wasn’t sure what she was, she was curious about finding the orb, but if nothing happened soon she was probably going to collapse out of boredom.

 

 

They stopped at the fountain area on the way back, no one actually wanting to wait to get to the bottom of the stairs to eat.

Tucker had packed almost a feast in his back pack, it was all cold items, beef jerky and smoked hams but he still had more than enough to go around to everyone three or four times over. They sat at the edge of the fountain, eating silently. Most of them wanted to be out of their and back in their dorm or playing a game. But no one wanted to say anything to Tucker, they did agree to it, and it was their only chance to find it. Also had many chances did you get to impress the head of your school while exploring something off limits to most of the world? So they kept their mouth shut.

“How far did we actually get through that tunnel?” Michael asked Thomas.

“Umm, maybe a quarter. They tunnels are supposed to run for almost 10 miles each.” You could almost hear Michael think about what happens if they don’t find the orb in the dwarven/gnomish tunnels. Would they have to go all the way to the end, and maybe even back here and go all the way to the end of the Human/elvish tunnel if they dint find it down there. Spending the next 20 hours in here, Tucker had said they had 24 hours’ worth of exploring time once they entered the tunnels.

“Well then, let’s finish eating and get this over with. Maybe we’ll find something to smash, liven it up a bit.” Tucker said starting to put away the food.

Addy was just finishing her jerky, giving some to Rue on her shoulder as she noticed Thomas rummaging around the center of the fountain were the kids were playing. She could see he was eyeing a plug in the water; it had a stone chain attached to it, connected to the center of the fountain.

Addy got up and walked over to him, curious if he found something. As she was walking out their though he pulled the chain which moved like a real chain not a stone chain. As he pulled the plug came out of the bottom of the fountain, she could see his eyes go wide as he saw something happening.

“Get out of the water!” He screamed, looking at Addy.

She looked back confused. Water, it was just stone. But as she was thinking that the stone underneath Thomas was rapidly turning to actual water, swirling down the drain as Thomas tried to run; falling over himself he made it to the edge of the fountain before his body was sucked towards the hole.

“No!” Addy screamed, heading towards him, trying to grab his hands. But as she neared him the stone underneath her started to rapidly turn into water also. She reached her hands out trying to grab Thomas.

But he pulled his hands in as he screamed “Run.” Looking wild eyed at her as he finally went down the hole which had gotten large enough to fit him through it.

Addy realized her ankles were fully in water now, she wasn’t being sucked in yet, but as she turned around to start running towards the edge the water started to deeper and suck her feet down more and more.

Tucker jumped over the edge of the fountain, carrying his huge back pack and armor he easily cleared it landing on the stone water turning into real water. He landed in a full sprint smashing through a stone statue of a kid splashing water, barely slowing as it got trampled as he took the most direct route to Addy. He stopped, grabbing rope from his backpack as he threw it out to her, tying off the other end on the smashed feet of the statue he just destroyed he jumped into the water not waiting to see if Addy would grab the rope. Veronica, Michael and Trin all jumped in also rushing after Tucker.

Tucker grabbed a hold of Addy with one arm, grabbing the rope with his other, powerfully pulling them both towards the others as they grabbed the rope and started to pull them in. But right as they got their the stone turned to water beneath them, the statues legs liquefying the rope going slack they all slipped getting sucked into the water. Kitty was at the edge, prancing, not sure what to do, Rue had flown to her, squeaking at them also not knowing what to do. As Addy was sucked into the hole she heard Kitty roar, just seeing her leap after them, not willing to let her master go by himself no matter where it lead.

 

 

They were all flying through a tube, water rushing around them. Luckily it was large enough that the water wasn’t completely drowning them, so they had plenty of chances to stick their head out and take gasps of air. Tucker had let her go a while going, get jostled, forcing her out of his arm. She could have sworn the tube actually did several loops, sending them every which way in darkness except for when of the torches they had flew past. She did have to admit it was good they weren’t regular torches otherwise they would have been in complete darkness.

After what seemed like several minutes they finally landed, splashing down into a small pond of water in a cave she couldn’t quite make out. As she looked around she saw Tucker and Thomas at the edge of the pool, Tucker yelling orders at people to swim to them. As she swam to them, the water splashing all around her, she could see all the torches except for the two Thomas and Tucker had sink to the bottom, falling lower and lower until their light just faded away. The pond must have been hundreds of feet deep.

Tucker grabbed her as she got near, hoisting her up to the edge. As she looked back she saw Rue and Kitty land. Kitty plowed towards them, surging through the water as Rue clung to her back looking around wildly not knowing what just happened. As they got to them, Rue jumped to Addy, snuggling into her shaking as Addy tried to dry her off and calm her down. Kitty shook, sending water flying around everywhere.

From behind them, as Tucker went over them all making sure they were ok they heard Thomas.

“Holy…” As they turned around, his torch lit up a bunch of contraptions made of wood and metal, tubes going everywhere and huge metal pipes running through the chamber.

“This is a gnomish… something or another.” He finished, touching one the contraptions off to the side, which was still whirring as gears moved, Thomas took his hand off, sticking his fingers in his mouth. It must have been hot also.

As they looked around, taken aback but what they had just found, Tucker noticed a light coming from one of the tunnels off to the side.

“Behind me now!” Tucker yelled, Thomas came running, not wanting to disappoint that voice. He drew out his crossbow, cocking it and leveling it at the tunnel. Kitty growled off the side, she had moved her way behind some machines, silently placing herself to strike at whatever was coming. Everyone else pulled out weapons, Veronica casting spells on hers as Addy chose to prepare a spell to cast. Michael turned into a panther, staying back though, not wanting to do what Kitty did.

As they waited they noticed voices. At first they were thinking gnomish voices because the machinery, but as they got closer they realized they were human and they were speaking English.

“I knew this wasn’t the correct way, we were supposed to go up, up then down over those rocks, down the stairs, then take a left and a right…” Whoever was talking got cut off suddenly as someone else loudly said SHHHH.

“I feel that there might be something ahead, be quite.”

“You’re always wrong, there isn’t anything dangerous in these old tunnels.” The first voice said, which was clearly a women’s voice now that they could hear it clearer.

A women in puffy purple robes popped out of the tunnel as she looked around. She heard a growl close to her as she noticed all of them with weapons drawn and Tuckers crossbow level at her.

“Nope, nope, you were right this time. Happy?” The lady said as she walked backwards from where she came, disappearing back into the tunnel.

She came out again, this time with the other male behind her, using her as a shield; he had his torch above her head as he peeked around her. She was screaming yelling curses at him about this was the last time he used her as a shield.

“Who’s there. Friend or enemy.” The man said, hiding completely behind her. She had given up by now and just stood there with her arms crossed as she rolled her eyes.

“Friend, I hope.” Tucker said, still pointing his crossbow at them.

From out of the tunnel came two other people, a large orange haired dwarf wielding a huge double bladed axe and an elf with white hair and just as white skin, he hadn’t pulled any weapon.

“It is more polite to name yourself first then declare friend or foe. I’ve know people for centuries who I still don’t know if there my enemy or not.” The elf smiled, bowing low as he took his hat off.

“I am Arun Leaffire. And this rowdy bunch are the Fallen, a group of explorers, quite well know, you might actually know us.” As he came up from his bow he was still smiling.

“No actually. I’m part of the Forgotten explorers guild, maybe you’ve heard of us.”

“No, and I’m pretty sure I would of heard of a group of explorers that uses child labor.”

At that the dwarf next to Arun bust out laughing. But stopped suddenly, as Kitty growled louder, silencing him. Kitty had gotten behind him, and was ready to pounce if Tucker fired or ordered her. Or she might just do it anyways if he laughed at her master again.

“Maybe we got off on the wrong foot.” The elf continued. “I meant no harm, as good faith ill call my man off, if you call your cat off. Dullblades.”

From off to the side Addy heard and finally saw a small gnome carrying two drawn daggers walk past her and the others, coming from behind them were he had apparently snuck without them noticing like Kitty had to them.

He walked over to male and female humans, the female still angrily staring at the male.

“Kitty.” Tucker said. Kitty walked past the dwarf, pushing into him sending him lightly into the wall without any effort with her almost thousand pound body. When she reached Tucker the elf continued:

“Now maybe the weapon.” He said pointing to Tuckers still pointed crossbow.

Tucker hesitated, not really wanting to put it down, but they were outnumbered and he dint have much choice. He was after all with a bunch of kids, and the Fallen seemed like a battle tested group more than capable of taking care of themselves. Sighing he lowered it, but kept it in his hands.

“Better. Now what are you doing here?” Arun asked.

“I could ask you the same thing.” Tucker said.

 

 

Apparently the Fallen were down their also because unlike the Forgotten, they just searched ruins by themselves for the thrill instead of to make money. But they weren’t opposed to selling anything they found while doing it. They weren’t able to remember how they got down here, saying they spent so much exploring going from one place to another that they couldn’t even remember what day of the week it was. Which Addy thought was weird, but made sense for why Tucker hadn’t heard about them. Explorer’s guilds and groups only consisted of several dozen in the whole world, almost everyone knew everyone who was in the business, but if they never left the places they explored then Tucker would have never gotten a chance to hear about them.

“So what are you looking for down here or you just here for the adventure like us?” The lady said, her name was Edna Treston, and the male that had used her as a shield was her husband Bob Treston. Their names were quite weird to Addy, they seemed old, but they were odd people so they fit them.

Thomas started to talk, but Tucker talked over him before he could reveal what they were looking for.

“Were exploring for the school of magic in Seattle, me and a few students got a rare chance to look around the tunnels. The students get extra credit and I get credit for finding anything and the right to write a paper about our experience. A truly once in a life time chance.”

Addy was impressed with Tuckers excuse, she  dint think he could actually come up with something so smart. But she guessed she really hadn’t ever seen Tucker in a situation that actually required him to act like a grown up. Addy looked over the elf though when Tucker was saying it and noticed he wasn’t buying his excuse, even though everyone else nodded their head excepting it. The elf narrowed his eyes at Tucker, realizing how weird it was for the school to send down only one teacher if it was a once in a life time chance. It should have been all teachers with a couple lucky students who were all in their final years at school, not students obviously just leaving home for the first time.

But the elf dint say anything, just continued to tell Trin more about the tunnels they were in. They both were from the same city of elves so they had hit it off immediately, Trin using it as an excuse to find out as much as possible about their gnomish surroundings.

Tucker was also from the same city the other dwarf was from, though their relationship was still strained because Tucker wasn’t in the mood to talk at the moment, still curious about the other peoples true motifs. The other dwarf though was more than happy to launch into story after story as Tucker sat there. His name was Buster Battlender and he was going over a story about a battle he once fought in years ago, even when Edna had asked her question and Tucker had responded, not stopping in the least.

“We need to continue.” Arun said, standing up as his conversation with Trin had ended.

“Yup, we should be on our way too.” Tucker said standing up also.

“Were going this way.” Arun said, pointing to the opposite tunnel to the one they came out of earlier, to the left of where Addy and the others had landed. “If you want to follow, we would be glad to have you, there’s supposed to be an underground lake up here if the lore we read is correct.”

“Nope were going the other way unfortunetly.” Tucker said, throwing his back pack on.

Thomas elbowed Addy in the ribs slightly. She looked over it wondering what he wanted, but he just looked at her like she should know. It hit Addy, the lake; Thomas thought the orb was near the lake. And Addy did sense the orb to the left not the right.

“I think we should go with them.” As Tucker looked at Addy, who narrowed his eyes at her, not wanting to go with them, Addy held up her arm and jingled her bracelet and looked left. Hoping Tucker would understand what she was trying to tell him.

Apparently he did because he said “Fine, this is mainly for the kids anyways.”

Arun smiled at that, noticing everything that had just happened, more than Addy wished he knew but she had tried to do it as subtle as possible.

“Good, any other company then these people is always preferred.” Edna said, excited.

Arun was already waiting at the tunnel entrance to the left, saying something to Dullblades, the gnome from earlier who scampered off into the tunnel, apparently taking the lead. They all started down the tunnel, unsure of each other’s group. Tucker normally would have been glad to have others, but not with a bunch of kids around.

 

 

“Something’s off with them. Arun was talking about the sun dial in the center square at Myth Muldrien.” Trin whispered to Addy as their grouped walked way behind the other group.

Addy looked at her awkwardly, tilting her eyebrows about trying to think of why that was important information. Trin noticed and said:

“The sun dial was destroyed almost two centuries ago. He said he saw it months ago.”

“The battle the dwarf was talking about was almost a millennia ago. They aren’t what they seem.” Tucker said. He still had his crossbow in his hands.

“I think their harmless, they probably just spend more time in books and confuse them reality.” Addy said, she really did believe they were harmless. Edna had compared her to her daughter, telling her she was just as cute at her age. These people weren’t murderers or harmful, they were just odd.

“I think that’s even scarier then what I was thinking.” Tucker said, not liking the idea of them not even not was fake and what was reality.

 

 

The Fallen had stopped in front of them, Dullblades was back talking to Arun about something when Addy and the others caught up to them. They were still going through tunnels filled with gnomish machinery, whirring and winding as they passed. They even passed a giant tube that had something liquid going through it, Veronica had screamed saying she thought she a face in it but they in the couple minutes they stared at it no new faces showed up. They stood in a small cave at the moment with only a couple tubes and gnomish machines in it.

“What’s the problem, why did you stop?” Tucker asked as they got to the other group.

“Go forward and watch it, we’ll be their soon.” Arun said to Dullblades, who took off back down the corridor in front of them. Arun then turned to Tucker.

“Dullblades encountered um… a mechanical man. It seems to be old and may not function correctly, but he said it did move so we must assume it is still dangerous. It is most likely an ancient sentinel to protect something.” Addy thought it was weird he used those choices of words then just call it a robot, they really must spent all their time in ancient books.

“That just means were getting close to something then. Let’s go smash it before it knows what happened.” Tucker said lifting his crossbow.

“Yes, I agree oddly enough. It is old so hopefully we can attack and neutralize it before it knows what happened.” Arun went on to detail a plan, but from what Addy could see no one was actually listening to it. Edna and Bob started to pretend fall asleep mid-way through and buster kept on adding in suggestions about smashing it. Tucker was actually the only one listening, which surprised Addy and dint at the same time for some reason.

Going forward they walked to the tunnel entrance and to the next cave were the mechanical man was. The kids were supposed to stay back, and run into the tunnel if things got out of hand. As they got into the cave Tucker sent Kitty off the side circling around to the other side so silently Addy lost track of where she was at almost immediately. They had put out all their torches so Addy could only make out the room by the light coming off a large forge directly to the right of them coming out of the tunnel, it started 20 feet below them and went to the ceiling. They stood on a ledge of a ramp that sloped downwards almost all the way to the other side of the room. To the right of the ramp on the otherside of the room, which was a big rectangle, the forge and them on a small side of the rectangle, stood the mechanical man and the door to the next room. Hanging above the entire room was different swords and pieces of machinery that were obviously made in the forge.

Through the center of the room, going from the forge to the other side, separating the ramp from the other side was a river of molten lava or maybe metal flowing. To each side of the river was a work station, some still with items being crafted on top of them, tools thrown about as if workers were still working here. But it was obvious from the rust and the dust all around workers hadn’t been here for centuries.

“Stay here.” Tucker said, reminding all the kids they weren’t doing anything in this fight, because he knew they wanted to help. All the kids had drawn their weapons already regardless of what Tucker said, ready to fight if it came to it. Tucker knew that, he just had to at least try to keep them out of danger.

The Fallen and Tucker walked to the bottom of the platform, Tucker and Arun standing back, Tucker lifting his crossbow and Arun fitting an arrow to his longbow. The plan called for them to sneak of on the thing and attack before it could respond. But now that Addy saw it she dint that would be enough.

The ‘mechanical man’ was almost 20 feet tall, coming just below the top of the platform Addy was standing on. She could see blue glowing tubes going from its back to the wall behind it; it looked like the same liquid substance Veronica had though had a person in it. The thing had a round body and round everything else, like a swollen mechanical humanoid. The left arm was torn to shreds, blue liquid dripping out of it. Its eyes kept flashing blue and the cogs and gears in its body underneath its armor plates kept whirring every 10 seconds or so as it sputtered to life then died again, blue liquid squirting rapidly out of its arm when it happened.

Before Arun could give his single to attack Buster tripped over a tool on the ground, loudly falling to the ground. But instead of waiting to see if the mechanical man had even heard or could even hear Buster roared and lifted his axe as he ran forward. Bob and Edna also yelled as they charged in yelling profanities about the robots mother.

Addy saw Arun just shake his head, the robot hadn’t responded to the noise and couldn’t obviously hear. So them charging in and attacking haphazardly was just more dangerous than trying to keep the element of surprise that wasn’t even lost.

Buster hit the robots knee cap with his axe, making a loud ringing noise as all his axe did was slightly dent and scratch the metal. Edna launched a ball of ice at its face, freezing its head in a huge chunk of ice. Bob swung his sword at its other knee cap, not even scratch or denting it. From above came Kitty and Dullblades falling onto its shoulders, Dullblades sticking his knives into its eyes and Kitty raking it with her claws. After a few minutes and a couple more hits they realized it wasn’t alive anymore.

‘Stop.” Arun yelled. Buster was still swinging his axe in his battle rage, not even noticing there never was or had been a fight. But he stopped after he heard Arun, falling back as he tried to catch his breath.

“A real battle might have actually given you a heart attack.” Bob laughed at Buster, who was still breathing hard.

Buster tried to lift his axe to swing at him but he started coughing as he tried to suck in more air, which just made Bob laugh even harder.

 

 

Addy and the others came down from the ramp to meet up with the others, jumping across the small river of lava only several feet wide.

“No wonder I’ve never heard of you guys, your terrible in a fight.” Tucker said.

“Well some of us, but not all of us. But if I remember correctly I don’t even recall you do anything. So that puts you at the level of the kids.” Bob said.

“Stop it. We are explorers not fighters, and we are exceptional at the former.” Arun said as he pulled open the double doors to the next room.

He stopped though, turning around as everyone else turned to the robot which was making loud whirling sounds as the tubes in its started to glow brighter blue as more and more liquid pumped into it. Its eye started to stay open now, not turning off after a couple seconds.

“I would argue that point also.” Tucker said as he got his crossbow out.

 

 

“Behind me!” Tucker yelled. They creature was now fully alive, but at least it was moving slowly, its head was covered in steam as the ice around it melted rapidly from Edna’s previous spell. Its first swing was at Buster who easily rolled away. But as his right fist hit the floor it still smashed a sizable hole and sent cracked throughout.

“Get back to the ramp.”  Tucker said firing his crossbow at the robots eye left eye, it stuck their making the robot veer left as it instinctively tried to see what he couldn’t see anymore.

Addy and the other ran for it, Michael turning into a cat and leaping the whole 20 feet to the top of the ramp. The others jumped the river and made it the bottom the ramp and sprinted upwards.

Edna launched another ice attack at its head, thinking to completely blind it for the couple seconds it took to melt, but it just instantly turned to steam as it, not stopping it at all. The robot reached up grabbing the arrow pulling it out. The liquid eye ball out with it but was completely replaced by more almost instantly.

It moved forward, smashing everything in its way as Arun and Tucker Launched arrow after arrow into it, almost all of them bouncing off harmlessly or getting crushed in its gears if they landed between the joints. It moved as if in slow mow, taking barely two steps in the time it took Addy to get to the top of the ramp. But it seemed to be gaining speed as it kept going.

Bob and Buster were smashing its knees as Kitty and Dullblades smashed its head. But it just slowly tried to stomp the two below as it slowly tried to swat the couple on top. They all dodged but they weren’t making any progress, just scratches. Addy cast a spell of lightening at it, Veronica following close after as they both realized they might not be able to join the fight, but they could stay here and do something. They lightning bolts hit, sending the robot into spasms, it lurched throwing Dullblades and Kitty off.

Both Veronica and Addy cheered, thinking they had atleast done something to it. But it quickly stopped and started forward again, this time even faster. Buster and Bob dodged the next stomps.

“We need to fall back!” Arun screamed.

Addy noticed something though; as the creature got faster more and more liquid flowed out its left arm and on the floor. The creature was so bloated because it used the liquid inside of it as power and it required a lot of it. The gnomes must have had the creature turned off because its damaged arm, the liquid couldn’t stay inside it so they had to hook it up to tubes for it to work and only when the door opened instead of always so it dint just constantly leak liquid.

“Destroy the tubes behind it.” Addy yelled as everyone down on the floor was rapidly trying to run away from the robot that getting faster and faster. Arun stopped at the bottom of the stairs as Addy said it, looking back at the tubes.

“Tucker, can you order your cat to destroy the tubes?” Arun asked as Tucker came past him, he stopped looking back the monster also, he hadn’t heard what Addy had said in all the commotion. Only Arun’s elven ears could make out her screams over the robot moving forward.

“Yeah, why. We should be running, there’s no way we can defeat that thing.”

“Because it is its power source, without it, it will die.”

Tucker looked back, noticing what Addy noticed. He nodded realizing they actually had a chance.

“Kitty, the tubes, cut the tubes on its back.” Tucker yelled as he ran behind the robot, sending an arrow into a tube once he got a clean shot. The mechanical creature continued on straight for the ramp, its feet were covered in molten lava from stepping in the river.

Kitty and Dullblades who had heard Tucker also both ran behind the thing, cutting tube after tube. Blue liquid squirting out all over them, Kitty completely covered from ripping them with her teeth and claws.

The monster finally started to slow, its eyes and gears glowing less as it stopped getting new liquid and all the liquid it had poured out of its left arm onto the floor sizzling as it hit its own foot covered in lava. Its hand was half down, about to smash everyone on the ramp and the ramp itself before the creature stopped.

No one cheered, still too scared from what had happened.

“Good idea kid.” Arun said as he walked up to Addy patting her on the back.

 

 

They all walked into the next room more prepared and willing to work with each other than before. Staying in one big group with Dullblades and Kitty up front they walked through the door and down a tunnel. The new tunnel was apparently used to ferry up the ore to the room with the giant robot to be turned into metal from the furnace.

Addy looked at her wrist noticing a gleam, when she looked down she saw that the bracelet was glowing slightly red. She tucked it under her sleeve not wanting the people in Fallen to see. She needed to tell Tucker though who was walking slightly ahead of her. She tapped him on the shoulder as they continued through the tunnel littered with mining carts and broken rails were the mining carts use to sit.

As Tucker turned around Addy kept moving not wanting to draw attention, Tucker followed about to ask something but Addy put her finger over her lips signaling that he shouldn’t say anything. She pulled out the bracelet and lifted it so Tucker could see. When he saw it he was nodding his head, realizing why Addy was being so secretive.

“At the end of this tunnel should be a lake. If the book I read was at all correct. It tends to not mention things like that giant mechanical man.” Arun said, walking slightly ahead of them.

“It usually mentions almost nothing, except what the place was like a thousand years ago. About how their use to be gnomes mining, kids running about, ale houses open, and gnomes invented unheard of mechanical devices. Except all we run into are skeletons and giant robots wanting to crush us.” Buster said as he poked his axe at a gnomish skeleton lying off the side of the tunnel. He wore small coveralls and had a pick axe in his hand.

Now that Addy actually looked around she noticed quite a few of the skeletons. Something horrible must have happened to them all for them to of died so suddenly in the tunnels like this. She dint see any signs of fighting or anything, but they were just skeletons, so she would have been able to tell if there was fighting even if it was obvious.

“Arun, do you know what happened to the gnomes down here?” Addy asked, curiously.

“It’s uncertain, water could have flooded the tunnels, a gas leak from mining, or maybe just disease. The bodies are to decade to see what killed them, and the books I have read definitely don’t say anything about what happened. I’m sure we’ll found out more once we get to the main city at the lake.”

“I, will also found find a bunch more of these” Bust said kicking one of the gnome skeletons. “Maybe this time they will be happy undead who just want to give hugs instead of eat our brains, bwahaha.” He bellowed turning back around and walking on with the rest of the group.

But Addy continued to watch as the gnome he kicked got up, lifting his pick axe and throwing it at Buster’s back. Addy screamed, not knowing what else to do. Buster looked perplexed as the pick axe hit him in the back and oddly went flying straight through him as if he wasn’t solid.

“Why did you have to go and do that?” Buster grumbled, turning back around as he lifts his axe, swatting the little gnome aside to smash against a rock face.

Tucker was lifting his bow at Arun as Dullblades and Kitty came back around the corner in front of them.

“What are yaa?” Tucker asked Arun.

Arun dint respond immediately, he was too busy looking around at all the rising skeletons. Apparently not taking too kindly to buster first poking their falling comrade then smashing him against a wall.

“I don’t think know is exactly the time my dwarf friend.” Arun said pointing around to all the gnomes, which were rapidly starting to gather now, gaining more and more control over their bodies and picking up their falling axes or whatever was close.

“Make time. Elvish friend.” Tucker growled, he noticed the gnomes rising too but wanted to figure out if the Fallen was friend or foe before he messed with the gnomes.

Addy couldn’t take it though, all the Fallen were already battling the gnomes along with Kitty.

Addy jumped in front of Arun spreading her arms out.

“Now isn’t the time for this, if they wanted to kill us they would of done it a long time ago. Were just kids, who do you think would of won if they fought us? Them, and they know that.”

As Addy finished talking, Veronica, Trin, Thomas, and Michael all chimed in agreeing with Addy.

“Fine.” Tucker said as he pulled the trigger, sending an arrow arcing over Arun’s shoulder and straight into a gnome that had launched itself at his back. “But I want the truth after this is over.” Tucker finished pulling out an arrow and loading his crossbow.

The fight was almost over already, the Fallen taken care of all the gnomes in the current stretch of tunnel they were in.

“There’s more coming from behind.” Buster said as he finished off the last gnome in the back, crushing it with his axe.

“What about from ahead.” Arun asked Dullblades.

“A few, and a door leading into the city from what I can see through the holes in it. But it is barricade from the other side.”

“Now’s not a time to give up on adventure then, forward.” Arun yelled, the other Fallen member’s yelling in response, running forward to meet a new wave of gnomish skeletons.

Tucker was looking at them, plowing through the ranks of gnomes, noticing they worked better together and that him and the kids would only get in their way.

“We’ll take the back. Take out anything coming from behind.” Tucker yelled to Arun, who was shooting arrows from the behind the line of Fallen members. After he launched an arrow he turned his head towards Tucker and nodded.

“Let’s move forward with them, but take off anything that gets close, you aren’t warriors yet so let’s stay back unless you have too.” Tucker said to all of them, Michael was in his cat form, Kitty stayed back protecting them from anything that came near, while the others all had their weapons drawn.

Around the corner came three gnomes. Tucker took out the first with an arrow to the head, and Addy and Veronica took out another with twin fireballs, engulfing in it flames. And to Addy’s surprise Trin took out the last one with a ray of light shooting out of a small mace she had pulled out of somewhere.

Addy looked at Trin who just shrugged and said “I am training to be a priest.”

The gnome Veronica and Addy had fireballed got back up, its clothes burnt away. But before it got any closer Michael leaped on it and took the entire body in its mouth, shaking it as bones flew away.

“Keep backing up!” Tucker yelled.

Addy turned around noticing the fallen already around the corner in the tunnel, making rapid progress. They all started to run to catch up, going around the corner as the Fallen smashed into a large group of gnomes.

“We have to help” Veronica said as she started forward.

“No, let them do their job while we do ours, if they gain ground from our back were both dead.” Tucker said as he let an arrow fly towards a gnome that had come around the corner with them, rapidly approaching swinging his axe towards Veronica’s back.

The gnome fell to ground his skull crushed by Tuckers arrow. Veronica was looking at, realizing her mistake as a large group of gnomes came around the corner.

Addy got up to 10 before she lost count, all of them looking the same. She had to stop them before they overran them. She did have one spell Ain had taught her for stopping a large group approaching her. She dug through her pockets finding a bottle of water; the spell required a spell component because it was more powerful than her normal spells. She said the couple words to the spell as she flung the water out of the bottle in front of her.

The ground in front of the gnomes turned to ice as they ran onto it, sending them sprawling and to Addy’s surprise straight at them. They were on a slight incline, they were at the top and the Fallen at the bottom. The gnomes started to speed towards them, one already dead from an arrow Tucker had shot. As the got closer Addy hoped they would stop, but her spell continued to turn the ground to ice, spreading under their feet also and down the incline. They went sprawling along with the gnomes, but because they weren’t moving they were able to stop themselves before they slipped down the hill. Kitty however was having problems staying up, she couldn’t manage and all four of her legs went wide as she started to slip down the hill.  The gnomes went sailing past them, one hitting Kitty on her way down making her pick up speed.

“Watch out!” Addy yelled.

The Fallen turned just in time to watch the gnomes sail down the hill and hit a pump launching them straight at them. But they all managed to jump out of the way, though Addy doubted it mattered from what she had seen about Buster.

The gnomes smashed into the other group of gnomes the Fallen had been fighting, sending them all to the ground and creating havoc. Kitty went flying along with them also, ravaging gnomes once she landed perfectly in their midst. The Fallen got up, seizing the advantage, Bob smashed a gnome with his shield, Edna fireballed a group of five of them with a fireball powerful enough to actually melt their bones, Arun launched arrow after arrow, and Buster smashed several with one swing of his axe.

“Quickly to the door. Before more come!” Dullblades said, finishing off a gnome near the huge double doors on the far end of the tunnel.

They all rushed the doors, hearing more gnomes come from behind them.

Buster the door with his axe, sending cracks throughout it, but it held. The door was wrapped in iron every foot or so, so even if they destroyed half the wood they would still need to get through the iron.

“Damn it. I guess we fight to the end” Buster said, leveling his axe towards the tunnel behind them.

“Don’t be so dramatic, its not like you can die again anyways. And were just going to go through this wall here instead.” Edna said, walking over to the left of the door.

“OO the wall. Of course, let me just axe that to death for you.” Buster replied snorting as he noticed more gnomes come around the corner, this time a large group that Addy couldn’t even see the back of. They just seemed to pore out of the tunnel. They must have missed a lot of skeletons lying around the tunnels, or they had come from some part of the tunnel they hadn’t been to yet, let the tunnels the Fallen had come through when they landed in the water.

Edna ignored Buster as she began to cast a spell, throwing something Addy couldn’t see onto the wall.

“Hurry Edna, we don’t have much time!” Bob yelled at her right next to her.

She finished her spell, creating a hole that just seemed to appear in the wall.

“Thanks Bob! Let me just shorten a spell that’s a thousand years old so it’s quicker for you!” Edna yelled as Bob ignored her, running through the new hole in the wall away from the charging gnomes now almost upon them. Once she noticed she followed right after him.

Tucker launched an arrow at the oncoming horde as he ran towards the hole, pushing Veronica and Addy forward with him.

“To the hole!” Tucker yelled. But no one needed urging, everyone was already running towards it. Most of the Fallen was already through, Addy, Tucker, and Veronica going through next as Michael and Thomas came right behind. Buster was fighting off the gnomes as they got closer, keeping them from reaching the hole. As Thomas and Michael got through last Edna waved her hand and sealed the hole and the gnomes in the tunnel behind them.

“What about Buster?” Addy asked.

“Eh, he’ll be fine I’m sure.” Bob said, but as quickly as he said it Buster came out of the stone wall, flying towards Bob.

“O, I’ll be fine will I?” Buster said as he landed on Bob and smashed his axe into his face which went straight through it and cracked on the concrete behind him.

Tucker was pointing his crossbow at Arun again, who noticed and turned to him, Addy, and the other kids.

“You already know that won’t do anything.” Arun said to Tuckers pointed crossbow. “Just because were ghosts doesn’t mean we want to hurt you. We are adventures like you, we just like to explore.”

“Ghosts who explore? Why would you explore, your dead.” Tucker growled, not putting down his crossbow regardless of if it would do anything or not.

“I don’t know, all I know is I enjoy it. One day we just all woke up exploring some old elven forest city, and ran into a group of explorers not much different than us. And every day sense then we do the same, new place , new people.” Arun finished by shrugging, not knowing what else to say.

When he finished the door next to them shook, as the gnomes crashed into it. They all looked over scared as pieces of debris came cascading down from the pile of stuff blocking the door. It was mostly just pieces of furniture and random objects stacked haphazardly. Addy guessed it would only last a little bit until they knocked it down.

“We need to get moving.” Tucker and Arun said at the same time. Tucker looked at him and glared, continuing on.

“We need to find a place to hide from these…”

“Zombies.” Thomas said excitedly.

“Those aren’t zombies.” Arun.

“Whatever they are we get moving now so we put as much distance between them and us.” Tucker finished saying after Arun and Thomas’s side track.

“High ground, easily defendable.” Buster pitched in as he finally got off of Bob.

Addy felt a tingly on her rest, looking back down she remembered the bracelet, glowing a much brighter red now. She focused her mind on it luck Ain had taught her and instantly got an image of a ship. She looked across the city to the lake off in the distance, spotting the ship she had seen. They needed to get there, otherwise this whole exploration was wasted because who knew if Ain could get them back down here or not.

“The lake.” Addy said pointing. “If we get onto that ship we can easily defend it, and I’m guessing these ‘things’ can’t swim.”

“She has a point, we once came across a group of skeletons near an underground rive once. They sunk straight to the bottom and had to walk across that way, took them hours.” Edna said, laughing a bit as she remembered it.

“Ahh I remember that, we had lunch while waiting for them. Good times.” Buster said smiling also as he remembered.

“What do you think?” Arun asked Tucker, not wanting to take charge with the tension between the two of them so high at the moment.

Tucker thought for a second, looking over to Addy he looked down at her wrist. She was pointing to it, trying to turn her body sideways so only Tucker could see its glow as she uncovered it from her sleeve.

“I agree, let’s get going.”

 

 

The city was large, stretching all around the lake that was almost a half mile wide except for a little spot were a river ran out of the lake, apparently how the ship got in and out. Though Addy dint know where it possibly would go after it left, being hundreds of feet under the sea. Maybe there was a magical connection to the sea? She could see everything throughout the massive cavern from streetlights that were still on, running after thousands of years thanks to magic or gnomish ingenuity.

She dint have any time to think though as they ran through the city. They had just randomly picked a street and started running towards the ship which was about a quarter mile away. But as they got into the city they realized they were going to have to go a lot farther, getting lost and having to double back and going down streets for blocks in the wrong direction to find their way to a correct street leading the right way.

Passing houses, shops, stores, pubs, restaurants, and things they could only guess at. They saw more tubes and machines all about doing things they could only guess at. But more disturbingly they passed more and more gnomish skeletons, thousands of them. The gnomes weren’t moving yet, but it was only a matter of time until they started to.

“Stop!” Tucker yelled as the reached a four intersection. “We aren’t making any progress.” He pointed up one of the streets were you could clearly see the blockaded door.

“Pshhh how do you even know that’s the same one?” Bob said, but as he finished a bunch of debris cascaded down and went rolling down the street towards them.

“Ok maybe that’s the same door.” He said, shutting back up as he skulked over to Edna who just shook her head at him.

“What’s your plan then?” Arun said.

“There has to be some way to tell which way we’re going. A map, did someone notice any flow in the way the streets are going other than just randomly every direction, or is there a spell that could help?” Tucker finished looking around to them all.

“There is a spell, a floating eye a magician can use to float around and see threw.” Addy said, remembering when Ain had used the spell and let her take over the connection so she could fly around and look at things in the city. She looked to Edna though, Ain had never taught her the spell and it was much too powerful for her to use.

“I haven’t used that spell in years.” Edna shrugged.

“I have an idea.” Trin said, stepping up as everyone looked at her.

“If this city is like modern day gnomish cities then it was designed in zigzags. They did it so people could drive fast sense they always had to beware of who else was coming around the corner. So if you just follow the street one way, then the opposite way, and repeat you should make progress in the direction of the lake.” As she said it she drew a small design of what she was talking in the dust on the ground.

DRAWING HERE

“But I haven’t seen any cars.” Buster said, looking around curiously now.

“There are cars here, rudimentary cars, but cars indeed. Gnomes were quite advanced, even back then.” Arun said, backing up Trin’s story who nodded at him in thanks. Buster just shrugged in response not wanting to argue and not having any better plan to try.

“Ok let’s get going.” Tucker ran on down the street they were already going, cutting back when he found another street going the other way, which lead them slightly closer to the beach.

As they ran along they finally started to see cars and Addy even though she saw a motorcycle, though it was the oddest one she had ever seen. It was as large as a car with two wheels almost as large as her. How a gnome ever rode that she could only guess.

They turned a corner and ran into a large square, surrounded with buildings and what Addy thought was a church at the far end of it. There was a fountain in the center, and hundreds of skeletons lying about. All the streets they could see were block with cars piled up in large heaps and the street they had just come from had a pile of cars that was obviously pushed over but use to block the street also.

“I don’t exactly want to agree with the kid.” Bob said looking at Thomas. “But this is kind of zombie like. Maybe their reanimated skeletons now, but it’s looking like thousands of years ago they were zombies. What else would you barricade against? Gas?”

“Maybe, maybe it doesn’t matter, and maybe you’re an idiot. Either way we should be moving.” Edna said to Bob. And as if in response the blockaded door they gone through earlier burst open, sending a large crashing sound throughout the cavern. They could all still see it above them, over the roof of the buildings. Watching as about 50 of the gnomes poured out, running towards the street and straight towards them.

“They are raising the others as they pass.” Arun said as he was squinting his eyes. Addy knew elves had good vision, but she could barely even make out the door anymore in the little light given off by the street lamps, let alone what the individual gnomes were doing.

Veronica screamed, tearing her leg away from a gnome’s hand that was lying next to her. “I think they did more than just raise the ones they passed.” She breathed as Kitty came over and crushed its skull before it could get up.

“Move! To the church.” Tucker yelled as he grabbed the small axes by his sides and swatted at a gnome, cleaning taking off its head with such a powerful swipe. They all bolted towards the door, Kitty and Michael making the most progress as they ran forward, bowling over gnomes and raking them with their claws when they could.

All around the square the gnomes started to rise now, thousands of them. But luckily for them they were animating slowly, barely even managing to get up yet. Let alone fight them as they passed. Addy casted her fireball spell and lighting spells on her weapons, hoping they gave her a bit more punch for anything getting to near.

And sure enough a gnome lunged at her, she smashed her right dagger through its skull, making the whole skeleton erupt in fire as her dagger amplified her spells power. The gnome started to trash as the fire burned, so Addy stuck her left dagger into also releasing her lightening spell. The gnome stood straight as the lightening went through it, and the fire on the corpse leaped into her left dagger as it absorbed the fire.

She just realized her daggers could be used to make increasingly strong fire spells if used together. Her right amplifying the spell and the left absorbing it so she could it again and again, consuming more fire the more she used it. But she had little time to think as a gnome crashed into Thomas in front of her, knocking him down before he knew what happened. Addy pointed her left dagger at the gnome and let her fireball go again. It hit the gnome with a small explosion sending it several feet in front of Thomas.

He got up instantly, nodding towards Addy, his eyes widened though when he looked towards her and behind her. “Run faster!” He was screaming as he turned back around and jumped over the gnome. Addy turned back around to see almost all the gnomes behind them up and moving towards them.

She rushed forward again quickly stabbing the gnome on fire and absorbing the fire spell back into her dagger just in case. She caught up to Thomas quickly enough with all the adrenaline running through her. Gnomes were coming at them from every side now, and everyone in the lead was had gone to a half trot as the swatter and fought their way through the gnomes. They were almost to the church though, with its huge double doors that hopefully had some way to bar them close on the inside.

Thomas and Addy reached the group, wading into the gnomes with them. Addy casted another fireball spell onto her right dagger to amplify it, sending it off towards a gnome she immediately stabbed with her left dagger that was now engulfed in a fire. She got movement out of the corner of her eye, turning around she saw a gnome lurch for her from her back. Dullblades appeared though spinning through the air, a dagger punched into its skull as he flung it the ground launching himself forward and plunging his other dagger into another gnome. All happening so quickly Addy wasn’t even able to lift her dagger to cast her spell. When Dullblades finally came to a complete stop the second gnome he had stabbed came tumbling off his dagger as the force of his hit finally halted. Jumping straight back Dullblades began to single handedly hold off all the gnomes in the back. Add turned back around trusting completely that nothing would get her from that direction.

By now that were at the stairs. They used them to their advantage kicking the gnomes down them so they fell and hopefully fell into a pile of separate bones instead of a full skeleton. Making rapid progress they ascend the stairs and piled into the church. The church was empty of skeletons except for a few at the front alter that Addy could see.

“Close the doors!” both Tucker and Arun yelled, Tucker not stopping to glare at Arun this time with so many gnomes coming in behind them.

Everyone rushed to the doors closing them as quickly as they could, but they were about 20 feet tall and solid wood rapped in iron. Dullblades was still fighting on the top of the stairs keeping any gnomes from reaching them. As the doors got close to shutting Addy though they were going to live him outside, but realized she dint have anything to worry about with them being ghosts. But Dullblades still jumped in through the doors at the last second, his instincts for self-preservation kicking in from when he used to be alive.

As the doors shut and Buster and Tucker slammed the giant metal bar into place locking barring the doors shut they heard hundreds of gnomes smash against it. Sending the door inwards and making the stone creek and crack as the weight pushed against it. But the door held, so they were safe for the moment.

 

 

After they got in Trin explained the church should offer some protection from the gnomes. That’s why there weren’t any skeletons in the church attacking them. Even the two skeletons at the alter weren’t animated, they were sitting on their knees as both of them held the same golden gear. Arun explained it was the symbol of their god. They must have died protecting the building, keeping up a protection spell to keep the zombies or skeletons out.

“We need to keep moving.” Tucker said to them all as they sat at the pews, everyone living eating and catching their breath.

“Why, were perfectly safe in here. We could wait them out until they go back to sleep then make a run for it.” Arun said still standing over by the two gnomish priests, he really wanted the solid gold gear but he oddly wasn’t able to grab it as a ghost. Which confused Addy, he was able to interact with almost anything else, why not the gear? She thought maybe it was because it belonged to priests so he wasn’t allowed to touch it, no matter how powerful he was as a ghost.

“We don’t know how long that will be to start out with. We dint come prepared with weeks’ worth of food, we have a day or twos tops. And at the moment we are positive that the majority of those things are outside the front of this place, with the back of the church leading directly to the boat.” Tucker replied.

“What makes that any better of a place to hide? You will run out of food just as fast their as you will in here.” Arun was trying to grab the gold gear again, but stopped as he realized what Tucker was saying. He had to know something was up. “Why do you really want to get to the boat?”

Tucker stuttered, not knowing what to say. “It’s… just more defendable and boats usually have supplies on them.”

“I agree, but thousands of years usually tend to effect supplies. Though maybe it’s possible the ship has special magical cargo or containers.  But still risking that trip is reckless until where sure we are out of supplies. There has to be something there for you to risk the journey.” Arun said walking towards Tucker now, looking more and more perplexed.

“Just tell him.” Trin said next to Tucker, fed up with keeping secrets from people who obviously just wanted to help them.

“Fine.” Tucker sighed. “There’s something on the ship we came down here to find. Without it we wasted this whole journey and risking all our lives for nothing. If we can just grab it before the school comes searching for us it won’t be a complete waste.”

“Honesty. Was that so hard.” Arun said as he sat down next to Addy. He whispered to her as he sighed more “Dwarfs, so stubborn they would rather die than tell the truth.”

“I can still hear you.” Tucker said, making Addy and Veronica giggle.

“Good, then listen while I tell you my plan to get you to the boat. We may be dead, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care anymore.” As Arun finished all the Fallen group nodded their heads agreeing with them.

Addy thought they might not have been the smartest or best exploration group when they were alive, because of their stupid shenanigans. But being dead, Addy realized they were the first chose of people she would choose to bring along in a deep dark cave in the midst of thousands or possibly millions of gnomish zombie skeletons. It made sense to her why they became ghosts, they genuinely did like exploring and helping people.

 

 

All of them moved out to explore the church, trying to find a back way out or something for them to escape. They split up into groups of two after Arun and Tucker had decided it wasn’t dangerous in the church otherwise they would have been attacked by now. All the gnomes in the entire city had to have be reanimated by now.

Trin and Addy took the tower on top, not expecting to find any secret passages but to scout out anything they might see from above. They went through a door in the side of the main room in the church, Trin going first with her mace small mace pulled out glowing a bright white as she held it in front of her.

“So what god are do you worship?” Addy asked, not really expecting to run into anything so she was talking normal.

“I’m not really sure.” Trin shrugged as they started up stairs going in a huge circle. Some of the torches they passed still burned, the magic not worn off yet. But the majority was completely dark making it impossible to see in most of the doors they had passed or anything past Trins light.

“Don’t priests usually only worship one god? Most of them usually don’t like when you worship another god while asking them for spells.” Addy got up to the top of the stairs on a landing leading out to a dark tunnel with no torches burning. They could see some doors smashed opened, the wood cracked as if something or someone had smashed through them looking for someone.

“You usually gain the most power by asking for power from one god and getting into his or hers good graces over the course of your life.” Trin pointed her mace into one of the doors as they passed, illuminating an old desk with book shelves around it. The desk was small inside the room; it was like they built the building for anyone to fit inside of it, but the gnomes only took up a small portion of it.

“But I enjoy everything about all of them, people aren’t just one thing. Sometimes I’m lucky and thank Ebisu or sometimes I enjoy watching the moon and thank Tet. People aren’t one thing, like the gnomes god of invention Gore the Brilliant, do you think all the gnomes only invented things all day every day? Or did they love and paint also. I might not end up the most powerful priestess because of it, but I can’t just pick one for the rest of my life.” Trin stopped in front of a door and shrugged as she finished.

Addy looked behind her and saw dancing shadows, she knew it was just Trin’s light playing tricks, but the more and more she looked around the more it started to play tricks on with her head. After all she had just spent the last several hours with proof ghosts were real, why couldn’t there be more ghosts around a place so creepy.

“We should keep moving, this place is scaring me.” From behind Addy a book fell over settling in the dust, making a loud noise in the silence. Addy jumped screaming.

Trin just laughed as Addy pulled out her blades and started to turn circles to see look at everything around her.

“This place is haunted, it’s still holy ground. It’s not like a regular human church, no ghosts or anything reanimated is getting in here. Except the Fallen, I’m guessing some god made them into ghosts, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to enter.”

“Mmhmm, while I’m going to keep moving.” Addy said, still not believing Trin at all even though she consciously knew she was correct. She ran for the next torch that was still giving off light in the stairs at the end of hallway leading up to the next floor.

 

 

Tucker, Kitty, and Arun went together to look at the back of the church, trying to decide the best plan of escape. They went past the two gnomish priests still holding the golden gear and through a door to the side of the main alter, hoping it would lead them to the back door. It lead them into the main dining room, lined with short tables and a hearth in one corner that use to be used for cooking food. A huge kettle turned over in front of the dead fire. They saw a door in the back and moved for it.

“I don’t think running for it is the best plan.” Tucker said to Arun. All Arun had said of his plan up to now was running out the back door as fast they could for the ship and hoping the most of the gnomes were in the front and wouldn’t notice.

“Your plan of jumping from building to building isn’t much better. How far do you think your kids can jump? I saw some gaps there were easily 20 feet.”

“Then we find other places to jump.” Tucker huffed.

“And if we can’t?”

“Then we jump down and fight. Atleast we got part of the way their without any threat of a fight.”

Arun was about to say something but realized it was actually a good plan, they still did what he wanted, running on the street. But they also insured at least part of the way there was completely safe.  “I agree, actually.”

“People usually do.” Tucker said as he bwahaha’d. Pushing through the back door that just fell over slamming loudly as it the ground sending dust everywhere and making Tucker cough. Arun just stood there completely uninfected, marveling at the dwarven ability to be so full of themselves.

As Tucker continued to cough Arun stepped over the door and looked around the next room. This one still had a couple torches lit, it was the main library containing thousands of books, but looking oddly small because each of the bookshelves and all the books were about half the size they should have normally been. The shelves however still reached up to the ceiling, there must have been hundreds of thousands of books because the room was still a normal library size. Easily several hundred feet across and that wide.

Tucker got into the room and smelled old moldy and musty books and began to sneeze huge dwarvin sneezes that just sent more dust from the ground into the air, making him sneeze even more.

“I hate books.” Tucker said, between sneezes, walking into the room and following Arun across it to a door on the other side.

“I have noticed dwarfs usually hate books, is that because dwarfs can’t read, or because the concepts within completely allude them?” Arun asked Tucker who started to say a rude retort back began to sneeze before he could start.

Arun smiled as they continued on, Tucker to busy trying to control his nose to say anything else. They walked over the books littered all around the room and tables, making their way to the door in the back which they hoped finally lead to the back of the church. The torch to the right of the door still burned casting shadows around the room.

“I’ll open the door, you stick your crossbow out incase something charges in?” Arun asked as they got to the door.

Tucker began to reply but sneezed first, so he just nodded and lifted his crossbow. Kitty jumped on top of a bookshelf beside the door, ready to pounce anything that ran through.

Arun threw open the door and jumped back bringing his bow up just in case. But nothing came through; the door just swept open sending even more dust into the air and making Tucker sneeze even more. They both headed to the door, Kitty jumping down and following from behind.

Outside was a long covered breezeway made out of stone with benches every 10 feet or so on both sides for people to sit. To each side of the breezeway was a cemetery. But nothing seemed to be moving, a lot of graves were dug up but they couldn’t find any bodies lying around. At the edge of the cemetery was a low rot iron fence and behind that were more buildings with no signs of gnomish skeletons.

“It seems they really did only attack the front. Which is odd, they should be trying to attack us from all sides.” Arun said as he thought out loud, perplexed.

“Doesn’t matter why, it’s good for us.” Tucker shrugged as he smiled. He could see all the way to the ship, they had gotten almost 75% of the way there. They either needed to make a run for it on the streets or they could probably make it all the way to the docks hopping from building to building with how close they were.

 

 

Thomas and Dullblades were exploring the dungeon and crypts underneath the church, making sure nothing was coming for them from below. But other than Thomas screaming repeatedly after seeing a statue of a long long dead gnome before realizing it was just another statue, they hadn’t run into anything. The crypts were oddly well lit; they hadn’t run into a single torch not still on. Thomas had assumed it was because they had made the torches eternal down here, so their ancestors were never in the dark. While all the other torches were turned off and on constantly and in areas were the spells could easily be refreshed.

“Do you hear that?” Dullblades said putting his hand up to stop Thomas behind him.

Thomas stopped to listen but dint hear anything. “No, I can’t hear anything.”

“There is shuffling up ahead.” Dullblades moved forward with his daggers out.

They reached a corner and Thomas final could hear the shuffling, lightly but defiantly there. It sounded like a lot of gnomes moving around in one spot only a little bit down the hall around the corner.

Dullblades singled for them to stop and peered around the corner. He stuck his head out slowly; barely letting his eyes peeks around. But when he came back he had a perplexed expression on like he dint know what he was seeing.

“What is it?” Thomas asked, curious of what he saw to make him look that way.

“Gnomes, but… Just look.”

Thomas crept to the corner and looked around quickly seeing a bunch of gnomish skeletons all piled in the hallway. But they seemed to be stopped against something, as if they had run into an invisible wall. Every time one of their body parts hit the wall it shined a slight golden color for a split second before reverting back to invisible.

“Odd” Thomas said going around the corner fully to look at it closer.

“Kid what are you doing.” Dullblades whispered harshly at him, coming around the corner also with his blades cocked and ready to throw at the nearest skeleton that tried to run towards Thomas.

Which they did, but they all just ran awkwardly against the shield, stopping completely several feet ahead of them.

“It’s the same shield keeping them out above, it’s just we can see it this time.” Thomas stuck his finger at it, but it went clear though as easily as if it wasn’t there. One of the skeletons snapped at it but he withdrew it before he could bite down.

“Good, let’s check all the tunnels and report back.” Dullblades said turning back around.

“Why would we do that? We just proved were safe from below.” Thomas asked but Dullblades was already around the corner searching more.

While most of the Fallen might have been lazy and unprofessional, Dullblades dint half-ass anything. He would make sure they were secure every were below.

 

 

Trin and Addy finally reached the top of the bell tower after climbing up more stairs then either of them could remember climbing their entire life’s. The main was huge, defiantly not made for gnomes but made so the entire cavern would hear it when it rang. It was housed all by itself in a simple metal frame open on all four sides to the city. They walked up to the side and looked down into the courtyard.

There was thousands of them, maybe even a hundred thousand all stuffed into the front square in front of the church. Even more of them jam packed into the streets to all sides of them. Looking down Addy something weird, they weren’t all gnomes, she could make out ones clad in purple holding large scepters in their hands. Their clothes were unblemished, but they still moved and looked like the other skeletons.

“Do you see those purple ones? They look different somehow.” Addy asked Trin.

“Yeah, why are their clothes perfect and the other ones not, and their all holding the same staff.”

“Maybe they’re the leaders or something.” Addy shrugged moving right around the outside of the tower as they looked around more of the city. Once they got to the streets farther from the square they noticed the gnomes started to dwindle. They went all the way to the right and looked over the right of the church and they couldn’t spot any more zombies. Addy realized they were only in the front for some reason.

Going to the back of the church Addy looked over trying to see if she was correct. She looked down at the cemetery and the rest of the city and couldn’t spot a single gnomish skeleton for some reason.

Trin walked over from the left side and met Addy at the back looking down with her.

“There isn’t any over there. This is going to be a lot easier than we thought making it to the ship.”

Addy agreed, but couldn’t help but thinking it was too easy. She realized though in real life things dint always have to go against you like in a book, sometimes you just got lucky. Maybe this was their lucky day and they could just casually walk to the ship she could see a couple hundred easy yards away.  But today really hadn’t been that lucky when she thought about it, maybe they should just expect the worst.

 

 

They all met back in the main room of the church near the two gnome priests with the golden gear. Addy noticed Thomas looked shaken, remembering he had gotten the dungeon crypt she shook her head not able to imagine how scary it probably was down there.

From behind Thomas came Edna. She slapped him the shoulder and said “You look like you’ve seen a ghost kid.”

Addy laughed as he jumped into the air screaming. Buster and Bob laughed also, both making more corny jokes about how all of them were ghosts as they started to make boo sounds at Thomas.

Arun and Tucker walked in then though and they stopped as Arun looked at them and shook his head at their behavior. They walked to the head of the group standing with their backs to the two gnome priests.

“So, I hope what you all found is as good as what I did.” Arun smiled.

“Let’s start with everyone looking on the first floor for anything usefull.” Arun looked at Veronica, Michael, Bob, and Edna who were all looking around the first floor.

“Nothing much, almost everything was rotten or broken. But we did find a bunch of rope that looks pretty good.” Veronica said throwing a huge spool of rope on the floor.

“We found a couple kegs of lantern oil and gunpowder.” Buster said putting down a large sack he had over his shoulder caring a bunch of little kegs about the size of footballs.

“And one special keg of vintage, two thousand year old whiskey.” He put a small keg up to his lips taking a chug. The whiskey splashed on the floor going straight threw him.

“That hit the spot.” He whistled.

“What the floor.” Edna sighed.

“Save it also, it’s probably more flammable then the lantern oil.” Arun said. Buster sighed but put the keg with the others.

“Anything else?” Arun looked around but nothing came forward so he continued on, asking Addy and Trin what they found.

“The gnomes are only in the front, all of them in the entire city from what we can tell. None of them there are behind us or too the sides.” Addy said.

“Just like we saw out back, should be a quick hike over the rooftops through the streets all the way to the ship.” Tucker said smiling. He sneezed near the end though cutting off his smile as he scowled and mumbled something under his breath Addy couldn’t quite make out.

“I’m not sure but that might not be true. It could be nothing, but I did see a bunch of weird gnomish skeletons out front. They all had on purple robes and were carrying the same staff.”

Arun said hmmm as he looked at Addy. “That makes sense now.” He said looking down at the floor as he thought.

“I was wondering why they were all out front. If they were after us they would have the place surrounded. But they aren’t after us, their listening to the purple robed figures. That’s why they’re all near them.”

“So theirs gnomes still down here controlling all of those things.” Enda said pointing to the front door which was still being hit by gnomes as they flung themselves at the door trying to knock it down.

“No, no.” Arun moved his head back and forth. “They used  to be. But now their dead and reanimated like the rest for some reason. It’s just their staffs still have the power to control all of them.”

“So what you’re saying.” Bob started to say laughing. “Is their reanimated zombies, controlled by other zombies. So it’s like their intelligence isn’t like most skeletons and akin to a rock, but it’s more like a rock being told to do stuff by another rock.” Bob finished laughing even more.

Arun looked taken a back for a couple of second taking in what Bob said as he shrugged and said. “I guess, yeah exactly that. Kind of.”

“Then what are we waiting for, let’s walk to the boat while they relentlessly try to knock down that door.” Bob laughed.

“It’s not going to be that easy. They can still sense us, we were chased her for a reason. The second we leave this place they will know and they will come.” At that Bob seemed to shrink a little.

Arun looked over to Dullblades who nodded and told Arun what he and Thomas had found. The shield held them back at every tunnel; they were completely safe in here.

“Good, then I think me and Tucker have a plan. We just need a small diversion first.”

 

 

 

“Isnt this a little, well pointlessly elaborate for us just to run to the ship.” Thomas asked, they all had different kegs in their hands and were still standing in the main room next to the two gnomish priests.

“When you’re dead all you have is pointlessly elaborate plans to get you through the day, what else is their pretend to live for.” Buster said bwahahaing as he slapped Thomas on the back.

Thomas hit something on the floor as he stepped back trying to halt himself, but instead he fell down on top of the two priests knocking the golden gear loose from their hands.

As they all looked around they saw a golden sheen spread throughout the building, fading as it worked away across the walls and finally to the door. When they looked back at each other they noticed the priests were turned to dust and the golden gear had lost a lot of its shine as it lay still on the floor.

“That’s bad isn’t it?” Thomas said looking wide eyed at Arun.

“Ide say out of the dumb things I have seen my group of people do, top five maybe four dumbest things I have seen.” Arun said shaking his head as he looked at Edna who shook her head agreeing.

As he was talking the door began to shake more and more cracks spreading heavily throughout and the old iron in the door starting to bend because the magic wasn’t keeping it together anymore. In the little time they watched they were able to start see gnomes through the holes and one was even able to almost fit through the center of where the two doors came together as they doors were pushed in.

“Top 3, definitely.” Edna said as the iron started to break.

“We should be running, people.” Dullblades said from the door leading to the back and to the boat.

Everyone realized their hezatation probably cost themselves valuable time as the started to run towards the back door as the front door finally gave in and came crashing in. As they ran back Addy saw Trin grab the golden gear, she probably hoped she could use it with her knowledge but Addy dint have any more time to think about it before they were all shoved through the door going into the old dining room.

They ran on not stopping other than to bar the door as they went, no one really thinking a solid wood door that was almost rotten all the way through would actually slow them at all. They got into the library barring that door also as they fumbled over the books as they ran, no one really paying attention other than trying to get through the final door. They got through it and barred that one also, this one however was solid iron, and would hopefully hold them off for a bit longer sense they couldn’t shove enough of them against it to break it anytime soon.

As they kept running after barring they door they all stopped noticing Tucker wasn’t following them, he kept looking at the keg in his hand and looking back.

“Do you have an idea.” Arun asked, stopping and turning back around.

“We don’t have much time, they will be coming around the sides also anytime now.” Dullblades said from off to the side of the cemetery, scouting with Kitty would seemed to be enjoying herself lately Dullblades.

“They will come no matter what, but maybe we can take a couple hundred of them down.” Tucker said lifting up his keg.

 

 

Tuckers plan was simple, there was only three ways the gnome were going to come at them. One of was from the church, and the other two were the main streets to either side of the church. They placed a third of their kegs at the back of church and lit and ran, the other two thirds were with the Fallen and Tucker who split of into equal groups. Addy, Veronica, Thomas, and Michael went with Dullblades running straight for the boat as fast they could.

Several seconds later as they went down the first street losing sight of the church except for the top of it a huge explosion erupted lightening up the cave like there was a small sun in it. Not stopping Addy turned her head and looked back, the entire back side of the church collapsed sending dust and ruble everywhere. Addy hoped none of it came down on top of Tucker, but she doubted it sense they were on top of the building next to the streets a good hundred feet or so away.

They turned another corner, zigzagging with the weird gnomish streets, making their way down to the boat slowly but surely. Addy knew the streets would slow down the gnomes just as much as it did them, so she wasn’t worried with them catching up at this point. However she was worried about the others, if their bombs didn’t give them enough time to get on the ship…

As she was thinking that two bombs went off almost simultaneously one from Tuckers side and one from the other side. Tucker had hoped to take out the buildings next to the streets so the gnomes either had to find another street or climb over it, either way hopefully slowing them down enough that Addy and the others had enough time to get the ship ready to sail far enough from the docks when Tucker and the others got there.

They turned another corner and Addy heard another bomb go off as she finally could see the docks and ship right ahead of them, they had a straight run. Now hopefully the others would get there before the gnomes so they dint have to set sail without them.

 

 

Tucker was waiting with Arun on the rooftops next to the street to the left of the church if you were looking at it from the back. They had worked their way ontop of the buildings on the other side of the road farther away from the church. Because the buildings right next to the church were about to get showered with stones, and right as Tucker was thinking that, that exactly is what happened.

The explosion took off the entire back of the church, crumbling and falling over itself, hopefully crushing and halting all the gnomes on the inside. The building obviously wasn’t structurally sound anymore, because Tucker was willing to bet if they put explosives at the front they could have taken the whole thing down.

Focusing back on the road they both waited, kegs in theirs hands with short fuses so they could time the explosion more accurately to make out as many as possible. They were going to have to wait a bit, because most of the gnomes were still in the square in front of the church which had all roads blocked except one. So they had to pour out of that one and come down the side streets.

“You now that I think about it we could just blow the buildings and block them and be running right now.” Tucker said, realizing the gnomes weren’t nearly as fast as he had thought when he made up the plan.

“This is why I personally like books, so much more time to plan out and think of perfect plans.” Arun smiled. “Here they come anyways, might as well blow a few up.”

“And that’s exactly why you’re a ghost and I’m not, because I don’t spend all my time wishing I was in a book and could up with a perfect plan or not, I just come up with the plan that keeps me alive.” Tucker lit the kegs fuse and threw it to the other side of the street through a store fronts window.

As Arun went to say something the keg exploded drowning out what he said, all Tucker heard was something about how real life was nearly as fun though. The keg exploded crashing the building down on top of a group of gnomes running by. Arun through another keg, this one on their side of the street just a couple buildings down so they dint hurt themselves also. They jumped down a rope they had used to climb to the top with, Landing in the street as the other bomb exploded blocking the entire street with rubble. Tucker shot an arrow in the skull of a gnome would have made it past the explosion.

They looked at their handiwork and could already see gnomes crawling over. They both lit the two last kegs they had and chucked it over the wall as they started to run as fast as they could to the ship.

 

 

 

Bob, Edna, and kitty waited on top of the buildings to the right of the church. Arun had insisted Kitty go with them saying “I at least one smart person to go to that side.” Which even Edna shrugged and agreed with when she looked at her husband whose only reply was “Yeah, well you’re dumb too.”

The church had already exploded caving in way more than Edna had thought it would, covering them with dust and little pieces of rubble. Kitty was off to the side licking herself clean as her and Bob waited.

“I see one coming.” Bob said pointing ahead of them at one lone gnome racing down the street.

“I’m going to go take care of it.” He said smiling as he jumped down the rope to street level. Edna was about to say to stop, they should waste their time with one gnome but he was over the side before she could say anything.

“Make it quick the others are coming now.” Down the street she could see hundreds poring through the street now, plowing over cars and other objects in the street.

The gnome reached Bob who shield smashed the gnome against a wall sending it flying through a window which made him laugh.

“We need to light the kegs now. Their almost here, get back up here now!” Edna yelled as Bob went into the building after the gnome, which could still be heard move around inside.

“This will only take a second.” Bob jumped into the build smiling and laughing as he went after the gnome.

Edna looked down the street noticing the gnomes were almost upon them, she had to light the bombs now or they were going to get past them.

“Well Kitty.” Edna said as she draped her arm around her. “I guess I’m going to have to be a widow. Now now don’t look so sad.” She said patting Kitty on the head as she looked perplexing at Edna not understanding what was happening.

“We had a good run of several thousand years, but I guess everything has to come to an end sometime.” Edna lit the keg and tossed it into the building Bob had run into, the gnomes were almost upon them.

“Hey, Hey! What are you doing I’m still in here!” Bob yelled running to the window of the shop.

“ooo, oops, you were in that building? I could have sworn it was the other one.” Edna said as the keg exploded. The explosion was much larger than it should have been sense it made Bobs two kegs explode also. The building plus the two buildings to either side of it collapsed sending rubble into the streets crushing gnomes.

“Time to go.” Edna said as she jumped down the rope, Kitty jumping down after her. She had to detonate the building they were standing on also so they could block the entire street. When she got down their Bob appeared out of the rubble, angry and shaken as he headed towards her.

“You know how awkward it is to be in an explosion as a ghost? It sent me 40 feet through random buildings.”

Edna ignored him, tossing the last bomb she had at the building and running away with Kitty. Bob was still complaining, not noticing the bomb as it went off, sending him flying away again into the air through several buildings.

“I really like this widow thing.” Edna sighed in relief as she ran on smiling, not having to listen to Bob as she made her way to the docks.

 

 

Addy and the others worked frantically to untie the boat from the dock and unfurl the sails that still had enough sail to actually catch any wind. Veronica had pointed out it probably dint matter, there wasn’t any wind down here any ways so the ship probably worked magically somehow.

But that just created its own probably of finding out how the shipped worked sense their wasn’t anything obvious near the steering wheel that looked anything like a “Push or pull this to make ship work” button or lever.

“Maybe Edna can cast a wind spell on the sails and get us out of here?” Dullblades suggested as they finished untying everything and were looking around the ship for a way to get it to work.

“Maybe, but I don’t even think the sails can hold enough wind to move the ship.” Addy pointed out as they looked around the steering wheel more, trying to find anything.

“Then we need to search the ship for anything that looks promising. Everyone split and go search.” Dullblades said as he jumped down the stairs from the steering wheel and pulled open the hatch leading down into the cargo area.

Addy looked down at her bracelet, which was glowing a very vivid red with them being so close whatever they were looking for. She sensed that the orb was in the captain’s cabin right below her and the steering wheel.

“I’ll take the captain’s cabin.” Addy said wanting to search for the orb, and also thinking it the best spot to find the way the ship worked also.

“I am coming to.” Thomas and Trin said, both noticing Addy looking at her bracelet and realizing why she wanted to go to the captain’s cabin.

 

 

The cabin was filled with dust when they broke up the door which was locked. It had easily given in, the wood around the handle cracking with just one Kick from Thomas. There table and a desk at the far side of the room with a huge stained glass panel behind it depicting a battle scene between two ships, or atleast Addy assumed sense more than half the glass was broken and she could only see part of it.

Two either side of the desk was book shelves taking up the entire walls. And on the table were a bunch of old maps so faded she couldn’t make out what they were depicting; she just assumed they were of the Seattle area.  Addy sense moved to the desk sensing the orb there, but when she looked around she couldn’t see anything. She moved the bracelet over the desk hoping it would get redder near it, but it only got red over a stone sitting on the desk with a symbol carved into it.

Addy though maybe it was in the desk underneath the stone, so she opened the drawer underneath and looked. But could only find papers and a small dagger. She picked up the stone and held it against the bracelet which glowed brighter than it ever had.

“I found it. I think…” Addy said

Thomas and Trin walked over from the book shelves they were looking through.

“That’s a stone. You know that right?” Thomas asked skeptically as he got over to her.

Addy just glared at him.

“I was just making sure.” He said holding up his hands in defense.

“It’s definitely it.” Addy said putting it against the bracelet and pulling it away, showing them how it got bright red the closer it got and less when she pulled it away.

“Maybe it has the orb inside of it, in like a magical dimensional pocket.” Trin said, trying to be help as she shrugged not really believing what she was saying.

“I don’t know, but we can figure it out later. It’s more important to find whatever will move this ship now.” Addy said, realizing Tucker and the others were counting on them.

“Now that I do know.” Trin said holding up a small scepter, obviously built for a gnome’s hand.

“I could sense magic in it when I casted a spell to look for anything around the room. Hopefully Edna can figure out how it works.”

“Or Arun can read gnomish.” Thomas suggested taking it from Trins hands. He pointed out inscriptions on the side.

“Maybe it tells how it works, like instructions.” None of them had any better ideas, so they shrugged walking out of the room to tell the others what they had found.

 

 

Edna, Bob, Tucker and Arun all got to the ship relatively quick, coming in several minutes after Trin had found the scepter to control the boat. They gave Edna the scepter hoping she could figure out.

“How long do we have until they reach us?” Dullblades asked as they stood around the ship as Edna and Arun tried to get the scepter to work. Edna kept pointing it at the sails uttering different spells while Arun was trying to read more and more. He did know gnomish but it was rusty and taking a lot longer than it should be.

“A couple minutes’ tops, they might be slower than us but it’s only a several hundred yard run.” Tucker said looking over at them, Addy could tell he was wishing they would hurry but he had already yelled at them several times to do just that only to get yelled at by Edna.

“Maybe we could burn the dock? Then it doesn’t matter, where still safe in the water.” Asked Thomas excitedly, thinking he had come up with a full proof plan.

“This ship and the dock are so old if you started either of them on fire they would both burn in a matter of minutes.” Dullblades said as he picked off a piece of the boat from a railing next to him to prove his point, which crumbled in his hand when he went to squish it.

As they finished talking Addy noticed something behind Tucker. She could see the gnomes running towards them, coming around the corner of several streets and rushing down the last bit towards the ship.

“Their coming.” Addy yelled to the others around her.

Tucker turned around looking at them and then turned to Arun and Edna and asked him much longer they had.

“I told you yelling wont hurry us up at all.”

“Well you don’t have any more time so you either need to hurry or we need to think of another plan.” Tucker yelled.

She looked at him and looked at the gnomes coming behind him and finally realized why he was urging her to hurry so much. She hadn’t heard Addy because she was too focused on the scepter, but now she knew. She shook her head and hurried up trying a string of knew command words.

“What are we going to do?” Veronica asked pulling out her swords and beginning to cast spells.

“We need to hold them off for as long as we can and hope those two can figure out how to get the ship working.” Tucker said taking down a gnome that was running down the dock with his crossbow.

They formed a line against the railing on the ship closest to the dock, taking out as many as they could before they reached the ship. But that only last a couple seconds with Addy and Tucker being the only ones capable of using range spells and Addy being unable to use fire spells in case she burnt the whole place down.

Addy cast a thunderbolt threw her right dagger making it stronger and blowing a gnome off the dock as it tried to leap for the boat. The gnomes had fully reached them now as hundreds tried jumping for the boat, but sense they took out plank and all the ropes going from the dock to the boat they had a good 10 feet between them.

A few managed to jump over, using a bunch of boxes to climb on and jump over to the left. Addy and Bob were holding that side, Bob shield bashed it right as it landed and cut another one clean in half as it jumped over.

Kitty jumped over to the dock landing amidst all of them she plowed through them, clawing and mostly just bowling through them like small bowling pins. She leaped and smashed into the boxes to Addy’s left sending them and all the gnomes on them into the water. As she fell with them Addy was sure she was going to go into the water but she used one of the falling boxes and pounced off it launching herself into the side of the ship. As she hit her claws dug into the old wood allowing her to climb up the side like a cat climbing a curtain.

They all cheered as the gnomes halted, not being able to jump the length to them. Which dint stop them from trying or succeeding in some cases, but they could easily hold off the few that got to them.

“How much longer.” Tucker asked as the battle waned, he had put away his crossbow in favor of his two axes so he dint waste anymore arrows.

As he asked and Addy looked over too she saw Arun hold it up and read something off the side of it. The ship instantly lurched forward slightly and to the right sending it sideways into the dock. The gnomes poured over the side, eagerly jumping and running over the splintered dock onto the boat.

“That’s not what I was asking for!” Tucker yelled as he plunged his two axes into two gnomes skulls, shattering them as he moved forward again fighting off two others ones already.

“I’m sorry! I just need the left and forward command, hold them off for a couple more seconds.” Arun yelled reading off more of the inscriptions in the side as he held it up.

Addy dodged left as a gnome came across and tried to hit her with a shovel. She easily came back and stabbed it in the head as the gnome tried to pick its shovel off the ship which was wedged between two boards now. The gnome fell to the ground dead as Addy fended off another one coming forward. She realized they weren’t going to be able to keep this up for long, Bob, Dullblades, and Tucker were fending off a lot of them and the Addy and the others kids weren’t doing a bad job themselves either. But it was a nearly endless tide of them and they would make a mistake or get tired within minutes with this level of fighting.

But they dint have to, Arun screamed a command as he finally figured it. The ship lurched left and then forward as he yelled another command. The ship broke away from the dock and sped out across the waters. There were only a few gnomish skeletons onboard which were easily mopped up.

The boat was going straight for a huge concrete wall in the water. Arun realized it, panicking slightly as he read the scepter more and said the word to send them right again. As they reached a good distance out Arun stopped them. Everyone was sitting down and catching their breath still, or just sitting in the case of the Fallen.

“I could have sworn we were doomed.” Thomas laughed as Addy and the other kids sat around together.”

“Me too, when the ship crashed into the peer I thought it dint matter if Arun found the right words, we were going too swarmed before it mattered.” Veronica said as they looked over at Arun who was talking to Tucker about something they couldn’t hear.

Addy had stopped paying attention though to what everyone was saying, she had been looking at Edna who was looking back across the lake at the gnomish skeletons that lined the entire dock of the city, just staring out at them.

“I think we have problem.” Edna said, as she pointed at the shore line.

“What is it? It’s not like they can swim out here.” Arun said walking over to her, everyone else getting up and following them to the edge of the ship to look out.

“Those purple gnomes, I don’t think their dumb as ‘rocks’.” She looked at Bob who was the one that had said the thing about them being dumber then rocks.

“They are definitely casting a spell.”

“That’s impossible.” Arun said. “Even if they’re not dumb, they shouldn’t be able to cast spells. I can’t even cast spells.” As Arun finished Addy could start to make out the staffs they were holding as they started to glow a bright purple color.

“We should get moving, they might be casting something to sink our ship.” Tucker said, talking to Arun who still had the scepter. Arun shook his head agreeing as he went in front of the sails about to cast the spells again to move them away.

Edna was shaking her head though. “I don’t think that’s going to matter. Those aren’t destruction spells, those are portals.” As she finished, realizing what they were her eyes popped open. She turned around looking around the ship as purple swirls started to appear everywhere, some off to the side but most of them covering the entire ship from stem to stern.

“Move the ship, maybe the portals will stay here and we will be somewhere else.” Tucker asked Arun, but he shook his head as he looked to Edna, they both knew something he did not.

“Portals don’t work that way.” Edna said walking over to Arun, the rest of the Fallen had gathered around him also. They all looked sad but somehow determined.

“We failed you; we couldn’t help you for your entire adventure. And where all sorry.” Arun said as they put away their weapons. The gnomes were already starting to work their way out of the portals as the centers grew larger and larger allowing them to almost fit through.

“What, are you just giving up, going to let us die.” Michael screamed as he transformed into a panther, growling at them.

Arun smiled along with the rest of the group. “No, but we can’t stay hear either.” At that they all started to turn into mist, moving around and around Addy and the others.

“What’s happening?” Addy asked, looking around as the zombies came rushing towards them.

“I think their protecting us.” Tucker said as the gnomes bounced off the mist not able to reach any of them.

“I have to admit, you were right in trusting them.” Tucker said as he turned to Addy, she shook her head agreeing.

Out of the mist they could hear the voices of the ghosts say they told them so. Arun’s voice came out of the mist strong saying “Maybe we will meet again sometime, when your searching another place full of adventure and old objects that need to be found.”

Addy felt her body start to feel light as they all floated up into the air, she looked at her hand and noticed it was starting to disappear.

“Maybe next time we’ll fight something cool like actual zombies.” Bob laughed. They could all hear Edna call him stupid as he said oww, they all laughed not even knowing how she could of possibly him as they were both mist.

As they got higher they started to get less and less substantial, feeling as if their bodies were getting pulled away. And before they knew it they were in back at the school in front of the dragon statue where Addy had first met Thomas.

They all looked around, students were wondering around and it was mid-day. Several of them stopped to look at them wondering where they came from, but continued on not really questioning it at a magic school.

As Addy pulled out the stone looking at it she heard Thomas ask how they got there. She knew the Fallen had used their power to send them to safety and she would never forget what they had done for them. But she also had to admit when she looked at the stone, even though she dint know what it was actually for, that it was one hell of a day.

 

 

Chapter 20, recuperation and magic school

“Shouldn’t we have gotten like a thank you or an instant A for the entire ear or something for doing all that?” Thomas asked as they all sat around the small coffee shop thinking about what had happened. Ain had come and grabbed Tucker and the stone instantly after they had gotten back. Addy hadn’t been able to get in more than ‘hi’ before he was teleporting away probably to his office.

“We will get something for it, I just think whatever we found was important at the moment.” Addy said, she knew Ain cared and would thank them, just whatever happened down there and whatever they found was important to something.

Rue was lying on the table splayed out with her tummy to the sky. She had passed out right as they got to the coffee shop. A day of no sleep and constant running around must have finally taken its toll on her, just like it had taken its toll on the rest of them. They all had needed coffee just to stay awake and talk about everything that had happened before they went back to their rooms and passed out.

“We dint even find what we were looking for, it was just a rock.” Michael said as he poked the pumpkin in his coffee that had arms and was rubbing its own belly, it was starting to get closer to Halloween now and a lot of things had Halloween themes.

“Your questioning how a rock can be more then it seems while you play with a coffee with a living pumpkin in it?” Veronica asked skeptically as she looked at him.

Addy was agreeing with her as they continued to argue about if they got anything for all they did. She knew Ain never did something for nothing, even when if it wasn’t the orb, the rock did something to lead to the orb or something else entirely Addy couldn’t think of. If Ainamaf was looking for this thing, and it was this important to him there was only one reason why, Vizix. Addy had to ask him the next time she saw him to make sure, but she knew her uncle well enough to know it was either that or something else just as important. And if it was Vizix she wanted to be a part of it.

As Addy was thinking Thomas was looking at her, he was sitting next to her and could see she knew something else.

“What do you know?” Thomas asked as the others continued on, Trin showing them the gear she had taken from the church which made them think they should definitely get something for that.

“I have known my uncle for forever, he loves showing people the things he collects. He takes pride in finding rare things even if he has someone else collect them for him. This whole thing has made no sense,” Addy turned to Thomas now. “So that stone isn’t just magical, it’s important, to something or someone.”

“So we should steel the stone back.” Thomas said as his eyes gleamed with adventure.

“Yes! Wait, no.” She shook her head at Thomas, realizing he had gone a completely different route with what she had said.  “No that’s not what I meant at all. I just wanted to figure out more about the stone.” Addy realized Thomas was probably going to get them all in trouble one of these days with his wild plans, he was the reason they even went looking for the orb with Tucker in the first place after all.

“I think finding out a little more about that gnomish city will help us. I just wish we could this instead of school.” Thomas laughed.

“Yeah we did sort of miss an entire days’ worth of classes.”  Veronica said, overhearing a lot of their conversation as she sat next to Thomas.

“I don’t think that matters, the first week is just to find out more about what you like, if you already know then you don’t even have to go. The teachers don’t even take attendance.” Trin said, hearing what Veronica had said the rest of the group had joined in on their conversation.

“Good, because I think I am going to have a look around some libraries tomorrow about a certain gnomish city.” Thomas said with wide eyes as he stared off into place thinking, making Addy and the others just shake their heads at him.

“I want to come; I need to figure out what this gear does.” Trin said looking down at the still golden but less shinny then when the two gnomish priests where holding it gear.

Addy had magic class tomorrow so she wanted to stay and go to that. But it wasn’t like they were in any big hurry to found out more about the stone. Spending too much time looking for it anyways would probably just draw Ains attention and stop them. And she really wanted to figure out more, it was the first time she had this much fun, even if it was dangerous. The orphanage wasn’t exactly full of adventure.

 

 

“What is this?” Ainamaf asked.

Tucker dint know what he was talking about, Addy had told him it was what the bracelet found so that’s what she had grabbed and he trusted her judgment.

“It’s what the bracelet found. But we weren’t exactly in the perfect spot to search around for anything else either.” Tucker admitted, he hadn’t actually searched any of the ship, he was surprised to even figure out Addy had found anything at all with all the commission from the gnomes going on.

“I know.” Ainamaf said as he calmed down. He had told Tucker he had been watching their progress through a scrying orb. But wasn’t able to teleport down to help. Apparently the entire gnomish city was off limits somehow, even to someone as powerful as Ainamaf.

“If the bracelet led you to this it must be something.” Ainamaf lifted the stone up casting a series of spells again upon it, trying to figure out its magical function or discern what the symbol on it did.

Tucker walked around the lab as he continued his casting spells. One wall was completely covered with jars of weird creatures. Poking one Tucker jumped back as it actually moved. They looked like, demons or some type of otherworldly creatures. Tucker knew Ainamaf was a warlock and summoned things all the time, but why would he keep them in jars? But before he could think any more about it Ainamaf slammed his fist down on the table in front of him, shattering a few beakers that jumped as the table shook.

“Another dead end. This symbol just means luck in gnomish, and the stone has a basic spell cast by a priest on it to grant luck which probably doesn’t even work anymore.” Ainamaf put the rock down and put his head into his hands as he thought.

Tucker looked at him, he had been worked up about this sense they had gotten back. You would think Tucker would be more worked up about it sense he was the one who had waded through thousands of gnomish skeletons and barely escaped. But Ainamaf was working himself up because of what had happened when they were down in the tunnels.

Apparently when they were gone Vizix had struck again, this time killing an entire city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. They were led by Malinfraught, another general in Vizix’s army, a highly skilled rogue trained in warfare. He had used red dragons, the most evil dragons in existence that burned everything in their path. The part that had most disturbed Ainamaf was that afterwards, anyone who had survived couldn’t have their memory wiped. They had seen too much, a dragon couldn’t be wiped from memory, it would always eventually be remembered. So everyone had to be killed and the entire thing made to look like a natural disaster. It was the biggest cover up the Government of the unseen has had to do to date, and images and stories still had leaked out.

“We need to keep searching. The Forgotten is done in Europe in a couple weeks with whatever side job they were doing. I’m calling them in; they can’t spend much time on campus without drawing attention so they have to be out in the magic district. But at least you will have them right there to help.” He shook his head. Tucker knew his frustration, Ainamaf was the one of the most powerful magical people in the world and yet he had to spend all of his time taking care of the school. But without the job he couldn’t access all of the things he needed anymore, the school provided him with cover and access to a lot of things normal people dint have as long as he provided the excuse of using it as ‘research’ or ‘school supplies’. The magic world kept almost everything under lock and key unless you part of the Government or their school system, even for former chancellors.

“Good, we can find it in weeks then. The Forgotten has never failed before.”

“I’m not worried about failing, I’m worried about time.” Ainamaf said as he stood up looking at Tucker. He handed him the stone as he exited the lab, Tucker following behind him.

 

“Then maybe we can use the kids again? I mean they were useful down there, and you saw what we were up against.” Tucker laughed, thinking about how well they had done in a situation that would make most adventures crap their pants.

Ainamaf just glared at him.

“I would of never sent them down their if I knew. That is something that no kid, especially Adalin should have to go through, she could have died.”

Tucker sighed, realizing it was true. He loved Adalin just as much as Ainamaf, but he came from a dwarven back ground. You had to let kids get a little bloody and dirty before they could grow up, otherwise they wind up whining sniveling adults. But Tucker knew humans were a little different so he dint say anything just shook his head in agreement.

“The Forgotten is enough. Keep Adalin out of the loop from now on, and her friends. They were a lot of help, and I don’t think we would have found whatever this rock really is without them.” Ainamaf shook his head from side to side as he continued “But if we let her and kids like her friends die trying to help us what’s the point of succeeding?” Ainamaf looked at Tucker, their eyes meeting as Tucker realized Ainamaf dint want anyone else hurt. And these kids, the future of the world where his top priority making Tucker realized there was more to him becoming the head a school then just the resources he could get. Ainamaf might not be able to stop all the deaths in the world, but he was going to make sure Vizix dint hurt any at this school at the very least.

 

 

 

Addy woke up early today; the sun was just rising as she pushed herself out of bed. Rue was still sleeping at the foot of the bed curled up in a little ball. Addy changed into her robes and washed up a little. She hadn’t taken a shower last night because she had collapsed almost right when she got home.

Rue was finally awake now and jumped on her shoulder as she slowly and silently left the room, not wanting to wake the other girls asleep in it. She worked her way out of the build and was walking towards the PUB, wanting to grab something breakfast before she started the day. She hadn’t eaten anything last night except for a crescent at the coffee shop.

“Hey wait up!” Addy turned around and saw Trin coming up behind her.

“What are you doing up this early?” Addy asked as she caught up and began walking together towards the PUB.

“Some reason you are, hungry and couldn’t sleep anymore.” She laughed.

They went inside the PUB, not seeing a single person up yet. Trin assured her that the cafeteria was open this early, even if there weren’t a lot of students up yet. Addy was looking forward to the classes today, she had come to realize after everything down in the caves she was more of a wizard then a sword mage. She really wanted to be able to blow away gnomes with gouts of fire or plunge them into eternal winter with a spell of ice. And she wasn’t half bad even now, even if she only knew a few spells Ain had taught her.

“So are you and Thomas still going to look into the stone today?” Addy asked over bites of candied bacon soaked in maple syrup. Her breakfast probably wasn’t the healthiest now that she actually looked at it, but she wanted everything because it all looked good.

“Yeah, I’m mainly going to look into the gear though. I honestly think whatever the stone is Ainamaf will find out about and either chooses to tell us or not. Either way it’s out of hands now whether we like it or not.” Addy shrugged at that, she thought she could make Ain tell her more, but depending on how big of a secret it is he might not ever tell her, and she wanted to know now what she had risked her life to find it. In fact she was hoping to talk to him today after class or at least try to get something out of Tucker, especially if the stone was about Vizix.

Rue was eating a piece of bacon when Addy got back from her thoughts, shaking her head at her but not really mad she patted Rue on the head. Today she got to learn about magic, so while the stone was important to her so was learning magic. How else would she ever be able to stop people like Vizix if she did take her classes seriously?

“Well I have to go; Thomas wanted to meet up early to get a head start on searching.” Trin said standing up. “You know I wonder if he takes his classes this seriously, or its just random things we’ll never probably be able to find out about.” She said laughing as she said goodbye and head towards the doors to wherever her and Thomas where meeting.

Addy got up to grabbing her supplies she had brought with her, the case of spell components and some vellum and ink to write with. She dint know what they were doing in class today so she had just brought it all just in case, and she had a feeling that if Ain told her other teachers who she was this was definitely going to know also. And he probably expected a lot from someone trained under Ain even if just for a couple years as a kid.

 

 

Addy made her way out of the back of the PUB, Trin had told her that was where the mages school was located. The back of the PUB was plain, just a basic glass door going to a brick walk way leading into the trees. But Addy saw something odd above the trees, like the top of a mountain, but she thought all the mountains where over in the ranger/druid schools over to her right.

Making her way through the trees she started to realize she was taking one of the back to the Mages School because she dint even see any signs or main paths, just a small brick path leading through a copse of trees. She could make several buildings in front of her all of which looked like towers. When she got out of the trees and looked around she confirmed she was right, there was a bunch of towers all around her, some connected with bridges, and others had doors open to the air ten floors up with several kids already floating in and out of them.

Looking up she was taking off guard when she finally noticed the mountain she had seen above the trees, because it was a mountain, just floating in the air and not attached to the ground. It was huge, nearly as big as the PUB, having railings coming off of it going to other towers around it making it look they were keeping it from floating away.

The whole thing was wrapped in walkways and had doors all over it, even a giant hole in the bottom that made it look like a giant egg about to spill all its contents out over the ground. Addy was walking forward looking around; trying to think of where she had to go and hoping she dint have to go into the big mountain.

She knew levitation spells, but like Ains office the mountain was too high for her levitate to unless there was something around it that helped you levitate.

Addy got to the bottom of the mountain and looked up, she could see inside and saw a couple kids and maybe teachers moving around up there. Rue was looking up also and then she looked at Addy. Addy knew she was asking her if they were going up there. Addy shrugged her shoulders not really knowing. Then it struck her that she had just read Rue’s mind, its wasn’t just guessing what she was thinking she actually knew what Rue wanted. Addy knew enough about familiars to know that was supposed to happen after a while but she still felt proud of her self for bounding so quickly and so much with Rue. Apparently these last couple days had made Rue trust her a lot more then she had realized. Addy scratched her head and handed her a piece of bacon she had stuffed in her pocket for a snack for Rue later in the day.

When she looked back up she noticed a boy descending down from the mountain towards them. Finally she would be able to ask someone where she was supposed to go that wasn’t floating above her head hundreds of feet.

The boy looked older, probably a mid-year student around 15 or so. He had short cropped black hair and was human which oddly surprised Addy for some reason. Almost everyone she had met lately seemed to be elven or half elvish at least. He spotted her on his way down, nodding his head at her. She nodded back not really knowing what to do as she stood their awkwardly.

He landed in front of her smiling as he asked “Are you here for the class?”

Addy felt oddly stunned for a second thinking she was late and he had come to get her.

“Why am I late?”

“No.” he laughed. “You’re about an hour early.”

Addy had obviously realized she wasn’t late, she just felt like she needed to make a good impression today with her magic teachers. And she usually seemed to be late when it came to any of the classes they taught at the orphanage.

“I just saw you down here and thought I would come see. I’m Calvin Holding.” He looked at her expecting her to say her name.

“Adalin Trest,”She felt Rue get mad at her not introducing her on her shoulder which made her laugh. “And this is Rue.” Addy said patting her on the head.

But after she had said her name Calvin was looking at her oddly, probably thinking of her last name and if she was somehow was related to Ainamaf. Before he could ask though Addy said:

“I’m Ain’s niece, ide rather not everyone knew though, if you could.”

“Yes of course. It’s nice to meet one that doesn’t want to use it to her advantage, there’s a lot kids with powerful parents or relatives that come into these classes thinking their better then everyone.  Especially sense most of them are usually the weakest kids in class, it’s sad really.” He laughed.

“Also nice to meet you Rue.” He finished as Rue started to chirp at him when he hadn’t said anything to her.

“I hope I’m not one of them.” She smiled. She liked Calvin, he seemed really down to earth for someone who obviously a mage, usually mages weren’t known for down to earthiness more just their full of themselvesness.

“I’m sure you won’t be.” He said smiling “if you’re waiting for the class, its starts here in an hour. I guess I can show you around until other kids show up.”

“You’re the teacher?” Addy asked confused. She knew he was too old to be a student.

“No.” He said laughing and shaking his head. “I’m his understudy, my jobs to show all the kids around then bring you to him after so he can teach you a few things.”

Addy thought it was weird to have a kid do all your work, but she dint put it all past a mage to do exactly that.

“Let’s go look around the Moon.” Addy looked at him not knowing what he was saying, thinking he actually meant the real moon.

“The giant rock above us, it’s called the moon. Just think about levitating and you should be able to make your way up. The entire mages school is enchanted so you can levitate and do several other things you’ll learn about later anywhere on its grounds.” At that he started to float up, Addy coming a several seconds later after concentrating on levitating and a few failed attempts.

 

 

The Moon was huge, the entry room Addy and Calvin floated into was at least five stories tall. She landed next to Calvin on what she assumed was a landing pad designed to probably keep people from landing or floating wherever they wanted and pumping into each other. The room was almost empty, she could only see a couple people walking or floating to other levels. Around the room where doors leading deeper into the building and each floor had a railing around it with 4 other levels that she could at least see in this room. Around the room where floating purple crystals, giving it a weird magic vibe for some reason Addy couldn’t place her thumb on because the room was lit by someone unseen source the crystals just seemed to be mood lightening or something else.

“This is the main entrance to the Moon, this first floor is mainly just portals and a couple supplies closet’s because it’s the smallest level and really can’t hold more than that.” As he was talking right across from the landing pad a door set into the wall flared to life turning a deep blue and swirling in a circle. Out of it stepped a man who levitated away to the 3rd floor.

“If you would follow me to the second floor.” Calvin second as he ascended.

“Each floor is something different, the second being the alchemists floor, used mainly to create potions and other things. The Moon is mostly just class rooms except for the very top which is the office of arch-mage Abigail Swordragon. Not as powerful as your uncle, but some of said she could give him a run for his money.”

Addy had heard of her before, she use to work as the head of the Governments mage department. She had retired around the same time as Ain and Addy had even seen her a couple times during holidays at Ain’s house. She was a fierce woman who could always put even Ain in his place even if she couldn’t beat him in magical prowess.

“The third floor is destruction magic training with fighting chambers to practice in. The fourth is conjuration rooms for mainly warlocks. The fifth floor is mainly classrooms for a lot of the other schools of magic. And above that is a library filled with books of spells, personally my favorite room in the whole building, I’ve spent many nights up there.”

“What about all the other towers and buildings around.” Addy asked, she knew there were many more schools of magic practiced, like enchanting or divination.

“Most are teachers towers. A lot of teachers like to teach their classes their and only come into the Moon when they need the specialized class rooms. The other buildings are for other schools of magic like enchantment, which is in the smelters building deeper into the forest surrounding the Mages School.”

Calvin kept levitating upward so Addy followed him. He landed on the fifth floor which had a stairway leading up to a floor above.

“Your first several years are mainly spent in the moon.” He continued on as they walked up the wooden spiral stairs leading into the rock above them. The spiral staircase had giant purple gems on the handles that glowed and Addy could make out moving scenes in the wood as what was carved in it acted out whatever they were doing. She watched two horse men joust, their two wooden jousts smashing together sending little splinters into the air then repeating again and again.

“After which you decide on a specialization and your classes become more focused. You could spend the rest of years becoming a scribe and writing down spells in the library or learning illusion with the crazy professor Trial the lost in the garden of illusion.”

“The lost?” Addy asked, confused on if that was a name or if she was actually lost.

“Yeah, she’s always lost.” Calvin said laughing as they were entering the library finally.

The library took up two entire floors of the moon. It was lit all by candles and dint have any windows. Addy could imagine herself spend hours here and completely forgetting what time it was, maybe even days.

“These books are filled with spells and anything any type of mage would ever want to know. There isn’t much of anything else though here so if you want to find a history book ide look in the church or the magic districts library.” He finished as he walked to a table and sat down; Addy was following as she looked around the library. Taking in everything, she could feel the power even without casting a spell to sense magic. These books contained more power then she had ever felt before in her life.

As she sat down she noticed Calvin smiling at her. She raised her eyebrows asking why.

“It’s a good sign when you can sense the power in the room your first year. It means your naturally sensitive magic.  You should be able to go pretty far here.”

Addy smiled as she heard that. Ain rarely gave her praise for her abilities in magic, even though she was casting fireballs at 10 when most kids, even magical kids, where still playing with toys. She might be that strong, exspecially compared to Calvin or anyone else several years into school, but she was powerful for her age. Ain could only teach such a young kid so much, and it still wasn’t smart to teach her how to burn or electrocute things at her age even.

“If you want to look around for a while you still have a good 50 minutes before I start my actual tour of this place and the rest of the mages school.” Addy brightened after hearing that, it was exactly what she wanted. She loved finding and learning new spells, Ain had only taught her a few, trying to make her master them before moving on. But she wanted to learn everything.

As she got up to explore Rue flew from her shoulders landing on a shelf, Addy could sense she wanted to climb around and explore on her own. This place was like a forest with all the tables, shelves, desks, stairs going to nowhere, and random floating purple crystals Rue could climb all over.

 

 

Addy floated down towards the ground underneath the Moon as Rue floated around her, gliding this way and that, even doing a couple flips. She couldn’t fly but let her jump off something several hundred feet in the air and she could glide for minutes. Addy had spent almost 50 minutes in the library looking at spell books. She had discovered a spell a wizard made several hundred years back specifically to steal a coffee from one man in Germany who had wronged him in some way. The spell teleported the poor man’s coffee all the way across the world right when he sat down to take his first drink. The wizard really must have had a grudge Addy giggled as she was looking around at all the people below her.

Calvin had left 20 minutes ago to make sure all the students knew what was happening as they got there. Addy instinctively looked around for any of her friends even though she knew they weren’t there because she had asked them at the coffee shop yesterday. But she did spot someone she recognized, Emma Frost, the girl who had almost knocked her off the floating rocks during the druid class. Addy smiled realizing she might actually be able to get a little revenge. Emma might have been faster than her but there was no way she was better at magic regardless of who her parents where.

She landed a little off to the side of Calvin, Rue landing on her shoulder a couple seconds later. Calvin nodded at her.

“It seems like everyone is here so let’s get started.”

“Who are you? I probably know more about magic then you, shouldn’t we have a teacher.” Emma asked.

Calvin suppressed a glare and whatever he was about to say and instead smiled and answered her.

“You will meet the teacher after the tour for a lesson; I’m here to show you around the grounds and to show what the school of magic has to offer.”

Emma grunted but dint say anything else thankfully. Addy finally understood what he meant about kids with powerful parents, they usually where annoying and probably not nearly as smart as their parents. Addy really wanted to do one of those magical fights she had seen between Zanak and that wizard when she had first gotten her with Emma, see who would win.

“We will start with the Moon.” Calvin said floating up a little towards it, but he stopped 10 feet or so up as he continued. “Just think of levitating and you will, the entire mages school is enchanted for it. After we finish up here we will visit all the other schools of magic’s buildings.

 

 

After Calvin went over the Moon again they floated down from to the fourth level from the library and walked down a hallway to a door in the side of the Moon which lead out to one of the bridges.

“This goes to the school of destruction. While you might do most of your sparring in the moons training rooms, everything else will be taught over there.” Calvin pointed to the building at the end of the rope bridge. Addy could finally make out what it was, from the ground she could only see a few towers peeking up from behind trees but now that she was so high up she could make out an entire castle.

It was gigantic, its top reaching even above where they were standing. Small as far as castles went but still large for it being a building just to teach kids. It was designed with battlements and everything, Addy could see test dummies in the courtyard. It had four large towers on each corner which were probably used for teacher’s offices because she could see smoke coming out of each one.

“Near the end of each year other classes’ schools besiege it to see if they can defeat the Mages School. So in a few years when you’re a little older you will get to defend castle Redskull.” Calvin continued talking about Redskulls history as he was walking across the bridge. Apparently it was called Redskull because they had a red dragon’s skull in the main room of the castle. During the fake besieging if the opposing schools take the skull the castle has fallen and they win the game.

The bridge led straight to one the battlements, after which Calvin jumped down off of it levitating down to the courtyard.

“There isn’t much to this place; all the classrooms are located inside the main hall.” He pointed to the main building behind him.

“And the entire courtyard is magic proof, for testing and practicing spells.” When he finished Calvin through something in the air from his pocket, dust or flour maybe, into the air and cast a spell. The dust exploded into fire fanning out in front of him and engulfing the dummies and castle wall in fire. When it faded away the dummies where completely fine and the wall dint have one scorch mark on it.

“If you follow me out the back we will make our way to the garden of Illusion then onto Garrums forge where they teach enchantments.

 

 

As they were walking out of the back of the castle down a small pathway everyone started looking around, feeling something strange in the forest. Addy could sense magic all about her but she couldn’t tell what it was. The forest started to look different the farther they got away. It even started to heat up slightly to where several people took off their coats, its felt like they were inside a building the temperature was so perfect. There was new plants popping up around them and a fog seemed to appear slowly and slowly as they walked so that now Addy wasn’t able to see farther than a hundred feet behind her or ahead of here.

Calvin stopped under a trellis that went over the path rapped in vines that had small flowers of all different colors over it.

“The garden of Illusion.” He said waving his hand in front of him past the trellis. “Thankfully you will only have to go here this one time unless you focus in illusion magic sense all the basic illusion classes are taught in the Moon.”

“Follow me as we walk through, this place has so many illusion spells cast on it it’s easy to get lost. Just remember there is only one pathway going through the entire place, so if you do get lost just continue on and you will eventually get out.” Calvin walked forward into the place, disappearing the second his stepped through the trellis. Everyone gasped then followed quickly behind, hoping not to lose him in this place, everyone disappeared also as they went through.

Addy followed, Rue was snickering on her shoulder not trusting it but she continued on. When she stepped threw she could see everyone in front of her but when she turned around she couldn’t see anyone until they stepped through behind her. They were in the same forest just now she could make a few huts and a couple bigger buildings off to the side of the trail.

The larger building was wrapped completely in vines obscuring everything about it except for what maybe was a tower peeking out of the top, but it could also just be vines or an entire floor. There was a brick path leading to it with lanterns hanging in the air lighting the way. Everywhere she looked she could see more the lanterns. She oddly dint feel very spooked out by the place, the fog was lit by the sun or whatever was above them because she couldn’t see father then a hundred feet above her either. But it gave the whole place a sense of white around her that could be shaped or made into anything. Though she was sure at night time the place was probably the scariest place on campus to be.

“The main building, rapped in vines is where all of your classes will be if you choose illusion magic. The rest are just professor’s houses or other odd buildings.”

As Calvin continued on walking down the path Addy could see he was smiling as all the kids looked around obviously creeped out about the place.

“It’s said ghosts haunt the fog in here, making sure you have a friend if you ever get lost, and also making sure you never find your way back to the path again.”

As he said that most of the girls got to the center of the path and even though Addy could see the guys try to hide it they instinctively went their too making Calvin laugh as he tried to hide his smile from the group.

“That’s a lie, your just trying to scare us.” Emma Frost said as she walked off the trail, following them from several feet away.

“My parents told me the fog is used by illusionists to create and amplify their illusion spells. It can even be used to find your way places if you get lost like this.” She turned around the looked at the main building almost completely lost in the fog as she looked the fog cleared up creating a path straight to the building. She smiled as she turned around and looked at Calvin.

“Well yes, that too, I just prefer my story more.” Calvin shook his head annoyed at Emma as he continued on.

But Addy thought it was useful to know, she might not be interested in majoring in Illusion, but she still wanted to learn it. Ain had told her that if you specialized in just becoming a mage you learned all schools of magic you dint just focus on one like Ain had. Which is what she thinking about doing at least for now because Ain had told her that’s what her dad was, good at all magic. But who knew what she would become in the next few years when she was forced to take all classes, she might find one specialization she really liked like Ain did in conjuration. Which is what most warlocks focused in, among other things.

The continued forward, most of the kids now a lot less scared. Addy noticed odd things through the fog, castles, people, and other things that couldn’t have been their like planets taking up most of one side of the fog.

“Calvin, what’s off to the sides?” Addy asked when she caught up to him.

He looked off to the side but dint seem like he was into any of it anymore sense Emma had ruined his joke.

“Their spells of Illusion students or professors have cast. Even the planet, you can make almost anything here.” At that he waved his hands in front of him and whispered something under his breath. In his hands the fog coalesced and formed into a ball of energy glowing and pulsing with energy. He moved his hands out in front of him and said something she dint understand as the ball flew away and exploded off in the distance. She could see that it dint actually do anything but it was still interesting to watch.

“You can try, you dint really need a spell for basic things here.” Calvin continued on.

Addy stopped thinking about what she should try, noticing Rue out of the corner of her eyes she smiled finding the perfect thing. She concentrated on Rue, the fog forming around her head. Rue started to snicker not understanding what was happening but trusting Addy.

On top of Rues head was a little top hat and she now had a monocle on her left eye. Addy giggled continuing on.

“Nerd”

Addy turned around to see Emma walking away laughing with a couple of other kids. Rue snickered at Emma as she walked away, sensing what she had said through Addy.

Before Addy knew what she was doing she had her hand out and was muttering a spell for a fireball. But right as she was about to finish she felt a hand on her shoulder, she turned the fireball sputtering out.

“I like your illusion.” A lady giggled looking at Rue. She was in her forty’s with black hair; she wore a long golden silk dress with jewels all over it. Addy realized it must have been an illusion otherwise she would have had a very large fortune embroidered into her dress.

“Who are you?” Addy asked, but she guessed at who it was before she replied.

“Trial, head of the Illusion school, and you young Adalin where about to attack a student.”

Addy looked shocked, realizing she could of gotten into a lot of trouble with what she was about to do.

“Don’t worry, I was about to do the same to her before I saw your adorable little squirrely top hat.” She giggled as she pet Rue.

Addy dint know what to say to that, she just let her pet Rue as she stood there.

“Next time cast the spell in a way to make it look like someone else did it. I can teach when you have one of my classes.” At that she walked away into the fog which began to thicken around her making her disappear after a few steps.

Addy turned back around on the path rushing to catch up to the rest of the group. Realizing Calvin wasn’t joking about Trial being crazy, but she also realized she kids of liked her.

 

 

Addy caught up to group right as they started to go through the other trellis at the other end of the path. Addy went through it expecting more of the same on the other side. But as she stepped through she came out in the sunlight with none of the fog around her anymore. Even the trees where gone. She turned looking back and the trees and fog where still their but on this side it just stopped right at the trellis not continuing any farther.

“What happened to the fog?” One of the kids asked.

“The gnomes at Garrums forge dint like it, so they had all the trees wiped out and the spells stopped at the edge of the forest.” Calvin said continuing on.

In front of him was a wide sprawling complex. She could see a main forge burning in the center, even above the building blocking her sight to it. Molten metal cascaded down like a waterfall from a giant metal pot that the more she looked at it she realized never ended. That was all she could see though as they continued on because a bunch of other buildings blocked the center.

They went in through a giant double door spread open. The whole building had a gnomish architecture feel to it, at least Addy assumed sense it looked similar to the gnomish city she had just seen. It was made mostly out of metal and rock, and the walls where white washed. They could see gnomes going all about, busy at work even this early in the morning. She saw students much older than her along with them hard at work with items ranging from swords to rings in their hands either complete or still being forged and enchanted.

Calvin stopped in a room with several smaller forges burning in it with people/gnomes in front pounding on smaller pieces. Using delicate instruments to carve or hammer things into small intricate pieces.

“This is Garrums forge, used to teach enchantment and mainly for forging objects. This overlaps a lot of other schools, scribes can use their forging skills to carve enchantments into objects. More than likely no matter what school you end up in you will end up here for something or another. They also teach transmutation  and some alchemy that requires a forge to do.”

He continued on leading them through another large door to the center yard with the giant forge in it. Addy was right about it, the giant metal container dint run out of molten material which poured out constantly from above into a pool in the center of two giant forges to both side of it. Each forge was a giant brick oven that burned white hot, the bricks in the oven and around it looked flawless as if they weren’t at all affected by the heat. Even the room felt cool to Addy, who expected magic was at play otherwise they would have been sweating by now.

“The main furnaces of Garrums forge the fifth largest in the world but the second in temperature, only beaten by the furnace of the Eternal Dragon in China. Only final years are allowed to use it for a short period of time while creating their final project to graduate and only while being watched by a master forger. Some of the most powerful modern objects have been made her including the sword of the Star and Umbra’s Mace.” Calvin finished walking on.

But Addy wanted more! This place was amazing, some of the most powerful objects where made her, even now she could see master forgers at work creating thing she could only guess at. She assumed Calvin had continued on because they dint like to be disturbed and probably liked first years asking them questions while they worked even less so she followed Calvin through a door on the other side.

They walked into a small library. She realized that almost every place had a library, wouldn’t it just be easier to keep it all in just one?

“And finally the gnomish library, which is small but it holds thousands of years of their history of knowledge on enchantment and forging objects.” There were several last year students, Addy assumed from how old they were, studying and reading in the room as they passed through.

As they walked out Addy realized that if he had gnomish history in it, it probably contained information on the city they had visited early and made information on the stone. She had to remember to tell Thomas so they could come back later and look if he dint find anything.

Calvin continued on walking towards the school of alchemy, Addy followed now honestly curious of what kind of magician she wanted to become now.

 

 

The main alchemy labs and gardens where under construction so all Addy was able to see was a giant greenhouse and some other buildings she dint recognize with tubes and pipes sticking out everywhere from them. The entire complex was overgrown in ivy, but different then the school of illusion, this ivy actually seemed to be natural and controlled. They continued walking down the path towards the final school, the School of warlocks which taught conjuration, necromancy, and a different form of destruction magic Addy knew from Ain.

As they were walking Addy realized they had been going in a giant circle, each of the schools sticking out like the spokes of a wheel from the center the Moon. She could even see the Moon if she looked to her left and over the trees, she even saw the castle still sticking up above the trees to the left of the Moon.

As they got closer Addy started to notice all the vegetation was starting to die, and the ground was turning to black. A girl asked Calvin what was happening, and if there was a plague or something going around.

“No, no plague, just warlocks being dramatic even though the druids and alchemists insisted they not kill off the vegation they still went and did it because it makes their school look more ‘warlocky’. If that’s even a word.” Calvin said shaking his head.

Addy knew that feeling; she had known Ain long enough to know a lot of what they do is just for the dramatic. Warlocks where supposed to be evil necromancers but now a days they were just a different type of mage and they really dint like that, so they did things like this. Even Ains house had a similar spell around it. And when he was wearing his full battle mage or battle ‘warlock’ armor he would wear a helmet with giant purple horns to make himself stand out from the mages just wearing robes.

The school however was brand new, probably thanks to Ain showing favor to the warlocks. They had all new large buildings enclosed in a rot iron fence surrounding everything. The fence looked delicate but Addy could see the gleam of magic on it and new the fence was probably reinforced or had some other magical property to it. All the buildings where purple or had purple highlights and rot iron worked into them somehow. The brick path they were walking on lead through a rot iron gate that swung open automatically at their approach. In the center of the buildings like a small town square was a fountain that wasn’t working, it had elaborate carvings all about it of different devils and demons.

“Well this is basically it.” Calvin said obviously not liking it here. “The main building.” He said pointing to the largest one with two huge bones sticking up out of the ground to either side of the door. “Which is way over done in the dramatic, will be where most of your classes are if you become a warlock.”

“Now it’s time to go meet professor Trevel and began your class for today.”

“Finally” Addy heard Emma say behind her. “This day won’t be a complete waste of my time.”

Addy just shook her head as they continued on, and wondered if she should take Trial up on her offer to teach her how to make a fireball look like an accident.

 

 

Calvin led them to one of the towers to the side of the moon. Apparently Trevel was the head school of abjuration, which did not have any specific school or headquarters. If Addy could remember right it was any type of magic that protected, like shields or banishing creatures warlocks summoned. They tended to be hated in the warlock community and the fact that most priests could do their job better made them a less sought of school of magic to master.

His tower was actually one of the bigger ones; actually Addy realized looking around it was the biggest or at least equal to height to several others. She wasn’t sure if that meant he was more powerful than most or simply because he was a head of a school of magic. When Calvin got to the door at the bottom of the tower he whispered something making the front tower swing open as he entered. The entire tower shimmered as a spell was disabled for a short time to allow them to pass through the door. From what Addy knew she realized he probably had the most magically enchanted and defended tower on the whole campus, including Ains probably because when she walked through the door she still felt magic pour over her like water from spells that weren’t deactivated. Just itching to trigger if anyone it dint like entered the tower.

Even Emma looked slightly more humbled now that she had walked through the door.

“Welcome.” A man Addy assumed was Trevel said as he walked down the stairs to their right attached to the edge of the tower and probably wrapped their way all the way to the top. He had a gray beard and hair, but he looked happy and youthful in the way he held himself like one of those old people you met that always seemed like they were about to play another prank and get away with it because of their age.

“My school gets stuck with the honor of showing new students around the school every year.” He as if it wasn’t an honor at all, probably because he got stuck with it. “That’s why I take it upon myself to introduce you to the school instead of have one of my professors do it for me.” As he finished he teleported suddenly down the rest of the stairs in front of them and behind Calvin who turned around quickly as he realized what had happened.

He smiled as he startled several students in front of him. Even Addy was impressed, Ain had told her a spell as powerful as teleportation or similar was almost impossible to pull off without a spell or spell components. She wondered why he dint have a full school to himself yet, he had to be at the very least as powerful as all the other heads, probably a lot more powerful.

“I have one lesson to teach you today. One that I find truly shows those of you who are powerful and those who are faking.” Addy could hear Emma say something as he continued on. “So any warriors or priests who have no magical talent and just came to look around the mages school can leave now, the tour is over for you.” He smiled at a kid in the front row that had on full leather armor and a sword strapped to his hip. The kid shrugged and walked through the door.

Several others followed him, even a couple wearing robes that probably just gave up on the notion of becoming a mage after seeing what he had done.

“The spell is simple, there is none. You can use whatever spell components you want but I doubt it will help.” He smiled as he overheard Emma say she already knew a teleportation spell.

She frowned after he said that but he just continued smiling.

“Only 5 students have been capable of accomplishing this in my time doing this.” He looked down at Addy. “Your fa.. I Mean uncle was one of them.”

“Who’s her uncle, because surely my parents where one of them?” Emma asked, obviously annoyed that he hadn’t recognized her also.

“Ainamaf. And I’m quite sure neither of them where capable. Now start, you have 30 minutes, impress me.” At that he teleported away back onto the stairs. Leaving Calvin to run up the stairs next to him.

“This will be easy.” Emma said throwing different spell components she had in her pockets into the air as she concentrated.

Addy just shook her head as she turned around trying to concentrate on how she was going to do this. She knew she probably couldn’t do what Trevel was doing and teleport across the entire room, but maybe she could move forward a couple feet. Ain had told her basic teleportation in a battle was just moving your body rapidly in one direction. It wasn’t like teleporting across a continent, that required a portal and a spell tens of minutes long to work.

She set Rue down, not sure what would happen if she managed to pull it off with her on her shoulder. She concentrated in front of her, not trying to move teleport her body just move it forward enough to count. As she closed her eyes she started to hear cheering from behind her about how Emma had pulled it off, but she drowned it out and focused magic through her body, forcing it move her forward. When she opened her eyes she was next to the stairs. She had done it!

But when she turned around, Rue running up to her and jumping on her shoulders, she saw Emma across the room with a bunch of students around her cheering her on. She frowned realizing Trevel probably hadn’t even seen what she had done.

But to her surprise Trevel teleported in front of Addy instead of Emma.

“What are you doing, I just teleported without a spell.” Emma said as everyone went silent.

“This is my tower, you don’t think I can’t sense or hear everything that goes on it. You dint only use spell components you used a spell.” Emma sputtered as Trevel said that, by the time she started to deny it Trevel had turned her back on her.

He whispered something to Addy that made her gasp as he turned around towards Emma again who was still going on about how she dint cheat.

“Shut up.” He waved his hand and she disappeared. Calvin came running down the stairs towards her; he was in charge of all the kids on the tour.

“What did you do with her?” Calvin asked as he looked around, waving his hands in the air just hoping she was invisible and silenced.

“I sent her several thousand feet up into the air. Hopefully she remembers the levitation spell around the Mages School.” Trevel turned back around towards Addy as Calvin ran outside saying something about how the spell dint work that far above the school.

“Now let’s go talk about something.” Trevel said holding his hand out towards Addy who grabbed it. They disappeared in the blink of an eye.

 

 

“It’s nice having another student capable of doing…” Trevel got cut off as Addy erupted not waiting for him to finish.

“How did you know my father?” Addy asked calmly looking at him, this wasn’t the first time she had met someone on campus who knew who she really was and she was getting tired of people knowing. Ainamaf really should have told her.

“I’m old, I know everyone who’s gone through this school.” Addy finally actually got a good look at him. He was old, she had seen his grey before but she could actually see all his wrinkles and age marks. She knew age dint have much effect in the magic world where most could live hundreds of year’s even humans with magical items. But even she could tell he was actually old, even if he had magic keeping him alive that magic was about to run out anytime now. No matter how happy or youthful he looked and moved, his face up close showed his real age.

“No one’s supposed to know. It seems like every teacher knows who I am except me.”

He shrugged, “Well only about 5 of us know who you are. You should have expected Ainamaf to keep some secrets, he tends to do that.” He laughed, but one look at Addy who was just staring at him shut up as he continued.

“I really did mean your dad was one of the only people to do what you did, and Ainamaf. I just wanted to meet you alone for a second was all. Either Ainamaf taught you better than I could he could ever teach, or you have a lot of your dad in you.” He said holding his hands up in surrender.

Addy believed him; Ain did keep a lot of secrets from her she knew, but 5 people who knew who she was! It was supposed to be a secret, apparently a really badly kept one. She did like hearing that she was as strong as her father which made her happy and hopeful that maybe she would be able to destroy Vizix.

“How do I know I can trust you?” She asked, staring at him in the eyes.

He shrugged, never having been questioned about his loyalty before.

“Your father trusted me, is that not enough?”

Addy knew that was enough, she hadn’t known her father but she knew he was smart and so was Ain. People who knew about her could be trusted, she just wasn’t sure… But that dint matter now, she had another friend of her dad her.

“Tell me about my dad.” She asked looking at Trevel. He smiled launching into story after story of the stupid things he had done during school and things she hadn’t heard of after school.

 

 

Chapter 21, new dorms.

 

Addy, Veronica, Trin, Thomas, and Michael all met up at the coffee shop after classes and research. Everyone was already their when Addy walked in and order a coffee and blueberry scone. Looking over Addy saw that they had all gotten snowmen coffees that where throwing coffee snowballs at each other, they must have been from the same batch of coffee.

Addy got her coffee and sat down next to Veronica. Addy’s coffee was a kid wearing snow clothes, the kid immediately began to throw snowballs at the snowmen but these ones actually destroyed the snowmen. As the fight continued one of the snowmen hit Rue with a snowball so she jumped over to him and bit Veronica’s snowman in half. Addy turned around and looked at the barista who smiled. He must have known she was with them. She had never really noticed him before because he was always behind the coffee maker and never took her order, but he was a tall man with long black hair tied back in a ponytail and Addy could see he thoroughly enjoyed his job from his expression.

“Aww, that’s unfair my snowman was winning.” Thomas wined as his snowman fell apart in his coffee defeated.

“So how did the search go?” Addy asked, wondering if they found anything, and if not wanting to tell them about the gnomish library in Garrums forge.

“Barely anything other than the name which we could of just asked Arun for if we ever thought about it. It’s called Deep Haven, it was one of the last gnomish large cities before they were apparently all destroyed by something. Which I think we discovered that something.” He smiled at that like they had discovered something huge. “We should probably update the history’s books or something or however we do that.”

“I have a feeling the gnomes already know that part of their history it’s just not in the books you look at.” Trin said as she shook her head at him as she continued.

“I found more while looking up the gear, apparently is one of their most holy items. I found out that they lost a lot of such things while escaping. And because it was so many years ago they can’t even remember where almost any of their cities are located. I don’t know if we should wait or not, but this gear and the location of their city should be told to the gnomes sometime.”

Addy agreed, the gnomes deserved to know but telling them could ruin Ains chances to ever find the cube and she had a feeling he dint want anyone to know quite yet. She couldn’t help from thinking again that she needed to talk to Ain, after this meeting she was going to go straight there.

“We should wait until this plays out to tell them, they waited several thousand years, what are a few more months?” Thomas said before Addy could say almost the exact same thing to them.

“I agree. But where also basically at a dead end now unless Ainamaf tells us something.” Michael as he turned to Addy, inferring that she should ask him.

“I’ll ask him, but their no guarantee he will tell us anything.” She shrugged. “I did however find a gnomish library in Garrums forge in the magic school today. Maybe we should look there.”

“That’s perfect.” Trin said. “But I think we should be looking for something else too. Records of boats and captains, the rock was found on a boat. Maybe that will help us find something. It also wouldn’t hurt to have the rock back.”

“I think we should put this off for a little bit guys.” Veronica said as she looked meekly at her coffee as if she was saying something horrible. “We move into our dorms this weekend and start are actual classes soon. I’m not saying give up,” She waved her hands as she looked around to us all. “Just give it a little bit.” She shrugged.

Everyone seemed to be shaking their heads in agreement, even Addy. She was curious about the stone and what Ain was hiding, but realistically could they even find out more about a stone thousands of years old? Maybe, but Addy did want to focus on her studies and learn more about magic.

“Ok, let’s keep searching just not as much. And maybe I’ll find out something from Ainamaf in the next couple weeks.” Everyone agreed to that as they got up. Everyone had to pack tonight so they could move into their assigned dorms with their groups tomorrow. Addy was hoping she had at least one of her friends in her group as she said goodbye to them all and started walking to Ains office.

 

 

Ain made her wait out with his secretary for almost an hour before he let her up to see him. She floated up towards his office as the octopus spread it arms letting her in. Ain looked disheveled; he had obviously tried to hide as she looked at him behind his desk with his back to her. But his hair messed up in the back, and his desk was cluttered with papers.

“I can’t let you continue looking into the stone and the orb.” Ain said without turning around, he continued to just look at the window as he waited for Addy to reply.

“Why not, we can help, you saw what we did down there using your spells to watch us.” Addy said raising her voice.

“I know. But the Forgotten will be her in a few weeks.” He turned around looking at her in with blood shot eyes; he must have not slept in days. “Your little search alerted the board that I allowed people down there. Now they may not know why or what we found, but they do know. Which means he knows now.” He just looked at her, not needing to say his name she knew he was talking about Vizix.

“Even if he doesn’t figure out who you are, he will kill you and your friends if he finds you helping. The Forgotten know how to cover their tracks and defend themselves from anyone he sends or already has here.”

“I agree, it’s too dangerous, we’ll stop.” As Addy said it Ain looked shocked as if he hadn’t thought Addy would cave in so easy. Which she wasn’t, she was going to continue researching the stone and the gnomish city, but she at least wouldn’t do anything dangerous or let anyone else know what they were doing.

“Good.” Ain relaxed down in his chair as he looked at her. She walked across the room and sat down in front of him.

“So how’s school. You finally get your real dorms tomorrow.” He gave her a tired smile, but one filled with genuine love and affection.

“Schools fine. I do have another question though. Several professors have approached me who know my real name… I thought no one else knew.”

Ain shook his up and down agreeing. “Only a few know who you are and they all know because of your father. If it was up to me no one would know.”

That made sense not that she thought about, it just caused probably for Ain if he told others but her dad probably had numerous friends who knew she was alive for one reason or another.

“I wouldn’t worry too much about it though, their some of the few people in this school you can actually trust, just as much as me even.”  He shrugged.

Addy wanted to ask him about the stone and what he had found, but she had already promised not to look into it so she kept her mouth shut as the silence drew on for almost a minute.

“You want to know about the stone don’t you?” He got up walking towards a door on the side of the room.

“I might not want you looking into it but you at least deserve a little but more for risking your life.” He walked into the room as Addy got up following.

The room was full of alchemic equipment, some of it working as chemicals boiled and slurped through different tubes around the room. On the side of the room was jars and different odd objects, most of them used for alchemy and spells that she could only guess at.

“From what I can tell the stone does nothing.” Ain said as he picked it up and tossed it into the air towards Addy who caught it.

“How can it do nothing? I was sure it was magical, the bracelet was so bright next to it.” Addy was looking at the stone which looked so plain now that she could see it in such a well lit room, the symbol glowed slightly and the stone had the slick look of magic though so Addy dint understand how it did nothing.

“It’s magical, definitely. It just isn’t enchanted to do anything. Which could only mean several things, it’s a battery the powers another device or more likely it’s a key. The unique magical signature of it unlocks something when it comes close to it. Just with Vizix knowing we might be doing something we can’t go down the same way to look around Deep Haven. And when we get down there we can’t exactly just look around with thousands of skeletons roaming about. That’s why I called the Forgotten, the should be able to find out exactly what the rock does and exactly where they should down in Deep Haven. Hopefully it’s a key unlocking something that leads to the orb, otherwise I have no idea what it is and I endangered your life and all those kids for nothing.” As he finished he sat down in one of the chairs next to him.

That’s why he must be so tired. He must have spent every waking moment looking for what the rock did. And all he could come up with was it was a key, maybe, for something. She understood his frustration now. Especially if Vizix was involved the longer he took the higher the chance Vizix stopped him and the higher chance he wouldn’t accomplish whatever he needed the orb for.

Addy walked up to him and gave him a hug. He dint hug her back for a couple seconds but finally gave in, hugging her back.

“Get some sleep, the Forgotten will find it, I’ve never seen them fail anything.” At that Ain nodded as she walked away to pack for tomorrow, even though everything was still packed sense she had barely used anything.

“I gave you a present for tomorrow, in your new dorm.” Ain said as she walked out of the room. She wasn’t sure what it was, but she was sure she was going to like it, Ain always did give her the best presents. The only ones she usually got in the orphanage.

 

 

The next day everyone in the dorms was told to meet up in front of the PUB again like they did on the first. They were to leave all their stuff in their rooms, it would be magically moved to their new room by the time they got there. Addy quickly found Trin and the others; Thomas was eating a bagel which made her jealous because she hadn’t gotten up early enough to eat before this. Ain was standing in the front with some of the other teachers; he looked refreshed today like he had gotten a good night’s sleep. But Addy also knew there were numerous spells and potions to just that in a matter of minutes to a person so she wasn’t sure if he had actually gotten any sleep at all still.

“Today you get your final dorms for the rest of your stay here.” Ain started as he levitated up slightly so everyone could see him.

“And also your group of 4 others that will be with you for the journey. Each house has its own story which you will discover when you get to them. Some because of the students who came before you, others accomplished great feats, and yet others that still have both to be gained.” Ain looked around the ground, everyone was excited to finally get their house and get out of the dorms. The houses where nicer and you got to share the area with people you actually liked.

“I see you don’t want me waste anymore of your time, so get at it. The house and group your with is on the tables below me.” As he finished tables with lists of names appeared below him, Addy dint know if they were invisible or Ain had teleported them in but everyone flocked to them as soon as the appeared.

“I’m so curious who I’m with. I really hope I get one of you guys in my group.” Trin said as they waited in the back of the crowd, not wanting to push their way through.

“I just want a cool house. I hear house Vendrin has an indoor pool.” Thomas said as he smiled.

Addy knew a little about the houses from the stories Ain and others had told her from when they had gone here. Each house was donated or built by someone, so each was vastly different and scattered all around campus. Somewhere mansions, somewhere brick buildings with just rooms and maybe a TV room if you were lucky. The school spent money every year to update and make the worst ones better, so they were fairly equal now. But like Thomas had said some still where vastly better like house Vendrin, or the house of dog like Ain stayed in, which had a personal bedroom and bathroom for every student.

Addy knew teachers had a say in where you ended up and so did the people who built the houses so she doubted she would get a bad one because of Ain. But she knew she wouldn’t get house Vendrin, only the richer students got that one because the Vendrin family personally selected all of its students every year.  It also depended on which houses had graduates, most of the houses where full of students already so only the houses without them or with kids graduating the year before could receive new students.

“I doubt any of us will get house Vendrin. I was hoping for the house of Fairy’s or the house of the Deadra because of two elves.” Veronica said looking at Trin, Michael, and Thomas who were all part of elf at least. Only elves got into those houses, but usually humans got in also if they elven friends in them.

They finally got the table as they spread out looking for their names. Everyone was listed under houses and then groups if there was more than one group per house so it took them a while to locate their names but when they did they all gasped. They were all in the same house and group.

“Ain had told me he got me a present today, but I dint know he meant this…” Addy said as they all looked at her smiling. Addy looked up at Ain who nodded at her as he was floating up above talking to another teacher.

“I have never heard of house of Whispering Sands before .” Michael asked looking around at them to see if anyone knew.

Addy had heard of it before, it was her father’s favorite book. Ain had it in his personal library at his house and showed it to her once; he said it was hers if she ever wanted. She did borrow it once to read but she had given it back because she dint have a safe place to keep it at the orphanage.

“It’s chancellor Guard’s new house, they just finished building it this year.” Trin said as they walked away from the tables.

“Does that mean you know where you’re going because I’m just following you guys?” Thomas said through a mouth full of bagel as he finished it off.

“Yeah, it’s next to the church and our favorite coffee shop. If you ever looked behind the place you would have seen it.”

Addy tried to remember seeing it but she could, it must have been completely obscured by the coffee shop. She also wondered why she dint know about her dad have his own house. She wasn’t surprised really, many of the houses on campus where built by and named after famous chancellors. Ain must have not told her so he could surprise her with it, and she was thoroughly surprised.

 

 

Walking around the row of shops near the coffee shop they all stopped when they finally saw the house of whispering sands. The house was completely trashed, all of its paint was peeling and shingles on its roof where coming undone. From the outside it was a huge square three stories tall.

“I thought this was new.” Thomas gasped.

“It was supposed to be, they literally just completed construction months ago.” Trin said also gasping.

“The house is supposed to be this way.” Addy said smiling as she walked forward. The house in the book Whispering Sands was supposed to look just like this. Except Addy could see a tower or something sticking up in the center that she dint remember from the book.

“The house was supposed to be constantly bombarded by sand, slowing fading away. That’s why it’s called the ‘whispering sand’.”

“All I know is that it better look better on the inside.” Michael grumbled as they walked up the steps to the house pushing the front double doors in.

This time they gasped in relief as they saw the interior, which dint match the outside at all. The house was completely modern on the inside. Metal and glass where everywhere and the lights on the wall where just plane orbs of magic that gave off white light illuminating the whole place. In front of them on the first floor they could see through windows leading out into a yard in the center of the house that had trees and places to sit in it. Addy could see a TV with kids surrounding it playing some video game.

Above was a chandelier made out of pure light that floated in intricate patterns that constantly flowed from one to another every few seconds. Forming animals, faces, patterns, and script Addy couldn’t identify. The main room had two stairs leading up to the second floor to their left and right going forward against the wall, all they were was just pieces of metal sticking out of the wall with a metal railing floating in the air next to them.

“Welcome to the house of Whispering Sands.” A young girl that was probably in her third or fourth year here said to them. She was standing in the middle of the room with a clipboard in her hand. She was small with black hair and Asian descent.

“Where glad to be here.” Veronica said as they all walked up to her, still looking around in amazement at their luck in houses.

“I don’t have much to say, and I’m sure you’re eager to explore so I’ll make this short.” She smiled.

“If you’ll follow me I will shot you your rooms and then you can have the rest of the day to look around and meet everyone else in the house.” She started walking up the right stairs, leading them to the right side of the building. Addy could see through the class in the wall and she could tell the building was just a giant square with an open room in the center similar to the orphanage. But floating above the center of the building was a large tower suspended in the air with four stairs leading to it from every side of the building on the third floor.

“Is there another group of new students coming or are we the only ones?” Trin asked as she led them down the hallway, this one had rooms on both side and no glass all the way down the right side of the building.

“Yes, two more. They will be met by someone else though. Here’s your room.” She said opening the one door on their left leading to rooms against the center of the building. They must have taken up the entire hallway because Addy only saw one door on each side of the hallway.

The place was huge; the living room was as big as her entire dorm room she had been sleeping in the last couple days. It had two kitchens two her left and right and a huge tv in the front room with several couches around it. The entire wall in front of them was glass overlooking the center of the building where Addy could see several trees and other plants sticking up. There was two hallways next to the kitchens leading to where she assumed was the room.

“You each have your own room and bathroom. The keys to them and the main room are in them. But you won’t really need them; the building will automatically recognize you from now on. And that’s it.” She said setting down the clipboard she had in her hand as she started walking out of the room. “After you’re done getting comfortable fill out the forms there and give them to me, I’ll be in the center of the building most of the day.” She smiled walking out.

After she left everyone booked it to their rooms wanting to see what was in them. Thomas was over joyed with everything he found, like it was Christmas. It took them a bit to find which room was whose but they finally did.

Room jumped onto the bed as Addy entered hers; there was a small desk on one corner with a small laptop on it with a note on top of it. She walked over and read it; it said ‘Enjoy, your father would have wanted to have all this. Ain’. Which made her smile as she looked around more, there was a closest to her right as she walked in and another door in the back right leading to a large bathroom. In the center of it all was a larger bed then she had ever had with a nightstand on each side. In front of the bed was dresser with a small TV on top of it. She fell back on it, realizing this was the start of something really nice.

 

 

Two weeks later

Chapter 21: The Forgotten arrive

 

Addy was excited, Tucker had told her last night that the Forgotten where arriving today. She had been missing Esmyth the most from the orphanage and now she was actually coming to the school, well outside the school at least in the magic district. And maybe they could finally find something to do with stone because Thomas, Trin, and her had looked in Garrums forges library and hadn’t been able to find out anything more then that the king of Deep Haven had a treasure hidden way in his palace the gnomes had to leave when they left the city. Which could possibly be where the orb was, but they had no sure idea.

“Day dreaming again miss Trest.” Professor Benjamin said as he walked up to her desk looking at her. He was the professor of destruction magic and quite boring, so boring in fact that she had actually agreed with Emma Frost when she asked when they were going to learn something useful. He had barely taught them any spells, and all of them had been basic ones she learned years ago.

“No professor, I was just thinking about what you were saying, about… ice spells being dangerous?” She hadn’t been paying attention, but the last thing she remembered was something about ice spells.

“I finished talking about that minutes ago, but nice try.” He smiled and continued on. He liked to pick on her but he knew she already knew all this so he never got her in any trouble.

As he continued on Addy began to think about spells. She practiced every day now at castle Redskull to keep up with her learning because she wasn’t actually learning anything here. She tried to teach herself a new spell every day up in the Moons library then practice it later. Thanks to her classes been more college like she had plenty of free time to actually learn something at this school. All of her classes where going over basics she had learned years ago, except for some of the things she was learning in the illusion school she hadn’t learned anything new in months sense the last time Ain taught her something.

The classes where designed just like in normal college she had heard, so she had 3 classes Monday and Wednesday for several hours and two classes Tuesday Thursday for several hours. But she did have Friday off which was nice. The classes changed times and places every semester when she got knew ones so she dint want to get to use to having Friday off.

“Learn the fireball spell for this Wednesday, we will be practicing.” Proffesor Benjamin said as the class got over and everyone rushed out the door in the moon. They were on the third floor which had numerous magical sparring rooms, which they only used when practicing spells. Addy couldn’t wait until she got a class where she could actually fight someone in the rooms.

Addy jumped off the ledge in the center of the moon falling rapidly down towards the ground before she activated the levitation spell. Tucker had said to meet him in the PUB in a couple hours so she had enough time to meet up with Veronica in the castle. She had been coming with her most days so she could learn more about magic. Just like Addy most of Veronica’s magic classes taught stuff she had learned years ago. But unlike Addy, Veronica’s sword classes where already having duels and teaching them complex frightening techniques, kids who dint know how to fight where pit against people like Veronica. The teachers just focused more on those kids so they learned fast and caught up with the people at the head of the class. Just like Addy thought her magic classes should be doing.

As she entered the Castle she saw Veronica waiting for her. There was several other students casting spells and practicing about the courtyard, all of them years older than both of them. Addy remembered she needed to call Rue; she usually played around in the trees nearby while she was in class waiting for Addy. She reached out in her mind and located her, telling her she was done and she could come back whenever. Rue snickered at her, which Addy instinctively interpreted as she would come as soon as she was done playing.

“What spell did you pick today?” Veronica asked as Addy was walking up to her.

“Hopefully not something like yesterday, snowball spell really isn’t useful.” Veronica said seriously, but she couldn’t keep it up as she laughed a little. The snowball spell might have been pointless, but they had quite a bit of a fun with yesterday.

Addy pulled out a book from her back pack; she had checked it out from the library.

“It’s a spell for making a snow cloud.” At that Veronica raised her eyebrows not really understanding what she meant by that. Addy had been picking snow spells every day for a week now sense it had snowed. The snow had melted within hours outside of the school in Seattle, but inside the schools protection the snow had mostly stayed, and even now snow was still on most of the trees and spread on top of the castle. The schools spell not only hid the school from everyone else in a dimensional pocket in the middle of Seattle but controlled the schools temperature and kept out all of the smog in Seattle from entering. So it stayed much colder on the school grounds. Addy and Veronica already had coats on over their outfits.

“It’s useful I swear, especially for you.” Veronica looked skeptical as Addy began casting a spell on her right dagger, the one that made spells stronger when cast on it. She put her daggers up asking Veronica to duel her, the castle worked in the same way the fighters Coliseum did, you couldn’t get inside the walls so Veronica took out her swords more than happy to fight Addy.

Addy ducked under Veronica’s sword as he swung towards her face, Addy swung her right dagger at Veronica’s mid-section which was quickly blocked by her other sword. But Addy expected that, as the dagger connected she let loose the spell which exploded out of her dagger erupting in a snow flurry that created a cloud of snow. Addy instantly jumped back, not taken by shock like Veronica who stood still for a few seconds trying to figure out what had happened. Which was more than enough time for Addy to sneak behind the cloud of stick her dagger on the back of Veronicas neck.

“Ok, that one’s useful, I admit.” Veronica said smiling as she turned around.

 

 

Addy met Tucker in the front of the PUB, he was waiting with Kitty next to him. Addy had gone to another class in the forest of Illusion after meeting up with Veronica so she winded from running her. Rue jumped to Kitty shoulder when Addy finally got close enough to Tucker, they had been good friends sense Deep Haven.

“Good you’re here. Let’s get going, the Forgotten already met Ain at their new setup in the magic district.” Tucker said as he started forward towards one of the gates leading into the magic district.

“Do they know anything about the rock yet?” Addy asked as they continued on.

“It’s been what, 30 minutes. Unless Trummel reads rock weekly I highly doubt they know anything more then what Ain just told them.” Tucker laughed as he shook his head at Addy.

They made it to the gate; the guard automatically let Tucker out without asking anything. It was the same guard Tucker had held at when they first arrived at the school, which made at giggle. They took a sharp left after they got out and started walking down a little used street Addy had never been down before. They reached a warehouse mid-way down the road and Tucker knocked three times lightly then once loudly, which must have been a code because she saw Trummels eyes pop open the peek through in the door, he shut and immediately opened the door after seeing Tucker and Addy.

“Tucker! Long time no see, jobs have been… easier sense you’ve been gone.” Trummel said as he laughed slapping Tucker on the shoulder as he walked on by to say hi to the others. Addy heard Tucker grumble something that she couldn’t make out as he walked over, but she laughed anyways knowing it was something over the top.

“And Adalin, long time no see also. Ain told me you would be coming also.” He gave her hug as she walked in with Kitty and Rue pushing past. Trummel had always liked her like the rest of the Forgotten, she was always snooping and asking questions about what they were doing.

Trummel closed the door as ran towards Esmyth to give her a hug.

“Hey young one, what troubles have you been getting into sense we’ve been gone.” Esmyth asked as she hugged Addy. But before she could answer Trummel said something behind her that caught her attention.

“Ark, can you let in the others before they try something stupid.” Trummel asked as he was walking towards Esmyth and Addy.

Others Addy thought as Ark waved his hands to open the door. She had never seen Ark before but she assumed who he was sense he was the only one in the room she dint know. The door popped open and Michael, Thomas, Veronica, and Trin tumbled in.

“Hello kids, Ain told us you would be coming also.” Trummel said shaking his head as he sat down.

“Hi Addy.” Thomas waved as he got up looking around the warehouse.

Addy shook her head. She had told them about what she was doing today and that they couldn’t come, but apparently they took that as an excuse to just follow her.

“Don’t worry Adalin. We knew, come sit down and let’s catch up.” Esmyth said as she walked Addy over to the couches they had set up in the middle of the warehouse amidst hundreds of boxes stacked up around them. They had cleared a spot and already had maps and beds setup.

The others found their way over and sat down. Trummel got up and looked at them all as he went over to the maps. Athelaz and Ark where standing over to the side amidst a side room they had created in the boxes talking about something Addy couldn’t hear. And Tucker was sitting next to them on a crate next to the couches with Kitty and Rue lying next to him.

“Ain told us you went down there. We thought we would ask you all questions before we started our search. It’s better to use all your witnesses then just one.” Trummel said nodding at Tucker as he pointed to a map that Addy recognized as a quick sketch of Deep Haven.

“We can’t find anything more about the stone so we have to assume the orb is down below in Deep Haven, it’s all we have to go off of so that’s what where focusing on. One thing Ark was able to discover was the orb is a Gnomish relic, so it’s probably either in someone’s personal collection or possibly in the king’s collection.” At the Trummel nodded to Ark who came forward talking.

“Ain told me not to tell you what the orb actually was just in case you felt like researching it again.” At the Addy and everyone else in her group sighed. They had been looking for weeks trying to find out what the rock was, but had reached a wall because they dint even know what they orb was. If they knew they could possible finally figure out where the rock lead.

“But suffice it so say that the rock is definitely linked to the city, if you put on the glove Tucker found and hold the rock you can sense the orb beneath us. The only problem is neither artifacts was supposed to be used to locate the orb, so other than below us we have no idea where it is. We need your help to remember anything you saw down there, if we can narrow down places to search down their then the less time we have to spend while fending off thousands of skeletons.”

Addy and the others detailed what they knew and saw down their but it wasn’t much help as Ark finished in drawing in everything they saw. They knew where the palace was and maybe a couple other places, but the city had gone all the way around the entire lake so it was possible it could be almost anywhere.

After that The Forgotten kicked them out, telling them they needed to discuss everything they had heard.

“Let’s meet up in a little to talk.” Esmyth said as Addy and the rest left the warehouse, Rue scrambling out at the last second as Trummel shut the door on them.

“Nice folks.” Thomas laughed as they all walked away shaking their heads.

“Nicer then you think.” Trin smiled. “I casted a spell to hear what those two were talking about in the corner while we were giving them details of the city. The orb is called the Sultans Orb.” They all laughed at that, finally, Addy thought, they might be able to find out more about this thing.

 

“The king’s palace is our best bet.” Trummel said as he put his finger on the palace on the map.

“I agree, but where still going down almost completely blind. If it’s not their we would have to wade through thousands of skeletons to make it anywhere else to look. And we would surely have to do just that, a kings palace is going to take hours to search, and by then most of the skeletons should have us surrounded by what I have heard of Tuckers story.” Ark said looking at Tucker who was shaking his head in agreement.

“We’ll be surrounded in half that time. Maybe we could make several trips down? Search one place then just teleport up. Then a couple days later teleport down into another place.”

Trummel and the others shrugged at that.

“It might work, but Ainamaf still needs to get us access to the tunnels again, even then Ainamaf said the plug in the fountain you used wouldn’t open anymore. We need to hope the magic has either been replenished or Ark can make it work regardless. But the fact is we might only get one chance to go down.”

“We can’t just teleport down from up here? I was teleport up from down there, I don’t see why not.” Tucker asked, frustrated.

Ark was shaking his head the entire time. “The place is protected by ancient magic; it would take all the arch-wizards in the world to break that spell. Once we get down there I’ll be able to teleport us up but it’s a one way ticket. I might be able to open a hole that we can use to get back down there, but that’s a huge maybe that we won’t know until we use are one chance to look around down there.”

Tucker was shaking his head now; he thought maybe the Forgotten would have this down pat. They usually always knew what they were doing, this was the first time their only plan was go down and hope for the best.

“We do have one idea at least.” Esmyth said putting her hand on Tuckers shoulder as she was looking to Athelaz.

“Once we get down there I’m positive I can contact those ghosts you ran into again. We could use them to search the entire cavern way faster than we could.”

“We still need more information before we try that. Ainamaf has given us access to all the schools libraries and can get us access sometime soon to the Golems eye’s ancients section.” Trummel said as he sat down on one of the coaches rubbing his eyes in annoyance of this whole search.

“You’re saying we have access to the ancient section?” Ark asked as he eyes bulged out of his head, Trummel just shook his head up and down not really knowing what that was.

Ark actually got up out of his seat he was so excited. “The ancient section has books so old and magical they can’t be copied. So their just falling apart as slow as possible in a special room, the room can’t stop the books decay completely so in 10 years a book is dead, 100 years 10 books and so on. Books the world will never see again. Spells dead, history dead, all because thousands of years ago it was a fad to put a spell on your book to make it impossible to be copied.” Ark actually giggled at the end in excitement.

“Are you sure we shouldn’t get a new wizard?” Tucker asked to the rest of the group as Ark continued on about the library and the rare books stored there.

 

 

Chapter 22: Halloween, Two weeks later

 

“I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I actually wish I had homework.” Addy and Veronica both where lying on their backs their feet up the air as the watched TV upside down. Thomas and Michael were playing some game they had just got about the WAR in South America that happened secretly in the magic world.

Addy actually agreed with Veronica as she said it, they still had learned almost nothing in all their classes. And sense they were so young they weren’t even invited to any of the Halloween parties tonight. So they were just stuck inside all night with nothing to do. Even Trin had stuff to do in the church, boring stuff like cataloging books but still something!

Over the last two weeks the Forgotten had been coming and going to meetings with Ain and other things Esmyth wouldn’t tell her about. So even with Trin over hearing the name of the Orb they were looking for they hadn’t made any progress because none of the books in any of the libraries mentions it. Addy had realized that Ain probably had gotten rid of any of the books mentioning it when she noticed several books checked out permanently by a staff member. Even the Golems eye had books checked out by someone with enough power to have them checked out for the next year.

“We could go see what Trins doing and get some coffee?” Addy asked Veronica as they both tiled their heads upside down to look at each other, Veronica shrugged and rolled over on to her feet. Addy tried to do it but failed so she just ended up awkwardly rolling to the side and onto her feet. Michael saw her and said “smooth” As Addy and Veronica grabbed their coats next to the door.

As they walked out Michael and Thomas dint say a thing, too focused on their video game to pay any attention. Rue jumped on Addys shoulder, flying over from near the boys where she was watching the game trying to figure out what was happening. Going down the hallway they dint pass anyone, most everyone was gone for the night at some party or another except for all the new students in the building which were probably doing the same thing as Michael and Thomas, nothing.

They made it over to the church and coffee shop in a matter of seconds thanks to the location of the house of Whispering Sands. Trin did have it lucky in that regard, all of her classes where right outside her door.

They pushed open the door and began walking down the aisle towards the back room leading to the library. Trin was usually in their doing something the old cook Dawa had told her must been done, but usually just meant moving books around pointlessly.

As they got into the library they spotted Trin right away reading at a table. Walking over they sat next to her, she only looked up finally after Addy said something to here.

“Having fun?”

“More then you obviously if you’re here to see me.” She giggled; she had known they weren’t doing anything for Halloween so she had made sure Dawa had let her into the library tonight as an excuse to do something.

They both shrugged at that, realizing she was telling the truth.

“Want to go get some coffee and something to eat? Only thing we can think of to do sense the boys are hogging the TV with their new video game.”  Veronica asked.

“Sure. But I think I found something also.” She pointed to the page laid in front of her; she had numerous books splayed out on the table, all related somehow to the Orb or Gnomes. On the page was a picture of an Orb, with a large fat sultan with a huge fat sultan holding it. Reading the page it gave no description of what the orb was, just that the sultan was one of the riches people of his time; he was known for always knowing where and when to make the best deals.

“It doesn’t give anything about the orb though, other than the picture.” Addy pointed out.

“Maybe, but the description about him might give away what the orb is. ‘Always knowing when and where to make the best deals’. I doubt your uncle wants to know the best places for sales, but it could easily be used to locate someone or something. An orb this old even your uncle wouldn’t be able to hide where is from if a person used it to locate him. And vice versa, no one would be able to hide from him…” Trin said letting it sink in.

Old magic usually couldn’t be blocked or countered by new mages because mage changes with the years. New spells are created, new counter spells and soon a defensive spell you create to block out people from spying on you with a crystal ball is only effective against newer spells. So something so old would be able to bypass even the most powerful persons spell of masking where their hiding, like Vizix.

“He wants to find Vizix.” Addy said, she had guessed that he had something to do with him for a while now. But to actually find him, Ain wasn’t the Chancellor in charge of an entire army anymore, if Ain found him and did something rash like go after himself… Ain potentially could piss off Vizix and cause him to retaliate with his entire army and more than likely get Ain killed.

“This orb will find him, but Vizix will know almost immediately he has been found and be able to cast a spell to figure out who found him, old magic only goes so far.” Veronica said, she knew almost as much as Addy about magic thanks to her parents and had put it together also.

“We have to give it to the government before Ainamaf uses it, he could start a war.” Trin said as her eyes grew large as she listened to what Veronica said.

“The war was always going to come; Ain’s showed me what Vizix has been doing, he has killed millions.” Addy was shaking her head thought as she continued. “But I agree, Ain can’t get it now.”

“Now? You say it like we were ever going to get it in the first place. I’ve enjoyed looking for this thing but the chances we can beat the Forgotten to it, especially by ourselves through thousands of skeletons?” Veronica balked.

“I agree, I’m just asking for us to keep trying is all.” Addy said looking at Veronica and Trin. They both looked at each other but eventually turned back to Addy and shook their heads in agreement.

“Try, that’s it. But I’m not going back down their unless where sure and have a plan. We don’t even know how to get back down their also.” Veronica said.

“Neither does the Forgotten, it’s going to take them months. And I have a feeling I’ll be able to discover a few things about what they know during thanksgiving or Christmas at Ain’s house…” Addy knew Ain kept most of his plans and papers on his desk in the school and back home, and she had full access of his house and could easily look around his school desk when he was sulking looking out the window like usual. Addy would at least have to try, for Ains sake.

 

 

Golems Library. Month and  half later, December 20

 

Ark and Athelaz made their way into the library; both had been before for one reason or another during their years searching for forgotten relics. But neither had ever been able to go to the ancients section. They dint even know where it was so they singled one of the weird robot librarians, which wheeled around the corner to talk to them. Its name tag said librarian # 369, Steve.

“Yes sirs, what may I help you with?” It said as its long arms where still rearranging books on the shelf’s, taking them down, putting new ones up, moving them from shelf to shelf.

“We have permission to access the ancients section, where is it?” Ark asked.

The robot stopped what it was doing and looked at them, Athelaz could tell it was contacting someone through magic or electronics or some form of both of them. It started moving again though after a few seconds.

“I have confirmed your permission to enter. If you would follow me I will show you the way.” It started rolling away slowly allowing them to follow. Which surprised both of them, usually the robots where always in a hurry, and forced you to almost run to keep up as they showed you something.

The librarian led them to one of the moving platforms all around the place, waiting for them to catch up. It stuck its hand out halting them when they tried to get on it though.

“I must first activate the special lift.” It stuck its hand into one of the control panels on the side and after a few seconds the lift on top shot away and a different looking lift popped up from underneath. It was the same size and shape, but the metal railing was far more detailed and Athelaz thought it might have even had real gold trim around some of the handles.

They stepped on about to ask a question about if they were supposed to do anything else, but before they could they shot off on the lift, lurching forward into the bar that sprung up closing the circle around the lift.

“Now that’s more like the librarians I know and hate.” Athelaz sighed as they moved forward. After a few minutes they passed the giant hole in the center of the library leading down into the underbelly. Athelaz had always thought that was where the secret ancients section was and he was proving correct when they abruptly started moving left towards the hole. Once they got to the hole they started going down, actually catching some air as the left suddenly stopped and went down so fast they were several feet above it for almost 10 seconds until they landed.

“I always hated searching through the underbelly, its dark and you spend hours without seeing anyone even a librarian.” Ark said as him and Athelaz where looking around them.  The underbelly spread out around them, floor after floor passing them by with barely any lights except the ones carried by the few people and librarians down here and a couple more outlining the stairs in each corner.

But before they anywhere near the bottom they shot forward again, heading to the back of the building.

“Odd, I thought it would have been at the bottom.” Athelaz said as they headed straight towards a wall, even after coming here numerous times they both instinctively ducked as the lift passed through the wall.

They came out inside the gnomish city below the library but farther down then they had been before. They were passing right above houses and gnomes running around doing their daily business. They started to think maybe the ancients section was in the gnomish city, it would make sense, but they continued forward towards the wall on the other end and going straight into it again. They expected water, knowing usually there was a channel of ocean water right here but instead they pass through pure black rock for several meters before popping out into the ocean where the lift stopped.

They were in a trench below where the usual lift leads them. They were looking around wondering why they stopped. They were in a glass tube they stopped right where they were and went directly down below them into the rock at the bottom of the channel. They could barely see around them because the rift let in no light.

“What’s going on? If where stuck…” Ark said after they had been sitting there for several minutes now. Ark began casting a spell of light as Athelaz did also as he pulled out his mace.

Athelaz spell lit up everything around them and Ark’s spell sent balls of light out onto the sides of the glass near the water. Both of the screamed like little girls when they saw two larges eyes pushed up against the glass staring at them. It was a giant squid that had almost completely covered the glass. Everyone that had been at the library had seen it before, swimming around in the water, but usually you could barely make out what it was it was so far away, just a large shadow.

“I’ve always wondered what that shadow was.” Ark said as the initial shock wore off.

At that the lift began moving downwards, the squid must have been the guard dog and was making sure they weren’t trespassing.

“I understand why no one breaks into this place now.” Athelaz laughed, trying to get rid of the shock of seeing a giant squid.

They went down into a small library, both of them feeling a heavy tingling of magic around them as they descended to the floor. It must have been shield stopping anyone from teleporting in, and the shield keeping the books in a perpetual time stop. Or at least as close as magic could get to stopping time so the books dint age as fast as they should.

They looked around in wonder. The library was only a single story, surrounded completely all four sides by cavern walls with no way out except the lift. It had several librarians wheeling around, these one looked different though. They had the same gold inlay as the lift and seemed a lot more decorative. There was an absence of smell in the room, like the books weren’t allowed to rot away slowly. There were tables in the center of the room and the only shelves with books where against the walls. The room was a descent size, at least several hundred feet by several hundred feet.

“Let’s get started.” Ark said as he was rubbing hands together eagerly looking around.

 

 

December 24 at Ainamafs house, Christmas eve.

 

Addy usually spent most of the holidays with Ain. She would have lived with him if it wouldn’t have drawn so much attention towards Ainamaf for adopting a girl right after Addy’s dad died. Especially sense Ain dint have a wife or kids, one of the downfalls of ruiling a government around the entire world. Unfortunately the most he could get away with was Addy being his Sisters daughter, and even that took almost a decade to forge the paperwork. Luckily his sister Edith was a recluse and spent all of her time hidden away in places Ain dint even know about. Addy hadn’t ever actually seen her other than in pictures; Addy actually thought she wasn’t real and would assume that until Ain got her out of hiding or wherever she was.

Ains house was huge. Being one of the most powerful warlocks in the world had its plusses, especially sense he had inherited all of Psyphons money when he died sense it would have looked awkward given it to Addy. Addy had access to all the money if she ever wanted it sense Ain put it all away in a special fund that provided scholarships and money to the needy. But she had never really wanted it or needed it so it still sat in the fund helping people. Ain had personally provided or paid for anything she had ever needed out of his own money. He had even provided her a debit card so she dint have to ask for someone else to pay for her coffee at the coffee shop anymore.

Just like the house of Whispering Sands or the warlock’s school Ains house looked old and dead on the outside. But on the inside everything was brand new and modern. He even had the same maid Addy’s dad had in his apartment when she was younger in his house.

Addy and Rue snuck into his office while everyone was down stairs having dinner. There were the usual people over, Abagail the head of the school of magic that kept telling Addy how well she did her first semester, acing all her classes, the entire group of the Forgotten and Miir from the orphanage. And of course Daedalus, he always came during the holidays to say hi to Addy and give her presents. Ain had told her that her Dad had assigned Daedalus to protect her, and as the head of security at the Government he was more than qualified, but he had let that job fall into the hands of Ain years ago.

The office was just a huge library with a desk in the center cluttered with papers. In the center Addy saw what she was looking for, papers detailing Deep Haven. Ain and the Forgotten had been up here earlier planning out something. Addy had figured out from Esmyth that they had discovered a lot about the city in the ancients section of the Golems eye library. And what they had found was right in front of her, another way down into the city. They had discovered a secret passage way in the mountains near Seattle leading downwards into the city. They had a modern map marked with the location; it was a large skyscraper a mile or so away from the school. They scribbled on the map ‘probably leads to the tunnel to the right of where Tucker fell in, where the Fallen had come from.’ Addy remember that tunnel, the bracelet had told them to go left so they had gone left with the Fallen. But there was a whole other set of tunnels to the right when they had fallen down the hole in the fountain.

Addy mentally remember the name of the building as she looked around the desk for anything else but couldn’t find anything. Everything was just papers from school and a couple addressed from the Government about things she dint recognize or care about.

As she walked towards the door she heard voices down the hallway coming towards here. It was Athelaz and Trummel arguing about who they thought should have won that night’s wizard fight on TV.

“I swear the fire spell fire the Volcano of the West cast should have destroyed your wizard, he had to have cheated, there’s no other way he could have won.” Athelaz said as they pushed their way into the office. Addy had run up the stairs to the second floor and lay on the floor with her eyes peeking through the bars.

“You’re just jealous the Lightening of the East won the championship, you know as well as I do their no way to cheat in those things.” Trummel said walking up to the desk to grab the map laying on it.

Athelaz made a noise of giving in and he noticed Tucker was right, though he still obviously thought he had cheated somehow.

“Luckily we at least don’t have to try to find that stupid Orb for months now, I’m not looking forward to going there at all.”

“I just want it over with personally.” Trummel said as they were walking to the door. “Ain shouldn’t waste his time getting permission to go into the building’s basement; we can easily teleport in past their security.”  They both laughed as they walked out of the room.

Addy realized she had the perfect opportunity to find the orb if they weren’t going to try for it for months. Though talking the others into going back down there would probably take months also. Addy shrugged as she was walking back down the stairs to dinner, even if she couldn’t get the orb before Ain she could always tell the government what he was doing after he found it. Though getting Ain in trouble wasn’t at the top of her to do list.

As Addy made her way down stairs she could hear everyone leaving. She rushed down the last couple stairs to Ains front door just as Abagail was leaving. She waved goodbye and left after giving Ain a hug. Miir and the rest of the Forgotten where next, Trummel still had the plans in his hand, they were all going back to the orphanage to celebrate Christmas with all the kids. The forgotten usually did get the best Christmas presents. They all gave Addy a hug as they walked by even Ark, who Addy barely knew. Esmyth was last and gave her a present.

“Don’t open it until tomorrow.” She said going out the door into a snow storm, Miir had opened a portal outside they were all hopping through.

Daedalus was next; he stopped in front of her and kneeled. He was a large man nearly 7 foot with his boots on, and his armor he always wore with spikes all over it made him look ever bigger.

“This is for you, just in case you ever get into trouble again like you did down below in those tunnels.” He handed her a necklace, it was just plain silver but had a small glowing sapphire rapid in a silver lattice hanging from it.

“The necklace is special; it should allow me to teleport anywhere you are regardless of enchantments or defenses thanks to the governments special teleports. It might not work in every case, but at least ill know you’re in trouble and I will find a way to you.”

Addy put it on and tried to give him a hug, but just kind of awkwardly hugged his hand.

“Thank you, I love it.”

Daedalus got up and gave Ainamaf a nod as he walked out the door.  When he got outside he pulled something out of his pocket and disappeared, Addy assumed it was something form the government allowing him to teleport back to their offices.

“Time for bed.” Ainamaf said as Daedalus disappeared. As Addy went back upstairs she saw Ain head to his lab in the basement. She knew he was still spending all of his time looking for the orb, they still had no idea where it was. So the Forgotten were still going down into Deep Haven with only guesses of where the stone might open something in an entire city. And Ain held himself personally responsible if something where to happen to them down there, so he spent all his free time searching for the orb.

 

 

Chapter 23: new semester, 2 months later.

 

Addy was in advanced illusion classes in the garden of illusion now that it was her second semester. Abagail and the other professors chose all the advanced students from the first semester and put them into the classes according to skill. Emma was now in almost all of her classes, but she had gotten lucky and also had Veronica in half of her classes now. To become a sword mage she had to take half magic and half fighting classes and she had aced all her magic classes her first semester just like Addy had.

“Today we will learn a slightly more complex spell of mirror images.” Trial said as she ran her hand through her hair. All first year students in advanced classes usually got the head of the schools so the heads could see their future star students.

“I’m cancelling the effects of the fogs to help you with the spell.” She said waving her hands and mumbled something, the fog didn’t go away but Addy did notice a lack of magic in the air around her.

“The spell is on page 450. Begin.” As she finished she started to wonder off into the fog like usual, she would normally reappear randomly as the class continued giving instructions or help, or even casting a fireball at a student who failed 10 times in a row once.

Addy and Veronica flipped to the page and read the spell. It was several sentences and required almost any spell components, the rarer the spell component the more powerful the spell.

“This shouldn’t be that hard.” Veronica said launching into the spell first, she held some ground up dragons tail in her hand, from the plant not an actual dragon, as she finished the dragons tail turned to sparks and flew to her right and left to form two images of her. As Veronica turned to Addy to show them off, her images turning with her also Addy burst into laughter.

“What? What is it?” Veronica asked scowling, both of her images following suite and scowling also. But her left image looked more like a guy with Veronica’s hair and lips, and the one to her right looked green and troll like.

“The key is to focus on what you look like, imagine it in your mind. If you don’t then the spell will run wild.” Trial said appearing next to them out of the fog.

Veronica huffed and let go of the spell with her mind making the images fade away.

 

 

After class everyone met up at the coffee place, it had become their de facto daily meet up place between classes. The owner almost always gave them coffee that interacted with each other, today half of them had gotten pirates and the other half had gotten ninjas. The foam figures where even now fighting it out on the table, the pirates where winning at the moment with Thomas’s ninja dying almost immediately.

“Awww come on, why does mine always die, it’s like he make mine different than yours.” Thomas said looking at the owner as he made coffees.

“I somehow doubt he’s in a conspiracy to make sure your foam dies first.” Trin said laughing as she shook her head at him.

“But a conspiracy where we tip him to make sure yours dies first is not unheard of.” Michael said smiling at all the others to go along with it.

“What, I knew it!” Obviously that had never done any such thing Addy thought, but Thomas was so easy to fool…

“I found something about the orb.” Trin said to Addy as the others continued on arguing.

“What did you find?”

“Remember that the orb made the sultan rich?” Addy shook her head remembering. “Well the king of Deep Haven was also extremely rich, oddly for back then and even for a king. It might not be anything but I have a feeling the orb had something to do with him being rich and that’s where we would find it.”

Addy agreed, everything pointed to the king and his palace, even the Forgotten had asked them the most about that. It wasn’t exactly certain, which is why Ain was still looking where the orb was, but it was as close as they were going to get. Especially sense the Forgotten had finally gotten permission to enter the skyscraper in a week, if they wanted to get the orb before Ain and stop him from hurting himself they had to move soon.

“Guys.” Addy said, trying to get all of their attentions. She had to say it several times but they finally turned towards her.

“We need to move on the orb before Ain does.”

“I know that the Forgotten moves out soon, but what’s the real harm in letting them get it?” Veronica asked, they all agreed with her as they looked at Addy.

“War. If Ain finds Vizix he could force him to attack now because the place he’s hiding is found out. I trust in my uncle, but not when it comes to this. You all know how little the government has done to stop Vizix, I’m positive my uncle will risk it all for a chance to take him out.” Addy said letting it all sink in. She honestly did believe Ain would do something risky if he got the orb. Ever sense he had started looking he had become obsessed. The only possible way to guarantee he was alright to give the orb to the government.

“I’m in.” Thomas said as everyone looked at him.  “What? We can always just learn a spell to teleport or buy a charm from store in the magic district that will teleport us back to the school if we get in trouble. It would barely cost anything sense the spell would only need to teleport us a mile tops. So what kind of danger are we actually in?”

“He’s right, I can’t learn a teleportation spell strong enough to take us all back, but Ain’s said teleportation isn’t blocked from down in the city back up so grabbing a charm from the magic district would work. If we fail then we fail, and we just safely come back up here.” Addy said looking at them all.

“One problem, what about the stone? We need it to unlock whatever leads to the orb.” Trin said.

“I can take care of that, Ain keeps it on his desk, all I need is to go say hi and grab it. But we would have to go straight away to the skyscraper before he figures out what happened.”

“And about the skyscraper…” Trin said to that also.

“Now that one’s easy.” Veronica chipped in. “Where magical people sneaking into a non-magic building, how could we possible not do that one? Illusion, teleportation, mind wipes, what can’t we do?” Veronica finished laughing.

“Doesn’t the Government watch out for that kind of thing? Monitor all magic so that exact thing doesn’t happen.”  Michael asked.

“Not if we don’t steal anything, they could care less.” Veronica smiled at him.

So they had a plan to sneak down into tunnels with possibly hundreds of thousands of gnomish skeletons that would hunt them the second they realized they were down there. Addy never thought she would be thinking that, but Ain was the one person in her life that always been there for her and she wanted to be there for him. Even if it got her into more trouble then she has ever and probably will ever be in for the rest of her life. She cringed thinking about that shook it off, this is exactly what her dad would have done from all the stories she had heard of him over the year from different teachers that knew who she really was.

 

 

“I don’t see why where doing it on the weekend; after we get expelled for the next visible forever school won’t matter anyways.” Michael was saying as he looked gloomily off into one of the corners of the room. He had been the most against still going through with this in the last week, but sense everyone else was still for it he still planned on going.

“I can’t say I disagree with the expelled part.” Addy said as she thought about how angry Ain was going to be. “Though at the most he will only expel us for a couple days until he calms down.”

“See, you only have to listen to your parents yell at you for getting expelled for a couple days and possible also be dead at the end of all this Michael. All in all it’s really not that bad.” Veronica said smiling at him, she was joking and everyone else knew it but now he looked even more flustered.

They were sitting in their front room lounging around in the couches, the TV was off and Rue was asleep in Addys lap. Addy had finally gotten a meeting with Ain sense he had been constantly busy the last few days, probably with the Forgotten and the mission they were about to go on, well where going to go on not that she thought about it.

After she took the stone from Ain’s office they would immediately go to the skyscraper and make their way down into the tunnels. They had all already gotten enchanted spheres from a shop in the magic district to teleport them back up if they needed and had backpacks filled with all the odd supplies they thought they would need. Michael had actually been the most helpful in his pessimistic mood because he thought of everything that might happen and bought things just in case that happened though, because most of the things they would probably never use even.

 

 

Chapter 24, the finale

 

Addy was floating up towards Ain office, hoping he still kept the rock somewhere in his office. It had taken her weeks to get this meeting and was going to be her last chance to stop him before the Forgotten went down their tomorrow. Ain was sitting at his desk, he actually looked much better than usual. Either because he had just cast a spell on himself or he had been getting some sleep recently.

“Adalin! Long time no see.” Ain said spinning around in his chair to look at her when he saw her. “I am sorry it took so long to get a meeting, it has been quite busy these last couple weeks before the Forgotten goes down there.” Ain said waving at the rock lying on the desk in front of him. He aslo had the gloves Tucker had found lying out in front of him.

“I know, Esmyth has been telling me all about it.” Addy said sitting down in front of Ain at his desk.

“Yes, she told me you’ve been a lot of help recounting what you saw down there, a lot more then what Tucker was able to remember” Ain smiled. “Also about down there… you dint get this meeting to try to get to go did you?”

“No, no. I made this weeks ago, just wanted to see you.” Addy smiled lying. She had wanted to leave and go down into Deep Haven weeks ago before the Forgotten got so close to leaving, but Ain had been busy.

“Maybe in a couple years I’ll let you go on another mission with the Forgotten. I know your prepared and know magic… just this one is very dangerous, and you are still quite young. Maybe even I will tag along; I haven’t gone on an adventure for a while now.” Ain smiled and looked away slightly as if he was remembering something fondly.

Addy could only think about how if the Forgotten got their hand on the orb Ain wouldn’t be around for another two years. Vizix would find him and destroy him and probably even take the orb for himself.

“I would like that.” Addy smiled, genuinely liking the idea of them going on an adventure together with the Forgotten.

Ain shook his head agreeing. “I see that you have been acing all your classes again, and these one are advanced. Your professors tell me that your one of the best in the class again this semester.” He smiled.

Addy realized he was awfully happy, happier then she had seen him in years. She wondered why, he was usually sad when he was about to send the Forgotten off to a dangerous place. They could take care of themselves but Ain never liked putting other people in harm’s way. That’s one of the main reasons he was one of the best Chancellors after my dad died, almost as good as him even.

“Why are you so happy?” Addy blurted out. “I mean the Forgotten are about to go down their…” She clarified as Ain looked at her awkwardly. He quickly regained himself and smiled at her.

“The orb is important to me. I can’t tell you exactly why, but I’m sure you have made your own guesses, you’re a smart kid. Regardless of what happens the next few days I will finally have the orb, I have taken every precaution to insure that over the last several months. Now I can finally just relax until I get it, and do…” He just smiled at the end. Though Addy knew what he had to do was try to find Vizix.

“You have been working a lot lately. It’s nice to at least see you smile.” Addy smiled back at him, she genuinely believed what she said, though she wanted to say something completely different to him at that moment.

“I have everything to smile about. Are you done with classes today?”

“Yes.” Addy said unsure of what he was trying to get at.

“I just thought with all the help you’ve been giving Esmyth lately you would want to deliver the rock and gloves to her and say goodbye.” Ain said handing Addy the rock and gloves.

She couldn’t believe her luck, at the most Ain would have not noticed the rock missing for maybe 10 minutes which gave them almost no head start. Now they could make it hours until anyone knew what she had done.

Addy realized she had just been staring at the rock in Ain’s hand for almost a minute now and snapped out of it.

“Yes of course. Ide love to, I haven’t seen Esmyth for days.”

Ain looked at her weird for a couple seconds then handed them over to her.

“Good. I have a lot of paper work to do so it would help me a lot.”

Addy got up and started walking towards the door before he changed his mind.

“Adalin.” Ain said right before she was about to jump down the hole in the octopus that was opening up.

Addy turned around slowly, thinking about jumping if he wanted them back. Even though she knew Ain could just teleport and catch up to her in seconds.

“Yes?” She meekly asked.

“Tell Trummel the word for the stone to work is ‘excavtoara’. And keep up the good work in school, I’m proud of you, your father would be proud too.”

All Addy managed to say was “Thank you.” As she turned around and jumped down the hole.

 

 

Addy ran to the house of whispering sounds as quickly as she, the others knew she was coming and where already prepared to leave immediately. But she was still nervous and wanted to get going. They had already planned everything out, how to sneak into the Columbia tower, they had figured out which skyscraper it was from Esmyth. How they were going to get around the gnomes, Trin was going to use the golden gear they had taken to hopefully repel them; she had gotten some help with how to use it from Dawa in the church. Hopefully nothing else happened because even Addy had started to think recently that this was a long shot along with Thomas.

Getting to the stairs of the house Addy pushed her way in, still amazed with the difference between the outside and inside. Running up the stairs she passed two female students in a conversation she could care less about. The center of the building was in its perpetual sunny glow, magically lit from above to make it look sunny out even at night, though one of the faculty members in charge usually turned it off at night with a spell so people with windows towards the center could sleep. Addy got to the door and barged in, the door magically sensing who she was.

Veronica and Trin both stood up from the couch saying in unison “Did you get it?”

“Yup.” Addy said holding up the stone and gloves she had in her hands. She probably should have hid it while running across campus, but who would of none what it was anyways?

“Let’s get going then; the quicker we do it the quicker we can get expelled.” Michael laughed as he shrugged on his backpack filled with supplies. The backpacks where magic, so even though they were smaller and packed full they were significantly lighter than they should be normally.

“Or… we can give the stone back and go back to school like this never happened.” Thomas tried to smile at the others make it look like he was joking, but he was looking around honestly hoping the others would agree with him and all their planning was just a big joke.

“Yeah right.” Veronica laughed as she put her backpack on thinking Thomas was just joking around.  Thomas looked crest fallen as everyone else laughed also and began gathering all their stuff to leave. But he too put on his backpack and stood at the door waiting, prepared to follow his friends.

“I know you don’t want to go, but it will be fun and Trin has the gear so it won’t even be dangerous.” Addy said trying to reassure him as they both stood at the door waiting. Thomas looked slightly happier at that, but Addy could see in his eyes that he didn’t actually believe it. Which was good because if he thought doing something this stupid was a good and safe idea she probably wouldn’t trust him being on her team.

As everyone finally gathered at the door Addy looked around and said “Ready? No coming back after we leave.”  Everyone shook their heads up and down agreeing even Thomas though his was slower and less enthusiastic than the others.

Good, now they just need to make their way to Columbia tower, which was only a couple minutes’ walk outside the gates of the school. The problem was getting out of the school grounds without the guard at the gate reporting something weird to Ain, but they had a plan for that too.

 

 

“Ok, we just need a few seconds to sneak past.” Addy said as they stood off to the side of the guard house next to the wall where the guard couldn’t see them. The guard was really just there for more decorative purposes then to actually do anything, but he would still report back to Ain or someone below him if they walked out in front of him.

“Here I go, get ready.” Thomas said walking out to the guard. He had actually come up with the plan to sneak past, it was bolder then anything the others came up with. Veronica had suggested knocking the guard out and Trin had suggested she act like she was pregnant, neither of which would of worked and both would of drawn way to much attention.

As Thomas got closer he started to wave his hand and talk loudly, not loud enough to draw the attention of everyone around but enough to get the guards attention.

“Oh my God! Do you see that!” As Thomas said that the guard rushed out of his guard house where he was lounging about watching something on the TV.

“See what, what’s going on?” The guard said looking over at the school which was where Thomas was looking and pointing.

As the guard got to Thomas, Addy and the others rushed out of their hiding spot and through the gate which let them through because they were students even without the guard’s permission. But Addy couldn’t help but looking up at the statue as they passed that served as a sentinel and guardian of the school at all the gates going in and out. But it dint move or do anything, Addy suspected it was more of a scare factor before she remember the same statues protecting the tunnels to the dungeons below the school they passed and knew if it wanted to it could of easily stopped them. Thinking of that her and the others rushed out.

“Everything’s on fire! The school its burning. Cant you see.” Thomas said pointing all around. The guard looked confused as he looked around.

“That’s snow.” The guard said looking at Thomas curiously, probably wondering what he was at.

“Oh yeah, snow. I forgot. I’m an elf.” Thomas said pointing to his ears. “We don’t get snow where I’m from so I thought fire.” Thomas shrugged and started walking away towards the gate, hoping the guard wouldn’t question anymore about it. And feeling lucky that the guard that day was human and not one of the elven guards, Thomas had grown up in Seattle and most humans tended to think elves naturally weird so the guard probably would just forget about it and marking it down to a crazy elf.

Which is what he did exactly, Thomas walked out of the gate without the guard even say a thing to him. Thomas looked over his shoulder at the guard and saw him back in his guard house shaking his head as he started to watch TV again. It probably wasn’t even the weirdest thing he had heard or seen this week when it came to this school.

 

 

 

Addy and the others worked their way through the magic district, making sure to go nowhere near where Esmyth and the other Forgotten members would be at. She even made sure to go around Tucker’s favorite bar, even if it was mid-day, you never knew when a dwarf would want a drink.

As they walked towards a gate leading out into Seattle no one talked. Addy realized it was because they all still thought they would get caught. Looking at the others, Thomas, Michael, and Trin where all nervously looking around as if Ainamaf was going to jump out from any of the hiding spots around them. But to her left Veronica walked looking straight ahead, her swords showing on her hips. Looking around herself Addy noticed they did stick out quite a bit even in the magic district, a bunch of kids wearing packs of supplies. If they dint stop sticking out so much their plan to get past the gate guard would be for naught.

“Guys, stop acting so nervous. We already stick out with our packs on, there’s no reason to look nervous on top of that. Ain knows just as many people out here as well.”

At that they all nodded and tried to act more normal, but just succeeded in acting even more oddly as Thomas started to whistle and Trin swung her arms at her side like she had forgotten how to use them. Veronica and Addy shook their head as they continued on, there wasn’t anything they could do at this point, they had already walked the entire length of the magical district.

The edge of the district unique in the sense that it just suddenly appeared. It took up the entire center of the street they were walking down and went from the road up about 15 feet and just cut off suddenly showing the clear sky that always showed inside the pocket universe that held the magic district and the school. The portal was like a one way mirror, they could see rain and dark clouds looking through it, even a couple people walking through both ways.

“We need to disguise are gear now.” Addy said preparing the spell she had learned a couple days ago in the mage’s school library. It would make them look like they were carrying nothing, and sense their backpacks where magical and weighed almost nothing they wouldn’t looked like they were weighed down either.

“You know we could have just done that spell back in our room instead of here where we will just stand out even more.” Thomas laughed, though he looked around as he finished, noticing how much they did stand out and wishing he would have thought of that earlier. Even with only a couple people around this part of the district, all it would take is one to tell Ain and their plan would be screwed.

Addy began the spell, gathering everyone in front of her. She put out of her mind what Thomas had said though she agreed and wished she would have thought of that earlier also. She held a small glass tube of air in her hand as she cast the spell. Finishing the spell she pointed it at them all and their backpacks disappeared.

“We have 30 minutes until the spell wears off, but as long as nothing clouds the air in this tube” Addy said holding up the glass tube. “Your equipment will be invisible.” She tucked it gently into the folds of her jacket in a small dimensional pocket where it would be unable to break.

“Good, let’s move.” Veronica said pushing her way through the portal.

As they stepped threw they were assaulted by rain, just like most Seattle days. But Addy had gotten so use to controlled climates that she had almost forgot that it would rain. All they got was snow inside the school.

They came out in an alley between two buildings. There was a spell cast on this part that anyone walking past that wasn’t magical would be compelled to not look this way, or if they did not find anything out of the ordinary. It was a subtle spell not meant to mess with mundane people too much. Also the portal was spell locked so you couldn’t accidently walk through it unless you had a magical person besides you. That’s why you weren’t allowed to use the spell to go back to the magic district if anyone non-magical was in the alley way like a homeless person or someone throwing out the trash. Though that dint stop some ordinary people from accidently finding their way to the magic district thanks to a lazy magician or two.

Veronica started forward immediately after going through, they dint have much time to do what they needed to do, especially if something went wrong. The Columbia building was only a couple blocks away. They took a left out of the alley, sticking together in a pack and walking as fast as they could. Crossing several streets they dint talk much, just focused on getting their and getting it done. None of them had ever done anything like this before, and all of their bodies adrenalines where rushing. Addy could feel her heartbeat, even if they weren’t doing anything that dangerous yet, why should she be worried about this when they were going to be going up thousands of undead zombie gnomes in a matter of hours.

They reached the building and walked in, they all looked around for the bathroom, the one place they could use for what they had to do.

Addy, Veronica, and Trin started to walk into the girl’s bathroom as the guys stopped and looked at each other.

“Come on, we all know your girls anyways.” Trin said as she walked into the bathroom after the other two.

Thomas and Michael looked at each other and shrugged, walking in after them.

Lucky no one was in their otherwise the plan may have gone a little wonky. For the second time in almost 10 minutes Addy realized they really hadn’t thought this plan out very well.

“Ok, lock the door and cast the spell. I’ll start finding the room the Forgotten was talking about leading down in the city.” Addy said, Veronica nodded heading over to the door.

She cast a quick spell locking the door even though it had no lock, then began casting a spell like the one on the alley way. Not nearly as powerful but strong enough to make people find another bathroom for a good 10 minutes at least.

“Done” Veronica said.

Addy nodded as her and Trin sat down next to each other. Trin had brought an orb of scrying to help them locate the hidden underground passage which she took out and sat down between them. It was a clear crystal ball that dint roll at all when she sat it down on the marble floor.

“clink” They all looked over as Thomas fiddled with a feminine dispenser on the wall.

Thomas looked at them all apologetically. “Sorry, I’ve never been in the girl’s bathroom before. I’ll just go stand over here.” He walked over to the corner and sat down as Veronica laughed and shook her head at him.

“Everyone quite.” Michael asked as he put his hand to the floor casting a spell. As a druid he could sense through the earth, trying to find any hidden passages. But with all the cement and unnatural things around them they weren’t sure if he could sense anything at all.

“There. About 100 feet down.” Thomas said pointing down into the ground near the center of the building.

Addy and Trin shook their heads as they began casting their spell. With Michaels help they dint have to scry everything underneath the building just around one spot. If Addy could just get a good view of where they were teleporting to she could teleport them all down below like they planned.

Finishing the spell they both raised their hands up above the orb as it turned pitch black.

“Light.” Addy asked Trin who cast a quick spell underneath her breath and waved her hand over the orb. The orb started to glow slightly but remained dark.

“Where just floating around in the dirt.” Trin said as she moved her hands with Addy’s, making the orb fly around.

“Yeah, if we don’t get lucky this could take hours.” Addy replied as she sighed.

As they moved the orb around everyone watched hoping they would find it. They dint come this far for nothing. After about 5 minutes of moving it around they had only been able to find some underground wires and a sewage pipe. But they continued on, going back and forth and up and down. Trying to cover every inch around the area Michael pointed them too.

Suddenly the orb lit up as the light around it reflected back inside it as it bounced off walls.

“Finally.” Addy said, everyone but Addy and Trin stood up, coming over to look at the room they had found.

“Are you sure it’s the right place?” Thomas asked.

“Yes.” Trin said, pointing at something inside the orb, looking into it there was writing on the one open entrance in the cave. It was gnomish writing, or at least what assumed was gnomish writing thanks to the two gnome statues standing beside the entrance.

“Good, let’s go. People are going to have to pee sometime today.” Veronica said looking at the door. She knew the spell wasn’t strong enough to keep away people who had to go really bad.

Addy looked at the surrounding, memorizing the layout as complete as she could. If she memorized it wrong they could end up in teleported into solid rock, or even worst half their bodies could be and the other half could be in the cave.

She nodded to Trin, signaling that she had it. Trin nodded also, they were both going to cast the spell so they both had to memorize it.

“Ok everyone gather around, we only have one shot at this.” Trin said as she stood up placing the orb back into her backpack.

They gathered around into a circle all holding hands. Trin and Addy began the spell. One they probably shouldn’t be attempting in the first place as only first year students. Teleportation magic was one of the hardest and most powerful spells there was. Only the most powerful mages could teleport across the world or even a continent. Luckily they were only trying to teleport a hundred feet away.  But still, if they dint have enough magic to teleport that far they could end up anywhere between that 100 feet and where they now stood, or if either Trin or Addy messed up the spell.

As they were about to finish a loud knock came against the door as a lady started to yell.

“Let me in, I can’t hold it any longer!”

Everyone but Addy and Trin looked at the door in alarm, but luckily both of them where so into the spell neither broke the incantation. But Addy did for a split second loose the mental image of where they were going in her head.  As her and Trin finished the spell Addy rushed to get the image back, she hoped it worked as the felt her body become insubstantial and disappear.

A second later she felt like she was floating, suddenly thinking she must of messed up the spell and teleported them straight into a rock. But as she was thinking that gravity took hold and they all fell to the floor.

Addy got up quickly patting her legs to making sure they were all here as she looked around.

“Yes.” She screamed. “We actually did it. We teleported without ending up in the rocks.” Addy smiled at them all.

But they all just looked at her with large eyes.

“Wait , you thought we were going to all end up teleported in the ground and you still went through with it? Without even ever trying it, like without just one day asking ‘hey guys can I practice that teleportation spell once in a safe environment before we try this so we don’t all die by teleporting in the rocks.’.” Thomas asked, almost yelling at the end.

Addy just shrugged meekly, not really knowing what to say. As she shrugged Rue came out of her backpack where she had been sleeping during it all and crawled onto Addy’s shoulder looking around at all the nasty looks coming her way. Rue looked at Addy and then flew over to Thomas landing in his lap, not wanting to be at the center of all the looks.

“Even Rue agrees with me.” Thomas said petting her head.

“Don’t worry.” Trin said. “I had every faith that we would only loose one or two people tops. An acceptable loss.” Trin said as she got up and patted the dirt off her pants as she walked to the gnomish entrance to inspect it.

The others just shook their heads as they got up, all of them realizing now how stupid of an idea all of this was.

 

Chapter 25, the tunnels

 

Addy stood, looking down the dark tunnel with nothing glowing or any signs of life. Which scared her even more then if she could hear creatures down the tunnel because she knew the gnomes where down there playing dead until someone awakens them. But she realized that wasn’t really it, she felt scared this time because she dint have Tucker or The Fallen guild even if they were ghosts to come with her.

Out of the corner of Addy’s eye she saw a burst of light and turned to see Trin holding up the golden gear in front of her as a light. And it was a fairly effective one at that, the light seemed to seep into the darkness and it dint cast any shadows.

“Might as well use it now if we need light.” Trin shrugged as she started forward taking the lead.

Everyone quickly fell behind her not wanting to get stuck behind. Addy looked around the tunnels as they walked on, noticing that they were perfectly carved and even that the supported where made of stone. Carefully crafted into the wall the stone pillars where every 50-100 yards, somewhere just plane but others where carved in the perfect likeness of a gnome or dragon. Addy thought about the gnomes who made it and how they were probably told to just make ordinary supports but every once in a while they would get bored and make something spectacular without even being paid anymore for it. People really dint do that kind of thing anymore Addy realized as she continued on after one pillar carved into the likeness of children standing on each other’s shoulders, the pillar making an S shape as the children where failing to keep themselves up straight.

Rue was still with Thomas at this point, curled up on top of his backpack, occasionally peeking her head up and looking around.

“How long is this tunnel?” Michael asked after what seemed like at least mile of walking at this point.

“Nothing I could find said anything about how long it was. But it was used as a main trading route connected to the surface, which is why it’s so wide.” Trin said moving her arms out as she indicated how large the tunnel was, it could easily fit a car or maybe two small cars side by side.

“So my best guess is…” Trin pretended to think, randomly counting her fingers and pretending to do math in the air in front of her. “Very long.” She finished smiling back at Michael who just glared at her.

“It’s good anyways.” Veronica said. “Gives us more distance between us and the Forgotten if they figure out what where up to.”

At that everyone shook their head agreeing, but Addy knew that with how powerful Ark was the Forgotten could probably rapidly move down these tunnels on some kind of magic spell Addy couldn’t even imagine.

After what felt like hours of walking, only knowing they weren’t somehow going in circles or making no progress by the random pillars carved in the likeness of something new or different they came into a cave.

Trin held up the gear and whispered something underneath her breath, as she finished the gear lit up even more revealing the entire cave. The cave was a fairly large circle with houses encircling the entire edge of it except the tunnel entrances. At the other side of the cave was another entrance similar to the one they just came into to.

“Let me guess.” Michael began as he looked towards Trin. “Your study’s said that this was a, what do you call it, cave?” At that Trin just glared at him, but before she could say anything Addy walked between.

“Let’s eat while we have a place to sit.” Addy said indicating the fountain in the center of the room. As they all walked over and sat down next to the fountain Thomas fell back looking at cautiously.

Addy realized what he was worried about, it looked oddly similar to the fountain they fell into to get to the gnomish city the first time.

“No one said anything about going down another fountain Thomas, this one is perfectly safe.” Addy said motioning for him to come sit down next to her and the others.

“This one could still lead to the Sarlac pit or something.” Thomas said, but he still came over and sat down, digging into his backpack for food which forced Rue to jump over onto Addy’s shoulder.

Rue sat on Addy’s shoulder looking down at the food in her hands and up at her face, and back and forth.

“O now you come over to me that I have food you little traitor.” Addy said to Rue, who did a little shrug understanding the basics of what she meant. Addy laughed and broke off a piece of her apple giving it to her.

“I think this place is a weigh station.” Trin said from the other side of Veronica who was sitting to the right of Addy.

“Kind of a place where merchants to get rest if they don’t want to go all the way to the city, or a place where the city could keep merchants that they don’t want in the city proper.”

“So we should be around half way their then, they wouldn’t want to keep this place to far away.” Michael said as he got up still eating an orange he pealed, he walked over to one of the falling over tents the littered the area around the fountain.

“My question is where are all the gnomes, this place should have them too.” Veronica asked as they all looked over at Michael as they finished eating.

He kicked one of the rotten wood poles that used to hoist up the color canvas of tents and stalls for the merchants. The pole fell apart, cracking in the center and falling backwards revealing what was underneath the canvas it use to hold up. Michael dropped his orange suddenly and transformed into the druid form of an average sized panther. Addy couldn’t help but first realize how powerful Michael must be to transform into that as she stood up with everyone else finally also realizing what Michael must have found.

Veronica was already up and over near Michael with her weapons drawn.

“It doesn’t seem to be moving.” She said evenly, still looking around as if more where going to jump out from every building.

“The gear should keep them dormant if there’s only a few of them. And especially if there isn’t any of those magic casting ones we saw last time in the purple robes.” Trin said bringing over the gear to the zombie which was still not moving. As she brought it closer the gnome started to rapidly decay, turning to complete dust by the time she reached Veronica.

“So where safe?” Veronica said as the she let her weapons down, even Michael transformed back into human form.

“Yes and no. Unless your two high priests sacrificing your life for eternity it won’t hold off an army like last time, but helping to keep them from attacking us or turning a couple of them to ash that it can do.”  Trin said.

Addy knew she wasn’t exactly sure what all it could do, even Dawa had said it was possible Trin could do exactly what the priests did without sacrificing her life and that they only did it to protect their church forever. But old objects tended to not come with instructions so even the most powerful priest in the world might not be able to do any more with it then Trin could.

“Good, then let’s get going before more than a couple of them decide to attack.” Veronica said as she walked back to her backpack, still keeping her weapons drawn.

As they walked backed together they noticed Thomas still near the fountain looking at the tunnel apposite of the one they came in, his hand was out stretched pointing at something.

They all looked over following Thomas’s finger to see what he was looking at. In the center of the tunnel was one of the purple clad gnomes with a wooden staff as tall as it was, at the top of its staff was a giant purple crystal. It stood right at the edge of the gears light, darkness encircling him and even spilling into the area in front of him where the light should have been.

“Do you think it can summon more?” Veronica asked as she lifted her weapons up.

“Maybe, but the light should reduce its power somewhat.” Trin said, but at the very end she whispered “hopefully” loud enough they could still all hear.

“We should attack before it can do anything.” Thomas said pulling out his weapons.

Addy and the others were actually surprised; he had been against all of this so much everyone had forgotten he was actually a warrior just like Veronica.

“Now before it summons anything, Veronica and Michael with me.” Thomas said running forward, Michael transforming into a panther again mid stride.

The gnome reacted immediately trying to summon more gnomes, waving its staff in the air a purple portal appeared next to it with several gnomes spilling out before it suddenly closed. The gear was stopping its power, last time the portals they summoned dint close at all.

“Can the gear turn it to ash if we get closer?” Addy asked Trin as she thought of a spell to cast on the gnomish warlock.

“No, but it might have more of an effect.” Trin said walking forward with Addy.

“Move to the sides.” Addy yelled as she began a lightening spell.

Veronica and Thomas both side stepped as Addy finished, sending lightening forking out of her fingers towards the mage. As it hit it bounced a purple shield sending it straight upward into the rock where it explode sending small pieces of rock and dust tumbling down.

“Damn.” Addy exclaimed as her and Trin finally got close enough to fully enclose the gnome in the light.

“You two get the gnomes I’ll get the purple one.” Veronica said as they finally met up with the gnomish zombies. Michael and Thomas attacked viciously as they met the three gnomes, Veronica jumping over and getting the center one in the face as she launched herself at the gnomish warlock who was casting another spell already.

Thomas pretended to block the gnomes on the lefts pick axe but instead feigned a block and quickly pulled away. The gnome stumbled forward falling to the ground as its momentum dint connect to anything. Thomas quickly held the dirk in his left underneath the gnomes chin as it fell down impaling itself, but Thomas had to let go before he tumbled down with the gnome. As he let go he switched his sword around in his hand so it pointed downward and grabbed it with both hands as he used all his weight to shove the sword straight into the head of the gnome Veronica had pushed onto the ground in the center.

Michael jumped quickly out of the way from the shovel coming straight down towards him. He then swatted at the gnomes side with his claws drawing a large gash across its side that would have killed a living creature. But the gnomish zombie was no living creature and it had already begun to lift up its shovel for another try. Michael saw Veronica behind the gnome and the actually dangerous purple gnome and knew he had to make this quick like Thomas already had. Instead of trying to dodge or use actually fighting moves he did what a large cat would do, he jumped onto the gnome burying it underneath his weight and sending the shovel flying. The gnome tried to fight but really couldn’t do much, Michael chomped his mouth around the gnomes head and thrashed until the gnome stopped moving.

Veronica had already casted two fire spells onto her swords as she was running towards the purple gnome. She jumped at him throwing both of her swords up and dropping them as hard as she could onto the gnome as she descended. She thought she had just won the fight but a good foot from the gnome her swords connected like Addy’s spell and smashed against the shield. This time however her highly enchanted swords actually cracked the shield sending lines of bright purple around the gnome.

The gnome got wide eyed and began to retreat backwards away from the light, realizing he wasn’t nearly as powerful in it. As he went he cast a spell at Veronica, sending a purple line of light straight at her from his staff. She blocked with her swords but the light still spilled around them partly hitting Veronica, Addy could tell she wasn’t seriously hurt but definitely was affected by the spell because her swords dropped to her side as she growled in pain.

Michael and Thomas both ran to the gnome trying to stop him from escaping. As he went he tried to cast another portal to summon more zombies.

“O no you don’t.” Trin said as her and Addy where only 10 feet behind the others.

Trin held up the gear and cast a spell. When she finished the light in the room began to focus, completely going away behind her and working its way forward to where she was pointing the front of the gear. It all focused on gnome and then the light pulsed once shooting forward and breaking the gnomes purple shield finally, sending little motes of purple energy flying around him.

The gnome really looked frightening now as the light in the room snapped back and Thomas and Michael where upon him. Michael jumped in this time, burying the gnome beneath him and raking with his hind claws as the gnome lifted the staff in front of him blocking Michael’s teeth. But Michael couldn’t stop the gnome as it began a new spell; the staff in its hand began pulsing with energy.

“Michael jump away quickly.” Thomas said from behind him. Michael stop raking with his back claws and tucked them in using them to pounce of the gnome and to the side where landed smoothly, quickly turning around and prepared to jump back into the fray.

But Thomas took his sword and quickly thrust it down into the gnomes head using both of his hands all his weight like before. He easily got past the gnomes staff , the gnome stopped casting and his staff slowly stopped glowing as Thomas removed his sword. Everyone still held their weapons, not sure if the fight was over or not. But after a minute the staff wasn’t glowing anymore and the gnome hadn’t move at all so they all slowly lowered their weapons.

“And where supposed to fight off an entire city of these things? Doesn’t seem that hard.” Thomas said, actually smiling a little, Addy couldn’t tell if he was trying to make everyone feel better or he actually enjoyed the fight enough to forget he dint even want to come in the first place.

But before anyone could answer Veronica came up to them with her weapons sheathed limping slightly.

“Are you ok?” Trin said running over to her quickly, handing Addy the gear to hold as she examined her.

“Yeah I think so; it must have been a spell of sickness because I just feel sick all over.”

“A spell of entropy, not lethal and easily countered.” Trin smiled as she sighed in relief. She began casting a healing spell, holding her hands over Veronica. As she finished her hands glowed quickly then faded, but gave no other indication that it had worked.

Trin looked at Veronica questioning her if it had worked, Veronica smiled in returned.

“That’s way better.” she said shaking all her limbs as if they had been asleep.

“Let’s get our stuff and go. Quicker where away the better.” Addy said staring down at the dead gnome she wondered how they would get past an entire city of them.

As they gathered at the tunnel entrance prepared to continue on they all carefully walked around the gnome, trying not to look. Trin took the lead again.

“You think we’ll meet the Fallen again down here?” Michael asked.

“I hope so; a little laughter would go a long way right now. Making fun of Thomas’s whining is only fun for so long.” Veronica said making them all laugh, even Thomas though he did try to act offended for a few seconds.

 

Chapter 26, Finding hope.

 

Addy could have sworn they had been walking for hours now, so long it had to be dark outside by now. There was no way that the cave they had fought gnomish zombie in was the half point, not even the quarter point.

“O by the god of Bellona how long is this going to take.” Thomas whined again for the tenth time sense they had left the cave.

From beside him Michael giggled at the name for the god of travel, saying it again as he laughed.

“I don’t know.” Trin said. “Last time we were started miles away from the Colombia building and fell down the hole in the fountain. So for the final time, I’m, not, sure.” Trin said emphasizing the last three words.

“Even if all of those things are in the opposite direction we will still either be there by tonight or a little after we wake up tomorrow.” Veronica said.  Addy agreed with her, with the tunnels being easy to walk in and the fact that they’re not looking for the orb like last time they should be their sometime soon.

She just thought that Thomas dint realize they would be down here for days. Even though they packed backpacks with at least a weeks’ worth of supplies just in case.

“This could take days remember.” Addy said after a few minutes of silence along the never ending tunnels. “It’s why we packed so much stuff.” She said indicating her backpack by shaking it a little which woke up Rue who was sleeping on it. She snickered at Addy a little then went back to sleep after a few seconds.

“We all know that, I think we just dint realize how boring this much walking would be.” Michael said as they passed another pillar. This one plain just like everyone the other one they had passed sense the main tunnel. Even the gnomes had given up carving elaborate pillars after walking so long.

Suddenly Addy heard something echo off the tunnels walls, she could definitely hear voices and something happening. Everyone else heard it too as they all stopped listening. As they listened they definitely heard voices, something that shouldn’t be down here especially sense they hadn’t heard any of the gnomish zombies talk other than to cast spells. Addy’s mind jumped straight to a bunch of those purple clad gnomish zombies in purple robes summoning thousands of zombies as they waited for them ahead.

“What are we going to do? That has to be more of those purple zombies.” Michael said as they all gathered together closely whispering, even though it was unlikely they could be heard so far away from whatever the voices where.

“Run, their probably waiting for us.” Thomas said wide eyed. But oddly he dint seem ready to run or very nervous like in before situations. The last fight they had had given him confidence.

“Let’s keep going and see what it is. If their trying to surprise it they obviously suck at it, and that’s even under the assumption that they know where here.” Trin said, holding the light in front of her which had gotten dimmer as to not blind everyone.

“She’s right. If they knew they would be attacking us right now not setting up a trap. They have to be doing something else, or maybe it’s someone else.” Veronica said looking at them all, but as she finished she realized what everyone else had just thought.

“You think The Forgotten already found us?” Thomas asked.

“No way.” Addy said. “If they could teleport in front of us they would of just teleported to us. And they already tried teleporting down here, it’s completely blocked except for teleporting out remember.”

At that they all looked turned and looked down the tunnel. Curious about what was happening down there.

“Then let’s go figure it out, I dint come this far to go back because of sound.” Trin said turning around and walking away slowly, and making the light dim down as far as possible before they couldn’t see at all.

They rushed to catch up, not wanting to be stuck in the dark.

As they moved forward, trying to stay as silent as possible, the sounds started to get louder. It was definitely human voices and not gnomes casting spells. But how was that possible.  There was also fighting, and some spell casting from the sound of explosions.

From ahead of them a white light started to spill into the tunnel. Which made them bolder as they sped up to see what was happening, ahead was another opening to a cave, and from the buildings they could make out on the side probably similar to the last one they were in.

As they burst into the cave to see what was happening they heard a voice off to the side say “Quickly their coming.” Which made Addy’s mind stutter a little because she recognized the voice but she also felt frightened that whoever said it knew they were coming.

They all stopped and gasped as they saw who and what was in the center of the room. Bob and Edna stood atop a pile of gnomish zombie corpses. Bob had one of his legs lifted and resting  on the top as he looked up and away from them.

“O hey, I dint see you there. Me and my friends just killed all these gnomish zombies before they killed you.” As he continued he moved his head from one side of the room to the other never looking at them. “No big deal.”

“Yeah, we just kind of accidently did it before you could obviously come help us.” Edna said as she flipped her hair and looked off to the side and up.

“Bahhhh.” Buster rumbled as he came in from the side. “We got summoned by you kids again. And we did all this to impress real explorers.” Buster kicked one of the bodies at the bottom of the piling making it shift and causing the entire thing to collapse and send Bob and Edna tumbling down as they both cursed at Buster.

From the other side Arun and Dullblades walked out. Arun smiled at them as he said “Welcome again, I see you really like these tunnels. Though we dint see these ones last time.” He got in front of them all as Edna and Bob finally got back to their feet and where walking towards them also.

“What brings you down here again?” Arun asked.

“Suicide I’m guessing.” Dullblades said before they could answer, Arun looked down at him then back at them waiting for the answer which make Dull shrug.

“We need to find the actual orb this time before the Forgotten find it so I can keep it away from my uncle.” Addy said before anyone else could say anything.

“Hmm, actually forthcoming about the truth this time.” Arun chuckled. Addy dint see any reason to keep what they were doing away from them.

“How did we summon you again?” Michael asked the question they were all really thinking.

“You needed us.” Edna said as her and Bob got to the group. “There really isn’t much more to it, we sometimes come to those who need while exploring, and sometimes we don’t. Being a kids however seem to be more in need sense we have never seen a group twice before.”

“Because they usually die before they get lucky enough to summon us again. Which is how I prefer it, I like seeing new places and people.” Buster said as he let a big gruff of air. All the kids looked at him amazed at what he had said.

“Don’t worry about him; he’s just mad he got in the least amount of kills.” Arun said motioning them over to the center of room where the fountain was. The cave was exactly the same as the last one; just this one was missing all the merchant tents near the center and had slightly more zombies.

As Arun and Edna sat with the kids at the fountain the rest of the Fallen walked around making sure there wasn’t anything else hiding in the houses.

As they sat down all the kids let out a huge sigh of happiness as they took all the weight of their feet. They had been walking for over 6 hours straight now not counting the rest at the last cave.

“I see you came prepared for a long stay.” Arun said motioning to their backpacks.

“We thought it stupid to not plan for the worst.” Trin said as she took hers off and sat it down next to her feet, the others following suite.

“And no Tucker.” Edna said.

“They take after the young versions of ourselves.” Arun laughed. “Not that it’s a good thing.” He said as he stabbed a small dagger through his chest showing that he was already dead.

“At least they came prepared, unlike the young us, and with training in defending themselves.” Dullblades said as he came back from one of the houses. It was one of his rare compliments.

Michael yawned loudly making everyone else yawn, Addy realized it must have been night time for hours now, though she wasn’t exactly sure sense she couldn’t see the sun and none of them had brought their cell-phones.

“You kids get some sleep.” Arun said standing up. “we’ll be around making sure nothing happens.”

 

The next morning Addy sat up quickly as she woke up in the center of the cave. It took her a second to remember what she was doing their as she looked around. The only light was the gear Trin had sat next to her which glowed faintly in the dark, just enough that they could sleep but enough that they could else see everything around them.

Getting up Addy looked around for the Fallen, Arun had said he would be around but she couldn’t see him anywhere.

“Arun.” Addy whispered. Then realized it was time for them to wake up anyways so she kicked Thomas as she said Arun’s name louder.

Thomas groaned and rolled over as he fell back to sleep instantly. “10 more minutes.” He said as he settled back in.

Addy shook her head as she looked around more.

“They’re ghosts, I wouldn’t worry about finding them.” Trin said as she got up also. Veronica and Michael where rolling around in their beds also, slowly waking up.

“He just said he would be around.” Addy said shrugging. But she agreed, they would be around soon enough, they hadn’t done anything to let her doubt them at all. She got her stuff all ready, rolling her sleeping bag up and putting everything back in backpack. As she finished she realized she hadn’t seen Rue the entire time, looking around startled she found her right away sleeping in Thomas’s hands, curled up like a teddy bear. As she shook her head heading over to him again, she whispered “traitor” as she looked at Rue.

Kicking him again in the back, he finally groaned and sat up, rubbing his eyes as Rue looked around tired eye a little before falling asleep again in Thomas’s lap.

“What time is it?” He asked standing up leaving Rue asleep on his bed.

“Time to leave. I barely got any sleep last night in this creepy place as is regardless of the time.” Veronica said strapping on her backpack with the rest of them except for Thomas.

At that Thomas made a few unintelligible words but he at least started to pack up his stuff. As he rolled up his sleeping bed Rue finally had to get up also, she stretched her arms showing the gliding wings tucker underneath. Finally she jumped on Addy’s shoulder as Addy thought about how she was a traitor. Addy got up a simple thought of ‘you roll around too much’ would make Addy feel a little better. Taking a piece of dried berries out of her pocket she gave some to Rue, it wasn’t her favorite but she ate them. Addy had brought them because they were easy to carry.

“Let’s get going, I have a feeling where close.  Esmyth did say something about their being ‘two passways’ I think that means too of these caves. Or at least I’m hoping that’s what it means. Trin said as Thomas finally finished packing and they could move out again.

Addy hoped they were close, she would take more gnomish zombies over having to walk pass pillar after pillar again all day.

 

 

Chapter 25: Back at School

 

“Everyone ready yet?” Trummel said as he lifted up his mace and shield. He glowed lightly from his armors holy enchantments. He only wore his entire set of armor if they where going into a seriously dangerous situation because of how much of a pain it was to put on. His armor shined as if it was covered in glass giving it an always pure and clean look even after weeks stuck in a deep dirty cave.  It looked like normal medieval armor except it was black with holes in it where yellow light poured out like a suit of black armor over an entire suite of light.

“All packed.”  Esmyth and Ark said in unison as they all looked over at Tuckers pile equipment which was still missing the dwarf that was suppose to carry it sense last night. But kitty was sleeping on near and she looked up at them giving them a look that she knew what they where thinking and was disappointed also.

“He must still be at the bar.” Trummel said shaking his head. “At least his stuff is packed. Grab it and let’s go.” He said walking towards the door.

Esmyth sighed but grabbed the pack and headed out behind Trummel,Ark, and Kitty. They headed down the road towards the bar at the corner of the road their warehouse was at. Trummel Knocked through the door to the bar as he scanned the room for Tucker.

The bar was a large place, mostly filled with unsavory creatures that usually slept during the day, so technically this was their nighttime. Because of this the bar was fairly packed and still quite rowdy, on a stage in the front was a half elf half orc signing. Trummel wondered how that ever happened, elfs hated orcs for longer then humanity had known about fire. But her voice was still as beautiful as any elf’s though she had an odd twinge to her voice that must of come from the orc side of her.

Trummel spotted Tucker off to the right in an old wood round table arm wrestling a large women. Or what Trummel thought was a women, she looked like a barbarian with long yellow hair just like any barbarian though so he was never sure. Trummel grunted as he was walking over to him, he was obviously still smashed even though he had promised last night he was just ‘going for a couple last beers, who knows when I will taste it again’ even though everyone in the group knew he kept at least a keg’s worth of beer tucked in an extra dimensional pocket somewhere in his backpack.  They had never been able to prove it though.

Trummel had to push his way through the small crowd gathered around the table of about 10 people. Apparently they where having some kind of competition. Trummel easily pushed his way through, his armor giving him much more weight to throw around then even his normal 6 foot 5 frame would.

“We have to go Tucker, now.” Trummel said as Esy and Ark pushed up beside him, taking up the majority of the viewing room in front of the table and angering more then a few people in the crowd.

“One second you shinny light stick, I have 50 gold on this, it’s the bar final.” Tucker grunted as he pushed harder, his muscles straining as the veins popped in his arms. Even though he was way smaller then the barbarian his arms where just as or even larger then his opponents.

“No puny dwarf, I win this.” The lady barbarian said, or at least Trummel was now 70% sure it was a female now that he had heard her voice. Her muscles strained also as both of them struggled against each other; Trummel could tell they could only keep this up for a little before one of their arms gave in.

“Just let him finish, Tucker will win anyways, I cast a divination.” Ark said looking bored as he watched the half elf on stage who was singing a slightly more dramatic version of classical music that seemed the fit bar in a weird way.

As Ark spoke Tucker smashed the Barbarians arm down into the table. He raised his hands up as he screamed in victory. But as he went for the pile of gold coins on the table the barbarian stopped him cold as she grabbed his arm.

“Your friend cast spell on me. He even say so, I win not you.” She growled as she for the coins with her other arm.

“No he dint, divination spells just see the future.” Tucker said as he pushed her had aside as he tried grabbing the coins also.

“He divination me, you cheat.” She said standing up as she grabbed her giant axe sitting next to the table.

“Technically right as usual.” Trummel said as he looked at Ark, who just shrugged.

“I only looked a few seconds in to the future.”

“Calm down, you can have the coins.” Trummel said as he lifted his empty hands to the barbarian.

“NO! I won them, it took me beating 15 other people to win these. Hand me my axe.” Tucker said as he held his hand out towards Esy who just shook her head and threw his backpack to the other side of them room as she shrugged like it was an accident.

Tucker just glared at her.

“Good.” The barbarian said grabbing all the coins again. But as she leaned over grabbing a few closer to Tuckers side Tucker punched her in the face, sending her flying back and cracking into the wooden bench behind her.

“Tucker.” Trummel said looking down at him, but he just shrugged and dodged a punch from an orc who had been watching. Once a punch was thrown in a bar like this it was almost guaranteed everyone would use it as an excuse to start a bar brawl.

A small man next to Ark pulled out a dagger and tried to punch it into his chest but the second the dagger got a foot from Ark the man exploded backwards as the shield around Ark reacted sending a lightening bolt out at his attacker. Ark just look bored as he stood their still watching the girl on the stage like nothing had happened, everyone else who had been having thoughts of attacking the man not paying attention quickly backed away and found another target.

Esmyth had Kitty by her side who growled anytime anyone came close, no one wanted to fight a giant tiger especially sense all the people in the bar dint have armor. Except for the barbarian, who was going for her giant sword again.

Tucker jumped into the fray now going full tilt in the center of the bar. As the barbarian started out towards Tucker Trummel finally pulled out his weapons. They should have been on their way now but this whole thing was slowing them down to much.

Trummel cast a quick spell on his mace making it shine with light. He lifted it up above his and let the light flow throughout the room blinding everyone. He waited a few seconds for people sight to come back then smashed it as hard as he could down onto the table with the coins. As his mace hit the table it burst into flame exploding everywhere as the enchantments on his mace and the spell he had just cast on it where released into the wood. It was so powerful that even the barbarian who wasn’t prepared stumbled backwards as she got out of the booth before she could catch her self on another table.

“Enough.” Trummel said calmly. “The gold coins will now go to bar keep for the damages done and the fact that he has to put up with you all. Lets go Tucker.” Trummel finished and started walking towards the door.

“But they mine.” The barbarian said as she straightened up, holding her giant sword in one hand like a normal person holds a one handed sword.

Trummel turned back around, his armor glowing brightly now as he began to cast another spell on his mace, he was fed up with all of this now.

But before he could finish the barbarian sputtered, “No, no, the coins are the barkeeps.” As she dropped her sword.

They met ouside, Tucker now carrying his backpack and Kitty at his side.

“Where’s the stone?” Ark asked.

“I thought we already had that.” Trumell said, already forgetting about the bar even though they could hear the barbarian arguing that the coins where hers to the barkeep still.

“We should, Ain said he would send it to us, but sense I never got it I assumed he had given it to Tucker.” Ark said.

Tucker shrugged, “I never got it.” Trummel glared at him thinking he had lost it because he was too drunk so Tucker clarified “I wasn’t that drunk last night, I would or remember Ain coming in or one of his people and giving me a stone important to our mission.”

While Tucker had done dumber things before then that, he believed him, Ain would of made sure it got to them and dint get lost.

“He said he was going to send it to us, something happened.” Trummel said, thinking about how Ain never went back on his word.

“Maybe he just forgot and wanted us to come get it.” Ark suggested.

“No, he would of said that then.” Trummel said as he headed off towards the school. He cast a quick spell making his armor look as if it had disappeared, he dint want to stick out walking into the school, especially sense Ain had placed them in the warehouse so no one would know they where their, but he had to go talk to him.

 

“How did you not get the stone? I sent it with Addy so she could say bye to you all.” As Ain said that he realized what everyone else did.

“She took it and went down their alone.” Esmyth said, saying what they where all thinking.

“Why would she do that, that’s suicide.” Ark said, looking perplexed and not really understanding why she would do that because he was relatively new to the group.

“She was acting weird lately.” Ain started as he got up and walked over to the side of the room where his staff and other items where stored. “She’s not stupid, she knows what I want to do. Or at least she’s figured out it might kill me,” He said looking at them all.

“If her and her little group finds it first she might actually succeed and we’ll loose our one chance for an advantage.” Ain smiled at that, actually believing in Addy, he had trained her well. But she was still a kid and she was going up against a horde of gnomish zombies. He knew realistically her chances where slim and if he dint hurry he could loose her forever. He realized he oddly wasn’t even mad, he knew she just wanted him to live and pretty much being her father he dint blame her. But she had endangered herself and others in a task he barely believed a highly trained group like the Forgotten could accomplish so he was extremely angry at her.

“We need to hurry before she gets hurt, or worst…” Esmyth said looking at Ain, she cared more about her then anyone but Ain in the room.

“I know.” Ain said looking at her. “I can teleport you directly to the building, after that I’m sure you can catch up to her, at the most they have a day on you.” Ain said looking at Ark as he continued. “And I’m sure you have spells that can bridge that lead.”

“Yes.” Ark said, from what Ain knew about Ark he knew that they shouldn’t have any problem catching up to them.

“Good.” Ain launched straight into a spell, staff in his right hand and diamond powder in his left. He flung the powder in the air as he finished the spell. The powder slowed then stopped in mid air as if time stopped then each spot of dust glowed like a star as everything went black. After a few seconds the blackness started to lighten as they appeared in the Columbia buildings lobby.

Everyone’s eyes widened as they realized they had a giant tiger in the lobby and they looked way out of place.

Ain held up his staff as he looked at them, “ They cant see us, don’t worry.” He then launched into another spell rapidly saying the words, as he finished his eyes went white as he looked for the entrance to the cave. He quickly found it, use to these kinds of spells after decades of practice. The diamond dust was still in the air around them which he activated again plunging them into darkness as they quickly reappeared in the cave entrance below them.

“Here we are.” Ain said as they looked at the carve entrance leading down into the gnomish city.

“WoW.” Ark muttered as they appeared, impressed with the power Ain had just shown them, teleporting such a large group repeatedly was something only a few magicians in the world could do, especially while casting other spells.

“Go, I wish I could come but even this doesn’t change that I have to stay at the school while you do this.” Ain said as he looked at them all.

“We will find her, and the stone.” Trummel said as he started away, followed quickly by Ark, Tucker, and Kitty. Esmyth stayed behind for a second.

“The stones important to the world, I know.” Ain said looking at her, “But find my daughter.” Ain said looking at her seriously, she nodded understanding.

 

“I will.” Esy said as she quickly started away.

“And make sure you let her know she’s in big trouble when I see her again!” Ain held after her.

 

 

Trummel kneeled next to the dead gnomish warlock in the first cave Addy and the others had gone through.

“At least we know their alive.” Trummel said standing up as he looked around at the other dead gnomish zombies.

“I knew she could take care of herself. We trainer her well.” Tucker said looking at Esy who was examining the tracks leading farther down the tunnel with Ark.

“Addy and her friends might be able to hold their own against won of these warlocks and the dullard zombies, but if what you said about the city is correct, she won’t last long once she hits the main city.” Esy said as she looked at Ark who was helping her figure out more about the tracks. Ark was looking through a blue energy disc between his hands.

After a few seconds of silence Ark finally looked up and noticed Esmyth looking at him.

“The tracks are only a day old.” Ark said trying to catch up with Esy as if he hadn’t missed his queue to talk. “We can catch up with them today, easily.” Ark said looking over at Trummel who look worried.

“That’s not quick enough; if we don’t catch them before the city we could already be too late.” Trummel said starting forward, forcing everyone to follow him as they talked. “How long before the city?”

“Theirs two of these caves before the main city.” Ark said, as he was the one who had studied the place and knew all about it.

“They also need to sleep, so at most where only a half a day behind them.” Esy piped in as Trummel picked up the speed down the tunnel.

“Then let’s not waste any time!” Tucker said as he ran forward, Kitty slowly loping along beside him looking bored.

Ark sighed at that and waved his hands, starting the spell he used to get them to the first cave so quickly. He held a wand in his right hand imbued with the power of the four winds, so he quickly just waved the wand and said a few words to activate it.

As the magic was released a swirling tornado of wind rushed out of the wand and around them all as Ark concentrated moving them forward towards Tucker who started running faster away from so he dint get caught in the tornado. They all flew in the center of the tornado a few feet above the ground as they hit Kitty who agilely jumped to the center and only slightly getting buffered by the outside.

But as they approached Tucker he started to run even faster, faster than they had ever seen him run before. They all started laughing, not really concerned about him for all the times he had slowed them down or done something stupid.

As the outer edge of the tornado touched Tucker he got sucked in swirling around the out edge like a rag doll.

“I hate mages!” Tucker screamed as he went around and around, hitting a few rock ledges as he frantically tried to swim to the center to no avail.

After a minute or so Trummel finally had enough laughs and grabbed his hand to pull him in to the center. As Tucker got in he growled at Ark, but quickly  sat down, or at least floated in a sitting position as he almost threw up from getting sent around and around.

All at once they realized what they had done, if Tucker threw up all his food and beer in his stomach would be sent flying all around them and on them.

In unison they all said “You ok Tucker?” concerned more than they ever had before about his well-being.

 

 

 

Addy and the others quickly met up with the Fallen when they began their journey down the tunnel. They moved faster today, feeling more secure with the Fallen around them and happy they were almost to the city proper.

“Dull scouted ahead to the gate leading into the city last night.” Arun said as they jogged along the tunnel, the Fallen actually floating along showing their ghostly side.

“The main and side doors are open; also the side tunnels are open. But there is a bunch of gnomes around the area, the lucky part is I don’t their actually guarding it, they just seem to be there, most of them aren’t even animated.” Dullblades said as the passed one of the few columns actually carved differently in the wall, it was of a regal gnome wearing a crown and robes.

“So we can sneak in undetected?” Veronica asked from off the side where she was jogging with Trin.

“Maybe, but this is going to turn into a running contest sooner or later. The only good part is we know not to disturbed the gnomes this time. Where going to need a plan, where are we going exactly?” Arun asked.

“The palace.” Addy said, she wasn’t exactly sure where it was but a ‘palace’ shouldn’t be that difficult to find. The only bad part is if the palace was all the way across the city, the closer it is the better chance they had of not disturbing the gnomes.

“We saw the palace last time we were here, it shouldn’t be that hard to find. But I don’t remember seeing the door so I have no idea how far we have to run.” Arun looked at Dullblades wondering if he saw anything else.

“I could see the palace from the door.” Dull said, but he raised his hands before anyone could get too excited. “It’s off to the left, I could only see part of it but it must have been at least half a mile away.”

“How did you see it then, through the door from half a mile away?” Bob asked.

“Last time it was all the way across the lake, where much closer this time and it’s huge.” Dull said emphasizing the ‘huge’. “There’s no way I could miss it even through the door.”

After about an hour of nonstop jogging and running they finally got to the cave with the door. Which was good because Addy and everyone else alive was completely out of breath at this point. They all stopped right where the tunnel they were running down met the cave with the door, Addy and the others sitting down right at the edge of the tunnel to catch their breath.

“Dull, scout ahead and find the clearest path to the left and the palace.” Arun said as he looked around, Dull faded into the shadows as he silently went to the left, disappearing completely after a few seconds either from being a ghost or being that good at hiding.

Everyone else also looked around the giant cave in front of them, Bob off the left and Edna at the right of the entrance keeping look out. The cave was massive the ceiling reaching at least 300 yards upwards. The door in the center of the wall in front of them was about half that height and made out of wood and steel which much of been magically enchanted because the wood looked only slightly rotten after thousands of years. To both sides of the door where castle parapets with doors behind them which must have been the tunnels Dull was talking about to the side of the door. There was stairs leading up to both parapets but the left one was mostly collapsed into a pile of rubble, which was climbable from what Addy could see but could pose a problem.

In front of them strewn about the cavern where zombies, almost all of them where inanimate except for a few off to the right side lazily walking around, which was good luck for them sense they were going left. There was also a bunch of crates, wagons, and weird gnomish cars strewn about with huge steam powered engines that looked more literal death traps then cars. As Addy peered through the door she could see the palace just like Dull said, for a second it looked fairly close but then she saw the docks in the water in front of it and realized the palace was just gigantic and not close at all.

“This is looking good so far.” Arun said turning around towards the kids, who were finally starting to catch their breath except for Michael who had gone cat form most of the time and wasn’t winded at all.

“Except for the stairs going to the tunnel where going through.” Addy chimed in, not wanting to destroy any of their hopes of succeeding but wanting to try to come up with a plan that will work for sure.

Arun just shrugged at that. “We can climb it, or if that fails we can just levitate up it.” Arun said looking at Edna.

Edna looked over at the stairs then back at him. “100 feet is a long way to levitate everyone, but I can do it.”

“We can also go through the main door, not like anything’s blocking it either.” Michael said, they were all still sitting down except for the Fallen, but they had all turned to face each other.

“Let’s wait for Dullblades, and then we can decide. You need to catch your breath all the way, I have a feeling where going to be running to the palace also regardless of how this works out.”

 

 

Addy and the other kids crouched behind a stack of boxes in the center of the cave in front of the door with Arun. The rest of the Fallen had floated ahead silently up to the tunnel where Edna waited to cast a spell of levitation on them.

“If only you were dead this would be so much easier.” Arun breathed as they prepared to run for the collapsed stairs.

“Give us a couple minutes and I’m sure several thousand gnomish zombies will helpful you with that wish.” Michael said as they ran to the stairs, ducking behind them so the animated zombies on the other side couldn’t see them.

“You know he’s kind of right.” Trin said as Edna started to levitate Thomas up to the top. “Being dead would make almost anything in life easier.”

“What.” Michael said baffled. “But your dead.” He finished emphasizing the dead part.

“Trin does have a point you can fly anywhere do anything.” Addy said as she floated upwards.

As she got to the top and finally was able to look around she noticed how many hundreds of zombies wherein the cave. They had gotten really lucky to not wake them, otherwise they would be having a completely different story to tell right now.

“Clunk.” Michael kicked a rock loose in the stairs as he levitated up last, Edna’s magic spell had almost faded away and Michael had to react suddenly to launch himself up the last few feet to grab hold of the ledge.

“Pull me up.” Michael said as he hung there, but everyone was looking at the stairs as they started to shift slightly. Trin and Thomas both grabbed his hands helping him up and onto his feet.

As Michael turned around and saw what he did he whispered “O, my, god.” As the stairs finally gave in and came crashing down, sending stones rocketing across the floor crushing boxes, cars, wagons, and zombies alike. All at once the zombies in the chamber started to wake stir and wake up, even a gnomish warlock appeared in the center of the big door way to see what happened.

“Get into the tunnel before they know it was us who did it.” Arun said as they all ran into the tunnel.

“Do you think they saw us?” Addy asked looking back out as the zombies started to gather around the stairs to see what had happened.

“No, but that doesn’t matter now that their all awake. “ Bob said from off to the side as he shook his head. “Where doomed now.”

“Stop being such a whiner.” Edna said smacking him in the head, her hand actually connecting and making him feel pain. Either it was a ghost thing or she knew a spell specifically to annoy Bob which made Addy laugh as she thought about it.

“Not necessarily.” Dullblades said as he looked down the tunnel. “They might all be awake, but because they don’t know where hear we should be able to sneak past them all if where careful. Which I prefer more than running towards the palace as fast I can from a wave of thousands of them.” Dull finished turning around and looking at them.

“Good enough for me. Let’s get going.” Arun said as the Fallen continued forward.

But Addy and the others stayed back looking behind and sharing concerned looks that this just way more serious. They all knew it was bound to happen, but this was the first time in this adventure where the odds they faced looked almost impossible. They started walking though, they hadn’t come this far to give up now and if things went way downhill they still had the orbs to teleport them up above.

 

As The Forgotten reached the second tunnel Esmyth gasped. There was so many bodies’ gnomist bodies lying about they all stopped and looked around. They were all thinking the same thing, if there was this many there’s no way the kids survived the attack.

“Spread out and search the area for any clues of what happened.” Trummel said, leaving it unspoken that he was more curious about finding their bodies.

“Bah, waste of time the kids are way ahead by now.” Tucker grumbled, but everyone else was spread out already searching through the bodies. Tucker grumbled again and kicked one the dead gnomes lying next to him.

“Do you smell em Kitty?” Tucker said looking at Kitty was right next to him. She sniffed the air checking to see if she could smell anything over the stench of all the dead gnomes and stale air, but she shook her head that she couldn’t smell any of them.

“I knew it, knew they could take care of themselves. But…” Tucker looked at the giant pile of dead gnomes. “I dint know they could take care of themselves this well.” Tucker laughed.

They searched for a couple more minutes but came up empty handy, meeting at the entrance leading farther down towards the city.

“Lets get going, ark?” Trummel said looking over at Ark.

But Ark shrugged. “Sorry, the wand is all out.” He said holding up the wand that dint glow anymore. “Anyways.” He started looking forward again as he put it away. “This was the last cave before the city, storming in probably wouldn’t be the best idea.”

“We run then.” Trummel said as he took out his huge mace and began an incantation. Trummel dint have a repertoire of spells like Ark but he was able to cast quite a few spells to enhance a person in combat. Which is exactly what he did, as he finished a light pulsed out of his mace and they all suddenly felt tingly with energy. As they started to run they ran faster then they normally could and they also dint seem tire at all as pillar after pillar came by. However Kitty still looked bored as she easily matched their pace.

 

 

They ran into the tunnel following Dullblades. They hadn’t heard and of the gnomes following them but now that they were awake they had to hurry before they all woke up. And also the gnomish warlock weren’t dumb, they might think it was just a random collapse caused by time but they would still check the area to make sure.

The tunnel was smooth and turned left after only 20 feet from the staircase that collapsed.

“The tunnel goes along the edge of the city towards the palace and pops out in a little square. I don’t remember seeing any gnomish zombies so if we can hurry we shouldn’t run into any and we can use the buildings for cover all the way to the palace.” Dullblades said as the ran along, after 100 feet or so in the tunnels right hand side the tunnel would open up with windows that peered out onto the city. Addy could see the palace now, still about a mile off but now she was a good 100 feet in the air and she could see just exactly how large the palace was. The main palace was built into the rock face at the edge of the huge cave and in front of it sprawled building after building winding down all the way to the lake where royal docks where setup. At one of the piers was anchored one of the biggest ships she had ever seen with gilded gold in the ship and bright reds in the sail. The castle was made of bright red bricks and mortar which had only partly lightened from the years.

The palace looked more Middle Eastern stereotypical with huge bulb like towers all around. Which made sense from what had Trin had found out about the gnome king who lived there, he was mainly a merchant king who collected and traded anything from the time he ruled. And that architecture was around when he ruled. But there was some difference like the wall that surrounded it had mechanical ballista’s with gears and everything from what Addy could see, and they much of been huge if she could see them from this far. Also around the palace where pieces of metal inlaid into everything that showcased exposed gears put inside the walls. Addy thought they were more decorative then mechanical but she could have sworn she saw the gears actually moving inside the wall as she passed one of the windows in the tunnel.

“Slow.” Dullblades said from up front as he raised his right hand. “It should be right up there.” Dull said indicating the light coming from just up ahead.

From behind Addy Michael was in cat form and she noticed his ears twitch like he had heard something. He looked back the way they had come as his airs moved around trying to focus on a sound. Turning back around he shifted into his human form as he said, “Their coming from behind us, I can’t tell how many.”

“Let’s go the, not time to waste.” Arun said. “Dull go first and stay visible as you move across the square, if anything sees you lead it away and meet back up with us once you’ve lost them.”

Dullblades nodded and headed straight out the doorway into the square. Everyone else moved up to the door watching as Michael stayed back listening for anything behind them.

Dullblades made it about half way across the square before a group a gnomish zombies came around the corner of a street mid-way up the right side of the square.  As they saw Dull they all charged him, Dull ran straight for them and jumped over them all in one huge leap. There were only about 20 of them but Addy could see that he used some of his ghostly powers to leap farther then he probably could in life. He landed on the other side and booked it, taking them away from the palace and from the buildings they were about to use as hiding on their way to the palace.

“Let’s go before another group comes.” Arun said running out first, everyone else quickly followed. Arun was looking every way as he ran on, hoping not to find another group coming around any corners while they were out in the open.

But they got lucky all the way to a building all the way across the square. Arun opened the door to it and held it open as everyone poured in. Michael came in last as he was looking behind himself as he said “They are right behind us.”

As Arun shut the door they all peered out the windows in the front of the building. And sure enough a bunch of zombies poured out of the tunnel entrance all looking confused about what they should do next. From the back came one of the gnomish warlocks pushing its way to the front. It looked around a little wondering if it had lost the people responsible for demolishing the staircase or if there had never been any one in the first place. After a few seconds of looking around it shrugged and lifted its right hand up and waved it in a fanning motion in front of it. At that the gnomish zombies behind him poured out going in every direction to apparently try to find the intruders. The warlock however disappeared in a flash of purple obviously not that concerned that they would find anything worthwhile.

They all sighed in relief at that, they could hide from the normal gnomish zombies, but it’s possible if they killed or alerted a warlock they would have the entire city coming after them.

“Let’s get going, find a back way out of this place so we can hop from building to building. It’s our safest bet unless anyone wants to try running in the streets like last time.” At that everyone shook their head and spread out, not wanting to run again with thousands of zombie’s right behind them.

 

 

The Forgotten rushed up to the entrance to the cave leading into the city. In front of them several dozen gnomish zombies were walking around aimlessly in the cave.

“They’re up and about, not a good sign.” Tucker said looking around. “Either they roused them here or the fights in the previous caves woke them up. In either case most of our stealth options are gone now.”

“I can hide us from these.” Ark said motions towards the basic gnomish zombies in front of them. “The purple warlocks however I won’t know until I meet them.”

“Good then let’s not meet them and sneak around these.” Trummel said putting away his mace; he had taken it out when he had seen them on instinct.

As Trummel finished a rock slipped and fell on the pile of rubble that use to be the stairs to their left. All the zombies started to move towards it in a leisurely manner as if they understood it was probably nothing.

“The palace.” Ark said pointing threw the door at the huge palace looming in the distance. “I think they went up those stairs and knocked them down on accident, that’s why the zombies aren’t all running after Addy and the others, they think the stairs just accidently fell down.”

“So we actually have a chance we can complete this mission without a horde of gnomish zombies trying to kill us.” Esmyth said smiling to the group, trying to get their hopes up.

“Can you get us up those stairs?” Trummel asked Ark.

“I can get you up those stairs without any of the zombies even noticing.” He smiled pulling out spell components as he started a few spells. First he threw some powder over them all that they couldn’t identify, it made them all shimmer and one by one they all disappeared from each other’s eye sight. But they could all still sense eachother which must have been part of the spell also.

Ark cast a several more spells in quick succession.

“Once I activate the final spell you won’t be able to hear anything and they won’t be able to hear anything we do. You all have a spell of levitation to get you up to the top of the stairs, it only lasts about another minute, just think about flying up and you will. Let’s do this before my spells run out; hopefully your cat understood all that.” Kitty growled back at him. “Good.” Ark said as he mumbled a word under his breath causing all sound to stop even kitty’s growl.

 

 

Addy and the others quickly found the back door in the storage room of the building they were in, it had row upon row of weird items on its shelf that must have been for restocking the store up front. But they had no time to look around as they pushed their way out the back door into the alley way. Arun had gone first completely invisible to make sure no surprises where hiding out there.

“I’ll fly up top and do some spotting.” Edna said flying above them and turning invisible.

“But how is that going to help if she has to yell down to us.” Addy asked, but as quickly as she said it she heard a voice in her head saying “Magic dearie.”

From the side Addy saw Bob shaking his head. “Just imagine having her in your mind you’re entire after life.” As Bob moved on Addy laughed as she heard some of the yelling Edna was saying to Bob before she mentally made it so only Bob could hear her.

They ran left down the alley way finally getting to the corner, looking around they saw some gnomish zombies mingling around in the courtyard in front of the building they had just been in.

“Go, while their turned away.” Arun said running across. Every made it across and started booking it down the alley.

They made rapid progress with Edna in the air telling them about any patrols they couldn’t see. Without the zombies knowing they were here or the warlocks leading them they weren’t much of a threat or even hard to avoid. Dullblades caught up mid-way on their journey, ghosting through one the walls scaring Trin so badly she almost screamed before Michael could get a hand over her mouth.

After about 30 minutes of running they finally got to the outer edge of the palace walls. They ducked into a house near one of the gates leading into it. Two gnomish warlocks stood outside like they were standing sentry for some reason.

“Why are they out there?” Veronica asked as they looked out the window down the road at the warlocks.

“I’m guessing the source of whatever they are is in the palace.” Arun said as he sat down in ones of the seats in the house, an old Victorian like couch that probably would have fallen apart if Arun wasn’t a ghost and dint actually weigh anything.

“What do you mean whatever they are?” Addy asked as she sat down with the others on the floor trying to catch their breath. They hadn’t run for that long of a distance, but had been a lot of quick sprinting most of the time.

Arun shrugged. “I’m guessing you dint find anything in the history books about what actually happened here?” Arun asked Trin who shook her head. “So there has to be a source to the zombies or maybe even someone controlling the warlocks still. But more likely whatever it is, is dead or long gone and the warlocks are just following whatever was their last order.”

“So there could be like a lich king or powerful demon in their controlling everything?” Thomas said wide eyed and worried. Arun laughed at him and shook his head.

“If there was anything that powerful in there it would have already spotted us. Even these warlocks would have spotted us if they had half a brain and cast a simple spell to see what had really knocked down the stairs, they’re just on automatic.”

 

The Forgotten got to the square at the end of the tunnel. All the spells but the invisible spell had run out by now. In the square in front of them where only a handful of zombies milling about.

“Can you sense them yet?” Trummel asked Ark.

Ark took out a mirror from the folds of his robes and cast a quick spell on it. The center of the mirror lightened and an image of Addy and the others popped up inside. “Barely.” Ark said as he focused on the fuzzy image.

“Can you zoom out and see where they’re at?” Trummel asked peering at the mirror.

Ark spoke a word and the image zoomed out slight outside the house. He willed the image to move around and they saw the palace wall.

“Good.” Trummel said looking back up. “Let’s get going.” He said running off straight towards the palace walls, not worried about the gnomish zombies because he was hidden underneath the invisibility spell.

They had a plan, sense Edna wasn’t powerful enough to levitate them all over the palace wall they were going to have Dullblades distract them and run them away. The only downside was they would for sure alert the entire cavern that they were here and if only one of the warlocks chases after Dullblades.

It was also possible that they could have killed both of them, but the last time they were in the cavern the warlocks could summon gnomish zombies and even other warlocks. They couldn’t afford to get into a major fight and plus if they chased Dull then it was possible they wouldn’t even know they were in the palace.

Dullblades floated invisibly over to the warlocks, he pulled out his duel daggers and jabbed them both into the warlock closer to them, to the left of the door. The warlock went down quickly but the other one responded quickly also sending a bolt of purple energy right at Dull who dodged right and sped off into the buildings. Everyone sighed as the warlock followed not taking time to summon others and leaving the gate clear.

They ran towards the gate as Edna flew up above them like last time. The gate use to have two huge hinged wooden doors, but both had been destroyed long ago barely hanging off metal hinges after thousands of years.

“Where to now?” Arun asked Addy and the others. Addy looked at Trin, hoping she had more of an idea.

“The main palace is our best bet. Where looking for something that will fit this kind of like a key.” Trin said pulling out the stone, Addy had given it to her earlier for safe keeping, and with the gear on her she was the safest person in the group.

Which reminded Addy of the gear. “Probably a good time to start using the gear again, they either knows where here now or soon will.” Addy said.

Trin nodded pulling out the gear from inside her jacket, it glowed slightly. She had been keeping it almost dormant lately so she dint attract any gnomish zombies by repelling them.

“Well if that’s all you have to go off of then we best get looking.” Arun said as he laughed slightly, but he was shaking his head obviously thinking they had come down here way underprepared. Addy agreed, but they also couldn’t have waited any longer either.

They took off again towards the main palace as they waved through huge open buildings, courtyards, pillars, and odd mechanical contraptions everywhere. The palace grounds where designed as if someone just randomly built new buildings as they where needed. They passed what they was a garage but they dint stay long enough to be sure other then what they could see through the door as they passed.

They also passed a barracks that still contained hundreds of gnomish soldiers in palace regalia, a deep red armor with a gear symbol emblazoned on a sun background all in gold.

“Weird they aren’t zombies…” Veronica remarked as she pulled out her weapons as they passed the barracks.

“Maybe they are, remember last time dumb nuts here had to kick one to find out.” Bob said as he patted Buster on the shoulder who growled at him. But Buster had been the one who first figured out they were zombies by angrily kicking one of the gnome’s corpses.

“You could always could always go check by…” Bob started but never finished as Buster swung his axe at Bob’s mid-section, bringing him to a dead stop and connecting solidly sense Busters weapon was ghostly too. Buster laughed and continued on as Bob groaned behind him.

“Keep up, he will be fine.” Arun said as Thomas stopped looking at Bob.

After a few minutes they reached the massive marble steps leading up the entrance of the main palace which was set into the side of the cave. They had also passed a few other gnome soldiers in palace colors, none of which were animated, which they all thought was odd because the entire cavern should have been all animated and looking for Dullblades by now.

At the top of the stairs where two huge golden eagles to either side of the main door, gears whirled inside of them.

“Are those just like the giant golem we faced last time?” Michael said pointing them out as they got halfway up the stairs and the whirling sounds of gears became audible. They all stopped staring up at the golden eagles or whatever they were, because they dint look much like any modern day eagle she had seen before. More than likely they were based off the Roc bird that lived several thousand years ago.

“The bigger question is why they are still there if the city is overrun by zombies? A zombie or two must have wondered up here over the centuries.” Arun wondered out loud.

“Maybe they’re not actually function anymore, or maybe they only attack those trying to harm the palace or something like that.” Addy suggested out loud. The warlocks surely could have destroyed them by now if they just attacked anyone entering the palace.

“Edna.” Arun called. “Try entering; if they attack fly them away.” Edna nodded as the descended to the top of the stairs right between the two huge birds. She looked at them back and forth then shrugged and walked forward when neither of them made a move.

She stepped in the palace and nothing happened, she turned around with a huge smile. But right as she turned around a huge gout of flame shot out of both sides of the door.

“Well good news the birds don’t attack, bad news the palace is booby trapped and they still work.” She said when the flames stopped gushing out.

 

 

 

Trummel looked up at the palace as he saw flames spout out the front of the palaces door. They were getting close to the palace walls but still a little ways out. The gnomes had proving no challenge at all even now it seemed like almost all of them where awake and walking or running about. But they did have to slow down when they started to run into more and more gnomish warlocks.

The warlocks seemed as if they dint know what they were looking for though, so other than having to run way around a few the Forgotten had made quick time with their invisibility spell.

“Think it’s them?” Esmyth asked as they all looked up at the palace door.

“If it is them I hope they let the zombies in first and made them into barbeque.” Tucker laughed, but when he looked around he saw no one else laughing so he stopped talking awkwardly.

“We need to get their now.” Trummel said looking at Ark. “Not only did everyone in the cave probably see that but who knows what’s in the palace guarding the sultans orb.”

Ark rummage through his robes frantically, or at least Trummel thought he was from the sound sense he couldn’t see him at the moment. After a few minutes or rummaging he finally pulled something out and said “Ahh-ya!”.

“I don’t have any more spells left, and I can’t teleport us all that far without a while of preparation, but this feather should work. A shaman gave it to me while I was in Africa last year; I never used it because I usually have more trust worthy means of transportation.”

“What do you mean ‘should’ work?” Esmyth asked skeptically, and even Kitty growled lightly.

“It will work.” Ark clarified. “It will just break our invisibility is the problem.” He said quickly and less loudly.

“Our only choice?” Trummel asked not listening to the rest of the group’s complaints which Esy and Tucker made as he was talking.

“Only.” Ark answered.

“Let’s do it, get us there now.”

 

 

 

“Lets get going before the fire resets.” Arun said as he went first into the entrance to see if it would activate again but it dint. Addy and the others rushed in as quickly as they could, pushing over each other in case it went off again.

“We’ll go first to set off any traps, but I’ll put up a protective shield just in case we don’t trigger one being ghosts and all.” Edna smiled as she cast a quick spell on all of them, after there was a slight gleam around them where the shield was. “It doesn’t make you anywhere near invincible so still be careful.”

As they pushed forward Rue came out of Addy’s backpack and sat on her shoulder looking around, she had been spending most of the time hiding not wanting to get in the way of the fights. But even she couldn’t resist the allure of all the shiny baubles around the place. The entrance was adorned with gems and jewels, or at least they looked that way to Addy. There had to be a king’s fortune on the inside making her wonder what exactly had happened her if no one robbed all the wealth. What other motive could there be?

The floor was gilded marble struck threw with veins of gold that made designs in the floor and randomly sparkled with gems inset into the marble. As they walked forward Addy saw a huge mural on the floor depicting some epic fight scene probably old even when it was made and lost to history by now. The hallway they were in went forward into the darkness as far as she could see. To both sides there was painting after painting, statues, reliefs of long lost gnomish kings and queens, and also odd mechanical objects displayed some of which still worked. One was of a small dragon fighting a gnomish wizard all on a small pedestal, stuck in a perpetual battle played over and over for thousands of years and still somehow working. The gnome beginning casting while the dragon stood up on its back legs and dove down on the gnome, at the last second a shield popped up protecting the gnome and sending the dragon to the side.

Trin had increased the glow from the gear to its maximum strength, finally illuminating all the way to the end of the hallway. Even though it was a bad idea to give away their position no one complained as they moved on.

“Any idea where to go?” Arun asked looking into one of the side chambers they passed, it was some type of lounge with cushions and tables all about, most of which decayed and covered in dust.

Trin pulled out the stone and the glove and handed it back to Addy. “Try to see if you can’t sense anything from them.”

Addy nodded and put on the glove, holding the stone in her right hand she closed the glove over it and closed her eyes trying to see if anything popped out to her. She could feel something from ahead and down a floor.

“Keep going forward, where looking for a way down a floor also.” Addy said, as the Forgotten minus Dullblades moved forward. No traps had gone off yet which was a good sign that their wasn’t anymore at least until they got to where the orb was located and then they would probably have to deal with something.

After walking all the way to the end of the hallway they finally entered a massive chamber which must have been the throne room. The center was lined with a huge red carpet going all the way to a throne in the distance. To both sides of the carpet where huge pillars, in-between which where spectacular items which seemed to increase each pillar they passed. Giant diamonds and rubies, armor so heavily enchanted it glowed. Thomas wondered off to one side wanting to touch a sword that glowed with inner fire.

“What are you doing?”Arun asked loudly towards Thomas, “The front entrance was booby trapped, what do you think will happen if you touch any of those items?” Thomas looked back at him, then at the sword again probably actually thinking about risking it, but he finally ended up shrugging and walking forward after a few more moments.

To Addys left she noticed a staff with a huge purple diamond at the top that crackled with lightening. She knew enough about magical items to know that it was probably one of the most powerful items she has seen if it crackled with lightening after thousands of years of no use. Even Edna walked over to it and almost stuck her hand out to touch it but she shook her head before she did and continued on.

As they reached the actually throne Addy could make out a gnome still sitting on it. Wearing beautiful sky blue robes encrusted with gems, he had a staff in one hand and Addy could also make out an orb in his other hand. The orb! Addy hadn’t thought that the orb might not actually be in the chamber the stone and glove where pointing her towards.

“The orb.” Addy said, louder then she probably should of.

Most everyone gasped, more in a relieved sort of way.

But as the got even closer and Trin’s gear illuminated his face, they noticed that he still had skin and looked perfectly fine. What they weren’t expecting though is when he opened his eyes and looked at them.

 

 

The second The Forgotten rocked into the air they noticed all eyes on them from as far as they could see when their invisibility spell fell off. Ark had told them that would happen but actually seeing hundreds of thousands of glowing eyes staring at them was disconcerting to say the least. Purple gates started to appear below where they hovered in midair.

Before they could start moving a person started floating towards them.

“Watch out something’s attacking!” Trummel yelled as he pulled out his mace and shield.

As they watched it get closer they could finally make out that it was some sort of person.

“Wait.” Tucker said as the person floated closer, staying a little ways away. “That’s Dullblades, one of the ghosts I was talking about.” Tucker finished waving Dullblades over who was hesitant because everyone had pulled weapons as he has approached.

‘Tucker, I thought that was you.” Dull said flying up next to them. Dullblades looked around noticing every gnomish zombie in the entire cave staring at them. “Seems like this would be a more effective means of travel if you were invisible.” Dullblades said sarcastically, but as he was looking around at their faces he noticed no one smiling so he just shrugged and let it go.

“What are you doing over here? We saw fire over at the palace.” Tucker asked.

“I was leading a warlock away so the others could sneak into the palace without anyone knowing. What are you doing here? Addy dint really go over why she was down here alone with just kids.” Dullblades said, but before anyone could answer a purple flame shot up next to them.

When they looked down they saw a gathering a gnomish warlocks directly below them, all of them where in some stage of casting a spell up at them.

“No time.” Trummel said as he started flying over to the palace. “We have to get Addy and the others before it’s too late.”

 

 

The gnome sat up in his throne, leaning against the staff in his right hand that touched the floor. He eyed the group in front of him, Addy noticed he squinted a lot but he dint look old, so he must have just been getting use to his eyes again.

“Who are you.” His voice sounded strange, like it was being produced by some type of magic translator from his native language, one of the many gems on robe glowed which probably meant that was the source.

Addy looked around but no one said anything, probably because they hadn’t been expecting an actual living person. Which he most certainly was, his chest moved in and out with air.

“I am a god!” he yelled as he slammed his staff down. As it hit the burst into light as all the magical sconces in the room burst into a myriad of colored lights. He floated up off his chair and started to descend on them as he continued to talk.

“A king no more after I sacrificed my entire city, absorbing their life and leaving behind their husks to protect my riches. Is that what you seek? You might be somewhat competent to of gotten past my guards, they are quite mindless. But taking anything that is mine you will not succeed in before death finds you…” At that he trailed off as he lifted his staff which was made completely out of some dark purple crystal which began glowing.

“We dint mean to steal anything god of ‘replace with city name’ we were just looking around your great city.” Arun said as he started pulling his bow off his back.

The king laughed. “You think I care? I was just prattling on before I killed you!” as he finished he thrust the head of the staff at Arun shooting a purple line of energy at him.

Arun rolled to his right launching several arrows at the king which got absorbed in some shield around him. The purple bold exploded into the floor forming a fairly large crater the burned with purple even after.

“Take cover!” Arun yelled as another bolt soared towards him making him to run behind of the pillars in the room. The purple energy hit and caused a much smaller crater this time, luckily they must have been made out of something harder than the floor or they would have had falling pillars to worry about also.

Addy and the other kids ran behind pillars on the right side, the Fallen floating or running towards the left with Arun.

“Stay hidden until we can figure a way out of this.” Arun yelled over to them.

“There is no way out of this place now, mortals.” The king laughed as he floated down the center of the isle.

Addy looked out from behind the pillar to see how close he was getting but noticed something else instead. Over near Edna was the lightning staff they had seen walking up to the throne but now it was knocked over and lying next to her.

“Edna near your feet.” Addy yelled before falling back behind her pillar. A few moments later the pillar shook as the king hit it with purple energy. But that was quickly followed by a loud lightning strike and the sound of someone hitting the ground.

Addy peaked around again, trying to avoid the purple streaks in the pillar now. She saw the kind on the ground picking his staff and the orb up again. And Edna off to the side with the staff in her hand, she raised it again ready to send another lightning bolt.

“Enough.” The king yelled. His robe lit up and as he lifted his staff and struck the ground in front of him with it a wave of focused purple energy shot forward Edna. It flung her off her feet and onto her pack directly on the ground now covered with purple energy streaking it. Her robes or ghostly essence burned as she got up and flew off to the side where she sunk behind the pillar where the king couldn’t reach her.

“No!” Trin yelled as she stepped out from her pillar holding the gear. She said a few words and the light focused on the king. It hit his shield which immediately to shrink making him growl in response. As the shield almost started to crack and shrink down to nothing his robes began glowing again and his shield popped back out to full size.

Growling his sent another wave of purple energy towards Trin who gasped and rolled out of the way. It only managed to graze her but luckily the gear seemed to protect her as she seemed to glow as she ran behind another pillar unharmed.

“Over here!” Veronica yelled. She was standing in front of two swords held up magically in mid-air between two of the pillars. The king turned around sending a bolt towards her that she quickly dodged to the side avoiding.

As the bolt dislodged the swords she picked them up, they burst into flames as she touched them. When she went to move them around the flames whipped out of the tips searing the floor in front of them, she smiled liking her knew toys.

Edna took another shot of at him as he was distracted sending him back to the floor but not destroying his shield. As he turned, his robes glowing again, to send another wave of energy at her Addy realized she was doomed because she had only just barely managed to crawl around the pillar to use the staff. He finished, the wave rolling towards her like purple death.

But Bob came running/floating as fast as he could just reaching Edna in time. He slammed down a giant shield that must have gotten dislodged during the first wave.  The shield was at least as tall as Bob and covered in massive spikes. The wave hit rolling off to the side, the energy splashing everything around the shield in a cone.

Addy looked around trying to get into the fight, she knew all of her magic she knew would be useless against such an opponent.  She saw a small wand that got knocked down from the wave towards Trin. It was between the pillar she was behind and the one in front of her with Trin. As Micahel ran yelling in front of some figurine Addy couldn’t quite see, Addy ran between the pillar as quick as she could grabbing the wand. As she picked it up she felt the energy course through her, like the jolt you get from drinking a cup of coffee. She dint know exactly what it did but she stepped around the pillar she was behind with Trin as soon as she heard the king attack Michael.

Hoping the wand dint have a trigger words or some type of magical lock she focused her thoughts on it and activating it. Out from the front shot a rainbow of colors, one after another. Acid exploded off his shield as green hit, ice encrusted him as the blue hit, red was fire, yellow was pure golden light similar to Trin’s gear, and purple was dark as the void and opened a hole in his shield. He screamed but even as his shield went down his robes glowed and the colors one by one got deflated around him. Addy stopped the wand to see what had happened, but as she looked the king was still flawless just much angrier now.

He send bolt after bolt of energy into Addy’s and Trin’s pillar, chipping off chunk after chunk as he approached.

“You will pay for that little girl.” He said, his magical robe messing up the translation slightly, she must have hit it with the wand, or one of the others might of.

Addy heard a roar off to the side as the biggest bear she had ever seen stampeded down the aisle towards the king. The figurine Micahel found must have done something to his druid powers. Micahel came up swatting the king but to almost no effect, his paw almost 5 times the kings size stopped instantly as it hit like he was made of iron. He turned about to launch an something at Michael but Bob came up slamming his shield in front of him directing the energy right back at the kind a second after he let it fly. It hit him sending him down to the ground.

Everyone finally seized the moment, everyone launching anything they could find at him. As Addy and Trin went around the pillar to join in she noticed The Forgotten running down the aisle towards them Addy’s eyes widened and her heart leapt that they had come this far to have the orb taken away. She had to find some way to get it to the Government in time. It her how she could still accomplish what she came to do and stop Ain from killing himself after he found Vizix with the orb and tried to stop him by himself. The necklace around her neck bounced as she ran, reminder her that she could summon Daedalus with it. And he worked for the government, even if he liked Ain surely he would stop Ain from taking the orb for himself.

Addy quickly held the necklace and thought about Daedalus as she ran around the pillar, even if he couldn’t teleport down into the city he would still get the call and teleport to the school where she would hopefully be in a few minutes.

She pointed the wand and sent another wave at the king. Veronica lashed out with her new swords, Trin sent golden energy at him, and Arun had gotten his hands on a bow that sent out magical arrows that exploded against the kings’ shield. He rolled into a ball letting go of the orb and staff which rolled away from him. Addy picked up the orb quickly tucking it away near Rue in her backpack; she grabbed it and yanked it down to where she was hiding from all the noise.

“I have it, we can leave now!” Addy said.

“Are you ok?” Trummel to her as he caught up to them all. He looked at what was going on, it seemed fairly taking care of from what he could see.

“Yes. We need to live though, I don’t think these weapons are actually doing anything to him.” Addy said eyeing the king who was just then starting to get up even with all the weapons barraging him. His robes started glowing more and more, and his shield started to reform even if it fell apart every few seconds. It was only a matter of time until he regained his footing.

“Do you have a way out?” Trummel asked also eyeing the king and realizing he was way out of all of their leagues. He might have even been a god almost for all Addy knew about those types of things.

“Yes.” Addy said pulling out the orb of teleportation from her coat. Trummel shook his head at her and looked back at Ark. “Are you ready to teleport us out?”

He nodded his head but mid-way through the king shot out a purple energy streak as he regained his staff, luckily it missed everyone.

“Quickly, we can’t hold him much longer!” Arun yelled from the other side.

“Orbs guys!” Addy yelled to the other kids. They all stopped what they were doing and quickly pulled out the orbs. The Fallen quickly redoubled their attacks, Dullblades taking Veronicas swords to strike at him. But they had still lost people attacking so it was only a matter of moments now until he fully recoverd.

“Now!” Addy said throwing down the orb at her feet and thinking of the main square at the school. The Forgotten where gathered in a group around Ark who was quickly reciting a spell and throwing spells components in the air around them.

As everything went dark when the teleportation spells finally kicked in Addy saw the king finally get a bolt off towards Arun, who quickly crumpled on the ground. Addy watched in horror as the king sent another rapidly at Dullblades but Bob deflected it away with his shield. But Addy disappeared before she could see anything else.

The next thing she saw was the school square with the fountain of the dragon. She screamed out to Arun as she arrived attracting the attention of the few kids who were wondering through the square this late. It was almost dark, the sun just preparing to set over the horizon off in the distance. One by one the others popped into the square, and all at once the Forgotten also arrived.

She looked around glad that they had all survived, but it dint last long as she thought of the Fallen. She trusted they would survive being ghosts and all, they could just melt into the ground the once they had all gone. But she still wondered because of how strong the king was if it had ended differently.

Daedalus and Ainamaf popped into the square also making Addys heart stop. She wasn’t really worried about herself but all her friends who had more on the line then her. She was pretty sure Ain wouldn’t expel her, but her friends she dint really know for certain.

Daedalus walked over to her and grabbed her in a big hug.

“I’m glad you’re ok.” He set her down, his face changing as he got serious. “I need the orb now.” He said holding out his hand. Addy took off her backpack and quickly found it and handed it over. Rue stuck her head out looking around; making sure the fighting was over, when she saw that it was she jumped on Addy’s shoulders giving her head a hug as she looked around at everyone.

Daedalus nodded his head. “I need to get this back right away, I’m sure I will see you again this summer.” Addy gave a small smile to him as he pulled something out of his pocket and activated a teleportation spell back to some Government Facility.

“Kids.” Ain said loudly, getting all of their attentions once Daedalus finally left. “Go back to your house, I need to talk to Addy alone.” They all looked back at Addy but quickly left glad to not have to deal with Ain right now.

As Ain walked over to Addy he was looking at the Forgotten as he said “I’ll talk to you in a bit.” They nodded heading away back to their warehouse or to more likely grab a few drinks at the bar and then head back to the warehouse.

Ain touched Addy’s shoulder and they were almost instantly teleported to his office.

“Have a seat.”  Ain said waving to the chair in front of his desk as he went off to the side to grab something to drink from his bar.

Addy dint feel lie sitting at the moment, even though she was exhausted all of a sudden as her adrenaline finally wore off. But with all the anxiety of what Ain would say to her she almost dint even notice. So she just went and stood near his desk looking down at some of the files he had lying about.

“I don’t know what to say. As a human being I’m impressed that you were able to accomplish such a thing, as your father figure I am impressed too, but as your school president I’m sickened you would endanger so many kids doing such a thing and especially yourself as your father.” He looked angry as he finished but he drank his drink one large gulp and seemed to calm down as he sat down at his desk.

“I understand you dint want me to go after Vizix alone so in your mind you had to do it.” he said much more calmly. “But you have to realize that what you did is exactly what I planned to do, is there any difference between me going up against Vizix and you going up against hundreds of thousands of zombies?”

Addy hadn’t thought of it that way. She had been so worried about losing Ain that she hadn’t stopped to think about him losing her. It really wasn’t any different; she had been just as selfish as him.

“Don’t expel my friends, please.” Addy said trying to change the subject.

Ainamaf laughed at that. “Expel them? Within 5 or 6 years Vizix will have the whole world at war. Expelling them or you is the last thing I want to worry about when their parents come around asking questions about why they were expelled or launching inquires. You kids might actually come in handy in a few years if you’re already this good at doing this kind of stuff.” Ain looked off into the distance thinking as he began shaking his head.

“I’m terrible at this whole president thing.” He said laughing. Addy was laughing also as she thought about how Ain was doing what he had too to prevent a terrible war but if anyone from the outside saw what he was doing they would surely think he was the worst president in the history of any school.

As the laughter finally died down he looked at her and smiled a little. “I love you like a father and it makes me happy that you are still here.” He smiled larger but it quickly changed into a more serious face as he said “But. None of this means that I won’t be watching you like a hawk next year to stop this from ever happening again. You can even stay at my house this summer sense I seem to have that entire time off thanks to this new job. And I can also give you access to the portal system so Miir or the Forgotten can watch you back at the orphanage if I’m too busy. Be nice to teach you a few new spells.” He finished smiling again.

Addy was sure that she had probably warranted herself being magically watched for the foreseeable future so she probably wouldn’t be able to do anything but go to class from now on. But she still smiled knowing Ain trusted her just a little more to take care of herself. This whole school thing wasn’t going to be that bad after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a newer version in journals that I have not yet gotten typed up. It is much better then this, I just have not had the time.

Adventgarde Universe

Book 1, Addy

Authors introduction:

Adventgarde means “the coming of protection.” A word I created when I was much younger and very naïve. I made it up because at the time I really liked the French word Avant-garde and I also really like the word aegis, which I discovered in the RA Salvatores series Drizzt Do’urden, aegis fang being a weapon from one of the characters. As aegis-garde did not sound right, I looked around the dictionary and found advent close by, coming up with Adventgarde. Liking the word so much I wrote a poem about it, and named all my book characters and World of Warcraft characters after it.

I tell you this because I want you to see the randomness that life really is. It is neither simple nor straightforward but chaotic and messy, yet I still found meaning in it like everyone does. To me this is one of the beauties of human life.

Adventgarde or Addy is me, it is who I see in my head. Though the main character in this book is female, I see myself as a male in my mind, choosing a female only to help promote more female main characters. So I apologize for any mistakes I make in the pursuit of this endeavor.

The Adventgarde universe and the person are not perfect. Like me, they will have points in which they fail and points in which they succeed. I have been an alcoholic, stoner, done drugs, cheated in relationships, hurt people mentally, and failed more times than I can admit to myself. I have had many years in which I was a good person, but I feel that it would be a lie to tell you only those.

I created Adventgarde when I was so young and naïve that I took my character named after “the coming of protection” and put him on a spaceship in which I flew around different worlds helping people and creating wondrous things with scientists and engineers in my mountain laboratory on another planet far away.

And now, as I grow older, and look back at my life, I wonder with all my heart… why that person disappeared? Why when I got off my spaceship and switched from Adventgarde to Robert did I fall oh so far?

That is because I forgot who I really was, imperfect and flawed, weird and silent. Our life’s are not fantasy, and I cannot take back what I have done. However, I can choose in which direction I take my life right now, and I choose the spaceship, I choose Adventgarde and not Robert.

This is my universe, forged from years of loneliness that I am only now starting to realize were never lonely, and were never sad. No matter who you are, or what you have done, know that you can always change your life. Welcome aboard my spaceship, you are always welcome here, but please, try, not to forget who you are when you leave… like I did.

Thank you, Adventgarde

 

 

 

Chapter 1

Prague, 1:35am

Human year: 2007 AD

Magic year: 9987

 

 

Psyphon hesitantly stepped out of his portal and out into the city of Prague. He stood next to the famous astronomical clock perched on the side of the old city hall. He had chosen this area because it was tucked away, hidden from view from the city center.

He moved forward, staying near the tower to remain hidden.

His shoes clicked lightly on the stones beneath him. He chided himself for not casting a spell to muffle them, but he doubted it would make a difference.

Reaching the edge of the tower he peaked his head around, spotting the person he had come here to find.

Vizix, the leader of South America, strolling casually around the square like he did every several weeks.

In the human world Psyphon would explain him as being similar to the leader of North Korea.

He was tall with white hair and wore magical items all over his body, including his robes which were covered in things that were meant to be there and some that where not.

200 years ago Vizix and his father Resdal had brutally taken over the magical cities in South America, leaving only the wild elven city of Jukal intact. Jukal existed on another plane of existence, like all magical cities around the world did, but Jukal was unique in that the whole city was a large forest inhabited by all manners of creatures.Resdal had deemed the loss of soldiers too great to take, leaving Jukal and its people stranded from the world, deep in the western Jungles of Brazil.

Before that the magic world and the human world had stayed separate.The magical community had decided long ago to leave the humans alone to let them evolve in whatever manner they liked.

9,978 years ago the magical world had reached its height, a golden age. In the capital city of Rjovak located in the icy plains of northern Greenland they created a portal network connecting earth to 104 other planets, along with 6 other portals spread across the world. The magical government or Roja governance began to spread across the stars along with its people, leaving earth to the humans. With 10 major cities, and a handful of smaller ones spread across the world, the magical world had stayed realitively quite for millenia on Earth.

The Roja governance was forced into action as Resdals armies destroyed or captured all the human cities in south america. But in the time it took them to mobolize troops spread across worlds, Resdal had easily spread mass delusions across the human world, replacing the old South America with a new one. By the time the Roja governance was prepared, life had turned back to normal, and the loss of life required to take back the continent proved to high for a goverment that had not seen war for over 4000 years.

Within two years Vizix had assassinated his father and moved his country towards a black market, trading magical items with the human world.  Making magic a bad kept secret around the world, though few if any found their way into the magical cities because of this knowledge.

Psyphon had come to assassinate Vizix.

He had become aware of Vizix’s plan to wage war several years ago when he was an arch mage with the Roja governance, now that he was one of the 6 high mages he was privy to the knowledge pointing to the war coming anytime now. With his daughter now 10, and growing into such the little lady, he had come to the conclusion that he had to at least try to make it so she grew up in a world that did not know war, like he had.

With his one-year stent as high mage almost over, and his powers being reverted back to that of an arch mage, he had made the last second choice to follow through. As a high mage he was granted limited access to the vaults in Rjovak that contained items collected from across the universe. He only had access to a limited selection without alerting anyone to his plans, but the item he had grabbed made his chances go from none to some, and that was enough to at least try.

The item was a powerful staff known as the “Dark Apox”. From what he had read about the few times it had been used in history, the staff should easily destroy the dissying array of shields that surrounded Vizix.

With only enough magic left in it for one shot, the bigger problem was moving quickly enough to finish the job. Vizix was frightenly powerful and the magical items he carried were not harmless trinkets.

This however was as vuneruable as he ever would be, Prague being the only place outside of South America in which he went without being surrounded by his generals or bodygaurds.

Psyphon had also learned over the last year while survieling Vizix that he always went on his walks while wearing a ring of divurgance. Completely illegal, but it subtly changed the minds of every human for hundreds of yards, leaving the town square empty.

Psyphon stepped out of the alley way and took a deep breath, pointing the staff.

He had never killed anyone before, but he had seen images of the thousands Vizix had  in his own country, making it much easier then Psyphon had imagined.

Pushing the magic out of the staff, the air in front of it warped and stretched as a small black blob silently popped into being. It quickly grew black tendrils and expanded in size as it moved forward, following Psyphons thoughts as it veered towards Vizix. The tendrils reached down into the stones carving long lines as it devoured silently.

It quickly closed the distance smashing into Vizix as it rapped its tendrils around his shields which flared to life in bright colors as they began to quickly pop one by one as the powerful magic made quick work of them.

But as Psyphon watched, a white light flared, his vision gone faster then he could think. Stepping backwards in surprise he felt a wave of pressure rush past him.

Luckily his vision was already coming back and he watched through the bright lights that still danced in his vision as the black blob flew through the air away from Vizix, now much smaller as it hit the stone ground and sank from sight.

Psyphon looked over to Vizix, his shields were half gone shattered like a glass globe, the edges flaring in blue and red making purple and turquoise as they mixed together.

Psyphon quickly pulled out a sapphire from his robes, he did not have much time, it would only take Vizix a moment to activate any number of items once he caught site of who the blob had orignated from.

Psyphon shoved his hands forward, palms touching as he began his spell in Opac, the complex language created during the magical golden age that most earth mages used. The sapphire floated in front of his hands, reality shifting around it as multi-colored rips appeared. Magic was not a whimsical thing as human fairy tales made it out to be but the result of energy constantly spilling out of all life, permeating the world around us. In the magic world a mage was viewed as an engineer, taking this energy they used words and their mind to construct their spells.

Psyphon did not need the sapphire for his spell, it only served as a vocal point in current reality to help hasten his construction of the spell.

Vizix turned towards Pysphon as he heard him begin the spell. On his knees, blood pouring from wounds all over his body, he swept his hand to the side shifting what was left of his shields to block the attack.

As Psyphon finished the spell, he had an odd thought about how he would of normally taken much longer and constructed a jade dragon rushing forward or stars falling in a rain of colors. War was not the time for beauty or aritists, he relized.

The front of the sapphire was warped with reality as it reached out and filled the space between them in a long blue line. Vizixs eyes went wide.

Energy flared in the rips around the sapphire as the spell snapped it forward like a rubber band.

The sapphire exploded into his shields, the air itself distorting as the shockwave rushed outward flinging stone and dust into the air. Windows cracked and shattered around the square.

Vizixs body was flung like a ragdoll, the center of his shield gone leaving only a halo of shattered glass that swung round and round as his body flew through the air to land several hundred feet away.

Before Psyphon could even think, a roar pierced the sky and the moon over Prague castle went dark.

There was only a handful of things that could eclipse the moon in such a manner, and Psyphon knew before he even looked up that it had to be the hammerhead dragon Sindralla, a general in Vizix’s army.

He had no time to spare…

Beginning a new spell, Psyphon looked back down in time to watch as Vizix began to float upward, his mouth moving to cast a spell. A gem on his robes flared as Vizix vanished leaving only the slight distortion of a minor teleportation spell.

Psyphon looked around, Prague was a rarity in the magic world because of its enchantments that stopped teleportation away from the city. Only minor teleportation was aloud thanks to the crazy king Tytus who had ruled several thousand years ago. He had put the enchantment in place to force the city to use his portals, which he charged for. The city had kept it after his death simply because they were used to it, and to keep all the tourists coming who enjoyed being in the only city in which walking was the only choice. A rarity in the magic world.

Quickly scanning the skys for Vizix, the approaching form of Sindralla filling more and more of Psyphons paripheral vision, Psyphon was unable to find him.

Growling a little under his breath, Psyphon turned towards Sindralla, he had to buy himself some time. He knew Vizix could not have gone far, but if he did’nt do something about Sindralla it wouldnt matter if he found Vizix or not.

He rushed out into the town square in front of the old town hall, he needed more space for what he was about to attempt. It would take a score of high mages to defeat a dragon such as her, but Psyphon only needed to defeat her in this one clash, not defeat her.

Reaching into his robes he grabbed 6 rubies. He was’nt sure if this spell was even powerful for what he was about to try, but it was the only plan he had with any chance of working.

Sindralla was a hammerhead dragon, her skull flat and several feet thick. Large eyes sunk into her face with her mouth hidden behind her skull. Psyphon remembered from security briefings that her skull and verterbrae could interlock, so the force of all her significant weight would be funneled to her head when she used it as a hammer or ram.

Psyphon began his spell, throwing 5 of the rubies in a circle around him, and holding the 6th in his hand. As he began the words to the spell he also started to construct the result he was after as firmly as he could in his mind. Adding in as many words in Opac that he knew to re-inforce his magical construct. The air and stone around the 5 rubies began to distort and pull inward as if they were holding on as hard as they could for what was about to happen.

Sindralla roared, shaking the ground as the arc of her flight took her upward for a moment, then she folded her wings in and began her descent.

Psyphon watched, to focused on his spell to be afraid. But he could’nt help but notice how she kept her eyes open, making small micro corrections in her plummet with the tips of her wings, her aim freighteninly perfect.

Finishing his spell Psyphon waited as patiently as he could, he would only be able to maintain it for a few seconds so timing was everything. Focusing instead on maintaining the mental construct in his mind, as he calculated the perfect time to activate it.

“Now!” Psyphon said as he thrust the 6th ruby above his head, red beams arced out of the other rubies the second his hand began to move and formed a complete cage around him by the time his hand was fully above him. The beams quickly went from arcing red energy to a complete glowing red shield, making a slight pop and swooshing sound as it came into being.

Sindralla’s face smashed into the shield, sending all of the force through the shield and down into the 5 rubies, making the ground explode around the shield. The shockwave lifting and flinging huge chunks from the ground. Sindralla was deflected up and straight into the old town hall, her considerable weight and size easily smashing the entire front to pieces. The tower and roof above the town hall quicky gave way, falling on top of her.

Psyphons shield had fallen away millaseconds later, barely long enough. But he did’nt have time to think about how close he had just come to death, he immedietly started scanning the skys again for Vizix, already hearing SIndralla begin to stir in the rubble.

“There!” Psyphon said as he a saw slight shimmer of light off to his left that led his eyes to Vizix, who floated above the buildings.

Psyphon began a quick teleportation spell to bring him closer. As he finished the spell he felt himself shoved forwards,  his vision popping from one area to the other as he found himself 20 feet away from Vizix and slightly below him.

Psyphon activated the levitation spell in his robes before he could begin to fall, turning himself to fully look at Vizix. He must of drank a potion or activated an item because he looked better then when Psyphon had seen him floating up into the air, blood dripping down and torn robes. His robes where still in tatters, and there was certainly a lot of blood, but he could see from here that most of his wounds had healed.

Psyphon heard the spell before Vizix even started to turn. His eyes glowed red and around his hands fire swept in circles as he made arcane motions.

Pysphon had no idea how long he had been casting or how long he had left before he finished the spell so he quickly jumped into action. Lifting his hands he began to funnel as much magic as he could straight at Vizix, hoping that because he had already destroyed his shields once that Vizix would be vunrelable now.

But to no avail, Psyphons attack met Vizix’s new shield disspipating into nothingness. He had to think of something, he could feel that his shields were much weaker as he continued his attack, raw energy pouring from his hands in the form of blue electricity, Psyphons favorite way to manifest his power, though he could of made it look like anything.

Psyphon began scouring his memory, trying to think of something from what little he knew about combat magic. But his studies and last 450 years of life had mainly focused on magic that built things not destroyed things…

“Ahh.” Pysphon said as an idea popped into his head.

He remembered an old mage who lived about 4000 years ago back during the Magical world war that had taken place on numerous other worlds the Roja governance had cities and embassys on.

His name was Valcas Numbra, an engineer before the war who had become a high ranking general during war time. One of the tricks he loved to do was instead of breaking enemy shields, he would instead make them stronger to the point in which the shield would deflect the enemey mages attacks back onto themselves.

Shields were normally like a one-way mirror, letting attacks escape from the inside but not letting them come in from the outside. All Psyphon had to do was put enough energy into his shield to reverse it, or at least that was the simplest way to put it without going into complex magical enginering.

Psyphon began focusing his electricity with words from the Opac language, not exactly casting a spell just simply telling the energy what to do. He also started funneling all the energy from the 4 rings on his hands, their enchantments meant for something else but he needed as much energy as he could get.

Vizix’s shield began to glow slightly in multi-colored hues and Psyphon hoped that he was to focused on his spell to notice what he was doing. If he did all he had to do was simply wait for Psyphon to stop before he released his spell.

Roaring the last few words of his spell, the fire gathered around Vizixs hands as he shoved them forward. His entire body erupted in roaring red fire as a fire elemental tore its way out from Vizix and rushed forward towards Psyphon.

Hitting the shield the fire elemental roared, smashing its fists against the cage. Psyphon watched as it gasped for breath, his new shield must of been so strong it did not even allow air to enter or escape, and the fire elemental must have burned away all the air instantly its fire dimming low.

Vizix screamed as he caught fire, the fire elemental desperately running around its new confines, not caring if it hit Vizix or the shield as it tried to escape. The elemental finally broke a hole, shovings its mouth over it to breath in air, its body flaring fully to life. Vizix screamed again, caught in the fire elementals renewed flames.

Pysphon looked below at Sindralla, she had killed most of the clock work monks. Roaring she stomped the few remaining monks down as she got a running start as she took to the skies, circling away from Psyphon as she gained altitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He tried to assassinate Vizix? There hasn’t been an assassination attempt for millennia, I thought we were over that point in our history…” Ainamaf said, to the 4 other presidents in the room. They were in Rojovak, the capital, kind of… The room in which they stood was inside a construct called the Roja Mon, or as humans would call it the Roja moon. It was a large floating moon that hovered of the capital, constantly moving. It even resembled a moon, a moon filled with different colored windows, but most of it was still the dark grey rock of a moon. Because it was an actual moon, around 8000 years ago the government on the planet High Fall, their main trading partner then and now, had giving it to them as a gift.

“Is he alive?” Ainamaf asked hesitantly to Mikal, who had just gotten back from Prague with the report.

“No.” Mikal shook his head, sad, but he quickly moved on, they had much to do this day. “18 clock monks were also killed during the fight, and the town square was heavily damaged. The magical governance took quick action to remedy this, but the humans…” he looked off into space thinking, “they will find out.”

“Visix’s armies hold their places,” Pulla said. She was a small Tysa, or what human fables would call a gnome, though she was more a cross between a fairy and a gnome, having glossy wings that folded up and complete hid in her robes, but when unfurled spanned almost 15 feet to carry her weight, though with magical levitation she hardly ever used them.

“But we should still prepare, he is unpredictable at normal times, who knows what he could do now.” Pulla said.

“Word has already spread among the generals, they have begun to prepare and will form a line at the northern tip of south America within hours.” Burlap said, a large man covered in black plate armor, he was a descendant of one of the several human lines that had joined the magical world millennia ago.

Because of a wall of sorts, the Roja governance had put up years before, a line of 15 crystals encircling the continent to stop teleportation in or out, Vizix had to push his armies out through the northern borders of south America. There were many ways around the crystals, they had even done it on purpose to allow people to escape, but the main point was to stop him from teleporting his whole army out.

“We have to warn the humans. If he does not start his war right now, he will begin other plans.” Ainamaf said, making them all look skeptically at him. The magical world may be a bad kept secret, but they had never actually spoken to each other in such a manner.

“How?” Mikal said, “Just teleport all the leaders around the world here?” Mikal laughed along with the other 3, except for Ainamaf who looked at him seriously.

“You can’t be serious.” Mikal scoffed.

“Do you have a better idea?” Ainamaf said.

They all looked at each other, curious about how all this would play out.

 

 

Addy woke up suddenly as a bright blue flash filled her eyes, sitting up in bed she saw that Daedalus was still there sitting in front of here in his large brown spiky armor. Her dad had left him there before he had gone out, saying he had something to do.

She realized the bright blue light must have been a portal as she looked around noticing Ainamaf standing in the corner, along with his imp Beesu. Addy loved Beesu, even though everyone told her the imp was evil, she still loved it whenever Ain came to talk to her dad because her and Beesu would sit there and make faces at each other. Imps were not very powerful, but he still had the magic to cast illusions to transform his face and body.

 

 

Vizix tried to fling the priest off him and rise from his chair in his war room, but he barely managed to even move his arm. The priest finished his spell, light leaping from his fingertips and into Vizix, the last of his burns healing completely. Vizix smiled, thinking he was back to full strength he pushed his way up to stand but he only made it half way until his mind exploded in pain and his legs gave way. He sank back into his chair, gritting his teeth he used sheer anger to power through the pain, his fingers bleeding as he gripped his chair as hard as he could to focus himself.

“What is this priest, why am I not cured.” Vizix whispered in a threating tone.

The priest, Ovoran, was a bishop under the god Nótt, and probably the strongest person in the room with Vizix in a weakened state. But still the priest shrunk back in fear.

“The fire elemental you summoned did more than damage your body, it ripped apart your soul. Also…” Overan trailed off as he began walking backwards towards the door unconsciously.

He tried to continue speaking, but he only managed to open his mouth.

“Speak!” Vizix screamed, sending himself into a coughing fit.

Overan swallowed hard, waiting for the coughing fit to stop before he continued.

“When I went to fix your mind… it…” He held his hand apart, fingers splayed as he looked down at them as if representing his brain, “Your mind… is in tatters.” He looked up at Vizix, who’s eyes where not slits, in pain or anger the priest could not tell, but he continued anyways.

“I was able to restore everything, memories, habits, feelings, everything you are. But they are mixed and corrupted. It could be years until you are able to re-order them.” Overan finished, backing up a few more steps, this time on purpose.

Vizix growled as he pushed his way to his feet. He stood unsteady, no one rushing to help him, he took several deep breaths then a ring on his right hand glowed green as he began to levitate upwards and then forwards to the center of the room.

He opened his eyes, looking down at the large map that took up most the room, his 8 generals standing too the sides, 4 on each.

The map showed the continent of South America, his current kingdom. It was a complete to scale depiction, flowing out of the floor it was if you were looking at it from space just all colored brown like the stone floor. He looked at the area highlighted blue, representing the Jukal kingdom that still existed to his constant annoyance. Then at the two small swirling portals that represented the gates to Pestrian and Killtog, both of which he had recently convinced to join his war. Then at his border to the north, where he could see the Roja governance massing troops miles away from his entrenched lines.

“Prepare the troops, we hold our defensive line.” Vizix said, still a whisper, but a little stronger.

“Then we attack!” Malinfraught said, smiling her insane smile as she looked towards the front line, then up to Vizix, the entire time saying things under her breath no one else could hear. She was a slight whisper of what humans would call a wood elf, or Minks elf in the magic world. Wearing tight black leather with two daggers at her hips, her tail was multi-colored and constantly swirled in hypnotic patterns.

“No.” Go-fri said, stepping forward. He was the only human in the room, be he stood proudly, his beard grey with age, wearing shinny grey armor like an old knight over his massive frame. He had lead the army for several hundred years now. Even in a place like this and leading an army known for its massacres, he was known as honorable, or at least as honorable as anyone could be in this place.

“We are years from being prepared.” Go-fri finished.

But Malinfraught did not even move her head as she continued to look at Vizix, her lips still moving.

Vizix looked over to Malinfraught, who lit up as his eyes met hers. He laughed, Malinfraught was his favorite general. Leading his spy network, she never failed to amaze with what information she could discover.

“We wait.” Vizix said looking away from her.

She twitched once, her mouth turning to a frown, but quickly regained her smile.

Vizix was breathing heavily now, far past being exhausted. He looked to Go-fri who nodded and began to address the others, knowing which direction Vizix wanted to take.

“We will move forward with the plans we already have in place. The Roja governance will not attack, Psyphon acted alone so they are only responding in self-defense. If we only strength our line, they will lose interest quickly enough. Then we can move forward with the first step in our plan with our new troops from Pestrian and Killtog.”

 

Portland, 3:35am

Human year: 2017 AD

Magic year: 9997

 

Lights strobed and flared through Addy’s eye lids as she danced to the music that pulsated through her body. She was in a warehouse rave in the human city. The magic city had similiar clubs, but something about the human ones always made her feel…

Alive! She thought as she opened her eyes.

Her hair hung in front of her face, seeming to dance for her as it changed colors thanks to a spell she cast on it. Behind her hair the other people all seemed connected somehow, pulsing together with her as if they where all some large organism.

Behind her she instinctively pushed off another guy who tried to dance with her. Moving forward as she continued to dance she caught a glimpse of him and realized that she wouldn’t of minded, but she had come to dance, at least for now…

 

 

Trummel swung his sword at the rock beast that towered over him. His Sword, called Rammsworth, a 6 foot long chunk of moon iron from the moon RAMS. It was heavily enchanted and glowed a bright blue as it connected with the rock beast. Sending only a small fleck of rock off.

“Damn it.” He said as he retreated as fast as he could. Which was not very fast. Trummel was a paladin of the god Nótt and wore large spaulders along with a full set of glowing yellow armor, highlighted by dull black iron.

The rock beast swung its arm at him the size of a small car and glowing red with energy from the weird rocks that covered this planet.

He lifted his plane blue shield quickly reciting a few words to his god. The front of the shield filled with glowing blue text, and white energy flared outward in a circle reaching up to slow the arms descent.

A white puff of energy flew over Trummels head as he had just begun to prepare for the blow.

The puff lightly hit the rock beast in the head as it gently exploded outward.

“What the…” Trummel thought, even the rock beast had stopped, confused, as white particles gently floated around its head.

Quickly, however, they started glowing with purple energy, 15 of them rapidly enlarged in size to 2 feet as they reached critical mass and ruptured in miniature explosions.

Both the rock beast and Trummel flew backwards, the balls ripping huge chunks out all over the beast.

Trummel skidded to a stop right below Athelaz who put his cloth foot on his head.

“This is why we wait for backup.” Athelaz said, removing his foot from his face to look him in the eyes.

“I was fine.” Trummel said as he got up. The rest of the Forgotten now arriving.

“Sure didn’t seem like ol rammy was fine at all.” Esymyth giggled as she sent her large Scavarian panther she called “Lord Biron” at the rock beast before it could get up.

“Lord Biron” was from a planet with almost 2x earth’s gravity, and weighed almost 2 tons. She was a beautiful white panther, with purple and blue stripes that shined like the feathers of a peacock. Her maw was exceptionally large, which she currently used to hold down the right arm of the rock beast, as Dullblades and Ark peppered its head with blows.

“Did you get the sword?” Trummel asked after he got up and brushed himself off.

“Yeah it was just sitting over there in that cave.” Athelaz pointed to a cave a good 3 miles away across the deselect waste land that glowed red from the red rocks.

“Not sure why you had to attack the rock guy.” Athelaz said, referring to the rock beast which was pretty much rubble now.

Ark, the mage of the group, was floating up in the air off to the side of the battle. His black robes danced with small distortions of reality, which opened up small rips that flared with multicolored light.

He finished his spell, sending the finishing blow into the rubble , which was pretty much just one last moving arm and leg.  It was a line of red light that arced its way into the pile of rubble, which glowed and shook as the energy wormed its way in. After a few moment the pile exploded everywhere, sending  rock everywhere.

Trummel looked around trying to find Tucker, the last team member of the Forgotten. He quickly found him running towards the group somewhere between them and the cave.

Tucker was a large dwarf who partook often of beer in Portland. He was followed closely by his pet “kitty”, a large red sebertooth like creature who was robust like Tucker. She gently nudged Tucker with her giant maw, trying to get him to go faster as she easily loped behind him.  This caused Tucker to go flying in the area forward, half the time landing and keeping running and the other half sending him into a roll that he only sometimes managed to control.

 

 

As Tod finished putting on his pants in Addys room, he asked “So how do I Leave this place?”

O yeah that, Addy thought as she finished throwing on her favorite dress Esy had gotten

Her from some weird alien planet a few years back. It was white and covered with blue text that slowly crawled all around.

She flicked her hands, and Tod disappeared in a small ripple of distorted reality back to the warehouse she had met him at last night. She smiled, no magical safe guards made it possible to do almost anything to humans.

The forgotten should be back almost anytime though, so she didn’t have time to worry about what would happen to him in the warehouse at this time a day.

She stepped out from her room onto the balcony on the second floor. Right as the portal down below connecting to Rojovak began to flare to life. The “portal” wasn’t exactly anything real,  just a place next to the wall they started to become distorted in multi colored rips that opened large enough for a person as everyone stepped out one by one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addy and the Sultans orb

 

Chapter 1: The showdown.

 

Psyphon rose up after being thrown down by the swooping dragon. It was a hammer head dragon named Sindralla that most kids grew up hearing about but never thought was actually real. She definitely lived up to her name Psyhon thought as he got up and brushed off his robes scanning the surrounding city for the rider of the dragon.

Around him was the rubble of downtown Las Vegas, Vizix really wanted to make this battle public. If I ever get out of this alive theirs going to be a lot of minds to wipe and covering up to do. Most of the buildings were smashed from where Sindralla ran into them.  She was called a hammer head because of the dragon’s flat face and thick skull that it used to ram into things with. Which more than made up for her not being able to breath fire or some other heinous toxin most other dragons did.

Psyphon spotted her again way up high, swinging back around for another shot at him. Coming down she straightened her back and folded her wings in preparation as Psyphon dove for cover in the water in front of Caesars palace. Right when she came down though the water fountains splashed up in roar of water as some catchy pop song came on the speakers. Missing the water she careened into Caesars Palace smashing through and disappearing into the center of the building.

Psyphon levitated out of the water, not wet at all thanks to his magical robes, water cascading down him. “Where are you” he said looking around again. Vizix had been out of the fight now for at least a minute. And who knows what he could accomplish in that time. Not willing to wait he cast a spell to find him.

Sensing him above Psyphon looked up scanning the skies as he prepared a fireball spell to try to get Vizix to come down. But he failed to notice that water he had just come out of had begun to tendril its way up towards him.  He made it half through his fireball spell before realizing the water had entwined half his body before squeezing down on him. Squirming he tried to work his way out before it engulfed him completely, but he was already too far gone and the water quickly covered him completely.

The water encircled him and rushed all around him in a large ball as Vizix descended down towards Psyphon. He began casting lightening spells in quick succession into the water leaving Psyphon almost completely immobilized and unable to cast a spell.

As Vizix reached the ball he stopped casting and began a new spell, one almost certainly fatal even against Psyphons shields and magical protections that had been keeping him alive this long. He finished the spell, ice flowing from his fingers and jumping to the ball of water. The ball froze solid and plummeted back to the pavement out in front of Caesars palace. Cracking a little as it hit and finally rolling to a stop.

Vizix chuckled as he tapped the ice “Is that all you have Chancellor Psyphon, head of all magical things and in charge of the secret Government.” He stopped, looking over to a wide eyed suspector on the sidewalk. “Aren’t you supposed to keep people like this man unaware of us? Hmm?”  The man was videotaping everything but as he saw Vizix looking directly at him he started running away.

Vizix laughed and pulled out a wand, pointing it at the man he said a trigger word for the wand. An almost unseen black line popped out and hit the man who stopped running, making it a few more steps before he collapsed to the ground, his camera smashing down next to him.

“Do you know what I like about this wand?” Vizix said, tapping the ice ball.

“I like that it isn’t flashy, no colors and bangs.” He said walking around the orb. But as he was talking he noticed a small flame in the center of the ball, getting brighter and brighter. Realizing what it was Vizix started to fly upwards, but not fast enough, the ball exploded.

Psyphon came out in a ball of fire erupting like some primordial fire god. Psyphons arms shot up reaching all the way to Vizix with their fiery tendrils.

Vizix screamed as he tried to move his burnt hand still holding the wand and point it at Psyphon. When he finally got it into place he shouted the trigger word over and over until Psyphon let him go. Vizix floated away, his robes and entire body burnt to a crisp as Psyphons flames quickly went out.

That spell was probably my last chance Pysphon thought as the fire primordial he had summoned faded away leaving him drained. But as he started to recover his strength he noticed the rubble over at the Caesars palace start to move as Sindralla started to work her way out. Poking her head of the hole she quickly spotted Psyphon.

Working her way out she spread her gigantic wings and flew directly at Psyphon. Straightening her neck and lining up her head to hit Psyphon she began to plummet straight towards him. He knew it was the end, he hadn’t regained his strength enough yet to cast any spell or even use any of his many magical items to get him out of the way of Sindralls path.

Psyphon looked up towards Vizix and said “This isn’t over.”

Vizix, barely able to keep himself aloft with his levitation spell looked down at Psyphon and said “It’s over for you, atleast.”

Sindralla hit Psyphon, smashing him into pavement and all the way across the street, her immense weight continuing all the way until she crashed into the Luxor across the street taking half the building with Psyphon to his grave.

 

Chapter 2: Adalins rescue.

 

Ainamaf teleported into the hallway of the 74th floor of a New York high rise in front of a door few could see. Knocking, he adjusted his robes and helmet. He was a warlock, second only to Pysphon who had just died so he was now the president plus one of or the most powerful person in the world. His helmet was purple skull, the color most warlocks wore, with horns jutting out the two sides, most likely from some demon he killed. His robes were the same dark purple color along with his boots and gloves.  A small green imp trailed behind him, jumping up and down.

The imp said “Hurry hurry, we must hurry. If he comes here we won’t win.”

Ain replied, “I know Beesu, but doors only open as fast as the people behind them want them to open. At least this door.”

Beesu ‘herumped’ in complaint and sat down on the carpet cross-armed.

The door opened and a small old women came out asking, “What are you doing here…” she trailed off before she continued. “Is he gone?”

“Yes.” Ain said trying to push past her, but she wouldn’t budge as if she was made out of stone. Ainamaf new why so he just went around her instead of trying to move her.

“What? But how, Psy couldn’t possibly be dead, he just went out for some food a few hours ago.” Ainamaf just looked at her, they both knew Psyphon lied all the time about what he was doing even to Ainamaf his second in command. At that she shrugged and conceded the point.

“Why do they want little Addy then?” she asked.

As Ain walked towards Addy’s room, Beesu following behind, he said “Her blood. She is the last known person other then Psyphon capable of opening the door. Now come on, we don’t have much time to hide her before they arrive.” He finished pushing his way into Addy’s room down a small hallway just off the living room.

Agnus rushed to catch up, moving faster then her old frame looked possible of moving.

Coming into the room she found Ainamaf in a heated conversation with Daedalus, head of security at the Government of the Unseen, and Addy’s bodyguard while Psyphon was gone doing his nightly “errands”.

“You can’t take her, the safest place for her is here with me.” Daedalus said, brandishing his giant sword, Melbourne the Destroyer, its 6 feet barely fitting in the room.

“Stop your dramatics and put away your sword, you aren’t going to fight me.” Ainamaf said staring at him, he could technically order him to do it but Daedalus wasn’t your average employee to boss around. He finally put away his sword after a few tense moments.

“Good. Now Psyphon.” Ain gave Daedalus a second to absorb that; he looked over at Addy then back at Ainamaf waiting for him to continue.

“Vizix will come after her, for pure spite against Psyphon and also if he ever finds the door. The safest spot she can be is somewhere far away and preferably if they think she’s dead also.” He finished as he looked down at her curled up with her stuffed Unicorn. At the age of 2 she was still small as could be and fast asleep this late at night even with them arguing around her. Though Ain suspected Psyphon had the crib enchanted so she couldn’t hear any noise around her.

“And let me guess, the safest place is some hidden warlock palace. Surrounded by skulls and screaming victims, atleast her unicorn will fit in.” he finished lifting up the unicorn and giving it to Ain.

“Like the government is any better… you know as well as me that they will find out she’s alive and hiding their if you take her to any government facility.” He stared at Daedalus for a bit judging what he was thinking but gave up and looked towards Agnus. “Can you gather everything she needs?” She nodded as she started gathering things from around the room and putting them in her pink diaper bag.

Daedalus went over to Addy, picking her up and gathering her in her blanky, he grabbed the unicorn back from Ain and gave it to her when she started to look for something to snuggle. She grabbed onto it and quickly went back to sleep with her thumb in her mouth and her other arm rapped around the unicorn.

“I agree that she must leave, but your warlocks aren’t the must trust worth either.” Daedalus said still holding Addy as he rocked her lightly keeping her asleep.

Ain began to disagree but he knew he was right, they where better then the government but not exactly the safest option either. Shrugging he waited for Daedalus to continue.

“The orphanage.” Daedalus said. “Miir will keep her just as safe as me or you could, and I highly doubt Vizix has spies their.”

Ainamaf hadn’t thought about the orphanage, it wasn’t exactly the best defended or safest of places. But he was right, their wouldn’t be any spies their and it would be the last place Vizix looked. In this case secrecy would make it safer then any other option.

“Done.” Agnus said, handing Ain the pink bag.

“Orphanage it is.” Ain said as he started a spell to open a gate their.

A large blue gate popped into existence as he finished the spell,waking Addy up in the process. Luckily she dint cry, just looked at the swirling blue gate in wonder only a child could have.

“You first, I need to go last to close the gate.” Ainamaf said motion to Daedalus and Agnus. Daedalus quickly jumped through but Agnus stood her ground.

“What? Ainamaf asked Agnus.

“If you want them to believe she’s dead then someone must stay to make it look like she’s here.” As she finished she walked out of the room. Ainamaf quickly walked through the gate before it closed, not having the time to question her anymore.

He came out of the gate in front of small house in downtown Vancouver Washington. Daedalus looked over at the gate that had just closed without Agnus and gave Ainamaf a questioning look.

“Agnus stayed to make Addy’s death look a little more authentic.” Ainamaf said.

“Well then whoever Vizix sends is going to have a fun time.” Daedalus laughed and so did Ainamaf.

“Agnuslurous. The red dragon of china. Psyphon did not mess around when it came to choosing his  nanny’s.” Ainamaf laughed.

But Ainamafs happy demeanor quickly faded, as President now he had to deal with whatever mess Agnus made in dragon form in New-York City and he also had to deal with the mess in Las-Vegas. So many minds to wipe, stories to fabricate, and messes to clean up magically.

“Let’s get this over with, I have a lot more to do tonight.” Ain said as he pushed his way into the house, opening into a huge courtyard that shouldn’t have fit inside the house.

 

Chapter 3: The orphanage

 

“You took them to a brewery again! This is the 5th time Tucker, you can’t keep using the kid’s field trip as an excuse to see all the brewery’s around Portland!” Miir screamed at Tucker while he tried to keep himself upright in the door frame of Miir’s office.

“Well you see, I did take them to somewhere else. Melanoma falls, but on our way back we happened to stop at full Sail because it was happy hour and I was trying to save money on food…” Tucker slurred.

Miir sighed. “That isn’t even on the way back. It’s an hour the opposite direction! I don’t care if you take them to the restaurant, but don’t take them on the tour while you stay in the bar and get smashed!”

 

 

 

Addy was now 12 after her birthday a few months back. She a little over 4 feet tall, but still hopefully had a lot of growing to do. She had black hair that went down to her neck and she was always being called cute by the grownups so she considered herself not horrible looking. But none of the boys ever said anything to her nor did she really care at this age.

Her and the others kids sat in the courtyard, while Tucker got yelled at in Miirs office in front of them. While the courtyard was technically outside, it never seemed to be cold. Even in the middle of fall like it was now neither rain nor snow ever came through the open top. It just always stayed sunny with clouds drifting about which most likely meant it was type of magic Miir had made.

The other kids dint really seem to like me because Miir and the other teachers always gave me special treatment, which tended to just cause more problems than be helpful. But this year I was going to start school and hopefully never see any of the other kids again because they dint get to go. Ainamaf had put me into a special school none of the other orphans could obviously afford to go to.

Tucker came tumbling out of the door, flames around him as Miir followed with his hands pointed outwards. He must have cast a fireball on Tucker Addy thought laughing a little as Tucker rolled around trying to put the flames out in his beard and clothes.

“Get back to the kids; make sure they spend their day at least semi-productively.” Miir said as he closed his door and went back into his room. As one of the most powerful shamans in the world Miir usually had other things to tend to then the kids, so he had hired the Forgotten to teach them. A group of adventures who were more than suited to teach them what they needed to know before going to an actual school. Especially sense the one the rest of the orphans went to after reaching 12 wasn’t anything special. But Addy always did find it weird that he would hire a group of people who mainly sought out ancient artifacts and dint teaches kids before this.

Finally putting out the flames and coming back to his senses Tucker looked around at the kids all laughing at him and started to growl. He rushed up to his feet then stomped over towards the kids saying “What are you all laughing at!”

One of the boys down the line said “You”. Oliver I think.

Tucker glared at him, then after a moment started laughing at himself. Letting go of all his anger, if he was ever really angry in the first place, Tucker never seemed to take anything seriously and just liked acting tough in front of them.

“Well..” Tucker said as he looked at his watch “you still have several more hours of light if you want to go play. Don’t get into too much trouble otherwise I’ll be getting into trouble for that too.” At that he let out a dwarven bwahaha, winked at us and turned around to go back to his room, probably to drink more beer with his brother Shooter Mc Gavin. Off to the side his pet tiger, named Kitty, if a 700 pound Bengal tiger could really be called ‘kitty’, got up and started following Tucker. Kitty brushed up against him as she went, easily knocking him over in his drunken state.

“Darn cat.” He said disappearing around the corner.

“Well, off to the Nutty Cog everyone?” Oliver asked as he turned around and started to head out of the orphanage, not waiting to see if anyone else was following him. Because he dint have to, he was the impromptu leader for most of the kids here.

Addy sighed, if she tried not to go one of the other kids would just force her too. And sure enough Ashely and Kim came over and looped their arms around Addy’s as they pulled her along and asked “Your coming right?” not really giving much choice in the matter.

 

 

As Miir entered his office again he noticed a figure behind his desk fiddling with some of his totems on the back wall. The entire wall was filled with items he had collected over the years, stacked on shelf’s and bookcases all around the room.

“Nice of you to drop in Ain. I guess this is the year she starts isn’t it.”

“Yes. She’s twelve already.” Ain said, walking back around the desk and sitting down into the chair there.

Miir walked around the desk, sitting himself in his chair. Looking at Ain he asked “Does Vizix still not know she’s alive?”

“He’s smart enough to assume she’s still alive. But as far as we know the stories the Government put out that she died still hold.”

“Good. The school of magic in Seattle is too big of a place to risk taking her if he knew she was alive. I still assume that’s were your taking her, correct?”

“Yes.  I can easily watch over her their, now that I am the President of the school. And Daedalus says he can provide some spies. Though as head of The Unseens security, he can’t risk putting to many on a school for teenagers.” Ain pulled a bag of coins, pushing it over to Miir.

“What’s this?”

“Compensation for taking care of her.”

Miir pushed the bag back over and said “Psyphon was a good friend. There is no need for compensation when it comes to her. She will always have a place here if she needs.

Scooping the bag up, Ain rose and asked “Where can I find her?”

“Knowing Tucker he probably let them go do whatever they wanted, so they should be at the Nutty Cog by now. A pub around the corner.” Miir replied.

“You let them go to a bar?” Ain asked skeptically.

“Well yes.” Miir got up, laughing a little as he went to a scrying orb in the corner of the room which showed the inside of the Nutty Cog. “It’s the only magical restaurant in the area and it’s not like they’re going to server a bunch of kid’s alcohol.”

As Ain got up and looked into the orb, he saw an old tavern with a little over 10 kids sitting at a long table with some type of boiling drink in front of them. They all started to drink at the same time, and one by one they started to change into different things, a bear, one kid started to shrink, another got larger, but the one Ain was focusing on was a white panther that was growling at the other kids.  It was Adalin.

“They serve potions at this bar?” Ain asked incredulously as he rushed from the room before Miir could even reply.

As the door shut behind him Miir said “I wonder where one of the kids got that…” Miir asked out loud, always amazed what the kids at his orphanage where capable of. That’s one of the reasons he had hired the Forgotten to look after them, even if it wasn’t the main reason. Miir had a lot of work to which he started on again before Tucker had interrupted him, fully trusting someone Ainamaf or one of the Forgotten to care of the problem, it was what he paid them for.

 

Chapter 4: The Nutty Cog

 

Addy was being pulled along with the two girls towards to the Nutty Cog. Ashely, the one pulling from the left was a red head, madly in love with Oliver she followed him anywhere. She also had a brother, Steven. Both were druids, or technically sense they hadn’t had any druid teachings yet they were just good at talking to animals. Kim, pulling from the right, was a brunette. She was usually pretty nice to Addy, but only followed along with the others so she could fit in. 11, she was already new how to cast basic mage spells, like small fireballs, more a dot, and telekinetic hands to pick things up.

“Oliver has to be the cutest boy here.” Ashley was going on about, like usual. The only one who dint know about her obsession was Oliver.

“No, Fredric is. He’s already muscular, and he’s the tallest.” Kim looked at Fredric, next to Oliver, already almost 6 inches taller than anyone of us.

“What do you think Addy? Oliver is the best isn’t he?”

But before she could respawn Kim jumped in and asked “No, Fred is the cutest.”

As Addy started to finally say something, along the lines of she dint care about either of them.

They finally got to the Nutty Cog, and they forgot about what they were talking about as the rushed forward without her to get a spot close to their intended “targets”. Addy hung back, not caring which spot she got.

The Nutty Cog was in the back of an enclosed alley way. To her right was a bar called the old shanty, some British like pub she had never been in. And to her left was a fancy Asian restaurant, in a small, old, brick structure. But because it was the Portland area, the run down demeanor probably meant  it had some of the best Asian food in town, if she ever cared to go there. In the back of the alley way was a brick wall. Or if you knew the words to break the illusion the Nutty Cog, with a huge metal Cog door. Anyone entering the door would instantly be forgotten by the normal walking by, thanks to the illusion.

As Addy walked towards the wall she mumbled words under her breath “Gnomes butin vartan tan.” Or translated from gnomish, “gnomes always out built man.” An old gnomish sane thanks gnomes love saying when any human does something stupid. And sure enough as she said it the cog appeared and she stepped inside. The place was full this time of day sense it was happy hour. Mainly with gnomes. Though she saw Shooter at the bar, Tuckers brother, who winked at her and held up his class her way as they made eye contact.  And also a couple other humans about, probably mostly her teachers if she could get a better look at them.

Straight ahead at the longest table, sat the rest of the orphans, Oliver at the farthest side, surrounded by Fred, Ashley and Kim. She sat down at the only spot still open, next to Steven. He was one of the few people actually always nice to her. He smiled at her as she sat down.

Oliver got up and went to the bar keep, a big gnome, as gnomes go, named Buddles. And dropped some of the coins Miir gave them for spending money in front of him, ordering something that made Buddles look a little taken aback. But he took the coins and disappeared behind a door in the back.

Not really paying attention, Addy zoned out for a while. Snapping back to attention after a cup gets slammed down in front of her from a waitress. Everyone had some kind of drink in front of them, or more likely some potion now she was looking at it. At the front of the table Oliver lifted up his glass and said “Drink up everyone.” Addy dint really respond, just looking at the glass thinking how she would rather be back at the orphanage reading. Until Steven picked up his glass and banged it against hers smiling. Shrugging and thinking what’s the worst that could happen she picked up the glass and drank it down with everyone else.

 

 

Ain teleported directly to the entrance of the Nutty Cog, bypassing the illusion and pushing his way into the bar. Which was in complete chaos by now. The problem with a potion of polymorph, is its random, you can either by a giant tundra yeti, or a small teddy bear. Which in normal circumstances is hilarious, but with 12 year olds who have barely studied magic it can turn to the more dangerous side. They are in constant battle with what they were turned into when they don’t know what they’re doing. One second wanting to talk and walk, the next wanting to run and eat salmon.

In the corner was a bear trying to reach a stuff salmon hanging on the wall. At the table where it started, was a girl shrunk to about a foot tall standing a chair, and below the table was a boy 10 feet tall trying to hide but only succeeding in pushing the table upwards. On the bar was a white panther, Addy. Ain rushed over next to Shooter, who was trying to calm her down. As a Ranger he was capable of taming and controlling most animals. But he seemed to be only slightly succeeding because every time he reached out to comfort her she tried to smack his hand away her claws.

“Is their anymore of the potion they drank.” Ain said to Shooter.

“No, why. Maybe I guess. Ask Buddles.” Shooter ducked under a swapping paw. “Why do you need more, you feel joining them?”

Not answering. Ain looked around for the barkeep. Who he found popping his head out of the door behind the bar. Going around  the bar, trying to avoid Addy, he pushed his way through.

“Why would you give kids a potion of polymorphing?” Ain asked glaring at the gnome.

Buddles straightened his shoulders and stared right back.

“I dint, how stupid do you think I am. The potion I gave them makes them slightly smaller or larger. One of the kids must have put something in it.”

Ain deflated a little at that, obviously no one would give kids an actual potion of polymorph.

“I need some of the potion you gave the kids. I think I can reverse it with a spell.” Ain asked looking around the shelves in the backroom.

“Yes.” Over here. Buddles rushed over to a back shelf lined with potion vials. He grabbed one and gave it to Ain.

“Thanks.”

Ain rushed back out the door. Forgetting Addy, he almost ran straight into claws as he bursted  out.  Falling down though to dodge them, he got back up and ran a little way away thinking about the spell to reverse this. By now the bear has gotten the salmon, realized it was fake, and was trying to play with some of the gnomes underneath one of the back tables. A gorilla he hadn’t seen before sat near the entrance rocking a gnome like a baby, who was too scared to move.

Not having much time to waste he went with the first thing he couldn’t think of. Launching into the spell, he sprinkled some of the potion around him in a circle. As he was nearing the end of the spell shooter flew past him, as he landed, he saw Ain and said

“You better hurry up with whatever you’re doing. Shes not really listen to me anymore.” As shooter said that his eyes got big looking behind Ain.

Finishing the spell Ain flung the rest of the potion into the air, which immediately turned a bright blue and pulsed outward. Following shooters eyesight Ain turned around, watching the white panther soar towards him, but turned back into a human mid jump. Realizing what was happening Addy started to fling her arms around trying to stop herself. But still ended up crashing to Ain.

“Hi, uncle Ainamaf.” Addy said, trying to smile as she was laying on top of Ain, who was glaring back at her.

 

Chapter 5: The beginning

Addy stood in the portal room back at the orphanage, with Ain, Miir, Tucker and of course kitty in front her. The portal room was a circular room on the first floor,  that was usually off limits to anyone but teachers. The room had room had 15 doors, or things that functioned like doors like two pillars or some even bricked up, each door either going to some far off place or into another room with even more doors. The rooms were color coated so people dint get lost, this room was the blue room. Addy had gone through some of the doors before for field trips, one going up to a monastery in the Himalayas, another going to New York when they got to look around the Governments main building there. The room also always had a wardrobe between two doors, she dint know exactly what that was doing in a room full of portals though.

“Adalin.” Miir said, trying to get her attention so she would come over and join them.

As she was walking over to join them Miir started talking again.

“Adalin, I am going to give you something very special. A key, allowing you to go through the portal from here to the school in Seattle.”

“But I thought only teachers were allowed to use the portals.”

“Yes normally, but with Ain being busy and me or the other teachers not always able to come get you, you being able to travel back and forth seems the best route.” As Miir finished he handed her a necklace, it was plane silder with a small swirling opal hanging from it. When she peered inside of it, the opal itself seemed to a swirling blue mess.

“This necklace, similar to the ones the teachers have will allow you to come and go as you please. Except yours only allows passage through one portal, this one.” Miir pointed to the door behind them. This door was just two rock columns going from floor to ceiling, but as she approached blue streaks started to connect the two pillars, filling in slowly to form a swirling pool that seemed to get smaller and smaller at the center.

As she was just about to reach out and touch it Miir interrupted her.

“Adalin. Heres your stuff.” He handed her the suitcase she had sat down while they were all talking. After that he swooped down and grabbed her in a hug.

“Come visit often, my door is always open.” Letting go over her and setting her down, he realized everyone was staring at him so he added “I’m sure the kids will want you back.”

At that she laughed, she knew the kids wouldn’t miss her at all. “I’ll miss you too Miir, I will come visit whenever I can.”

“So what are we waiting for, bwah.” Tucker said as he picked up an old duffel bag and began to plod straight threw the portal with his cat.

“Whys Tucker coming? I thought it was just me and you uncle.” Addy said looking to Ain as he begin to go through the portal too.

“He’s my new ranger trainer. And I thought it would be nice to have some you knew at your new school.” At that he disappeared through the portal, and with one last look back at the orphanage she gladly plunged threw the portal.

 

 

Back in the orphanage, in one of the lower levels, a group called “The Forgotten” met. They specialized in finding and collecting ancient items from the time before the pact of the unseen. The pact that formed the Magical Government.  The pact was created because of a seer; an ancient seer predicted that there would come a time when the non-magical human race would save the planet, but only if the magical races disappeared. Because for them to both exist out in the open, the non-magic races would disappear as the magic races took over as rulers.  The seer never said what they would save the planet from, but a government was formed, the Government of the Unseen, to hide and make magical creatures “unseen” from then on. Many items and magic creatures became forgotten. The elves went to special lands hidden away. The dwarfs hid in the ground and slowly died off until there was only a few left. And history even says some even went to other planets through ancient hidden portals. The items they forgot are what The Forgotten seek, hence the name.

Trummel, the leader of The Forgotten, a paladin of awe inspiring reputation. He fought beside Daedalus in the Governments war with Vizix 10 years ago. But had a falling out when he found he could make more finding treasure. So him and 4 others founded The forgotten. Tucker Mc Gavin, Athelaz a priest at the orphanage, Esmyth a ranger that teached at the orphanage, and Allison a mage who died several years back in a cave-in down in an ancient dwarfing mine.

Because of Allison’s death they had been searching for a new mage to replace her, currently they had a mage named Ark, a moon elf quite powerful in the art of destruction magic and more importantly in finding magical items for them.

“Now that Tucker is gone we wait, we can’t do much until he locates were the glove is.” Trummel said to them all as they sat around a table in a candle lit room.

“You know we could at least get some windows down here if Miir is going to insist we keep our stuff down here. It’s not like he can’t make them in a basement, look at that huge thing in the courtyard.” Esmyth, or Esy as most called her replied, swatting smoke from a candle away from her face.

Athelaz sighed at Esy and replied back to Trummel. “It could take Tucker years to find the glove at the school. Why couldn’t I or Ark go. Anyone but him.”

“Because the school dint need a new priest or mage teacher. But Ain is working on a way to get us on campus for a while. But who knows how long that could take. With Ark’s bracelet though he should atleast have some luck. You need to have some faith, Priest.” At the last remark Trummel smirked, because while Athelaz was a priest, he was always doubting others and look on the bad side of things.

“My bracelet will find it, or at least close enough Ain won’t have any excuse to keep us away from campus.” Ark replied, annoyed that Athelaz was doubting his power. He was after all a several hundred year old Elf.

“Then we wait.” Athelaz said sarcastically as he leaned back in his chair and brought his hands like he was surrendering.

 

 

Chapter 6: Seattle’s School of magic

 

 

As Adalin walked through the gate she was stunned. She had been to Seattle several times on orphanage field trips, but she had never seen the school of Magic before. She was in an open air courtyard surrounded by huge columns. The columns were other portals from around the world. People were streaming through them, some in with snow trailing after them, others with sun poring through. There were elves, dwarfs, half-Orcs, gnomes and other races she dint recognize. Around the columns were cherry trees in blossom, even though it wasn’t time for them to be blossoming.

“Addy.” Ain said, getting my attention. “Tucker here will show you around today. I don’t have time with school just starting. I will see you tomorrow when all the new students meet for orientation. Also, you’re going to have to use a new name, Adalin Trest, you’re my neice, my sisters daughter. Remember if anyone asks. ” At that Ain nodded and walked away towards a group of teachers showing kids and parents were they needed to go.

Tucker came over with Kitty by his side and slapped me in the back, jostling me forward. I glared up at him, but all he did was “Bwahah” at me.

“So we need to go by you some school things and then afterwards I was told to show you to your dorm.” Tucker said pulling out a list. Which looked comically small in his hands. Even though Tucker was only 4 feet tall, he was also 4 feet wide and all muscle. His orange beard hung down into the list which he kept moving trying to read, but failing because his beard just came straight back on top of it.

Growling he said “Here take this.” Shoving the paper over into my hands.

The list was short, and written vellum by hand, more than likely Ains secretary sense it was easy to read. Addy laughed a little out loud, remembering Ains letters he always sent here, she was always only barely able to read them.

The list had 10 things

 

  1. Vellum, a lot of it.
  2. Spell ink, for writing spells.
  3. A weapon of your choosing
  4. Beginners books, list will be provided in The Golems Eye Library
  5. Beginners Robes
  6. Spell Components, mage starter box.
  7. A familiar from the Rangers Friend
  8. A scrying orb from the Seers Tent (Don’t let her rip you off, they only cost 15 silver!)

And at the very bottom was writing ‘Other items will be needed later once you have a specialization.’

“So were de we find these things.” I said looking up at Tucker.

“Over in the magic district.” As Tucker spoke he turned in circles, looking for where he was going. Finally spotting it he said “ Ahh hah. “And started walking away from the school towards a small gate with a guard beside it.

Running to catch up with Tucker I looked around.  The gate was in the wall, which from what I can see surrounded the entire school. It was about 20 feet tall and large enough to support people walking on top of it. It had small watch tours every once in a while with a fire pit built on top but not lighten yet. How the school this large kept hidden in the middle of Seattle she had no idea. The gate they were headed toward had a huge statue of a man on the right side holding a spear and shield, it looked almost life like, but it was build into the wall. To the left of the gate was a small guard house, literally just a small house like structure that looked fairly comfortable even with it being quite cold out at the moment.

When I finally got their Tucker in an argument with the guard, apparently he wasn’t exactly allowed in and out yet until he got something to prove he was a teacher at the school. The argument started to get heated, even Kitty started to growl.

Tucker yelled “Then ask someone you buffoon, do another part of your job other than shutting and opening a gate. How many years of school did you need to get this job? 8, 9?”

Giving up, the guard looked over to Ain, who was now watching the scene and shaking his head. As the guard shrugged and looked Ain, Ain nodded his head and waved for him to let them out of the gate.

Going back to his gate house the guard grabbed a wand and came back and waved it at the gate while saying something under his breath. The gate had barely started to open before Tucker started to push his way through muttering words under his breath.

As I caught up Tucker said “Damn elf’s, always thinking their better than us kindly folk like me and you.”

“Im pretty sure he was just doing his job.” Not wanting to argue, but not really knowing what else to say.

After going through the gate they had come straight out into an alley that led them 10 feet or so ahead and onto a street. The street was lined with new and old businesses, and even weirder humanoid races walked around then back at the school. Too my left I could of sworn I saw a half giant, and right in front of my was an Orc.

“Where are we, I never remember seeing any of these places when we visited here on our field trip.”

“This is the magic District; almost every major city has one of these. Miir dint want you seeing Portlands or this one because who knows what kind of trouble you kids would have gotten in here. You guys almost destroyed the Nutty Cog and killed Ain.” Tucker reminder her while laughing and kneeing her in the side. “Both this and the school are in a dimensional pocket, basically all this is only inside a few inches somewhere in Seattle as long as you know how to get here. Now, what do we need to get.”

“We need…” pulling out the paper and looking at it again Addy finished “paper, lots of it, and ink.”

“Then let’s get going.” Tucker said as he elbowed past the Orc in front of us. Who immediately started to turn around and say something before Kitty growled at him as she walked by wagging her tail into his face. Spitting in front of me the Orc walked away.

“Orcs. Why I hate the city.” Tucker said looking up the business signs as walked down the street.

There were new age stores mixed in with stores selling thousand year old magical jewelry. The modern day items were usually magical too, computers that read minds, cell phones that not only talked back but talked to you. The items ranged from necklaces that gave you special gifts like night vision to weapons that burst into flames. But most of the really dangerous things were out lawed by the Government or they were the only ones with them, most of the time.

“Do you know where you’re going Tucker?” I asked, as Tucker had stopped now, scratching his head and looking around, as Sat next to him licking her paw.

“Yes, of course. I just haven’t been here in a couple years. Or centuries. It couldn’t of changed that much.” Spotting something down another road, he pointed and said “Ah hah, told you.” And started marching towards it as me and Kitty started to follow.

He was walking towards a store with a sign over it with a sheet of paper and a hand writing on it. The paper said “Bergun’s and Son Vellum and magical Ink.” It was in an old brick building next to a shop proclaiming “magical wonders form around the world”.

Entering was extremely strange, because while the outside was old, the inside was completely new. With careful shelves on every side but two, completely filled with different kinds of paper. The other two sides were a counter, were the what looked like the owner sat with a young boy playing with some kind of toy soldier. The front of the store, up against the windows facing the street, was solid bottles of different types of inks. Labeled neatly and stacked in rows, with drawers beneath holding even more with little name tags on them.

Tucker was already talking to the owner, asking about what a beginner at the school of magic would need as far as paper and ink went. Reaching below the front desk he came back with a small box.

“This is a beginners ink box. It only has little of everything, but unless you become a scribe at the school most of these should last you several years at least.” He handed the box to Tucker and came out from behind the counter walking towards the right wall. He grabbed a stack of paper from the left and another stack form the top right.

“This one.” Handing me the left stack “is normal paper. Use it for notes or whatever else.”

“This one.” Handing me the right stack “is for writing magical spells on. This paper is designed can either be used as scroll or in a book of spells. Only use the ink with stars on it to write on these, otherwise your magic won’t work when you read form them.”

Tucker gave the man a couple gold pieces then we walked out, meeting Kitty were sat sleeping.

“What next kid.”

“A weapon of my choosing.”

“Ooo. Finally something fun.” Tucker said, was walked away, this time knowing exactly were he was going.

 

 

Addy swung the sword at the dummy, as it connected the dummy burst into flames and the sword went right threw.

Tucker applauded along with Buster Shieldbreaker, the owner of Bucklers and Swords.

“Its name is the fiery wrath of Typlhon.”

“Whos Typlhon?” Tucker asked.

“My mother in law.”

They both burst into laughter again. It was rare dwarfs got to see another of their kind these days, so Tucker was really enjoying being around Buster. Apparently an old friend from some war they fought in several centuries back in southern America against ogres, giants and orcs. Most dwarfs seemed to know, or know of all other dwarfs with their being less than a thousand on the planet.

Getting bored, Addy set down the sword from were Buster brought from. And started to look at the other weapons Buster had. Which he had a lot of. His workshop was littered with all types of armors and weapons. Almost anything you could think of, and most of them magical. The note said she could pick any weapon she wanted, but she doubted that the fiery wrath of Typlhon was what it meant.

Walking around she wasn’t very interested in any of the weapons, bows she sucked at, she almost shot Esmyth when she was trying to teach them at the orphanage. A pair of Scimitars, one with panther on it seemed interesting, but she moved on. A battle axe was too big. A crossbow not her style either. A long of row spears rested on a wall, she picked one up trying its wait. Going back to the dummy she tried to throw it but missed completely as it clanged on the floor.

Tucker and Buster only looked over long enough to laugh then turned around again going back to their conversation.

Definitely not a spear then. Grabbing the spear and bringing it back she passed a case full of old daggers. Now these she could handle. Not well but at least something more wizardly. Wizards dint exactly need training in the martial arts, but with guns outlawed by the government and with them being almost completely useless to any wizard able to cast a simple stone skin spell, learning how to use a couple weapons dint hurt. She opened the case and picked up a set of two old long daggers or dirks, she wasn’t quite sure. One of the cases was engraved with happy scenes of small fairy’s dancing around and other similar creatures. The other was completely different, it had dark symbols and creatures she couldn’t quite make out on it and seemed hot to the touch.

Finish their talk Tucker and Buster walked back over.

“Ahh, nice choice laddy. Those two be the daggers of an old elven wizard called Lirtron the Old if I remember right. They’re not much of a fighters weapon, which is perfect for you” Buster smiled. “From what I can tell the darker one protects the wielder from fire, and the left one I was never able to figure out what it does. But they’re both heavily enchanted with the basics like an enchantment of sharpened edge and such. But I doubt they’ve ever been put to use by the old wizard with what great condition their in.”

“Bah, you should go with an axe. Always keep you safe.” Tucker remarked, picking up a huge axe and slamming it against his other hand.

Addy laughed and said “I think I’ll stick with the daggers. Their perfect.”

 

Chapter 7:The library

 

After a hearty goodbye and a long exchange of Buster refusing payment for the blades they finally left and work their way to the Golems eye book store. A huge library in the center of the Magic District. It was like some old Roman building, with huge columns on the front and a long row of stairs leading up to the giant front doors. The place was packed, with students and people just going about their daily business. In the magic world books were still the main source of information, while they had the internet, books were the only way to transfer a lot of magical knowledge still. But the bigger problem was that most of the books were one of a kind, thousands of years old and couldn’t leave the library or they would follow apart as they got away from the library’s enchantments keeping them together. The librarians also weren’t the most of sharing people with their collections.

Walking in Tucker and Addy were instantly lost and amazed at the same time. The library was massive, way bigger than the outside suggested.

“Are we supposed to search through all these books to find the ones I need to buy.” Addy said looking up, and up, as the books just seemed to keep going everywhere she looked.

“No no no my young girl.” A robotic voice said as some type of mechanical human wheeled up to them. It was like a library cart with books piled on it, with a human torso stuck to the back. It was all shining gray metal with black and red checkered shirt on with a small name tag in its pocket sticking out. Addy was able to make out the words “Fred, librarian # 368”.

“All books sold are in the back, in section four thousand and fifty eight. If you just follow the markers.” He pointed to arrows between two books shelves with a sign above it saying “for sale”.

“All the other books are just for reading, and a select few you can check out.”

“What are you?” Addy asked, stepping close to look at him, she thought she could hear gears going inside him.

“I am librarian # 368. Built by the gnomish librarians as caretakers to catalog, search, and maintain the books in the library.”

At that he wheeled away, speeding along two rows as his cart extended up as he placed a book on a shelf, disappearing around the corner.

With nothing else to do they started to walk toward were he pointed, following other people starting the trek to were ever the for sale section was.

Tucker Sighed and said. “This is why I hate libraries, a bunch of walking and searching just to find something you’re never going to read, just set somewhere in your house and forget.”

“It can’t be that far.” As Addy said that they both stepped out from the bookcases revealing more of the library. It actually went down on top of going every other way you could see. To the left was a sign saying “For sale, 3.6 miles” with an arrow pointing to the back of the library.

Sighing even more Tucker said “How on earth are we supposed to get all the way there.”

At that moment they both looked down from the sign as a family walked underneath, stopped then stepped onto something. And all of a sudden they were wooshed out of sight. Looking at each other, Tucker and Addy walked over to were the family was. A sign  read “Please step on the square, keep all hands and feet inside at all times, in case of an emergency yell stop until a librarian can assist you.”

Looking at each other again they both stepped on to a square on the floor. They instantly started going, launching out from the square, railings sprung up around them to their waste, they oddly also dint get pushed back. They were a metal track way above the library, flying along they dipped down below a floor, ducking as they thought they were going to hit their heads against it. As they adjusted to their surroundings they realized they were now below the library, in some gnomish city, there was cogs and buildings below them, with things moving around that could only be gnomes. They saw other people riding along beside them, below them and on top of them, each disappearing through different holes as they went along.

Finally their ride went up again, going back into the library, for a brief moment until they went straight into a wall. This time when they’re adjusted to their surroundings they noticed water all around them, they were in some kind of tube going through the bottom of some river or ocean. They couldn’t make out much during, but near the end as the went back into the library they noticed a huge dark shape flow over them. Coming out their ride finally started to come to a stop. Stepping off what seemed finally like a more normal library, just inside a huge one. It was on the back wall, but covered in a lower ceiling then the rest of library. They had cashiers standing closest to them blocking anyone coming out from where all the for sale books were.A sign above said “ Golems eye Book store”, With a blue eye the moved around tracking people as they walked by

“Did you see that thing at the end?” Addy remarked, slightly scared.

All Tucker said was “I hate libraries” as he walked forward towards the books, the Golems up looking down at him.

Chapter 8 : Memories and wardrobe

Walking out the front door of the library, after spending several hours getting lost on their way back, Tucker and Addy stood at the tops of the stairs.

“What do we need to get now?” Tucker asked, obviously tired of this long quest.

“It says robes.” Addy replied, looking at the list she had stuffed in her pocket.

Tucker and Addy started to walk again, meeting up with Kitty who was at the bottom of the stairs playing with a couple children. As Tucker walked by he said “Come kitty.” As The large cat got up and walked away, rolling kids of her as she went, all the children went “Owww” at once.

“So what are you anyways kid?” Tucker asked, walking down a road, where he hopefully knew where he was going.

“What you mean.” Addy asked.

“A mage, druid, warrior? Ive never seen you really use anything before.”

“I’m pretty sure I’m a mage, like my dad.” While it was true she never really used spells around in the orphanage. Ain personally taught and tutored her in the basics of magic over the last couple years.

“Your dad huh. Do you know anything about him?”

“Not really. Just that he was very powerful Ain always said.”

Tucker laughed at that. “Powerful. Your dead wasn’t just powerful. He was the most powerful wizard this world had seen sense probably Rufflen the Fire.” Rufflen was a mage who was thought to have destroyed Pompeii using a spell to control the Volcano.

Addy wasn’t really shocked; the way Ain always talked about him always made her assume there was a lot he was leaving out about him. He always spoke as if he was in awe of him, as if he was afraid to dishonor his name even talking about him a decade after he died.

“One time your dad turned an entire underground lake into beer when he visited the dwarfs in their underground city a while back. Wasn’t a dwarf alive that wouldn’t kill or be killed for your father.” Addy had actually heard that story before, it was actually only about 15 barrels full of water he changed, but dwarfs tend to forget what actually happened after they get drunk.

“Do you remember anything of him?” Tucker asked.

“No, not really, I was too young. But I do have flashes of memory sometimes about a man, but I’m not exactly sure it was him.”

“It’s too bad; he was someone to be remembered.” Which was true, the government still used his picture and speeches on posters. Like one they were just passing, with a picture of an elf boy with a cop a human in front of him staring in amazement at the boys’ ears. Below the picture it said “Remember, cast a spell to remain unseen”.

“Here we are.” Stopping in front of a sign that said “Maggie’s robes and garments.” In a bright pink background with a girl twirling around in a robe.

As they went into the store a small bell chimed. Alerting a stunningly beautiful women behind the counter that she had costumers. Dropping her magazine she came around the counter. She was a tall half elf with long flowing red hair. She held herself regally like most elves, and she wore a green flowing gown encrusted with what looked like small lights throughout forming moving shapes. It had to be magical.

“Yes, what can I help you two with? I’m Maggie of Maggie’s robes and garments. I have one of the finest selections of magical clothing on all the west coast.” She said motioning around here to all her clothes.

“Umm.” Tucker started to stutter. Taking off his helmet, he continued.

“I need to get the youngen here a beginners robe for school.”

“Ah yes, if you would follow me.” She said swinging around and heading to the back room.

As she went Tucker elbowed Addy in the ribs several time and whispered:

“Now this is better than a library.”

Tucker rushed to catch up to her, as Addy sighed and slowly followed looking at all the beautiful items around the store. She certainly did have a fine collection of magical clothing, most of the clothes she passed shimmered or danced in some way that showed they were magical.

Following Tucker, Addy went through the curtain in the back. As she went through the curtain she was astonished to find a work shop in the back. Rows and rows of gnomes, humans, elfves and she could even see a dwarf, all knitting and sowing away. Making Different garments and things. To her right, were Tucker and Maggie, next to a row of changing rooms and a pedestal in front of curved mirrors. Tucker still had his helmet in his hand, trying to impress Maggie.

As she walked up Tucker was saying:

“Well I don’t like the brag, but that night I drank 30 beers and smashed in 4 other dwarfs faces.”

Looking to change the subject, Maggie grabbed Addy as she approached and led her onto the platform.

“Yes, very interesting. But let’s get her into her robe now.” Maggie said changing the subject.

“Whats your name little girl?” She asked with a huge smile.

“Adalin. But most people call me Addy, if you would like.”

“Interesting name. Dint the old Chancellor of the unseen have a daughter named that?” Maggie asked.

At that Tucker jumped in. “No, no. This is Adalin Trest. The Deans niece. Not Psyphon’s daughter.”

“I assumed as much.” Maggie said smiling at Tucker, who instantly blushed. “Well now let’s get on with it.” She said, motioning toward a small gnome standing off to the side this whole time waiting for Maggie to say something.

The gnome rushed in immediately with a small measuring tape. Taking every measurement Addy could think of, and even some she couldn’t.

The Beginner robes we sell her automatically adjust.  After Dorus here is done measuring her, the robe we make will fit perfectly, and change as she grows older. The robe has just the basic enchantments though. It will resist small amount of fire, won’t get wet, and won’t conduct electricity. The inside will be lined with pouches for spell components. The inner pockets have a small dimensional enchantment, meaning the inside of them is larger than the outside.”

Finishing, the gnome stepped away, bowed a little to Addy, then to Maggie and walked away towards one of the desks to have the robe made.

“If you would follow me to the front, we can get the payment out of the way, and the robe will be delivered to the school within the day.” Maggie said as she smiled and motioned them to the front.

Chatper 9: Spell Components.

“What’s up next, kid.”

“Spell components.”

“Does it say were?” Tucker asked, obviously never having before to buy spell components as a ranger.

“Nope”

“Let’s ask.” Tucker said walking into a store they were near, a few down from Maggie’s wardrobes and garments.

Addy stopped, looking at the store as Tucker went in. It was old, one of the windows was boarded up, and the sign hanging in front of the store hadn’t been touched up with paint for years. She could just make out “Wardrens Everythings.”. It would seem closed if their wasn’t several candles on the inside lighting it up. Addy headed in, prepared to encounter anything.

When she got in her eyes had to adjust to the candle light. Tucker was up at the main counter asking a small old man were they could find spell components. Around the room were hundreds of ancient things, covered in dust and cobwebs. Addy was sure she could see a skeleton in one corner, and she wasn’t sure it was actually sure it was supposed to be there or not. He did have some interesting things obviously hundreds of years old. In a glass case she could see rows of jewelry that gleamed slightly, enchanted. On the wall hung a double edged battle axe covered in notches were someone had nicked the handle. Below it was a broken helmet.

Walking closer to the skeleton she saw that it was held up by metal bars behind it. The skeleton only wore gloves, which she thought was weird. Both of the gloves looked like they had moving liquid around them and they were both deeply black. They must have been extremely enchanted, because she had never seen anything like them before.

“Why here of course!” Wardren replied to Tuckers question about if he knew were to get spell components.

Enthused to have any customers at all, He hopped down from a stool he was sitting on and ran around the counter.

“Here at Wardrens Everythings we have everything.”

Tucker tried to stop him, not wanting to buy anything from the place at all. But Wardren stopped him saying .

“Ahh, don’t you be fooled with this old place. Everything I sell is still in tip top condition.” At that he held up a small statue of a lady singing, which immediately fell apart.

“Except that. That was always trash.”

“Ofcourse.” Tucker sarcastically replied back.

But the old man continued to look around, trying to find something not deterred at all.

“Ah hah. Spell components.” Wardren held up a medium sized chest, slightly bigger than a head.

“It has everything.” He said opening it up. It was lined with hundreds of different spell components all marked in different pull out drawers.

Tucker and Addy were actually surprised, the box seemed fairly new, and it looked like it had more than enough spell components for a beginning student.

“You looked surprised. But here at Wardrens everything, we have everything!”

“Mmhmm. How much?” Tucker replied, sure that he was going to charge him a small fortune.

“500 silver.”

“haha.” Tucker laughed. “Ill give you 10.”

“No no no. Look it even has ruby dust.” The old man showed them a drawer that actually said ruby dust on it. “400 silver. It is quite a deal.”

“25. No more.”

As the old man began to try to bargain again, Tucker started to walk out, not willing to spend such an outrageous amount when all they needed was beginners spell components not something so elaborate.

“Fine fine. 30 Silver.” The old man said giving up. He obviously hadn’t had any customers for a long time and was willing to part with it no matter what. Even Addy knew the ruby dust in the box was worth more than 30 silver.

“Deal.” Tucker handed the old man 30 silver and he gave the box too Addy.

After they finally got out of the shop with only being offered to buy 50 other things they both started to walk away quickly as the old man followed them out still telling them about some fantastic deal he had on fresh dragon meat.

As Tucker continued on he felt a tingling on his hand, looking down he noticed the coin hanging from the bracelet Ark had given him was glowing a light red, he looked back wondering what it meant. But started to walk forward as Kitty ran into him pushing him onward towards Addy.

 

Chapter 10: Baby Rue

 

“Now a place I finally like.” Tucker said as we got to the Familiar store “Niloofar Rhamni’s exotic sanctuary”

Tucker walked up to the front glass with Kitty and peered in, in the glass was a new litter of small tiger cubs. Kitty put her paw up to the glass and started to play with one that tried attacking the her paw but only ended up smacking the glass with her little paws. Tucker couldn’t stop saying awww as the small cubs rolled all over each other playing. Addy knew Tucker could be here all day, so she went inside to look around while they played. They would probably just come in in a moment and try to talk the owner into letting them play with them anyways.

The place was huge, with hundreds of different animals, most of them loose. The back wall was a solid mountain inside the shop with a small waterfall cascading down it. There were rope bridges going form the upper levels, and cages all around. They had tigers even bigger then Kitty, gorillas, and she even saw some weird type of giant duck that was floating in the pond in the center of the store while children threw it loafs of bread that it immediately ate. She walked around the isles, admiring all the animals she saw in the cages while occasionally a loose animal would run in front of her.

She walked to the back and up some stairs to the upper level, half way up the mountain. The room was in the mountain, in a cave. On the far side of the room was only one cage, but it took up the entire wall. From what she could see the cage was huge and must of taken up most of the space inside the mountain because she could see trees and dense forest going on and on until it became too dense to see the other side of the room.

On the otherwise of the cage bars was an owl. And not just an ordinary owl, it was huge, about her size. Its ears had long feathers that out, coming up several feet of its head forming almost a half crown or horns depending on how you looked at it. The owl looked right at her the whole time as if it knew who and what she was.

It hooted at her.

From behind her a voice said, “I don’t know who she is. But I’m pretty sure I could ask if you like.”

Turning around Addy saw a female wood elf; she had long green hair in a ponytail hanging down to her waist and was wearing light leather armor.

She smiled, and Addy ask “Who are you.”

“I am Niloofar Rhamni’s, or Nil for short. And this” Nil said waving towards the owl, “is Dromphil. And may I ask who you are? Dromp is curious, not many come up here, the owls tend to not be as… entertaining as the other animals.”

“Im Addy Trest.”

“Ah. Ains niece, he mentioned you last time he was here.”

“You know Ain?”

“Yes, you would be hard pressed to find someone around here who doesn’t. As Chancellor of the university he tends to have to know everyone his students are buying things from. That and I supply the school with most of their animals food needs.” As she talked she walked up to the cage and opened a door. The owl jumped over, and she started to pet its head.

“Kings owls tend to not be, exactly familiar animals. So what brings you up here.”

“I was mainly just curious.” Addy said, walking up to the owl, she reached out her hand looking up to the elf to see if she could pet it, she shrugged. But the owl leaned its head over allowing her to pet it.

“He likes you.” Nil said. “But how say you and me go find you a smaller familiar.”

 

 

Much later, Addy still hadn’t found a familiar. Everything just seemed wrong to her. Familiars were supposed to bond with their magician. They can be extensions of will; they can provide boosts in intelligence or strength through that connection and even communicate through it. But she still hadn’t met an animal that was having that spark. She met some cats she liked, and a few of the smaller owls were nice too. But none of them bonded.

“How do you do it Tucker.” Addy asked, getting frustrated.

“Do what?” Tucker said as he held a small kitten that was asleep in his hand. He had found it when they came in and it hadn’t left his side sense. Kitty was over playing with another tiger she found.

“Bond with animals so well. Be a ranger and everything.” Addy said as she tried to get a cat to come to her, but it just came close, then ran away when she tried to reach her hand out.

“It’s not that I do anything special, it’s that I treat them like they want to be treated. Like this one.” Tucker said referring to the cat in his hands. “She doesn’t want to be pet repeatedly or played with, she just wants to sleep. And maybe a little belly rubs. Try to the pet the cat by letting him do all the work and you just standing there with your hand out.”

Addy stuck her hand out again as a cat tried to walk up to her, curious. This time instead of running though the cat rubbed its head up against her and let her pet it. But after a couple seconds it got bored and walked away.

“Well, maybe its stroking technique. Bwaha” Tucker laughed.

“I’m going to go see the owls again.”

She had never been close to animals before, but she never thought animals wouldn’t bond with her. Every young mage had a familiar; they were one of the first magical connections a mage made. Without it she would be the laughing stock of everyone she went to school with.

Walking up the mountain again, she passed other students finding and bonding with different animals, just making her cringe more and get away. When she got back up to the owls Dromphil was gone. Now sad that she couldn’t even see the owl again, she sat down in front of the cage and looked into the forest.

The forest was full of sounds; there must have been thousands of animals in it other than the owl. Looked out and saw leaves starting to move, hoping it was the owl she got up and tried to look closer. As it came closer and closer the leaves started to rattle more, but not nearly enough for it have been the huge owl. When the animal finally revealed itself coming out of the leaves she surprised to see some kind of squirrel. It ran up the tree and stood on the branch the owl was standing on before. It was the size of a large cat, grey with no tail, and smaller ears then a squirrel had, it had huge eyes. It stared at here, then got curious and jumped over to the cage bars. When it jumped it spread its arms and underneath it had wings. It glided over and peered through the cage at her.

Curious Addy got up and walked over to the cage and opened the door Niloofar used. The flying squirrel came over and peered around the bars, finally coming around then jumping at Addy. She screamed and turned around, not sure what the animal was trying to do to her. But it landed carefully on her shoulders, then pushed its head up against her hair making a slight almost purring sound. Addy calmed down, realizing it wasn’t trying to harm and reached her hand up to pet it. When she did it rubbed its head on her hand then crawled over her shoulder and plopped down into her arms. Were it curled up. When it noticed Addy not petting her anymore it looked through its arms up at her with its huge eyes, telling her she should continue to pet her. Addy complied and it instantly fell to sleep.

Finally she though she found a familiar, she ran down the mountain to Tucker. Finding him playing with the litter of kittens sense the kitten he had had apparently woken up and was playing with its brothers and sisters.

“I finally found my familiar.” She said to Tucker as she held out the flying squirrel, which peeked its head out at Tucker then curled up tighter and wait back to sleep.

But before Tucker could respond, Niloofar came around the corner and said:

“Interesting choice. Elven flying squirrels usually don’t like humans.”

Addy smiled at that and started to pet her new familiars tummy again. When she started it spread its legs and arms out and lounged in arms making sure she could get all of her belly.

“I think I’m going to call her Rue.”

 

Chapter 11: The seer’s tent

 

“Finally were almost done with this. I dint think it would take an entire day when Ain told me to do it.” Tucker grumbled as they walked towards the “seers tent” to get her scrying orb.

Addy was barely interested in Tuckers grumblings because she had Rue on her shoulder. Who was eating the treats they had bought at the familiar store. Addy kept giving her one after another.

“You’re gonna fattener up until she can’t fly if you keep at that, bwaha.” Tucker laughed. But Rue dint find it as funny, because she snickered at Tucker who just laughed harder at her small display of anger.

Rue jumped to Kitty, riding on her back. They had become really fast friends.

Moving back up to Tucker Addy said:

“I agree though. It’s been a long day, I’m ready to go to bed after this last stop.”

“I, me too.”

They arrived at the seers tent, which was an actual tent in the middle of the street need to the wall of the School of Magic. It was a fairly large purple tent, with just one flap at the front, at the very top of the tent at the point was a sign that only had an orb on it that seemed milky and changed from one thing to another. She thought she could actually see places or maybe people in it, but it was too far away to be sure.

Before they went in Addy said “Remember the list the orbs only cost 15 gold.”

“Bah.” Tucker said. “I’m a dwarf, you can’t rip off a dwarf, we invented the art of bartering.”

Addy wasn’t so sure about that, sense she had never heard of dwarfs being good at all at bartering but she shrugged and entered the tent after Tucker. Kitty and rue staying outside.

The inside had a plush carpet with an elaborate design on it. Everything had a pillow on it or next to it no matter what it was. And small magic fire, or more commonly known as fiery fire, burned around the room in small sconces. As Addy walked in their was a small glass case to her right. Going closer to it she looked inside, a wand was clenched in a fist, with a small plaque below it reading “H.P’s wand”. Never hearing the name before, Addy continued walking forward and looking around.

A small old lady was in the center of the room, next to her was a table with a large scrying orb on it, and on the other side of her at the table was a lady. Addy and Tucker walked up to a small desk with a young women behind it, who was obviously the old lady’s secretary. When they got their she whisper them “Just wait a moment for madam La’Land to finish please. And I will help you find what you need.”

Tucker and Addy watched the old lady who was whispering under breath and looking into the orb.

“I will now try to divine your future and hopefully your husband if he’s willing to talk from where he’s at. But there is no guarantee that anything will be seen.” The old women said to the women in front of her.

Whispering into her scrying orb again, her eyes turned white as she looked into it. After about 30 seconds she waved her hand in front of the orb and it started to fill with images. Images of cities, people, a glove, things Addy had never seen before but that seemed oddly familiar.

“You will have many troubled years ahead of you, filled with many trials you might not escape. But…” The old lady caught off suddenly. She started to look around the room blindly.

“Someone is contacting me.” She waved her hand in front of the orb and it switched from the images to a person, but it was too foggy to make out who he was.

The women in front of the old Lady said “Ned? Is that you.” But it was to foggy to make out clearly who it was.

“He is saying ‘When he finds you, you must find the door first, it doesn’t do what he thinks it does.’ And that’s it. Hes gone.” The old lady said waving her hand in front of the orb, the images and smokeyness went away leaving it blank.

“Does that mean anything to you?”

“My husband did have a brother I’ve never seen. And my husband did make portals. So maybe his brother knows were the door is?” the Widow in front of the old lady said.

“Maybe. But I got the feeling however it was, was trying to say something more important. Anyway our time is up and have customers, we can try again next week if you would like.”

Madam La’Land got up as the women in front of her walked out of the tent, not paying attention to anything around her as she tried to figure out what the ghost was trying to tell her.

The secretary waved Addy and Tucker forward.

“What may I help you with…?” She looked at them then continued “Tucker and Addy.”

Addy was taken aback with her knowing her name. But it dint seem to bother Tucker at all who had seen this trick many times before from magicians.

“We need a scrying orb this young one.” Tucker said.

“Ahh yes.” Madam La’Land said walking over to a shelf lined with different sizes of orbs. “For beginners the orbs start at 30 silver pieces.”

“Bah.” Tucker replied. “I’ll give you 15 and no more, I know your tricks witch.”

She smiled at that. Whiles dwarfs weren’t the best at bartering, she did know they were stubborn enough to argue for hours when they were set on a price. And if he knew she sold them for 15 silver to others he would stay at that price for hours without changing no matter what she said.

Giving up without even trying to fight. Madam La’Land shook her head agreeing and said “15 Silver it is then. But may I interest you in a reading.”

“No, we have to get going.” Tucker replied, ready to get back to the school and settle in finally.

She smiled and grabbed the orb bringing it forward to Tucker who gave her 15 silver in exchange.

“At least let me give advice to your little friend here.” Looking at Tuckers scowl she said in reply “ Free of charge ofcourse.” Smiling she leaned into Addys ear so just she could hear.

“Don’t be afraid to follow your friends.”

Which confused Addy. Because she dint even really have any friends. Madam La’Land opened the flap to her tent and let them out. As they were coming out Addy kept thinking about what she said, why would she need to follow her friends, what friends? And wouldn’t following your friends into something scary be something you shouldn’t do?

 

Chapter 12: Introduction to the magical School.

 

Addy and Tucker arrived back to the school. Rue was asleep in her arms. Getting through the gate was easier this time, sense the guard dint want to deal with Tucker again and let him in without a fuss.

The portals were empty now, only a view people were walking around and every once in a while a portal would open letting a family through, rushing to get their kid to school sense they were late.

Tucker led her up stairs behind the portals, going through the cherry trees, the stairs were littered with pink peddles. Mid way up the stairs they started to hear people cheering. Looking at each other, they both had no idea what was going on. When they got up the stairs they found a crowd of people several hundred away. They were surrounding a huge translucent cage, and the inside two mages were fighting. The cage was filled with smoke, and a huge explosion rocked the ground which made the crowd cheer. Rue was awake now and on Addys shoulder looking up at the fight going on.

“What’s going on? Why are their people fighting.” Addy asked confused.

“It’s a magical fight. They can’t die inside the shield.” Tucker pointed towards the translucent cage. When he said that a mage flew into the shield from an explosion were his nose must of busted because there was blood left as he floated away.

“But it doesn’t mean that can’t be hurt.” Tucker laughed a little. Now just as curious about the fight as everyone else around them.

The mage who hit the shield wiped his nose. He had three small orbs floating above his head and wore shimmering red orbs. Looking at the mage across from him he started to cast a spell, taking something form his robes and rubbing it in his hands. In response the other mage, who had on black leather armor and was holding two swords in his hand, was standing on the ground and began to run towards him. The sword mage whispered a spell and jumped on the shield running on it towards the mage. The mage finished his spell, throwing a ruby in the air in front of him, it floated their until he put his hands up behind it. From the ruby shot a red beam, hitting right behind the sword mage as he ran along. He jumped towards the mage as the beam struck him, putting his swords in front of him to deflect the beam. As the beam wore out, the sword mage spun with both swords, swinging them towards the mage. As he swung he said a spell loudly and his swords burst into flame.

Eyes opened wide the mage mentally cancelled his levitation spell dropping to the ground. The sword mage hit the shield with his swords throwing sparks and fire as his swords screeched across it.

“That’s your weapons master.” Tucker said. Referring to the sword mage. “Zanak Farfall.”

The mage on the ground looked up, realizing he had just left his non levitating opponent above him. Zanak was quickly descending, with his swords pointed down towards the mage. The mage pulled out a wand pointing it towards Zanak and quickly said a word, sending lighting arcing out towards him. But Zanak dint flinch at all, in fact the lightening just went straight threw him.

The mage stopped, feeling a sword point behind him in his ribs. Zanak must of cast an illusion sending an image of him falling down towards the mage, and teleported behind him instead.

Most of the time, a sword wouldn’t penetrate a mages magical shields. But Zanak Farfall wasn’t just a normal warrior, his swords were heavily enchanted and could easily go through the mages shields and cut him.

“Surrender.” He said.

“I do.” The mage said turning around looking Zanak in the eyes.

After  that the shield disappeared a fat human walked into wear the shield use to be.

“Zanak Farfall has defeated Rubon the Red.” He loudly said. The crowd cheered.

“What was the point of that?” Addy asked, curious why two teachers would fight at a school.

“It’s a game, either to prove your better then someone, or to get something the other person has.” Tucker pointed to the two mages, Rubon was handing the three small orbs he had floating above his head to Zanak.

“Either way it’s just good fun. One of the few things you humans get, a good fight can cure everything bwaha.”  Tucker laughed as they walked onto the dorms.

But Addy looked back at the sword mage. She had never seen one before, and it amazed her how someone could use magic and swords in such harmony.

 

After the fight, Tucker left me at the dorms. Rue was a small enough familiar that she allowed to stay with me in my room as long as I kept her clean. The first year girl’s dorms were over in the center of the campus. Near the PUB, or the Peoples Union Building, the main building of the school of magic. She hadn’t really got to explore on her way here, and she was too tired to really remember anything. Lying in her bed with Rue curled up at the end she thought about the day, unable to sleep. She in a room with 9 other girls, all randomly selected. Tomorrow after they figured out what she was going to become, mage, ranger, warrior or something else she would put her into another dorm with people of our same skills.

She got, making sure not to disturb and wake up anyone else or Rue. She needed to walk a little. This was the first time she had been away from the orphanage by herself. And ever since whatever happened the night when her father died she had been alone with no parents. Yes she had Ain and others like Tucker or Esmyth, but it was never the same as having a father or mother. And now she lost what little of a home she had again.

She got put on her robe, which was delivered before her and Tucker even got there, and a coat over it. Walking past the girls who were mostly sound asleep, except for one that was snoring. Leaving the building, which was just an old brick building that had its insides redone. She walked  towards a fountain she saw on her way here. It was a huge dragon in battle with a wizard, the dragon statue spit water at the wizard and it bounced a shield he had in front of him splashing all around.

There was stone seats around the fountain, she found one and sat down.  Across from her she noticed another person sitting there. He dint seem to have noticed her yet so she just sat there and watched the dragon statue for a while thinking.

After about thirty minutes of thinking Addy got up wanting to go back and at least get some sleep for tomorrow. But right as she got up the other person did too, noticing Addy. Both dint really want to move, sense they shouldn’t of been out their anyways, and neither really wanted to talk to someone else. But the guy started to head towards her. He was wearing some type of light leather armor. He was tall for his age, which must have been around 12, because he dint look much older then her, and had his hair short. She could make out slight pointy ears so he must have been at least a half elf. He was also extremely handsome and had a sword on his hip, which he probably knew how to use with the way he was walking.

“What are you doing out here this late.” He asked.

“Umm, I, don’t know.” Addy replied, not really wanting to talk.

“Missing home?” He looked at for a second waiting for a response, but when he saw she wasn’t going to give one he continued on anyways. “I miss home, a lot. They train you to be the most powerful wizard or warrior, able to slay dragons. But then they leave you with a bunch of other kids hoping that you will do alright, and that seeing your family every holiday is enough. If you ask me, it’s not that best way to go to school.”

Addy just stood there, not saying anything. She dint really know what to say. She could barely talk to the boys at her orphanage let alone one at night after she had just left what little home she did have.

He tilted his head and looked at her a little longer. Then said:

“Well. My names Thomas. If you ever feel like talking I’m here most nights.” He started to walk but before he got more than 10 feet away he said over his shoulder “Don’t stay to long, it’s said the dragon gets cranky after about midnight.”

As Addy walked back to her dorm she couldn’t believe she dint say anything. Berating herself she was at least happy that it was a big school and unless she went back to the statue she probably wouldn’t see him again.

 

Chapter 13: First Day, Druids

Addy was in a yard in front of the main Building the Pub with about a thousand other students. They were all gathered around the teachers, who floated up above them. Even the non magic teachers like Tucker, who must have had another teacher cast the spell on him because he looked very uncomfortable and about to puke. Around her were the girls she stayed with last night, they had walked here together after being awaking around 8 am and told to get ready for the day.

“You all have a special privilege coming to this school.” Ain said loudly, he voice obviously projected threw a spell. “Not many get to come to this school. And fewer actually graduate. You all have traveled a great distance, from places as varied as the elven cities to the dwarfing halls. Today is the day you get to find your path for the rest of your college career. Will you be a wizard, like me. Or a druid like Professor Timbers.” Ain pointed towards a large professor who must have been professor Timbers. He nodded then transformed into a large bear with symbols on his face and roared.

“Will you be a priest.” Ain pointed towards a man wearing white robes. As the man nodded translucent wings sprouted form his back, then quickly disappeared. The crowd awed, never seeing something like that before.

“Or will you be something more mundane, but no less fearsome.” Ain looked over to a group of proffessors by Tucker. All of them wore some type of armor. Zanak was over near them. When Tucker tried to wave he just made himself sicker and had to cover his mouth with his hand. Making some of the students snicker.

Smiling at Tuckers display, Ain continued:

“Over the next week all of you will undergo training in each path, and at the end of the week the professors will choose which you will become. But whatever you become, remember, this school is proud to have. May you all have a good year.” At that Ain and the other professors floated down. Giving orders for certain students to come to certain areas. They were all being split into groups.

Addy heard her named called, but almost missed it because it was Addy Trest and not Addy Gaurds.

Walking over, other kids were already assembling around a small purple haired elf lady who was calling out names in a very powerful voice that seemed to not match with her body. After about 50 or so kids had been called and arranged themselves around her she started to tell them what to do.

“I am professor Onomaris, you may call me Ono.” Her voice was oddly now small and very feminine compared to her yelling voice. “ I am a druid, and will be teaching you today about what a druid is and seeing if you can grasp the spells of nature or turn yourself into an animal by shape shifting.”

Next to Addy a kid said to her:

“I hope I’m good at this, my mom would kill me if I dint become a druid. What do your parents want you to become.” The kid was tall for his age, with long brown hair and his sleek figure she dint have to see his ears to know he was a wood elf.

“I’m not sure. Anything is fine with me.” Addy replied, not wanting to bring up she dint have any parents.

“Hmm. Most parents always want their kids to be something.”

“I guess my dad was a mage. So I kind of want to be that.”

Not mentioning the past tense she used to explain her father, the kid nodded.

“I’m Michael.” He said extending his hand outwards.

“Addy.” She said shaking his hand.

“Now let’s head over to the druids part of campus. You’re going to be spending the rest of the day with me, so you better get comfortable with staying outside.”

 

 

They were in front of a huge obstacle course in the center of the druid’s part of campus. The druid’s grove was enclosed in a forest, and most of the buildings she could see were up in trees, or somehow worked into the surrounding forest. They had passed a huge building on top a waterfall; the building actually went over the water, the waterfall going beneath it.

“If you have your familiar yet, you may call them to you. Druids always accept animals into our grove no matter what we are doing. Unlike the mages, or other classes you will encounter.” Ono said.

Addy dint really know how to call Rue. She had left her in the room, like she was told by the people in her dorm to do. She looked around, a lot of the people had their eyes closed and seemed to be thinking about something. Maybe she could call her? Familiars were supposed to have a special connection with the people they bonded with.

She closed her eyes, picturing her dorm, picturing Rue. And all of a sudden she was seeing threw Rues eyes, and even hearing her thoughts. Rue was on top of another girls suitcase, rummaging through it, she had a chocolate bar in her hand. When Rue sensed that Addy was their somehow though she dropped it and looked around, confused. Addy thought and said out loud: “Come Rue. I need you; I am in the druid’s grove on the North-West side of campus.” When she said it she saw through Rues eyes as she jumped onto the window, and worked it open. She flew out of it heading towards the druids grove.

She snapped out of the connection as she heard the professor start to talk again.

“Your familiars aren’t needed yet so let’s begin as they work their way here.” Ono said, walking between two huge trees that must have been the beginning of the obstacle course.

‘The first test is the obstacle course. To be a druid you must control the different aspects of the animal spirits within you. Agility of a cat, the ferocity and power of a bear, the swimming ability of a dolphin, and the sight of an owl. Now I don’t expect you to have mastered these by now. Or to be able to transform into these animals yet like some of  you can. I am just looking for what I can see within you. You may begin when you wish, it isn’t a race. But everything must still have a winner.” As she said it she changed into a large deep lavender panther and hopped onto a platform above us.

Some of the kids began right away, sprinting as fast as they could through the start. Some even were able to transform into animals already, one was a small cat, and another was a small wolf.

“Don’t feel like racing?” Michael said. He had been standing next to her the whole walk over to the grove.

“It’s not exactly my specialty.” Addy said.

“Well then let’s make it just between us two? Whoever gets to the end first wins and has to buy the other a soda.”

“Hmm” Addy pretended to think for several seconds, but then started to run before Michael could figure out what she was doing.

“That’s cheating.” Michael  yelled from behind her, but he was laughing, not really that concerned. Which made Addy wonder, sense she was already a good 100 yards ahead when he said it.

 

 

Addy ran past the starting line, jumping onto the logs in the water. The first obstacle was a flowing river, but there was thick cut trees sticking up out of the water going across. The landings on the trees were big enough to hold several people, but some of the jumps in-between them were almost 20 feet long. The main route, which was the longest route, wound way to the side, while it had the shortest jumps and biggest trees it was almost 3 times longer than going straight down the center. She saw several kids already soaked and trying to get back up on the logs in the center. So she took the long way thinking her head start would still allow her to keep ahead of Michael.

She was never the fastest or most agile kid at the orphanage, but she had more stamina than anyone else there. They use to run around Portland all the time and she always the only one not out of breath.

Jumping from tree to tree she managed to make her way across in decent time, beating most of the kids that tried to go through the center and failed when they fell off into the water. When she got over to the other side she looked back for Michael but she couldn’t spot him. Turning back around she spotted a purple cat coming towards her before she could start running again. Before her eyes it transformed into a human, Michael.

“What took you so long?” He said. Smiling.

“I dint know you could do that. It’s unfair!” Addy said, thinking she actually had a chance to beat him before.

“The whole point is to prove how good of a druid you are. I don’t think using druid powers is exactly unfair.”

Scowling, Addy pushed past him, running towards the next obstacle. Not exactly wanting to talk to him anymore.

The purple cat came up beside her and started to pace her.

“Don’t you want to win the race? You cant exactly do that next to me.”

The cat meowed back to her, as if not really caring. He was actually able to transform into quite a large cat also, she dint know much about druids, but the more powerful and more in control you are the bigger and varied the animals you can change into are. And his had purple hair and was a decent size, so he must have already been trained as a druid before even coming to school.

As they worked their way up a hill coming around a bend they saw the next course. In front of them was a large hole in the road with a waterfall rushing down into it. In the hole were groups of rocks large enough to step on leading across to the other side. As they were coming around the bend they saw a kid fall and scream as a rock he tried to step on slipped out from underneath him. Gasping they stopped, thinking the student had just seriously been hurt. But he came shooting back up landing on the side closest to them. The kid looked wide eyed not sure what just happened but sure they he almost just hurt. After a couple of seconds he started to run across the rocks again, this time much less scared.

Michael looked up at her, and smiled, if cats could even smile, and ran across the rocks easily, clearing several with no trouble at all. He started to walk away slowly, raising his tail up and swaying it back and forth trying to enrage Addy.

And it worked. She ran across the rocks, even leaping over a gap almost 10 feet wide. Mid way across a kid came from behind her and jumped on the rock she was standing on almost sending her over the edge. She was a small elven girl, after looking at Addy in what almost looked like disgust she jumped away almost sending Addy tumbling again.

Not sure of what she did to deserve that, Addy jumped again finally clearing the waterfall and the rocks.

 

After going through more obstacles, not seeing Michael or that girl again, she finally came to what she hoped was the last one. It was a group of bridges up in the trees at the top of the mountain they had been climbing this whole time. When she got their she actually saw Michael again, he was out of cat form and waiting by the start of the rope bridges.

“What are you still doing here? You should be done by now.”

He shrugged. “I already know I’ll get into the druid program, I’ve been exploring the forest. Did you know there’s an actual hidden temple over past that hill?” He pointed to a hill; she could just make out some type of concrete sticking up from behind it.

“No. I just want to finish. I’m starting to get tired.” Addy was covered in sweat by now, it was a cold day but she still had probably ran and jumped a good several miles by now.

“Ok. After you.” He said motioning towards the rope bridge.

She stepped on, it lead upwards then went from tree to tree lopping around in a circle from what she could see.

They got to a zip line area with about 5 zip lines lined up in a row. They could still see a kid zipping down. When they heard him get to the bottom and let go, after a few seconds they saw the handle come back up to the top automatically.

Addy grabbed on and swung herself off. She rushed down into the trees not knowing were this thing would go. She could hear Michael behind her on the zip line right next to her. Once she came out of the trees she finally saw what they were rushing towards, the top of the waterfall. The waterfall began in a small river that must have been magical because it was coming out of the side of a rock then only went about 10 feet then rushed off the side of the cliff.

Addy started to scream, trying to find a place to jump off before she hit the water, but she couldn’t find one. Several seconds letters the zip line hit the end launching her and Michael into the river. She started to swim away from the waterfall, trying to reach the shore.

As Michael went over the edge he screamed “This whole course is desgined to be safe, just let the water take you!”

Not really wanting to listen to him, but remembering the rocks floating over the hole and how if you fell you safely ended up on the side you started on, she stopped fighting the current, letting herself go over the edge. She was free falling now, she looked down and saw she was approaching the hole with the rocks above it, but now the rocks were gone. Thinking she would just be flung up by magic she let herself fall. But after a few seconds of falling into the hole she realized she wasn’t going to get flung back up, and now it was pitch black and she was still free falling. She started to scream, not sure what she was supposed to do.

But after a couple more seconds she felt her body start to get lighter and lighter as she hit some water gently. Looking around she saw she was in a large underground cave, one side was filled with water and the other side had land. She could make out people standing on the land. Around the cave there a bunch of green colored moss that seemed to glow in the dark, lighting up the cave so she could see fairly well.

Starting to swim towards the land she noticed splashing in front of her that was coming towards her. Not really worried that the school would put something dangerous in the water she continued but slower not sure. She could see a fin pop out. Then a head that popped up looking at her, it was a seal!

A purple seal she realized, Michael. And sure enough it stopped in front of her and started to change into Michael.

“This school has the funnest rides. I don’t remember seeing that one at Disney World.” He started to swim on his back lightly paddling.

“Fun, that was one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life.”

“Then you’ve had a boring life.” Michael laughed as transformed back into a seal, swimming towards the shore.

Shaking her head Addy started to swim towards the shore.

When she got to the beach she saw about half the kids already their standing around Professor Onomaris who was back in her human form. Also all their familiars were there, when she finally got out Rue came running towards her and jumped on her. She scratched her stomach as she walked over to the group of people who were standing around a fire drying off.

She walked up towards Michael. The girl who almost knocked her off the rock was talking to Ono.

“That girl almost made me fall off the floating rocks.” Addy said to him.

“I wouldn’t be surprised. She’s Emma Frost. Her parents Jacob and Freya Frost are one the most powerful mages in the world. Which makes her think she’s better then everyone here.” Michael was petting his familiar, a small owl that was sitting on his shoulder.

They could both hear Emma talking to Ono, she was asking the professor why the school taught druids when been a mage was clearly better and what the world needed.

“She really is full of herself isn’t she?”

“Mmhmm” Michael said as they both walked forward. All the kids were here now so Ono wanted them to gather around as she went over the next exercise.

“The next exercise is to see how in tuned you are with nature. Down here, you can find nature everywhere. The tree roots above us, the dirt, the water that feeds it all, and of course wildlife.” As she finished she held up her hand which had a spider on it, she bent down letting it go.

“You will now try to transform into an animal, any animal. Your familiar can help you with this, us them as an example if you must. I know some of you can already transform, but for those of you who can’t, could you please explain to the others what to do.?”

One of the girls who had transformed into a cat at the begging of the race raised her hand.

“Yes, go ahead.” Ono said.

She cleared her throat then began talking.

“It’s not like a spell, at least not exactly. You have to feel it inside you then let the magic transform you. There isn’t any words or spell components, if you’re able to do it then you should be able to feel it.”

“Good explanation Stephaney. This cave around you will help you; it is a holy place for druids. This may be the only place and time your able to transform in your life, but remember this week is about finding what you will become, not all of you are druids. Go ahead try.”

Addy wasn’t sure what to do, just feel it? She closed her eyes and felt around for magic. Which she found, like she always found when she cast a spell. But she dint know how to focus or use it without words and spell components. So she just thought really hard about transforming into something easy like a cat. But all she managed was to giver herself a headache.

When she opened her eyes she saw Michael looking at her, with his faced all screwed up right before he burst into laughter.

“What’s so funny!” Addy asked. “I wasn’t taught how to do it like you were.”

“No, no that’s not it. It’s just you had your face all scrunched up like you were going to the bathroom.”

She tried to stay mad, but she remembered the things she was doing to her face trying to concentrate on the magic and laughed a little herself. Her face probably had looked ridiculous.

“Do you want some help?”

“Sure”

“Try what she said, picture …” He was looking at Rue.

“Her names Rue.” Addy said.

“Picture Rue in your head, and let the magic flow through you like a spell, but focus it on the thought that you should be transforming into Rue, instead of focusing into a spell component.”

Addy tried again, this time holding Rue in her hands, she looked at her then closed her eyes, concentrating on Rue and magic. Thinking about transforming herself in the animal in front of her.

After a minute or so of trying she was about to give up, but then felt her body start to shift, and Rue slip out of her hands. When she opened her eyes she was looking at Rue still but Rue looked really confused. Looking up she Michael, but she had to tilt her head all the way back up to see him.

She did it! She leaped around a little, happy that she was able to do it. But after a little bit she started to feel her body change again. And she was back to her old self in a couple seconds.

“Good job, I know the cave helped, but few can figure out so quickly.”

“I doubt I could do it outside the cave, both of my parents were mages not druids.” Again Michael dint say anything to her talking about her parents in the past tense.

“The difference between a mage and druid is smaller than you think. Most of the time the only difference in the two magic’s is the choice you make about which you will become.”

That she dint know, she always thought mages were born mages and druids born druids. Ain never taught her any other kind of magic when during his lessons. She would have to talk to him about that.

 

The last and final test of their druid powers was in a small clearing next to the pond at the bottom of the waterfall they passed walking to the obstacle course.

“Your final test for today is trying to master the true power of nature. It can be used to heal and help others, giving them strength or helping to mend wounds.” She walked over to a tree that had a broken branch, touching it blue lights swirled around. And when she took her hand away the tree had healed and a small green twig stuck out were a new branch was growing again.

“Or it can be used to destroy.” She stepped on the ground in front of her. Outshot roots, spilling upwards form the ground. It started towards the center of the kids, who quickly got out of the way. When it stopped, the roots went back into the grown, disappearing to where they came.

“These are actual spells, and something I can teach you all. The more in tune with nature you are the more powerful they will be. The first is a spell to make anything in nature due what you want, make water move, tree limbs bend, or leaves to not rustle as you walk past. Vellum tron deum. It is only a basic spell that requires no spell components, try it out.” She waved indicating everything around us.

Addy walked over to a tree, Rue jumped on the branch in front of her, so she thought that was the perfect thing to practice on. Focusing her energy on the branch she said the words. “Vellum tron deum.”

When she finished she felt a connection to the branch so she tried moving it with her mind. As she thought it started to move, scaring Rue as she had no idea what was going on, but she held on for the ride. She made the branch bend forward towards her.

“Good job.” Ono said, coming up beside her. But when she said it Addy lost her concentration and the branch flung itself back to its original spot, flinging poor Rue into the forest.

“Oops.” Addy said as Rue spread her arms and landed safely 15 feet away.

Turning to Onomaris Addy said:

“Thank you. I have always been fairly good at spells.”

“And nature. These spells don’t always work for mages. You need a gentler touch for nature to respond to you.” As she said it she touched a flower down on the ground in front of her, as she did the flower bloomed open, even though it was already fall.

Addy smiled as Ono moved on talking to different students. As she looked around she saw most of them were failing at this test. They probably hadn’t been taught yet how to cast magic spells. Even Michael could barely do it, he was over sitting in the grass repeating the words over and over again trying to get them to move.

Addy walked over and sat in front of him. Rue had now caught up to her and was laid down next to her, no wanting to get on her quite yet after what had happened.

“You’re trying too hard. Spells are just rules that you say that the magic around you must follow.”

“I know what magic is.” Michael said quite harshly. But he dint mean it and seemed to calm down immediately realizing he put Addy on age with the way he raised his voice.

“I’m sorry; I’ve just never cast a spell before. My parents taught me how to transform into animals, but neither of them was very good at spell casting.”

Smiling Addy said. “Try again. This time think of what you’re trying to accomplish, give the words meaning. And try to get the magic in you to flow to into the grass.”

He said the words again, and then waited as nothing happened.

“See nothing.” Michael said frustrated.

“No, not nothing. Think about what you want the grass to do now.”

He looked down at the grass and started to think. The grass started to sway, then parted, and the fell completely flat.

He smiled. “I finally did it!”

“Good job.” Addy said.

 

“The final spell I will teach you before letting you go is a spell of healing. It is a simple spell, but one that you must acutely be in tune with nature to pull off. Vellum quen hium. It should heal you as long as you have something from nature on the wound, like water or sap. Now it won’t heal huge wounds, but simple bruises and scrapes it should fix right up. I am sure you all have some of those from the obstacle course you could try on, so please try. And after you’re done you may leave. Remember to check your schedules tonight, they should be posted in your dorm when you get back”

Some of the kids like Emma Frost just left, not even caring to finish her last test. Ono noticed but she dint say anything, just moving around to the kids actually curious about druid powers.

Addy tried the spell, walking over to the pond and dipping a cut she had on her into the water. She said the words “ Vellum quen hium.” And nothing happened. The water seemed to respond to her spell but it dint actually heal anything when she took her hand out to inspect it. Next to her Michael splashed some water onto his arm, where he had sizable bruise. He said the words and it instantly healed.

“Hey. How did you do that?” Addy asked.

“What, am I actually better at a spell then you.”

Addy just stared at him, not amused.

He laughed then continued:

“My parents were always good at healing magic even though they weren’t good at spells. It must be something about being in tune with nature like Onomaris said. It’s not just a spell, it’s trying to take nature into you like transforming into an animal was.”

“Hmm” Addy said as she dipped her hand back into the water and tried again, but still failed.

“Here let me.” Michael said grabbing Addys hand.

She felt really awkward; she has never had a boy touch her before. He said the spell and her cut healed as the water went into it.

He let go of her hand saying “There go, good as new.”

“Thanks.” Addy said, still feeling awkward.

 

Ch 14: The night

 

Addy walked back to her dorm room. She was looking forward to her actual dorm, but until they put every kid into what classes they were going to become she had to stay in her dorm with 9 other girls in one big room.

When she got back and fell into her bed about to pass out, Rue sleeping at the end. Her stomache started to rumble. Making her realize she hadn’t eaten all day. It was only 3 in the afternoon, but still it had almost been 10 hours sense she had gotten up. She promised herself to grab something for breakfast tomorrow on her way to her next class.

Only three of the other girls were there, they were getting ready to go out and get something to eat, but were trying to not use any words to make it sound like they were so they dint have to invite her. Addy dint want to deal with it so she just pretended to sleep until they left.

After they went out she got up, and changed into another pair of clothes, something more comfortable and headed out to find the cafeteria. Walking down the stairs she stopped to ask the person at the front desk was she could find something to eat. It was just an upper level student, playing on the computer. Trying to be polite, but only really wanting to get back to whatever he was doing, he said “Near the PUB, you can’t miss it.”

Heading out with Rue on her shoulder she made it to the PUB in short order. The PUB was a huge brick building in the center of campus. It had turrets rising up randomly and walkways going every which way. Walls sprouting up blocking your view of certain parts but allowing you to clearly see others.

“Cool building isn’t it?”

Turning around Addy saw a small elven blue headed girl behind her.

“Yes, yes it is.”

“It was built by a professor back during the wars in southern America. The professor thought we would be attacked. So he made this building specifically to confuse people walking around. So students would be able to hide or easily defend themselves in it. Now adays however it just confuses everyone who goes to school here.” She laughed at that. But stopped when she saw Addy wasnt laughing also. Looking down, obviously embarrassed, she started to walk away until Addy said:

“Stop, sorry, it was interesting, I was just caught off guard was all.” The girl turned around, looking happy now.

Addy smiled back saying “My names Adalin, whats your yours?”

“Trinial Highgarden. Or Trin for short.”

“Nice to meet you. You wouldn’t happen to know were a cafeteria or place to eat would be to in this maze?”

“Ofcourse! Follow me. The PUB has 5 places to eat, the Roost at the top of that tower.” She pointed towards one of the towers several hundred feet above them. “The main cafeteria, and 3 other places I haven’t been to yet.” Addy was nodding, as she continued to talk on and on, it was all very interesting, but she dint really care as long as she got her food.

They entered the building through two large metals doors that were already swung open. The main room had sweeping sealing’s above them with arching wooden beams that were more decorative then structural. On both sides you could see windows, stair cases, walkways, or doors opening every which way.

“O my god.” Addy exclaimed. “This really is a maze.”

“I told you so. If the students going here can’t even find their way around, how could an invading army.”  Trin said laughing.

Every hundred feet or so a wall stuck out into the middle of the room, obscuring a Addys view of the entire room. They alternated so at most you could see in front of two walls. Trin started to lead them straight ahead, going around each wall, almost colliding with other students coming around also. Once they got past the fourth wall they were finally at the end of the entry way. Which was just a plain wall with only one entrance and two platforms near the ceiling were she guessed archers could stand. Below them was a mural of an angel with its wings spread.

“If you look up you can see were the head staff work, the Chancellor and such. The central tower.” Trin said.

When she looked up she could see the same angel, but this times its backside, as if the angel was flying upwards. In the center of the mural up top was a hole where people could fly in and out, as several such people were doing right now, descending down towards them.

As they were looking up Addys stomach grumbled.

Trin laughed then said, “Let’s get you something to eat.”

They walked the hole in the wall, going up some stairs, turning so many ways Addy wasn’t sure she could find her way back if she tried. They came out of a door onto a walkway leading above a cafeteria. It was a metal bridge going several hundred feet across to another door way, and branching out here and there going to other doors also. Above them was a class ceiling covering the whole cafeteria. Trin walked over to a hole in the railing and looked at Addy before she jumped. Shocked, Addy ran to where she jumped and looked down. Trin was slowly descending to the ground floor where she was looking up at Addy.

“Jump, its safe, the spell has only failed three or four times sense the building opened.”

Not exactly feeling confident in what Trin had said, Addy worked her way to the edge and jumped.  Sure enough she started to slow midway down and gently landed on the floor.

They were in the center of a large cafeteria. Around them sat at least several hundred kids all on different raised platforms around them, they all sat on different types of brick tables and chairs.

“Over there.” Trin said pointy to a food court area with a bunch of kids surrounding different trays of food.

Walking over she saw everything she could possibly want to eat. Pizza, ice cream, bacon, yogurt, and even a full turkey. Grabbing a plate, Trin went to work piling things onto her plate. Addy dint even know where to start.

 

 

Tucker and Ain sat up in his office, at the very top of the central tower in the PUB. The same tower which Addy had just passed underneath.

Neither was talking, Tucker was looking around the room. It was a large circle, completely surrounded with book cases except one large glass window behind Ain. The tower was slowly rotating showing the whole campus.

Throughout the bookcases were odd little things, orbs, chests, and things Tucker couldn’t possibly know of what they did. The room had several other dressers and a rack of staves and swords that all glowed. In the center of the room was an octopus, whose arms that’d open whenever Ain wanted to let someone in or out.

As the tower rotated, Ain looked out and down towards a glass ceiling. He knew Addy was down there, this school had many little birds to tell him anything happening around, and he had several focused on her. Turning around in his chair to look back at Tucker, who was wiping something on his pants until he noticed Ain looking at him and stopped quickly.

“Do you have any leads?”

“Yes.” Tucker said looking at the ring Ark gave him. “When Addy and I were at a place called Wardrens Everything, the ring started to glow. I’m not sure if it was detecting it, or just something else.”

“The ring only detects powerful magic similar to or exactly the same as the orb. If it wasn’t there, it must have been there before. Or something to do with the orb is there. Either way you will have to go back.”

At that Tucker sighed, not wanting to go back anymore then he wanted to jump into the flames of a dragon.

Ain’s Eyes narrowed at Tucker’s sigh and he stood up looking at Tucker.

“Do you think this is a game? Is there something else you would rather be doing? When Vizix returns do you think he will find other things to do then killing you? Just because he hasn’t been seen sense Psyphons death doesn’t mean he isn’t there anymore. Last week The Government had to cover up his army massacring people in Los Angeles. We can only cover up so much before people start realizing some of their neighbors are elf’s or wizards and he gets what he wants. War between us and the humans.”

“No. That’s not what I meant.” Tucker said, but quietly. Quite scared of Ain. When he had stood up the whole building had stopped rotating.

“I know. My friend.” Ain said, sitting back down in his chair. As he sat the building began to rotate again.

“We just have to find him before he comes back.”

 

 

 

Addy and Trin walked together to an empty spot where no one else was sitting. When they got there Trin started to sit down on the floor, but as she sat the floor rose up beneath her making a chair and table.

“Ummm. Isn’t that unsanitary to eat off the floor.” Addy said, cautiously sitting down on the otherside of Trin, sitting down slowly until the floor made a chair for her.

“That’s why you have plates.” Trin said smiling; gobbling down more firstful of bacon and some type of weird looking salad then she thought was possible for someone so small.

As Addy ate she was looking up at a TV on the wall next to them. It was muted but she could read the subtitles. There was a reporter from New York standing outside a building that looked oddly familiar.

“10 years ago today, a terrorist took the life’s of 11 people at this apartment building on the top floor. Setting of an explosion harming seven inside and four pedestrians walking by to their families. While some people have speculated that it was not a terrorist attack but instead some large creature, the FBI was able to retrieve and analyze explosive residue debunking that idea.” Behind the reporter was a man holding up a sign in front of the building that said “They can’t hide the truth forever.”

“I always liked New York. Ever been?” Trin said, seeing that Addy was watching the TV.

“No.” Addy said, looking back to Trin. She noticed the piece of Pizza she was eating while watching the tv wasn’t in her hands anymore. Looking over to Rue, sitting on the table next to her, Rue was eating it, gobbling it down as quickly as she could.

Shaking her head Addy grabbed the other piece on her plate.

“We should go sometime.” Trin said happily. “I heard the school lets you use the portals to travel around during vacations if you have your parents’ permission.”

Addy thought ‘Yeah sense I don’t have any parents anymore let my just go get the head of the schools signature so we can go travel. Except he won’t ever let me travel because he’s afraid Vizix might find out I’m alive.’ Wanting to say it, but instead only saying “Yeah maybe, we’ll see.”

Behind Trin, Addy spotted Michael coming towards her.

“Hey”Michael said sitting down off to the side of her and Trin.

“Hey, who are you.” Trin said before Addy could say anything.

“Michael. Me and Addy here were in the same group today.”

Trin looked over at Addy, who nodded confirming his story.

“So what do you want kid?” Trin said to Michael.

“Kid, were all the same age.” He laughed; amused because Trin was the only one sitting at the table that looked like a kid sense she was barely four feet tall.

“Anways.”Michael continued “I just came over to say hi, I don’t really have anyone to talk to yet. The people they stuck me with in my dorm aren’t exactly my type.” He looked over at the table he came from. They were throwing food around and talking so loud she could make out most there conversation half way across the cafeteria.

“At least yours invited you too the dinner. Mine just pretended I wasn’t there and left.” Addy said, swatting Rue away as she tried to get her last piece of pizza from her plate.

“Then whos that.” Michael said, nodding his towards Trin.

Trin got mad and said “I am Trinial Highgarden, Addys friend.” Matter of factly.

“Ahhh ofcourse. My apologie. When did you two meet?”

“mmm” Addy thought. “15 minutes ago?”

“So that technical makes me Addys friend also if it only takes 15 minutes to be her friend. Actually I think it makes us best friends sense I spent several hours with her.” Michael said starting at Trin, who just seemed to get madder as Michael tried to hide his smile.

Addy felt a sensation in the back of her head, she had felt this before, Ain was calling her. She never really learned how to answer or to stop it from happening like Ain always told her he would teach her to do, but atleast Ain waited several seconds before talking so she could prepare herself.

‘I need you in my office as soon as you can get her.’ And then Ain was gone from her head.

Trin and Michael were fighting over something she hadn’t heard when she stood up and said “Im sorry, I have to go meet my uncle.”

“Right now? I thought all Family was gone from the school sense yesterday.” Michael said.

“Well mine kinda works here…I’ll see you two later.” She said turning around, leaving her plate there on the table.

“Whos your uncle.” Trin said.

“Ainamaf.” Addy said as she walked away, Rue jumping onto her shoulder.

Behind her they both looked at each other, both now very curious about their new friend.

 

Addy was below Ain’s office pacing around the circle rogue in the center. She had gotten up here after 10 minutes of waiting when finally a teacher had passed by and told her the command word to activate the levitation spell in the angel mural. And now Ain had kept her waiting for another 10 minutes after she told his secretary she was here. Apparently he was in a meeting with someone, and hadn’t expected her to here so fast. If she knew that she would have finished eating!

The floor she was on had rooms all around the outside, with about 10 doors going into faculty members that must have been directly below Ain in rank to be up here. A few of them came and went not paying Addy any attention.

Finally she saw movement from above her as the bottom of an octopus spread its arms and created a hole and out came Tucker. She was surprised to see him here, she Ain and Tucker obviously new each other, but she dint think they hung out or needed to talk about anything.

As Tucker came down she heard Ainamaf yell “Find it.”

Tucker started to grumble about some orb and how he always had to do all the work with no time to drink, seeing Addy though he stopped and waved. When he touched the ground he grabbed the secretary’s desk and tried not to barf, holding it in successfully.

“Hes in a grumpy mood kid.” Tucker said walking by her to the hole in the ground leading to the level below them. He slapped her back as he went by. Then stopped at the hole, gave a quick few intakes of breath and kissed some amulet he had in his hand and jumped down.

Addy looked up to the hole, preparing herself for a grumpy Ain. He was always nice to her, but as the former vice Chancellor and then Chancellor of the Government, angry Ain could be a very scary sight too see.

Before she could say the command word she started to float upward. Ain must have activated it sense she had been waiting so long sense Tucker came down. Getting up to the top she was amazed to see out of the window were Ain stood. She could see the entire school and most of the dark clouds sweeping past almost ready to start raining, or maybe even snow this late in fall.

As she walked over towards Ain he dint turn around, just kept staring out of the window, so walked up to him and stood there looking out with him.

After a few minutes he finally said something.

“I still miss your dad every day. I just can’t keep myself from thinking that if he were things like this wouldn’t still be happening.” He motioned behind him to his desk, were some photos and sheets of paper were spread around.

Addy looked closer, she saw a man in Los Angeles, she had never been there before but a caption told her. The man was wearing a dark robe, and had purple translucent wings sprouting out of his back. He had gnarled staff in his hand with a purple ruby on the top that he was pointing at something off camera; a beam of light was shooting out of it. Looking over the piece of paper she figured out the man was Haladar the Dark, priest of Sivilin, general in Vizixs army. The Government had covered up over a thousand deaths, using an earthquake as cover.

“Is Vizix back?” Addy asked.

“No. He still hasn’t been sense the night him and your dad fought. But things like this,” He nodded to the papers and photos “never stopped happening. The Government just covers them up, even from magical people.” Ain turned back around and walked back to his desk to sit down. He motioned for Addy to go to the other side.

“But I dint call you hear for this.” Ain said, waving his hands over the desk making everything on it disappear.

“I want to talk to you about your first day.”

“It was… eventful. I never thought I would be running obstacle courses, or changing into animals my first day.” Addy smiled thinking about all the fun things she did that day, even if they weren’t exactly fun at the time.

“Onomaris did tell me about that. Its rare someone un trained could transform their first time. Maybe being a druid  is your specialty and not being a mage.” He looked at her slyly, curious what she would say.

“I was thinking sword mage.”

“Why would you think that.” Ain said curious to how she jumped to that conclusion, Addy had never mentioned she wanted to be a sword mage to him before.

“After seeing Proffesor Farfall fight yesterday… It was amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Addy said very excited as she remembered the fight.

“I can’t say your father would be disappointed in you becoming a sword mage. Let’s see how good you do tomorrow.” Ain leaned back in his chair. “Have you made any friends?”

“I think so. Two, Michael and Trin. I really like them so far.”

“Good. Hopefully they will be in your dorm when you move at the end of the week. “

“But Michaels going to be a druid. I thought you moved into class specific dorms.”

“No. You move into group specific dorms. Basically about 50 of you, all different classes. Throughout being in school here your group will be tested on how well it works together,  if the warriors protect the mages, or the priests heal and shield everyone.”

“So my grades depend on 50 people?”

“5. The 50 is just so we don’t have to house so many groups, so you will be with 9 other groups of 5.”

“ahh.” Addy really couldn’t think of anything more to talk about, and Ains silence probably meant he couldn’t either. After sitting there for a couple more seconds Ain continued on.

“Well, I have work to do. But it’s good that you’re doing well.” He said standing up.

“If you need anything, just come ask my secretary were to find me.”

Addy nodded, as she got up the octopus in the center of the room spread open. Ain was already looking at the files on his desk before she had even left, looking very concerned about what he was reading.

Addy got back to her room right as the sun was setting. When she opened the door there was only one girl inside who was reading on her bed. Going over to her she saw a piece of paper on it listing her classes for the week before she fell onto her bed, Rue barely jumping away in time to not be smashed, and went straight to sleep. Too physically and mentally tired from the day to even take off any of her clothes. .

 

 

 

Chapter15: Day of the Warrior

Addy actually woke up early the next day. As silent as she could she washed up a little in the bathroom they had in the room, and changed, grabbing her daggers from her chest which she assumed she needed that day. She left Rue in the room because she was afraid of her being around so much fighting.

She walked to the PUB, wanting to grab some breakfast this time before she started the day. Mid way there she realized that she dint even know if it was open this early, but she continued on with nothing better to do anyways.

Getting to the cafeteria was easier this time, but she still thought she was lost several times on her way there. Descending down into the cafeteria she looked around, there were several people hanging around eating. It looked odd with any chairs or tables up yet, the floor was almost completely flat except for were the few people sat. She grabbed some eggs and bacon then walked over to some were empty in the floor and hesitantly tried to sit down, not knowing if there was specific spots or what for the floor to come up. But sure enough the floor came up and she sat down. The news was on again, saying something about an earthquake in Los Angeles which she knew was a lie from last night with Ain. She was curious what was actually going on, and why Tucker was up there last night also. Maybe he knew something more if she asked, Ain would never say, but Tucker would if she handled it right. He was talking about some orb, maybe if she brought that up…

Before she could finish her thoughts a guy sat down opposite from her. It was the guy from a couple nights ago at the dragon fountain.

“Hey, I dint see you at the fountain last night.”

Addy started to stare at Thomas again, remembering the last time they talked. But she forced herself to say something, not wanting to be known as the girl who just stared at people.

“I was too tired. I passed out almost right when I got back to me room.”

Thomas laughed a little bit. “First days will do that to you. I remember when my brother started his first year; I was only 6 or so if I remember right. But he wrote to my mom every day the first week complaining about how he thought he wouldn’t make it.”

“It wasn’t that bad.” Addy thought about how she only mildly tired last night, it was the school and everything happening that really made her tired.

“Tell that to my brother. He’s a 5th year and he still complains to my parents every chance he gets.” He looked at her for a bit, then asked. “I never did get your name.”

“Addy, Addy Trest.”

He looked a little puzzled at that. “As in Ainamaf Trest.”

She dint really want so many people knowing she was somehow connected to Ain, but it would have gotten out sometime anyways. “I’m his niece.”

“So you’re the kid I should get to know this year.” He said smiling at her.

“I don’t think I can influence Ain if that’s what you’re getting at.”

“Well you’re the only person I have heard call a former Chancellor of the Government by a nickname, so…”

All Addy could think at the moment was ‘damn it”.

 

 

Apparently the groups were randomized every day, so she had Thomas in her group today. Which unfortounatly realized when Thomas got suddenly happy that she was going to the training grounds for her class, telling her he was also in that class. She was looking forward to seeing Michael again at least. But now that she knew that classes were random, she was looking around hoping to see Trin in her class. But neither of them were their yet.

The training grounds were a huge coliseum not far from the pub. It was split into little coliseums spread around the main building. All connected by open causeways made of huge pillars. It all looked very old, and she realized that it might have actually been as old as it looked considering the schools magical origins. They were in one of the smaller coliseums, it was lined with training dummies all around the sides, and weapon racks were also lined up on every side, with almost half the weapons she had never even seen before.

Thomas and her had gotten there early so they started to look around the weapon racks. Thomas had his sword again, and she noticed this time he had a dagger on his other side, both of which had small rubies and emeralds on them. She knew enough about elves to know that his weapons were probably family heirlooms, which meant they were probably several thousand years old at least.

She grabbed a long spear, trying to waste time, Thomas was playing around with a flail, a stick with a pointy ball connected with a chain to it. Even though he said he had never used one before, he was still better with it then she was with any weapon.

She poked the spear at the dummy completely missing were she was aiming at and tumbled forward not.

From behind her she heard she heard footsteps. Turning back around she saw Zanak Farfall, standing with his hands on his hips looking at her.

“I see Ainamafs niece isn’t much at the finer art of swordplay. Though the last time I trained Ainamaf I don’t recall him being much better.”

Straightening herself up as fast as she could so Zanak dint think her as big of buffoon as she thought she looked. She started to say an excuse for her missing so badly, but he raised his hand before she could to stop her.

“Ainamaf told me you wanted to try to be a sword mage. I don’t judge by someone’s skill just starting, I judge by their skill after years of practice. I did the same thing as you the first time I held a spear, so what kind of teacher would I be if I dint assume you could do better in the future.” He smiled at her, everything he said made her feel much better.

“Ain told you? I thought for sure he would have wanted me to be a mage.”

“Ainamaf is much wiser then you give him credit. You must learn for yourself your own path.”

 

 

A little while later everyone was finally there. She and Thomas had played around with a couple more weapons while Zanak gave them a couple pointers during the wait. She dint recognize anyone from yesterday in the class, neither Michael nor Trin were there.

Zanak was in the center of the arena, with all the kids around him.

“The first part of today will be training exercises, you will find the weapon you are best at and then find a sparring buddy to train with. The second part of the day we will hold a tournament, the winner will be granted special privileges along with the other winners during this week in their warrior classes.”

“What if a mage wins. Do they get special privileges in their classes?” Addy said the Thomas.

Thomas laughed at that, “If a mages win then I think Zanaks out of a job, because then their isn’t true warriors here. And last time I looked I was a true warrior.” As Thomas finished he flexed.

Addy just shook her head and continued to listen to Zanak.

“This coliseum is imbued with magic allowing you to come to no harm from the weapons you handle today, though if you hit hard enough you can still leave a hefty bruise on your opponent. Because this is primarily a warrior class, only spells that effect your weapon can be used. So no fireballs or lightning bolts are allowed unless they are coming out of your weapon.” When he said that he was looking at the half of the class wearing mages robes, the other half was actually wearing different types of armor.

“Begin.”

She had already tested most of the weapons in the place and knew she was horrible at all of them. So Addy thought it was best to stick with the two daggers she had purchased, they probably weren’t going to win her the tournament, but at least she could hit the dummy with them.

“Do you want to practice?” Thomas asked from beside her, he had been standing next to her during Zanaks speech.

“Sure. But I don’t think I’ll be much of a challenge for you.”

He laughed. “I don’t need the practice; I was more concerned with you getting some before the tournament. Do you know how to use any sword mage spells?”

Addy wasn’t sure, she knew how to cast several basic fireball and lightening spells, but she had never tried casting them on or from a weapon before. Wanting to try it out she pulled out her daggers and said:

“Only one to find out.”

Thomas smiled pulling out his sword and dagger. Getting into a ready position.

Addy had had practice at the orphanage with weapons, but not enough to even come close to defeating Thomas, more than likely just block a few attacks at most before he slipped his sword in for a killing blow. So she tried instead to cast a spell on her daggers.

She began to chant a fireball spell on her left dagger, the one that was supposed to be immune to fire. She assumed that also meant it would be good at absorbing and sending out fire from the blade.

When she finished the spell she tried focusing on the dagger to get it inside, she wasn’t sure it was going to work. But when she finished the dagger began to erupt into flames. She pointed it Thomas, trying to fire off the spell. Thomas realized he should probably do something before she finished, moving in he slashed his sword across from his right, right before he connected Addy figured out how to get the fireball to come out of her dagger and small gout of flame went out from the dagger connecting to Thomas. The fire made his shirt start on fire.

Wide eyed he dropped his weapons and started to pat his shirt putting the flames out before it could spread.

“Good job.” Zanak said, walking over to them.

“Next time you should attack once your spell goes off. It wasn’t powerful enough to defeat him, but it did accomplish putting his guard off long enough to attack. That it is what most of a sword mages spells are for, confusing or providing advantages for you to exploit into winning the fight.”

Addy nodded, as Zanak continued onto other students beginning to spar also.

“Now that I know all you can do is scorch my shirt I won’t stop next time.” He said seriously, though he couldn’t keep a smile form his face, he was having fun.

“Again.” Addy said going into a stance, even though she wasn’t exactly sure what she was doing. This time she cast a lightening spell on her right dagger, the one the dwarf dint know exactly what it did. When she finished to her surprise the dagger erupted into sparks, letting off more lightening then her weak lightening spell should have given off. She smiled, realizing she finally had an advantage.

When Thomas came in for an attack with his sword, slashing from the right for her mid-section she blocked with the lightening dagger. Thomas smiled thinking he could easily deflect the dagger  but when the sword connected he got jolted from the dagger, which sent a spark of lightening through his sword into him.

Jumping back Thomas straitened, his surprise wearing off. He came back in, this time prepared to avoid that dagger. He brought his dagger in from his left, going for her mid-section again, but when she went to block with her dagger he stopped and swung his sword in from the right going straight for her neck. She wasn’t prepared and barely got up her left dagger in time deflecting the sword. She was thrilled she had actually blocked it, but as quickly as her excitement came, Thomas’s dagger plunged into her stomach, it was deflected instantly from the coliseums protection spell but it still felt like she was getting punched. She fell back, it wasn’t too bad, he obviously hadn’t been using all of his strength but it still made her question how much she really wanted to become a sword made and not a mage who could have blocked the dagger with a shield or stone skin and not felt it at all.

“Good job Thomas said.”

Addy looked at him doubtfully. She could see everyone else fighting, and almost all of their fights were lasting way more then only two or three swings back and forth.

Thomas noticed and looked around also.

“You started out only an hour ago missing a stationary dummy that doesn’t fight back with a spear. To going back and forth with me in a fight, someone who’s been trained almost his whole life on how to fight. In my book, you already surpassed half the people in this arena. So let’s go again, you can only get better.” He finished, lifting his sword and dagger up.

She smiled, realizing she had made a lot of improvements in a really short time. She may not ever become a sword mage like she wanted. And may be stuck as a mage, but at least she was going to be better than some of these people. She raised her daggers, casting another spell as she moved into fight Thomas again.

 

 

“Stop.” Zanak yelled from the center of the coliseum.

“It is time for the tournament. Everyone form a circle around me.”

Addy and Thomas stopped fighting, even though at this point they were more just messing around. After fighting for almost 3 hours they were tired and had figured out each other’s moves to the point to where they couldn’t do anything without the other countering before they started. Even Thomas being trained for most of his life, he was still 10 and only knew so many moves.

Walking to the circle together they both hoped they would have a break soon.

“We will start the first rounds of the tournament now. Those who win will be put into a winner’s bracket, those who loose will be put into the losers’ bracket. After the first round, we will have lunch.” Everyone cheered at that, most of them hadn’t eating breakfast like her and Thomas did.

“The school was kind enough to provide a small feast for you here in the coliseum. So let’s began so we can eat!”

The first two to fight neither of them knew. One was a small boy with leather armor and two small daggers. The other was a huge kid with a shield and sword.

“This doesn’t seem that fair.” Addy said, thinking the little kid was about to get smashed into the dirt.

“Fighting isn’t always about the biggest. It’s one of the first things you learn growing up as an elf. Size isn’t everything, theirs skill, determination, but most of all luck.”

“Luck. Doesn’t it seem odd for a warrior to favor luck? Shouldn’t skill be the thing you should favor most.”

“Battles are unpredictable. No matter how skilled you are a stray arrow or spell could still take you out. That’s why even Zanak believes in the goddess of luck, Ebisu.” He pointed to a small bracelet Zanak was wearing; it had a small coin attached to it with a face on it she could barely make out.

The smaller kid went in first, running straight towards the large kid. He smiled thinking it would be an easy win. He lifted his sword swinging with his right arm from right to left. The crowd gasped thinking the kid was about to be swatted away like a fly. But at the last moment he jumped up barely clearing the sword. With his legs tucked in he hit the larger kid on the shield. Growling the larger kid swung his shield upward launching him up into the air. But the smaller kid dint seem surprised with this because he actually seemed to push off from the shield giving himself even more air. As the shield swung down exposing the larger kids face, the kid up in the air whipped one his daggers downwards, plunging straight into his head. The magic kicked in and saved the kid from any serious harm, but the dagger still carried enough weight that it made the bigger kid tumble backwards and fall down into the dirt. The smaller kid did a back flip on his way down and landed perfectly 10 feet away.

“Eick Quicksight wins.” Zanak said over to the side.

As Eick walked towards the bigger kid, who was still getting up, to retrieve his dagger, all of a sudden he started screaming:

“It’s unfair, he cheated. I demand a rematch!”

Eick continued on, eyeing the bigger kid as he grabbed the dagger. But just as he grabbed it the bigger kid launched into another attack, running his shield into Eick and sending him flying. But before he could make another move Zanak was there with his sword to his neck. The bigger kid thinking he was invisible with the coliseums spell began to move again. But before he got any farther he noticed Zanaks sword had left a small line of blood on his neck.

Zanak leaned in a whispered to him. Thomas and Addy could just make out what he said because they were close enough.

“My swords are powerful enough to break the schools magic. If you show such disrespect in my arena again you will be expelled from the school.”

Walking back to his side, Zanak called two names again. One was Thomas! The other was a mage named Zonkers Spellsbottoms, he was a small gnome wielding a mage with a spiked ball almost as big as his head. But he dint seem to be having a problem caring it. Addy noticed the shine on the outside, it must have been enchanted, quite a bit actually sense if it wasn’t she dint even think she could swing the mace with how heavy it would be.

Thomas went in slow, curious about Zonker’s, why he was small and probably not that skilled with his mace sense he was a mage, the enchantment on the mace still made him quite dangerous. When the gnome got closer he suddenly ran forward, launching his mace in a swing at Thomas’s knee cap. Thomas dropped his sword down blocking the mace partly; the mace smashed through his sword and hit his knee cap sending him to the ground. But thanks to his sword blocking it dint hit with full force, so Thomas was able to roll with the blow and get up quickly. The gnome charged again, but this time Thomas wasn’t going to try to block one of the blows. Instead he let the gnome come in and swing at his knees again; jumping over the mace Thomas landed and swung his sword toward the gnomes face. But he reversed his mace quicker than someone so small should have been able to and knocked his sword away right as it was about to connect.

They both jumped back, giving eachother space to think of another tactic. The gnome cast a spell on his mace, making it dance with lightening. Addy could see Thomas sigh as he figured out that his options were very limited. His eyes became determined though suddenly, he must of thought of something to try.

Charging in Thomas dove low and began to slide in the dirt as if he was about to swing at the gnomes face. Zonkers swung directly at Thomas’s face, but right as it was about to hit Thomas dug his sword down into the dirt planting it there. The mace connected, ringing as steel met steel, only inches from Thomas’s face. Near the gnomes neck was Thomas’s dagger, resting their as they both looked into each other’s eyes.

“I surrender .” Zonkers said stepping back.

“The winner is Thomas Aranion.” Zanak said walking out to congratulate him.

Thomas walked back over extremely excited that he won.

Zanak called out two more names, this time a girl in leather armor and a boy wearing mages robes stepped out into the center.

 

 

After what seemed almost everyone had gone, finally Addy got called. She was going up against another girl. This one was wearing leather armor too, but one of her swords had flames coming off of it so Addy assumed she was a sword mage. The other sword was plane, but Addy knew when it came to magic that dint always matter if you couldn’t see something.

From behind her Thomas said “You can do it. Just remember our fights.”

Addy had been assuming up to this point she would just loose her first fight and then loose her second in the loser’s tournament. And even with Thomas’s encouragement, as she looked at her opponent she still thought she was going to lose. The way she moved was just so precise and elegant compared to herself.

But Addy dint want to give up, she was still hoping that maybe being a sword mage wasn’t completely out of the realms of possibilities. Casting a lightening spell on her right dagger, and a fire spell on her left Addy went into the ring.

She looked impressed; she probably had thought I was one of the other mages who couldn’t cast spells on their weapons.

When we got closer she exploded into motion, running towards me trying to go for the quick kill. Raising her daggers Addy stopped and prepared herself, ready to dodge out of the way at the last moment or block he swords with her daggers. But mid-way to her she did something unexpected; she pointed her sword towards Addy and let out a fireball. Addy held up her daggers, not really knowing what else to do. As she did though the fireball flew into her left dagger getting consumed and making the fire on her side even larger. The other girl looked shocked but continued on. Addy pointed her dagger at the girl, sending forth her fireball that was much larger now that it consisted of hers and the other girls. Jumping out of the way the fireball only managed to scorch her boots as she rolled coming back up trying to put the fire out. Addy came in swinging her right dagger, trying to catch her by surprise, but the other girl stopped patting the fires and swun her sword back to deflect the dagger but she immediately got shocked as Addys lightening spell leaped from her dagger into the sword. The other girl got her senses back fairly quickly, dodging Addys left dagger as she tried to plunge it into her chest before she could got over the shock of the lightening. But the other girl did, and also began to start to take the offensive, sending attack after attack at Addy that she could barely counter.

That’s when Addy knew she was doomed, it was possible she might have got lucky and defeated this other girl, but now that all her tricks were played out the other girl was just too skilled. Swinging her swords she smashed them into Addys daggers sending her to the dirt. Before Addy could get her daggers back up to defend though the other girl had a sword at her neck.

Addy looked up, the other girl smiled and said “Good fight, you almost had me there.”

“Almost, but you always had me beat after I ran out of my two tricks.” Addy said laughing, actually enjoying loosing because she did way better then she thought she would against such a skilled opponent.

“Veronica Evergale wins.” Zanak said.

Reaching down veronica grabbed Addys hand and pulled her up.

“Now it is time to eat.” Zanak said as several school staff memebers started to come in from the doors. They brought in tables layered with food, placing them around the coliseum.

Thomas walked up, looking at Veronica and Addy.

“Grab your new friend and let’s go eat. Im starving.”

As if on cue all three of their stomachs growled as if they were all agreeing.

 

 

Addy, Veronica, and Thomas all sat together near one side of the coliseum. They ate different kinds of smoked ham, and other assorted meats. Apparently Zanak only liked meat because she couldn’t find any vegetables or other types of dishes.

“Were did you learn your sword mage magic at Addy?” Veronica asked stuffing her face with bacon covered in syrup.

“I dint, I learned magic from my uncle. I only just figured out how to do sword mage magic.” Addy said shyly, not wanting to bring up Ain teaching her.

“Your uncle must have been a great teacher, because it took me several months to be able to use my magic on swords.”

“Her uncles Ainamaf Trest, so of course she figured it out quickly.” Thomas said, mid-way through he noticed Addy glaring at him and chocked off the last part of what he was saying though.

Not noticing the exchange Veronica carried on “Wow. Getting taught by him must have made learning the basics of magic extremely easy. My dad’s decent at magic, but he only has an office job, so he doesn’t really know much combat magic.”

“You still fought better than me.” Addy said trying to get away from talking about Ain.

“Maybe, but you still would of beat me if you could of used all your magic.”

Addy doubted that, she knew quite a few spells, but nothing able to counter a sword flying at her face. Maybe if she studied the spell book Ain gave her and came up with spells to counter Veronica she could win, but even then Addy had never really dueled someone before today.

After a few minutes of silence and eating Thomas spoke up saying. “Did you guys hear about the Los Angeles fight? Their saying that one of Vizix’s generals destroyed an entire neighborhood.”

“How did you hear about that?” Addy asked, remembering what she read in Ains office.

“What do you mean? I read it online in a blog about everything the Government is keeping from us. It’s not like they can cover up something that big completely. Why, how did you know about it? Did Ainamaf tell you?”

“He might have showed me some things.” When she said it Thomas got really excited, but before he could ask her anything more she said “But I don’t know anything more then you, he just said it had happened.”

Thomas got sad then, thinking he had finally found the truth, but only what he already knew.

“But I do know he’s looking for some orb.” As Addy said that she immediately regretted it, she curious what Ain and Tucker were looking for, but dint want anyone else to know just in case it was a secret.

“What orb?” Thomas asked really excited, as if he had just been let into a big secret.

But luckily before Addy had to say anything more Zanak started calling for them to form up again in a circle.

“We start with the first round of the loser’s tournament. Zonkers VS Addy.”

And that’s when Addy knew she was right about losing her first and second fights and being out of the tournament, because even Thomas barely beat Zonkers.

 

Tucker stood in front of Wardrens Everythings, looking it over. It still looked almost dilapidated, and one more of the windows had been shattered by a rock, probably from some kid, and was now boarded up. Tucker held up his hand looking at the small coin hanging from the bracelet Ark gave him, it had been glowing a light red color ever sense Tucker had gotten close to the place. He tried walking over to the places nearby hoping it was one of them, but nope it glowed the strongest near Wardrens.

Tucker sighed swinging the door open. Wardren immediately started offering him things once he recognized who Tucker was. Ignoring him Tucker walked around, holing up his bracelet to items in the store to see which one made it glow the most. It kept around the same glow the whole time though; the magic must have been so strong in the room the bracelet was picking it up everywhere.

But as Tucker walked past the skeleton he noticed the gloves, he hadn’t put the bracelet up to them because he dint think a skeleton would be enchanted and hadn’t seen the gloves before. Sure enough once he put the bracelet up to them it started to glow even darker red, almost changing a whole hue to an almost black red.

“How much for the gloves.” Tucker asked.

Wardren stopped talking, trying to figure out what Tucker said to him sense had been talking this whole time. Figuring it out he said. “10 gold pieces.”

“Deal”

“Ahh I thought you would say no.” Wardren continued, assuming Tucker would say no. “But the gloves are from…”

Tucker shoved a bag with 10 gold pieces in it into Wardren’s hands before he could finish. Tucker grabbed the gloves and walked out of the store, the whole time Wardren dint say anything, to shocked that he actually sold something at his inflated prices to form any thoughts.

As Tucker left however Wardren stopped counting the coins and realized why someone would pay his price right away without trying to bargain. The gloves must have been worth way more. But he shrugged, remembering that he had gotten the gloves for almost free years ago when a strange man came in wanting to sell them.

Tucker stopped mid-way down the alley as Ark contacted him with a floating image of himself and the other Forgotten members. Ark had been sitting back at the orphanage watching Tucker with the other members of the Forgotten gathered around a crystal ball.

“There is no record of gloves connected to the orb in any of my history books.” Ark said to Tucker through the connection.

“Well then you need new history books. Because they are defiantly connected.” Tucker said holding up the gloves next to the bracelet, the coin on it glowing almost black with how close they were.

“I don’t disagree, but until I can do more research on them you will have to continue searching.”

“What! How is this not enough for Ainamaf to allow you to come yet? Look at the thing glow.”

“I’m afraid you will actually have to go through with teaching children Tucker. Untill you can find something else, or Ark has more leads on the gloves.” Trummel said through the crystal ball.

To the side Athelaz made a cross motion over his heart and shook his head at the thought of Tucker actually teaching children. He could barely take care of them at the orphanage let alone teach them about something.

To the side Esmyth laughed as she watch Athelaz.

Tucker heard it and yelled at Esy “Why if you’re gonna laugh at me then why don’t you come do it, you’re a ranger too!”

“Ahh but I am not nearly as good of a ranger.” Esmyth smiled at that, knowing if she played on Tuckers ego she would calm him down.

“Well yeah. If these kids are going to learn about Hunting it should be through me not you.” He said pushing out his chest. At that Kitty laid down putting her paws over her head.

“Just continue. I’m sure the gloves will lead to something more very soon.” Trummel said. At that the connection blanked out and Tucker continued on back to the school. But soon got side tracked at a bar, grumbling that he deserved a drink.

 

 

 

Addy threw her dagger at Zonkers as he ran towards her begin to swing his deadly mace. He flinched as the dagger came, but when the dagger dint actually hit him he stood their confused about what happened. Addy happily waded in as he looked confused and gently poked him in the stomache.

“I win.” Addy said smiling, as Zanak said the same thing loudly from the crowd.

“But how?” Zonkers asked.

“Magic.” Was all Addy said walking back to Veronica and Thomas. In actuality though Addy had learned it from Veronica, she showed her the spell to cast on her dagger to make it look like it was going towards the person she pretended to throw it at.

“Good job” Both Thomas and Veronica said once she got back to them. Though it really wasn’t, she couldn’t have beaten Zonkers without using magic.  The other two were the ones actually doing a good job. Both of them had already defeated opponents much more powerful than Zonkers. Thomas had fought two people so far, and won both matches within the first 5 seconds by using sword play Addy had barely been able to follow. Veronica had only fought one so far, and was just being called to fight again as Addy reached them. She had won her fight by using the spell Addy had just used, pretending she had thrown both of her swords her opponent had recklessly came in swing his swords around, and was quickly taken from surprise as Veronica produced her apparently thrown swords.

Veronica was up against an elvish girl with a bow this time. Addy really couldn’t of a way for her to win this fight, swords couldn’t deflect arrows very well.

The girl shot her bow at Veronica, Veronica rolling out of the way at the last moment. The arrow went straight into the crowd, several people jumping behind pillars to get away, but it was all in vain because the arrow stopped short of the crowd at a barrier no one had noticed was their yet. As Veronica got up she threw a sword at the girl, the girl had seen her last fight and knew her tricks so she leveled another arrow at Veronica. Veronica was up though and running at her, swirving this way and that. But before the girl could get off an arrow the sword actually struck her, knocking her arrows loose. Veronica had known the girl would think she would use the same trick again, so she assumed the girl wouldn’t dodge her sword at all.

As Veronica reached the girl she grabbed her other sword from the ground and swung both of them at the girl. She dropped her bow and rolled away dodging the attack.

Getting up, everyone noticed she was unarmed now and Veronica would have a swift win. But as she got up Veronica threw one of her swords at her fight and got into a fighting stance while she picked it up. Zanak nodded at that, and several of the students cheered.

Picking the sword up, the girl got into a fighting stance also. But as quickly as she got prepared Veronica attacked. Launching her sword point first at the girl’s stomach. She barely dodged in time, unprepared for Veronica attacking. Immediately reversing the direction of her sword to the side, Veronica swung for the girl. She stuck her sword down though blocking it. But as she did she was shocked by Veronicas spell on her sword. Not being able to move for several seconds gave Veronica enough time to put her sword at the girl’s neck.

“Veronica had defeated Elwin Evergale.” Zanak said from the side.

Walking back over Thomas said “I could of sworn you would of have lost, having to go up against a bow, even I would have lost if I dint get lucky dodging the arrows.”

“Well that is why women are better at fighting. We come up with plans you would never think of.” Veronica said smiling. But Thomas just shook his head not knowing how to respond.

 

 

“So more about this orb thing you were talking about earlier.” Thomas said as the semi-final battles started. A guy with a bow was up against a spear wielding girl, whose spear came back to her after she threw it. They were both going back and forth, seeing who could get the first hit.

Addy sighed on the inside, not wanting to talk about it. But said:

“I wasn’t talking about it. I just accidently mentioned something I shouldn’t have.”

“Well now were talking about it why don’t you tell me a little more about it.” Thomas smiled at her, genuinely not hearing the part about her accidently mentioning it. As he smiled a spear flung itself into the shield only inches from Thomas’s face, but he dint seem to notice, just kept smiling at her.

Addy sighed again. “Fine, all I know is that he’s looking for an Orb, honestly. And that Tucker Mc Gavin is the one looking for it for him.”

“Hmm. The new Ranger teacher. Interesting.” Thomas thought outloud, ignoring Again as he thought about something.

“You really shouldn’t tell that one anything.” Veronica whispered to her, laughing.

“It’s not like he can find any information from just from knowing hes looking for an Orb anyways.” Addy laughed back her, not thinking she let out any big secret or anything.

As they had been talking the fight was won by the spear wielding girl. After they had gone back to the sides Zanak announced the next two names.

“Next up in the semi-finals for the losers bracket is Addy Trest Vs Argnot Madra. The winner will go to the finals in the loser’s bracket.” Zanak said.

Both Veronica and Thomas gasped; Argnot was the kid from the first fight who had not accepted his loss very valiantly, sending a kid flying into the crowd after he had lost.

“Maybe you should just forfeit.” Veronica said, scared Addy might actually get hurt even with the shield.

“The Shield will be fine.” Thomas said, knowing what Veronica was thinking. “He’s slow and big, you shouldn’t have any problem tiring him out. Or maybe try why the first kid did and jump off his shield.” He said smiling.

“Umm. I doubt I could even jump high enough to reach his shield…” Addy said walking out.

As she got out there, he smashed his sword against his shield, ready to fight. They had heard him during the lunch wanting to win the losers bracket and demand a fight against the winner’s bracket winner for who was the best. He still believed he was the best fighter after getting defeated and was prepared to demolish anyone who got in his way.

Addy cast her lighting and fireball spells on her daggers, not really thinking they would do anything against him, and the illusion spell wouldn’t even make him flinch. She did however think if she could get her lightening spell off on his shield she might by herself enough time to go around him and stab him.

But before she could even think he rushed at her from the other side of the stadium. HE put his shield down trying to bowl her over. Not knowing what else to do she side stepped him, letting him bowl past her. As he went past she stuck her dagger on his shield letting the lightening spell loose. But as he turned back around, he dint even look like it did anything to him or that he even noticed if it did. He must have been so hyped up on adrenalin it wasn’t effecting him.

Not knowing what to do now that her spell failed she put up her left dagger and let loose the fireball spell, aiming for his head. But it just bounced harmlessly off his shield.

He laughed, saying “Is that all you have? How did you even get this far. If it wasn’t for that little brat at the start I would have crushed all of you.” As he finished he swung his sword at her.

Addy jumped backwards, thinking about maybe she should have just been hit and had this finished now, before he flung her into the shield or something even worst. He came forward, trying to shield basher her. Addy let him do it, not seeing a point, but as the shield smashed into him he flung her upwards. Making her think of what Thomas told her to do, she dint think that would exactly work again, but she did have an idea. As she flew upwards she cast her illusion spelling, sending the fake one sailing towards his head. He yelped and threw up his shield as she landed, he was still complaining about the other girl as Addy walked up to him and jabbed both her blades in his chest.

Before he could do anything in outrage. Zanak was there staring at Argnot to make sure he dint try anything this time. But he dint, he just glared at Addy and said something under his breath as he walked back to the side.

“He will be a great warrior one day when he gets over his own vanity.”Zanak said shaking his head as he watched Argnot.

“But you.” Zanak said looking at Addy now. “Might make a better sword mage then I thought. If you’re still interested.”

“Maybe.” Addy said not really sure anymore. “The reason I’m so good is because of my magic. I would make a better mage then I would ever make a good sword mage.”

“I know. These classes are about learning what your strengths are. Most students already know what they really want to be, but it takes showing them to make them realize, like you.” Zanak smiled and patted Addy on the back as he walked back over to his spot calling out the next two names.

 

 

It was now around 3 in the afternoon and they had finally worked their way down to the final two in each category. Thomas was up against Veronica, and Addy was up against the spear wielding girl, who was apparently named Aria Longsattle.

Addy had no idea how she had gotten this far, but she actually kind of wanted to win now. She was trying to think of other spells she might be able to use with her daggers, but all she’d been able to come up with was a spell Ain taught her for holidays, that sent out small fireworks. If she could only just use her spells she would be able to win this.

Thomas and Veronica were on both sides of her, trying to not talk sense they realized they were about to fight each other.

“First up is Addy Vs Aria.” Zanak said.

“You got this” Both Thomas and Veronica said at the same time. They both looked at each other angrily for saying the same thing, and then looked away.

Addy shook her said as she walked into the arena. She was thinking about how badly it was going to hurt when the spear hit her in the head, hoping at least she was close enough the other girl might just put the spear point up to her chest and ask her to surrender. But she doubted she was that lucky.

As Aria walked in she was looking directly at Addy, trying to judge how much of a challenge she really had.

Aria threw her spear before Addy even realized the fight had started. She tried dodging, but the spear hit her shoulder slightly as it flew by. She could hear both Thomas and Veronica gasp, thinking it was almost over so soon.

But Addy got up and started to cast spells on her daggers as Aria’s spear flew back to her. Addy had somewhat of a plan, even though she thought it wouldn’t work against such an experienced opponent. But it was all she had, she just needed to get closer to her for it to work. The problem was everytime Addy tried to closer though Aria just circled around staying as far away as possible. She threw her spear again, Addy was more prepared, but still barely got out of the way in time.

This time however she stepped on the spear, it wiggled trying to go back to Aria, who pulled out a sword and started to advance towards Addy. But as she started Addy let go of the spear which flew back to Aria, who shrugged and dropped her sword preferring to fight with her spear anyways. When Addy let go of the spear though she started to run directly behind it, she had realized Aria’s spear only flew back in one direction, it could change course once it started so Aria had to stay right there.

Aria dint blink though, just stood her ground fully prepared to grab her spear and stick it into Addy before Addy could even get close. As the spear reached her she turned it around and pointed it directly at Addy, but that dint matter, Addy threw her dagger at Aria who dodged to the side completely ignoring the dagger as it bounced off the shield and landed at her feet.

Addy smiled, thinking perfect as she said a few magic words. The spell in the dagger went off, the fireworks Ain had taught her, but they were amplified 10 times over from the power of the dagger that amplified magic.

Aria was completely blinded as fireworks flew all around her. She started to randomly poke her spear forward were Addy use to be, but Addy was now to her left. Moving in Addy said a word to stop the fireworks and gently poked Aria in the rib cage, not seeing a point to leave a bruise when she dint have too.

“Adalin Trest win!”Zanak yelled from the side. The crowd of people erupted into applause.

She couldn’t believe she won, it was the loser’s bracket but still she never thought she would even get close to winning. Thomas and Veronica congratulated her when she got back.  It was clear they both thought she was going to lose and were genuinely surprised she had won the way she did. But she dint care, she still won!

“Next up is the final battle,”Zanak began. “The winner will be at the head of the warriors class with the other winners from this week, granting them special privileges for their classes to come. May the best fighter win.” And at that Zanak stepped away and both Thomas and Veronica walked out in the arena spreading apart.

Thomas walked to Addys left, spinning his sword and dagger around in his hands, looking very anxious. Thomas had been telling her while they practiced at the start of the day that he hated fighting anything magic, and Veronica was defiantly a sword mage. He just dint know how to defeat them, but Addy thought after spending the whole watching sword mages that he had just as much of a chance of beating Veronica as she did beating him.

Over to the right Veronica looked composed, not swinging her swords around, just staring straight at her opponent. Addy personally thought Veronica would win because of her magic, which gave her an edge over Thomas. Both of them were almost completely matched when it came to sword play.

Veronica made the first move, launching one of her swords at Thomas, who knew it was a ruse and casually stepped to the side as it disappeared for the illusion it was. But Veronica dint care, she knew Thomas knew all her tricks so she was just simply starting the fight. Running towards him, Veronica prepared her fireball spell launching it towards Thomas, trying to keep him busy until she got closer so he dint throw his dagger at her. But Thomas dodged and waited for her, not willing to relinquish his dagger so early in the battle for a slight chance it might hit her.

Veronica double swung both of her swords from the left to the right, trying to overwhelm Thomas. He put his sword up, but instead of trying to counter her swords he let his sword get moved aside by hers as he stepped backwards. With Veronica now completely open, he launched his sword into her chest, but she rolled her body out of the way, the sword coming mere inches from her torso. Reversing her swords, she launched an attack at Thomas, who was more than willing to turn anything she gave to him back at her.

Thomas’s dagger was her only advantage, giving her more reach on her right side, and Thomas having less reach on his right side. She kept trying to push her swords past his dagger every time he blocked her sword. Going back and forth for several more minutes it seemed like a stale mate, all they had to show so far was a few hits they both had made on the other, but nothing fatal enough for Zanak to declare a winner.

Thomas started to look tired, dropping his sword and dagger low. Veronica saw this as her chance, casting a lightening spell on both swords. Thomas’s eyes widened, realizing if he blocked Veronicas attacks he would get stunned and she would win, and if he dint block her attacks she would just end up hitting him and winning anyways.

Veronica launched both of her swords from left to right again, thinking to no matter what she would win because he blocked he lost and if he dint block he still lost. Thomas brought his sword up again, trying to block. The crowd gasped thinking it over, but as Veronicas two swords connected Thomas’s sword went flying to her right. Thomas had let go of his sword right before her swords had connected and had jumped back. Now he stood with his dagger ready to jab at Veronica, whos swords were both still moving rapidly right as she couldn’t slow them fast enough and reverse their momentum to block Thomas.

Thomas jumped forward poking Veronica in the chest. The crowd erupted, thinking Thomas doomed but watching him come out of nowhere and win.

Addy looked at Veronica, she looked stunned, just staring at Thomas as if she dint know what happened.   But finally after Thomas retrieved his dagger and walked back to her she said:

“I thought I won…”

“Me too.” Thomas said laughing.

Veronica couldn’t help but laugh also as Zanak called out Thomas’s name in the background as the winner.

 

 

Chapter 16:  Tucker and the Orb

 

 

After the fight Veronica went back to her dorm while Addy and Thomas went to go get something to eat at a little coffee place Thomas knew about. They walked over near the church, which is where Addys class for tomorrow was if she remembered right. The coffee place was small and tucked in with a bunch of other little of shops next to the church. There were quite a few students their playing around on laptops and other things. Most of them seemed to be older than them, Addy wondered what the beginning of the year was like for them, she guessed they dint have to go through the week she was going through.

As they ordered two coffees, both the special of the day, a 20 ounce latte marsh mellow and smores with two crescents, Addy realized she dint have any money. The coffee place was one of the non-school places to eat that actually cost money for students.

“Ummm.” Addy started to say, once the lady behind the cash register said how much it was.

“You forgot your purse dint you?” Thomas said recognizing her trepidation.

“Yeah…”

“How about I get this.” Thomas said handing the lady the money. “ And you tell me more about the orb you were talking about earlier.

“Deal.” Addy said smiling, she dint know anything else about the orb, but Thomas dint know that.

As they walked to a small table over in the corner to sit down, Addy realized she probably need to ask Ain for some money if she was ever going to want to eat any place other than the campus ones.

Sitting down Addy looked at her latte in a large cup with a handle. To her surprise out of the coffee came a small whale made of foam, splashing up and sending a little wave around her coffee. It circled around, sending little spouts of coffee up. Looking at Thomas’s she saw a cat in his, which was licking its paw as it lounged on the edge of his cup.

“That’s amazing.” Addy said staring at awe at the foam art in her coffee.

“I know.” Thomas said patting his little cat on the head. “It’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here, the owner is one of only a few people in the world who can make these. But to something more important, the orb.” Thomas finished looking back up at her.

 

“I don’t know anything more. I don’t even know why you care so much honestly.”

“How many times do you get to find out about something potentially secret from one of the most powerful people in the world?”

Ain told Addy quite a few things that were probably secret, so Addy thought maybe once a month, but she dint say that to Thomas, sense he would just be curious about what else she knew.

“Fine, Tuckers probably drunk anyways if we want to find him and ask him what he knows.”

“I know just were to start” Thomas said, really excited.

 

 

As Addy and Thomas were walking to the Ranger part of the campus, which was part of the druids forest, they ran into Trin and Michael who were walk back to campus after spending their day apparently doing the Ranger class.

“Hey,” Michael and Trin said as they came closer.

Michael looked at Thomas, not knowing who he was. Addy noticed and said:

“This is Thomas, we did the Warriors class today together.”

“Were you two going? Classes are over and not really anything over their except that drunk ranger that taught us today.” Trin said, looking curiously as both Addy and Thomas.

Addy looked at Thomas who was smiling at her, knowing the drunk ranger was Tucker.

“Where going to visit Tucker, hes a friend of mine and we needed to talk about something.”

“I don’t think nows the best time. Tucker left at lunch time and came back to the class completely wasted.”

“I think now’s the perfect time.” Thomas said still smiling

“And whys that.” Michael said looking at Thomas.

“Because he might actually tell us about the Orb.”

“What orb?” Trin  said confused.

“It doesn’t matter, let’s just get it over with so I can go to bed sometime tonight.” The sun was already starting to set, it was late fall so it got dark around 5 pm or so. Addy started to walk as the others followed her.

As they went along she let Thomas tell them about the orb, because he looked about to explode from not talking about it as he was almost minutes away from figuring out what it really was. Addy thought about how in the future she probably shouldn’t tell him any secrets, because he would probably tell half the school before the day was done.

They reached Tucker in a small village in the Rogues forest, were all the professors and senior level students in the Ranger classes were. It was just the professors right now though because of the senior level students were back in their group dorms, reconnecting with people they hadn’t seen all summer. Which Addy knew from Ain telling her things about the school over the years.

The village was stuck about half a mile away from campus through a forest of tree, with a large path going straight to it. The path was more of a trail, naturally occurring in the forest from thousands of people walking over it for hundreds of years. It was said some druids could make trees move or walk, which must have been the case because it seemed like the trees were just moved to the side wherever the trail led. The cabins were small  and encircled a large bonfire burning in the center, which seemed to be a fake fire sense the logs weren’t actually on burning, just in the center of what Addy assumed was a magical fire.

They weren’t sure which was Tuckers little cabin so they walked around for a second until they heard his voice. He was yelling at another teacher who was standing in the door of Tuckers.

“I cant believe you got drunk during launch, you were still teaching class! If this happens again I will have to report you, I don’t care if Ainamaf got you this job, the board can and will take it away from you.” The man said standing at Tuckers door. He was a small man, but from the way he held himself and the fact that he was just wearing a plain shirt and wool pants with a sword strapped to his back Addy was able to tell he was more than human before she walked close enough to see his horns. He must have been a demi-demon, or some other type of hybrid human.

“Board, Board, bored. Why do you talk so much about people no one ever sees. If you want to threaten me you should use Ainamaf, not assume that he will protect me.” Tucker laughed, louder then he probably should be. “I once saw him summon a Bailor demon just to make a point. A 12 foot tall, 4 armed behemoth almost 12 feet wide also, to make a point that he’s correct and they were wrong. All to pass a law. A Bailor demon!”

“I know what a Bailor demon is.” The small man sending, referring to his horns.

“Because he was your brother.” At that Tucker burst into more laughter, bwahaha’ing as he slapped his knee repeatedly.

The small man reached behind his back as he approached, tired of hearing from Tucker and ready to show him some respect. But as he approached he noticed Addy and the others.

“What are you kids doing out here this late? Shouldn’t you be eating dinner or playing games before bed.” Them said as he stopped, ignoring Tucker who was still laughing, to actually do his job as a Professor.

“We came to talk to Tucker, he’s a friend from where I came from.” Addy said, stepping forward.

“Hmm, Ains niece, correct.”

Addy shook her head up and down in reply.

“I don’t think your friend will be around much longer at this rate. Maybe you can talk more sense into him then me.” At that he walked away, back to his own cabin.

Addy actually felt bad for him, having to deal with Tucker. Miir was barely able to keep Tucker in line. Tucker probably would have been fired years ago if he wasn’t a part of that group Addy always sawaround the orphanage. That and Tucker was one of the few grownups she ever met that actually cared about the kids at the orphanage. He might get drunk occasionally, or make stupid mistakes, but he genuinely cared for them, he use to spend every night teaching Oliver how to read and write after he arrived at the orphanage. Even though Tucker thought he was just as annoying as Addy thought. And when the other kids found out, Tucker made threats at any kids trying to make fun of him. Addy hated Oliver and would of never been able to do the same thing in Tuckers shoes, that when she had realized Tucker was one of the nicest persons she had ever met, even with his ruff dwarven outside.

“What are you kids doing here?” Tucker asked stumbling to the door, squinting his eyes trying to see who was there.

“I just came to visit, and I thought I would bring along some friends.” Addy said, trying not to give away why they were really hear, so she could maybe ask it casually without him even realizing he was giving away a secret.

“Good, I need some company. Everyone here,” Tucker waved to all the other cabins, “is full of shit.” At that Tucker went back into his house, waving for everything to follow him. Kitty was sleeping on Tuckers bed, taking up the entire thing. When everyone came in she lifted her head, perking her ears up as she saw Addy.

Tucker sat down at the only table in the room with four chairs, motioning for Addy to sit down somewhere with him.  Addy sat down, as Thomas quickly followed, taking the chair from her left from Trin as she tried to sit down. Trin sighed, looking down at Thomas, but he was too riveted on what was about to happen to notice. Michael whoever noticed and gave his seat to Addy’s right to Trin, choosing instead to lean against the fireplace. The fireplace had something cooking over it which smelled delicious; Tucker was always a great cook. He regularly helped cook in the kitchen back at the orphanage.

“So I heard that you know something about…” Thomas started but Addy kicked him under the table for him to shut up.

“How are you.? Seems like you’re having trouble. ” Addy asked before Tucker could think about what Thomas had said.

“Ahhh, you know, takes a while for people to warm up to the greatness that is the dwarven lineage.” Tucker bwahaha’d as he slapped Thomas on the back way harder then he probably meant to, or meant to just dint realize Thomas wasn’t a dwarf. Thomas lurched forward all his air rushing out as he tried hopelessly to suck in more.

Tucker continued not even noticing Thomas. “But the bigger question is how are you. Ainamaf told me you had made friends, but I dint expect you to have so many from what I remember about your social life at the orphanage!”

Addy cringed at that, she knew the others would figure out about her being an orphan sooner or later, but she dint expect them to learn this way.

“You raised an interesting young lady, sir dwarf. What can I say; we were all drawn to her for one reason or another.” Michael said, leaning down to the pot of boiling soup over the hearth. “May I” he asked.

“Sure, you can all help yourself, just a bit of stew I whipped up for me-self.”

Michael and Trin went at the soup; they hadn’t eaten sense lunch and were starving. Addys stomach rumbled and she realized other than the crescent she hadn’t eat anything sense lunch either. Addy and Thomas also got up, scooping up some soup. It was potato soup with thick cuts of bacon and potato in it, with season she couldn’t quite make out but that added a little bit of spice to it.

Sitting back down, Tucker was talking to Thomas about the dwarven city he came from. Trying to figure out where it was located, but Tucker kept telling him he couldn’t tell without killing him. Which was kind of true, Tucker wasn’t supposed to tell where the dwarven city was, but he had told her about 10 times over the years when he was drunk. It wasn’t really secret anymore other than more of a hope that not everyone knows where it is.

Kitty came over and laid underneath the table near Addy, purring to make her pet her. As she walked over, Michael jumped, scared of such a huge Tiger walking so close to him, which made Tucker laugh as Micahel spilt some of his soup. Kitty laid down as Addy pet her, going fast to sleep again.

“So what really brings you here.” Tucker asked looking at Addy.

Addy realized Tucker wasn’t drunk anymore, it took way more alcohol then any human could ever drink to get a dwarf drunk, and even then Tucker would only be drunk for a quarter of the time a normal person would be.

“Yesterday, you said something about an orb. I was just curious what it is.”

Tucker narrowed his eyes, looking at them all.

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt if you knew. I don’t know why you would care though.” As Tucker walked over to a chest, Addy stared at Thomas as if to tell him I told you so, but he looked away still to curious about what Tucker had to say.

“The Forgotten is looking for an orb for Ainamaf. It’s just an old scrying orb though; he likes to collect old things. He thinks its somewhere around the school. And sense I’m here and the Forgotten are off on another mission right now I’m the only one looking for it.”

“Who are the Forgotten.” Thomas asked, intrigued by it all, even if it was just some old scrying orb Ainamaf wanted to collect.

Addy answered before Tucker could. “They are a group that finds forgotten relics or items for money.”

“Make it sound like were all about the money, but pretty much.” Tucker said.

“But aren’t you pretty much all about the money.” Addy replied, knowing everyone in the Forgotten she knew what they really wanted.

“Well yes, but doesn’t mean we just go around saying it.” Tucker huffed. “I found these gloves today.” Tucker said holding up the black inky gloves he had found at Wardrens Everythings that day.

Thomas reached out and took them from Tucker, putting them on he looked at his hands, moving his fingers around.

“What do they do?” Thomas asked. Looking wide eyed at them.

“Your guess is as good as mine. I’m bringing them to Ainamaf tomorrow to see if he can tell me what.” Tucker said.

As Addy watched Thomas she noticed his eyes get large, and then he looked back at the school at slightly down. Then he seemed to shrug his head as if he dint know what happened. He dint say anything so she just continued to listen to Tucker.

“They might not even be related, it’s just the only clue I’ve been able to find so far. It is supposed to just be an old scrying orb, nothing special about it, so it’s likely the gloves were just made by the same person or something.”

Addy disagreed, what she knew about magic told her if he found those gloves looking while using magic to find the orb, they must have had something to do with the orb.

“Thanks, I was just curious was all.” Thomas said.

“If you find anything about it, just tell me and that will be thanks enough” Tucker said, looking out the window. “You all should get going, don’t want to get yelled at even more for keeping students out past curfew.”

As Thomas gave the gloves back to Tucker he said:

“Wait, there’s a curfew?” Thomas had been going out almost nightly looking around the school and hadn’t run into anything about a curfew.

Tucker laughed. “Just for new students, don’t want any of them to get lost at night, or run into something they shouldn’t, like any of the golems that portal at night.”

Thomas mouthed “Golems” as they stepped out of Tuckers, saying goodbye and thanking him for the soup. Addy promised to come visit again.

 

 

As they walked down the path Thomas and Addy fell back behind Trin and Michael, who were talking about a new show on TV, that used magic so you could actually smell the food that they were cooking and take samples when they offered. They seemed to be coming fast friend’s sense the last time she had seem them both.

“When you put on the gloves you felt something, dint you.” Addy asked Thomas.

“You saw.” Thomas asked.

“Yes.”

Thomas looked away, thinking. “I’m not sure what I felt; it just made me sense something under the school. I think it was the orb, but it could have been anything.”

“Interesting, an ordinary scrying orb wouldn’t need gloves. Tucker was lying about something. The Forgotten are to expensive to use to get just a plain scrying orb, they only collect rare relics.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Thomas said.

They walked back to their dorms, not talking but thinking about what exactly this orb was. Addy was far more interested now, she had seen some of the things the Forgotten found, they were all interesting.

 

 

 

Chapter 17: The Forgotten

The Forgotten were in a deep underneath an old castle in Scotland. Tucker hadn’t been making much progress other than finding the gloves that probably dint mean anything, so they had taken a job to find a phylactery. An ancient object that could be anything, containing the soul of a merchant who died thousands of years ago. They had been hired by a Chinese collector that wanted the object for something he dint specify about, but an object containing a soul is almost invaluable because of its rarity.

“How did a fat merchant get a phylactery?” Athelaz asked.

“The same way he got anything, he bought it.” Trummel said. As they walked down a corridor lit by old sconces on the wall that burned with blue fairy fire.

“He probably hoped to come back as a Lich, but the mage who made his phylactery dint tell him you had to be an extremely powerful mage to correctly transfer your soul back into your body after you die.” Ark said, walking along with his hand out, trying to sense were it was at.

They came to a huge double door with two skeletons to the side of it. Trummel smashed one with his hammer, while Athelaz cast a bolt of light at the other making it drop to the floor in a heap of bones.

Their wasn’t really much resistance so far, they had run into a couple of undead other than the skeletons, but the most trouble that had had was sneaking onto the property. The owner hadn’t let them on, so Ark had to teleport them in and make them invisible until they found the secret tunnel beneath the castle.

Pushing the doors open, they walked into a huge gallery with two huge sweeping staircases going upwards and several dark tunnels going off to the sides on the ground floor.

“So why are we getting paid so much if were just collecting a small whatever.” Esmyth said as she moved her bow around trying to refer to the phylactery. “If all we have to kill is a couple weak skeletons.”

They had all been thinking the same thing every sense they got down her saw the first enemy which put up almost no fight for them. Most of the time they either had to fight ancient magic, a hidden cult, or something long forgotten to reach whatever they were looking for.

“Do you guys usually expect more? I quite like the simplicity of not having to fight my way through hundreds of undead.” Said Cypher, a rogue they had hired for the excursion in case they needed to break into anything with a lock, or disarm traps. They had found from previous encounters, someone of his skills usually came in handy. He was a slight man, with twin daggers which glowed with some type of magic, wearing all black with his hood up.

“We either fight them now, or we fight them later. Their isn’t ever the option to not fight them at all.” Trummel laughed, trying to get rid of some of the tension that was going around the group from waiting for something really bad to happen.

They continued on to the staircase, following Ark as he followed the spell he had cast trying to find the phylactery.

“It’s this way.” Ark said, pointing towards the staircase. “But I can’t tell if it’s a level up or on the same level we are.”

“Fine we split up and meet back here in several minutes.” Trummel said. “Me and Ark up stairs, the rest of you down here.”

 

 

Esmyth took lead with her panther Lord Birin. Cypher kept disappearing off to the side, coming back into their midst without them even noticing, scaring Athelaz several times, but he kept trying to hide that he jumped. Athelaz had cast a spell of his own, searching as they went.

The hallway was adorned with old wallpaper of decorative gold flowers with a background of red. About waist level was a wood molding, with wood going down from that to the floor. On the walls were creepy old paintings, Esmyth had accidently shot one with an arrow thinking it was somebody just to realize it was a fat man riding a horse that dint seem that happy for its situation. The blue fairy fire sconces continued, leading them deeper into the place.

“I feel something, up ahead, it’s not strong but it’s definitely a soul.” Athelaz said, his right hand was held a glowing orb of light, which he was using to try to find the phylactery.

“On it.” Cypher said right next to Athelaz, who jumped again, not realizing he was there.

Moving forward, with Athelaz in the back, they opened a door he pointed to. Cypher launched through expecting something to come as Esmyth readied her bow behind him. Lord Birin silently came into the room.

But it was for naught. The room was empty, it had fancy wallpaper like the rest of the place, and sconces around it, but other than a small pedestal in the center there was nothing there. Cypher walked over to the pedestal, looking at it curiously.

“I think this is a…” Cypher began as they all walked over to the pedestal to look at it, but before he could finish the floor gave in sending them falling down below screaming.

Were the pedestal use to be, a blue flamed outline of a fat man laughed at them.

 

 

Up above Trummel and Ark heard screams, looking at each other, they both recognized the voices.  They started to run down stairs. Trying to find the source, Ark finally found it, locating the same power Athelaz had been sensing. As they burst into the room the merchant was still their laughing.

Without a second thought Ark send a bolt of energy into it, not really thinking it would do anything. But the merchant disappeared. Trummel went over to the hole that almost took up the whole room now, looking down.

“I can hear them, I think their okay.” As Trummel said that Esmyth screamed out as something happened.

“Let me cast a spell of levitation and we’ll be right down their.” Ark said beginning a spell.

“No time.” Trummel jumped down the hole.

Ark looked over the hole as Trummel jumped down, hoping he was ok.

He started to cast spells of protection on himself, preparing for the battle that ahead.

“Always has to be a fight, can’t have one time were we just walk in and grab something.”

 

 

Trummel landed hard, he had cast a spell on himself to make sure he dint break anything before he landed, but his paladin god dint do things like levitation. Trummel hit at full speed, bending his knees and watching the floor crack as he hit, his spell making his body able to take the impact.

Coming out the tunnel from where he landed he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He was in a huge underground cave a good half mile across. He must have fallen several hundred feet because he could barely make out the ceiling. In the center was a giant square platform, with a river going around it which was also square. At the very center of the caves top was a ball of glowing fairy fire, just bright enough to illuminate the entire room. On the four sides of the platform, were huge hundred foot tall statues of elves, that looked slightly different than the normal elves he usually saw. Out of their mouths shot streams of water landing back in the river in front of them. On top of the platform behind the elven statues was a small city, only taken up about a third of the cavern, but still large enough that Trummel was able to make out atleast 30 buildings or so, several of them substantially large.

But Trummel dint have any time to think about the underground city or what it was for, as he looked around he saw Esmyth to the right of the platform, shooting arrows at something he couldn’t see. But that dint last for long, as Trummel watched a huge shape came from around the corner, a hammerhead dragon. Esmyth hit it in the head sending it careening into the back right statue as it came around, hitting it in the center the statue started to crash down into the river, sending water flying.

As the dragon landed on the ground it spotted Trummel, completely forgetting about Esmyth. It started to run towards him, hopping up into the air mid-way to him it started to gain speed preparing to smash its head into him.

Trummel stood his ground, sticking his shield out in front of him. The shield was heavily enchanted and would hold up against the dragons attack, and with the spell still cast on him so would he. Luckily the dragon was quite young and was only about the size of a minivan. If it were fully grown, spell or not nothing would save him.

The dragon straightened its neck and tucked in its wing launching straight into Trummel sending him smashing into the wall behind him right next to the hole he came down from. Trummel was pushed into the rock face several inches as the stone cracked and turned to dust behind him. He could feel his spell almost fail, but luckily it held true. Trummel took his hammer and smashed it over the dragons head, which did almost nothing, its head was designed to small into walls.

Lifting its head up though, it snapped at Trummel, which is exactly what he wanted. He blocked the attack with his shield and then smashed his hammer into the side of its face, which enraged it even more. But before it could attack again. A multi-color darts flew into its body, making the dragon screech in protest. From Trummels left he saw Ark, already casting another spell.

The dragon had had enough was flying upwards trying to get away. As it flew around the corner, going to the left of the platform and around it. Ark finished his spell turning its tail to ice as it disappeared.

“Glad of you to join us.” Athelaz said as he and Esmyth ran up to them, Athelaz had been over near Esmyth just out of sight.

“I found the phylactery; it’s up on top of the platform. Cypher is grabbing it now hopefully.”

“Good, we just need to keep it distracted then.” Trummel said as he smashed his hammer into his shield, walking out into the cave to see were the dragon was.

But needn’t have worried, Cypher came running and jumping off the statue closest to them, the front right one. As he jumped, the dragon plowed through the head of the elven statue trying to claw at Cypher who twisted in midair dodging. As the dragon came past Cypher, he jumped on it, stabbing as he ran up its body, jumping of stones and parts of the dragon as he tried not to get smashed from all the falling debris.

The dragon clawed as it fell, dragging down more and more of the statue on top of it. As it finally hit the ground all that was standing was the legs of the elf, which slowly started to fall on top of the dragon also, making a swooshing sound and sending dust flying as it settled.

They all looked at eachother, sure Cypher died. Running to go through the rubble, Cypher came out of a cloud choking, holding what could only be the phylactery in his hand, a purple gem.

They worked their way across the river, congratulating Cypher as Athelaz healed a couple wounds he got in the fall. But other than those he was remarkably ok for falling several hundred feet with a dragon.

“Now I see what you meant about you always have to fight something.” Cypher laughed as he handed Ark the gem.

But as they talked they noticed the rubble moving. Ark began a spell and Esmyth pulled out an arrow as Lord Birin began to growl. But before they could do anything Trummel held up his hands and said:

“Let’s leave.” Putting away his hammer on his back. “The dragon was just protecting its lair, and we all know the Governments policy on killing endangered dragons.”

They all nodded, moving away quickly, trying to be as far away as possible when it worked its way out.

But as they levitated upwards, Cypher couldn’t help but look back. When he was up top and was looking through the houses for the phylactery he had noticed a lot of non-normal elven things. And he could have sworn he saw something behind the platform when he looked out of a window of one of the back most houses. The river lead into a tunnel, and he could make out humanoids moving in the darkness.

 

 

Chapter 18: Day three, Priests.

 

Addy woke up the next morning extremely sour with numerous bruises about her person from the day before in the Coliseum. Getting up, she almost rolled off the bed, Rue squeaking as Addy pushed her off the bed. Rue jumped back up, going back to sleep at the end of the bed as Addy got up, stretching.

The other girls were getting up also as one of the dorm care takers came around knocking on all the doors. She was really looking forward to the end of the week when she only had to share her room with only one other girl. She changed into her robes, making sure to grab this time, sense Rue dint shut up yesterday after she got back, mad at her for leaving her in the room all day.

With Rue on her shoulder she rushed down stairs, grabbing a couple silver pieces she had saved up so she could get a coffee and something to eat from the little bakery next to the church she was meeting at. She was doing the priest classes today, meeting at the shrine of Dormaru, goddess of saints.

She got to the bakery a good 30 minutes or so before she had to be at class, and sense it was literally right there so she got her coffee in a ceramic cup and her scone on a plate so she could sit down and eat. Today her coffee was a marsh mellow man, which jumped out of her coffee and started to rampage around the coffee table making her giggle. As she ate the little marsh mellow man picked up a piece of her scone and ate it, pretending to roar in victory.

“That’s amazing.” Trin said sitting down opposite of her.

“I know, Thomas showed me this place yesterday and I couldn’t believe someone could actually make this kind of magic just for a drink.” After a couple seconds pause Addy continued. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m in the priest class today; I’m guessing you are too if you’re here.” Trin replied.

“Yeah.” Addy said as Rue jumped on the table from her shoulder. Rue looked at the small marsh mellow man, that tried to attack her, picking up a piece of scone and throwing it at her. Rue dint flinch, obviously not even close to hurt from the small piece of food. The marsh mellow man looked outraged that Rue wasn’t defeated and started to wordlessly bellow with its mouth open. Launching itself into a full frontal assault on Rue, smashing its little fists into Rues side, making little squash sounds as it hit. Rue looked mildly annoyed as she hit the little man sending him flying across the table to land against Addy’s cup, splattering.

Both Trin and Addy giggled as the little man lay their lifting its arm up pretending to die. Finally surrendering its arm fell to the side as Rue started to lick it up.

“I definitely need to get one of these coffees tomorrow.” Trin said smiling.

 

 

Addy and Trin walked up the steps leading to the church. It was a huge building lined with different statues of gods Addy had never seen or heard of. Around the whole church was gardens with ancient trees towering over it all. She could hear birds still chirping up above her and she was barely able to make out the coffee shop from the top of the stairs with all the trees in the way. Addy had been able to see a cemetery in the back walking up the stairs. She saw a creek running through the property, giving the outside the sound of a forest as the creek trickled past.

Pushing open the doors Trin and Addy walked in, the 50 foot double doors winging in easily. As they stepped through the felt invigorated and cleansed as if the church had a spell over it, which it probably did sense they were on holy land.  The church was lined with pillars, rows of seats going all the way from the back to the front. At the front of the church was a small man wearing a robe, with several kids around him. Most of the people weren’t here yet, Addy only counted maybe 10.

“This place is amazing.” Trin said, running her hand over a carving in the back wall, depicting a battle between two gods.

Addy couldn’t agree more. She had never been in a building so large, and so beautifully designed with so much art. Addy knew a little about priests and monks from what Ain had told her. He had said one of the most powerful people he ever knew was an old priest when he first started to work with the government. He was a priest of a little known god Nótt. Usually a priest or priestess’s power comes from how powerful their god is, or how many people worship them. But as Ain explained to her, their true power comes from them, their god can grant them any power or spell they want, but the spells power really comes down the priest or priestess.

That’s how the priest was able to defeat one of the most powerful mage’s of all time when he was younger, Njörun Farsfel. Back in the 1800’s Njörun took over all of South America; it took the government years to stop him. Addy wish she could remember the priests name, he was quite important to history, but all she could remember was it started with a D.

Addy and Trin walked up to the alter, which seemed to take forever with how big the church was, the seats just kept going and going. The place could probably seat tens of thousands.

When they got up their the old man in a plain brown robe was still standing their leaning against a wooden staff almost as tall as him, not saying anything. The other kids were talking about some TV show they watched were everyone died, they were arguing about how the magic and dragons were so fake.

The old man saw Addy and Trin and scooted over to them.

“Personally I prefer a good book to a movie anytime, imagination can do so much more than a movie can.” The old priest said looking at the kids as they talked.

“Maybe, but seeing a dragon in real life is more jaw dropping then imagining a story.”

“I would personally stay in my imagination then see a dragon again, young one.” The monk said laughing.

“I wouldn’t.” Trin said smiling mischievously.

Smiling, the monk continued. “So did you two come here to become priestess today? Or did you come like they did.” He said pointing to the kids. “To just be annoyed all day as an old man rambles on.”

“I’m going to be a mage. But I don’t think you’re annoying.” Addy said, not thinking the old man was that serious, but not wanting to offend him. She dint want to be here either, but mostly because she just wanted the week to be over so she could get her own room and start doing what she was good at, magic.

“Good.” He said smiling widely, Addy noticed his teeth were crooked now that he actually had opened his mouth fully.

“I don’t like when people find me annoying.” As he walked past Addy to go stand back by the other students he said something so silent only Addy heard. He said Addy’s real name, “Adalin Gaurds.”

Addy racked her brain trying to think how this man new who she really was. Obviously other people knew she was alive, and Ain probably told some she dint even know about. But anyone  knowing was a threat, and quite a serious threat at that. She either needed to figure out how he knew about her, or even go tell Ain right now.

Addy listened to the man as he introduced himself to all the students as Dawa Neverseen. Dawa was a monk of the god Tet, the god of the moon. He seemed harmless, as he waddled around with his staff. Addy decided to wait it out and ask him when she got him alone. She was safer here then almost anywhere else in the world, so if even if he wasn’t what he seemed, she wasn’t in that much danger.

“The priestly, monk and paladin arts aren’t something I wish to force on you like the others do with their classes. So there will be no classes today unless you want to stay. And if you do stay, I promise you quite a boring few hours you do stay for.” He smiled at this, looking at all the kids cheer up suddenly realizing they dint have classes today, and then seeing some of them look sad as they realized they had to stay through the boring because they were going to become a priest, monk or paladin.

“Those of you who want to, leave now. The rest follow me.” As he finished he turned around and walked through a side door.

Addy had to follow him, if she dint she wouldn’t figure out how he knew her name. So she started to follow him. And so did Trin to her surprise.

“Why are you coming?” Addy asked. As they walked through the door behind Dawa.

“I’m going to be a priest. The bigger question is why are you coming?” Trin said.

“I just find this place interesting, so I wanted to see what he had to say.” Addy said, lying.

Going through the door they walked into a huge library, not nearly as big as the one Tucker and her went into earlier that week, but it was still the second largest she had seen. All the books had old bindings, sitting on shelves made of intricate wood with carvings running through out, the whole room smelled of old books. But it seemed subdued somehow, as if a spell kept it from smelling as bad as it actually should of. The library was two stories, with wood railings running up on all fourth sides and numerous tables were spread around with books on them and several monks sitting reading.

“Good, quite the turn out this time.” Dawa said.

Addy looked around and only counted 5 more kids, not counting Trin and Addy which made the turn out 7.

“I usually get two or three max. And every once in a while 0, 7 is quite a change of pace.” Dawa said, standing happily in front of them leaning on his staff.

“This is the library of saintly hood. Or something, I’m not really that sure sense it technically doesn’t have a name but some priests insist on calling it that, so do with that as you will. But the key point to remember is the library contains one of the most in-depth collections of religious texts in the world. Some place in Europe usually likes to say they have more, but who knows for sure when you ignore what they say.” At that Dawa turned around and started to walk away. All the kids looked around, not sure what to do, but started to follow him after a couple seconds thinking it the best option.

He led them down into the catacombs from what Addy could tell. Going through the door he they went lower and lower. Finally they reached the bottom, Dawa was waiting, his glowing a soft white light that filled the entire chamber. They were definitely in the dungeon. Addy could make out skulls stack up against the wall behind Dawa, who still had a smile on his face.

“Down here are the catacombs of numerous ancient priests from almost any god you can think of, even the evil ones. While some of us don’t really like having them down here with fellow priests we actually admire, the church keeps a policy that any religion is welcome for the honor of being buried here. I honestly just think we like keeping them here so we can keep them from getting resurrected. And that goes for some of the good ones too.” Laughing he turned around and started to walk away again in the darkness.

Everyone rushed to catch up with his light, not wanting to get left behind. The catacombs were fairly large, the ceiling going almost 20 feet upwards. As they walked along they passed tombs, each different. Some were modeled after the person inside, showing a statue of a human laying down on top of a slab tomb. Others were intricate with sigils and depictures all around the tomb, showing great battles and achievements. Some were plain, showing nothing but a simple name carved into the stone on the floor, the priest buried beneath.

One of the kids next to Trin spoke up, asking:

“Are you going to tell us anything about the people where passing?”

“Why yes. That there is old dead person number 45.” He said pointing to a statue of a small elf laying down, carved beautifully from a piece of some shiny rock material that shined in Dawa’s light.

“And that there is.” He paused, pretending to think, “Is another one.” Turning around he continued on.

“Now let’s get out of here and see something interesting.” He said turning a corner that lead to stairs leading back up.

“Breakfast.” Addy heard him say as he started up the stairs. Faster than someone his age and with a staff should have been going.

“I think he’s crazy” Addy said.

“Yup. And I have to classes here, were he probably teaches.” Trin said, cringing at the thought.

“To be fair, mages aren’t much better.” Addy said, which made Trin brighten up slightly. Everyone knew mages could be acentric, but Dawa was bad even compared to them.

 

 

They got up the stairs, opening up into a cafeteria somewhere inside the church. Addy really couldn’t tell anymore where they were, she dint even know if they were in the church, she just assumed from the architecture that they were.

Other priests and monks were sitting around a group of tables, talking and eating. Addy spotted several female ones too.

“At least theirs some females, it can’t be all that bad.” Addy said, pointing to a table of priestess’s.

But as Addy spoke, a short old lady walked up to Dawa saying hi. As she started to speak, they realized she was just like Dawa.

“Hi, I’ll be taking over the tour now so Dawa can eat. It tires him so at his old age to walk up and down the stairs.” Looking over at Dawa, she realized he looked less winded then almost all the kids, making her doubt he was any normal old man.

The old lady continued to talk as she led them off to the side of cafeteria. But as she tried to go through the door she felt a hand on the back of her shoulder. As she turned Dawa was standing there.

“Please come sit with me, I have some things to discuss.” Trin looked back, hearing the conversation. “Go ahead young one, you friend will be fine. Not like she needs to finish the tour sense she’s a mage.” He said smiling. Trin looked back at Addy who nodded they she should continue, looking back once more she hurried up with the group.

“Grab a seat with me.” Dawa said, sitting down with a plate full of food. She dint even see him get it.

Addy sat down, staring at him. Not knowing if she should just ask, or wait for him to bring it up. Rue jumped of her shoulder, landing in the middle of the table, she started to get close to Dawa’s food. He picked up a grape and gave it to her, she grabbed it and ran back to Addy jumping back on her shoulder as she began to eat it. After a minute or so of eating he wiped his lips, and looked up at her.

Addy couldn’t wait, she asked “How did you know who I was.”

“I was a friend of your dad’s and… well just a good friend of your dad’s. I was in his group back when he started at the Government. Me, your dad, and a few others use to do things like cover up magic or bring in mages that got out of control.” Dawa looked at her, trying to see how she was taking what he was saying.

“But how did you know me, Ain told me he only told a few people , and he never mentioned you.”

“He never had to tell me. I have spells of my own to tell me the truth, spells even Vizix can’t do. Mainly because he doesn’t worship a goodly god, but I like to think it’s because my power is stronger.” Addy tilted her head at that, doubting he was more powerful the Vizix.

Addy realized she dint like knowing that people could just figure out who she was without very much trouble. True Vizix probably couldn’t, but what was stopping him from hiring a goodly priest from finding her?

“I wouldn’t worry too much; there really isn’t much motivating Vizix to find you anymore other than spite for your father.” Dawa smiled, but Addy could see there was something he wasn’t tell her, something he wanted to say but couldn’t quite figure if he should. So instead he finished his food. And they talked about her dad for a little bit. He told her stories, some of which she hadn’t heard before. She liked hearing the stories, they made her realize there wasn’t any reason to mourn her dad, and he would be remembered for a long time. But it did give her a reason for something else, paying Vizix back for taking him from the world.

 

 

Chapter 19: The tunnels

 

“The gloves are… interesting.” Ain said, as him and Tucker where in a lab in Ainamaf’s office, apparently his office had many rooms, this one tucked behind his book cases. Even though it was impossible for the room they were in to fit in the tower. It must have been magic.

“They seem to be connected to something, hopefully the orb, but I can’t tell, the magic seems to be gone. Whoever owned the gloves before must of used all the magic putting them on, probably not knowing what they were connected too.” Ain put down the gloves, sighing. “We need to try something else.”

Tucker thought about how one of the kids last night had put on the gloves. He realized he probably should tell Ainamaf, because that could have been what used up all the magic, but he decided against it, hoping it the previous owner was the cause and not him for letting a kid try the gloves on.

“Maybe should get the Forgotten here and we’ll find it in hours.” Tucker said, smiling, thinking he finally found a good enough excuse to get his team here.

“No, the board is already furious with me for hiring you on. And I suspect Vizix has people on the board. He cannot figure out what we are doing.”

“Then…” Tucker was thinking about other people that could help, because he defintly couldn’t do it. He was by far the worst person to be given this task, and no one would of if the school dint need a ranger teacher. Esmyth would have been better, but now it was too late to switch. Thinking of Esmyth and the orphanage gave Tucker an idea.

“What if we  get help from people already at the school.”

“Fantastic idea, if we could trust any of the professors at this school. There is a few, but unfortunately none of them would be better then you at finding the orb. All the mages that could help are… untrustworthy to say the least.”

“I was talking about the students. Addy and her friends came to yesterday already asking about the orb!” Tucker said excited that he had come up with a good idea.

Ainamaf’s eye got large as he stared at Tucker. “You told Addy and all her friends about the orb.”

“Well, it’s not like any of them are on Vizix’s side.” Tucker said laughing slightly, trying to get rid of the tension in the air.

“I know that! But kids aren’t exactly the best at keeping secrets, they tend to tell everyone.”

“All I told them was that you were looking for an old orb you thought was on campus. You just wanted it for your collection.” Tucker said, trying to fix the situation.

Ainamaf breathed in deeply. “People knowing I’m searching for anything is too much information. But, if they already know then I guess why not use them to help.”

“I knew it was a good idea when I told them, Addy’s always been a smart kid, and her friends don’t look half bad at that either. Now I can tell them the truth and see what they can find out.” Tucker said smiling.

“No, it was a horrible idea and you won’t tell them anything more then you did.” Ainamaf snapped.

Ainamaf calmed down then, realizing he was yelling at Tucker for something that wasn’t as bad as it seemed. While kids do talk a lot, the chances that they would tell anyone connected to Vizix were slim to none. And Ainamaf trusted Addy more with the task of finding the orb then he would ever trust in Tucker.

“I finally got you access to the tunnels below the school tonight, for ‘research purposes’. Don’t waste it, it will probably be the only time I can get you access down their without people wondering what I’m doing. Bring Addy and her friends, but give Addy the bracelet. I taught her how to use magical objects, she should have more luck then you at using it. The orb should be with one of the statues, it could be almost anything, stone, glass, metal, just looking for anything that could fit in your hands.”

At that Tucker nodded, leaving the room before Ainamaf could yell at him anymore. But as Tucker was about to jump down as the octopus opened its arms Ainamaf said, “Don’t let anything happen to her Tucker.” from behind him.

“I would never dream of it.” Tucker whispered as he jumped down.

Ainamaf dint hear what he said, but he dint have too. Ainamaf already knew Tucker wouldn’t let anything happen to her. And the tunnels weren’t dangerous anyways; they were just closed because kids kept getting lost exploring them, a couple even got killed from a ceiling collapsing. But Tucker was born and raised in deeper and darker tunnels sense he was a dwarf, there wasn’t anyone safer to go with. Ainamaf did remember a kid’s story about a secret tunnel leading to an old pirate ship guarded by creatures, but he just assumed it was a story to get out of getting in trouble.

Those tunnels were explored years ago by master magicians and expert explorers, Ainamaf assumed the orb was something that just only gave off magic to those looking for it, and the explorers overlooked it. He knew the orb was still at the school somewhere, he had scried for the orb himself, but his powers only told him the orb was somewhere around the school. The orb was probably protected from scrying attempts. But Ainamaf wasn’t that worried he could only get that much information from scrying, it was better than looking around the school without even knowing it was even her anymore.

 

 

After Addy was done talking with Dawa she met up with Trin at the end of the tour. They were in the back of the church next to the creek, the old lady finishing up, the kids all dispersing. As Addy came, Trin saw here and waiting for her to catch up.

“What was all that about.” Trin asked.

“Nothing, he just knew my parents.” Addy said, not really wanting to talk about it.

Trin sensed it and dint mention anything more about it.

“Well I guess we have all day free.” Trin said. “Want to go do something! Like, ummm…” Her eyes narrowed and opened as she thought, moving her lips around as her eyes darted around.

“Video games?”

“Sure.” Addy really hadn’t played any video games before sense the orphanage dint have any. Miir chose to entertain them the more old school style, with books, exploration and horrible human contact with kids she dint like.

“Sweet! The pub has a lab with every game you can imagine, and some you probably couldn’t. Atleast that’s what the website said.”

 

 

Trin was telling Addy about an online game were you played magical beings who fought all types of creatures to gain more and more powerful items. She actually really liked the idea, defeating creatures few others could or will to gain more and more power. If only life were like that, the Forgotten did something similar but they always sold their powerful objects to gain money instead of become stronger. Addy realized how much more exciting life would be if you could just go around collecting things to make yourself more powerful, not worrying about classes or making money, just collecting things like a crazy hoarder.

As Trin was going on about a story she heard about a group of people who spent more time online then in real life, Addy noticed Tucker and Kitty coming towards them.

“Ahhh, I’m glad I found ya two.” Tucker said, almost out of breath from just walking across campus at a slightly fast pace. Which made Addy laugh as he tried to get his breath, she had seen Tucker get winded just going up stairs before. Yet he still managed to be very large and muscular, must be a dwarf thing Addy thought.

“Why did you want to find us.” Trin asked. Curious to why he wanted to find her also.

“Remember that orb thing I was talking about yesterday night.”

Both of them shook their heads, obviously remembering sense it had only been 12 hours.

“Well me and Ainamaf came up with a new clue to where it might be. We knew it had to be on campus somewhere because that’s where all the stories point to it being, so we’re guessing the best shot of finding it is in the tunnels underneath the school, the only place something could be without someone already finding it.”

Addy knew Tucker meant Ainamaf found out about everything when he said “we”. But Addy let him have it, she knew Tucker had a huge ego, mostly jokingly, but a lot of the time he really felt like he accomplished something others did. It must come from working with the Forgotten so often, being  part of a group were someone else finds the object, then numerous other people help you get the object must make him feel self-conscious about what he’s actually doing.

“You mean we get to explore the ancient tunnels under the school?” Trin said super excited. “Those have been off limits to everyone for decade’s sense a couple kids died in a tunnel collapse.” Trin continued, really excited now. “Those tunnels are supposed to be older then the school. People think they were made by gnomes or dwarfs, but no one was able to find anything except for a bunch of statues and torches still lit by ancient magic. It’s like one the biggest unsolved mysteries in history.”  Trin finished, sucking in breath because she said it all so rapidly and in a single breath. “I doubt we will be looking for any of that.” Tucker said looking at Trin, who looked slightly embarrassed about her outburst. “The orb is probably just with one of the statues, overlooked years ago because the explorers dint know what they were looking for.”

“You said we, did you mean everyone that came to your place last night also should come?” Addy asked, curious, because she dint want to walk around miles of tunnels at night with only Trin, Tucker, Kitty and Rue.

“Yes, yes. The more people the more ground we can cover. Ainamaf was only able to get one day worth of access. So let’s go get them and get going, we have a lot of ground to cover.”

“I don’t know where anyone else is though…” Addy said, realizing she had no idea where Thomas or Michael where.

“I do.” Tucker said, pulling out a piece of paper that had the scedules of Thomas and Michael on it. “Perks of being a teacher.” Tucker said as he bwahaha’d, walking away to somewhere she hoped he actually knew where he was going.

 

 

After grabbing Michael, Thomas, and Veronica who was in the mage class with Michael so they grabbed her to come along too. All of them were quite excited to get out of class and most of all to go explore something that’s off limits to everyone else. But mostly Thomas and Trin were excited, going on and on about what they knew.

Tucker led to the PUB, going in a back way Addy dint know about. They were past the front door and the cafeteria, somewhere in the very back.

“Why are we going up to the third floor?” Michael asked, curious about why they were walking upwards if they were going to the tunnels below the school.

Before Tucker could reply Trin jumped at the question, answering it. “The tunnels out date the school by several thousand years’ people think. The PUB was built on top of them, so the only entrance is in a hillside covered up somewhere in the pub.”

Michael looked at Tucker to see if that was correct, Tucker just nodded and kept on walking, not wanting to get Trin going even more then she was about the tunnels.

Tucker was covered in his full leather and metal armor this time, and had his large crossbow over his shoulder with two small axes riding on his hip. Addy assumed he was just being cautious, sense Esmyth had once told her their motto was “Bring every possible weapon you have with you one searching for magical objects, their always seems to be a dragon around every corner for some reason.” But most of the Forgotten made up ‘mottos’ for themselves all the time, Tuckers was “always keep beer in your water skin, you never know when it could be your last.”

Tuckers armor was beautiful; his leather had special depictions of animals running around, with trees and different wilderness scenes in full color. The only metal he had was the armor breastplate he wore; that had a tigers face on it that looked like Kitty. Though the breastplate had three huge gashes threw it. Which is why he got it, Esmyth had found it during one of their explorations, she was going to have it shrunk to fit her but she found out if she did the magic would be lost, so Tucker got it. It seemed to fit him better anyways, the battle scars worked a lot better on him then on Esmyth who was always clean cut and well kept, even in her armor or after coming back after months searching through dirty dark caves.

His crossbow was huge with intricate wood work throughout it, it gleamed as he walked, and telling her it was enchanted. He had probably found it during the Forgottens different explorations in some deep dark cave or ancient castle.

“So why are you packing enough weaponry to assault an army.” Thomas asked. Him and Trin had been talking about how the tunnels were completely safe, other than cave ins or accidents of course.

“After going in your fifth or tenth dungeon where people said it was completely safe, then running into an undead, a mage who took up shop there or my favorite, ghosts who realize you’re trying to steal something from them and then attack you. Well it makes you pack slightly on the heavy side.” Tucker finished as they got to the top of the stairs they were walking up.

“But were not in danger are we?” Thomas asked.

Tucker just shrugged and turned back to the door. The door was set into what looked like the top of a hill. To either side of the door were two huge statues, the same ones placed around the walls around the school. To the sides of the statues you could actually see the hill between the walls on both side the staircase they were on and the door in the hill. Addy walked up to the several foot wide crack, next to the statue and peered down, she could see a good thirty feet down but then it got too dark to see the bottom. It really was a hill in the middle of the building.

Tucker walked up to the door, looking up at the statues.

“We have permission to enter, I am Tucker Mc Gavin, and these are my quests.”  Tucker said, motioning to us all.

The statue Addy was standing closest to as she looked down the hill started to rumble to life. Addy jumped back scared, not knowing what was happening. Rue also flung herself away, jumping on top of Kitty who growled at the statue not knowing what was happening also.

“Entrance… allowed.” It rumbled as the door to down below opened up by itself. After the door opened the rumbling coming from the statue stopped, and it stood perfectly still again.

Tucker motioned for them to follow him downwards.

“I hate golems.” Tucker said as he started down the stairs.

Addy and the others followed, Rue jumping back onto her shoulders as the descended into the dark, the door shutting behind them blocking off all the light they had been getting form the PUB.

 

 

“We have 24 hours to find the orb now that were down here.” Tucker said beginning to hand out torches when they got to the bottom of the stairs from his huge backpack he was carrying. It had almost everything Addy could possible think of in it for exploring things like this. Rope, food, and a bunch of things she couldn’t make out.

“These are simple to use.” Tucker said as he finished given the last one out. “Just say the elven word for on, and it turns on. Orong, for those of you who don’t speak elvish.” As he said it his light flickered on, bathing everything in pale yellowish light. One by one everyone said it, revealing their surroundings.

“Why don’t we have fire torches, it doesn’t feel very adventurey using these.” Trin asked, waving it around like she was battling some unseen foe.

“Because when we use to use regular torches the tunnel would fill up with smoke in minutes when you burn 5 or so of them, they can burn away the oxygen in some of these tunnels so you choke to death, and my favorite tripping and falling into water while getting chased by an orc now you have to fight in the dark.”

All Trin said was “Oh” as she started to look around,  trying to not make eye contact with Tucker because she was embarrassed.

They stood in the center of a large room with several tunnels branching away from them. The one going to the left was decorated with symbols and two statues were on both sides. One a human, the other an elf both standing with weapons in their hands. To the right the tunnel was plain, something had carved it but they hadn’t decorated it like the other. Other than that the place was quite undecorated, Addy had expected more from all the stories Trin and Thomas had been saying.

Tucker handed her something, opening her hand Addy saw a bracelet, the one Tucker had said he had used to track the gloves.

“Ainamaf had said you would know how to use this better than me. Once you put it on and get a sense of where were going, we’ll move out, so take your time.” Tucker nodded, walking away to examine the tunnels, probably looking for something a dwarf would only notice in stone.

Addy put on the bracelet as everyone started to look around; Thomas even went down the left tunnel a ways. As she put it on and focused her magic towards the bracelet trying to activate it, she did start to feel something down in the tunnels. Ainamaf had taught her how to use magical objects years ago, though any actual mage would be better at it then her. She was still curious about this whole thing, if Ainamaf wanted this orb, why a professor or the mage in the Forgotten down here.

Addy held up her hand, seeing if she feel something. She definitely could, but it was so distant and vaguely in the center of the tunnels she couldn’t even begin to guess which way to go.

“Getting anything.” Michael asked. He hadn’t moved from her side while the others had begun to explore, he was being patient, something Addy admired in someone so young. Especially sense she wouldn’t be down here if Thomas was as patient and in control as Michael. But she did have to admit, she was enjoying herself, she had never been on an adventure, and she was safe with Tucker and Kitty around.

“No. I just feel something vaguely that way.” She said point directly in front of her.

Michael laughed. “Perfect, the only way without a tunnel or stairs.”

“Nothing ever as easy as going this way that way and then grab the thing and go back.” Tucker slapped Michael’s back as he came up from behind him hearing what he had said.

“The right tunnel is dwarvish, or gnomish. I can’t actually tell which I should be able too.”

“That’s because it’s both, no one’s really sure of the purpose of this place, but they are sure that all four of the main races made it. Elves, humans, gnomes and dwarfs.” Trin said, jumping at a chance to say more about the place.

“I still don’t understand why the orb would be down here. I get that the original explorers would overlook it, not knowing what it was, magic can be masked many different ways. I just don’t get why it would be down here, they never found anything magical down here. Actually almost nothing except for statues thousands of years old that make no sense honestly.” Michael said.

Tucker looked flustered, Addy could tell he was keeping something from them.

“All me and Ainamaf know is that someone put the orb down here. It wasn’t the people who made the place though. But trust me, we were just as surprised as you to find out that it was somewhere on campus, not in some deep dark dungeon long forgotten in a forest. Now let’s get moving were wasting time, pick a tunnel and let’s get going.”

Addy still had no idea where to go, but before she randomly picked a way Thomas came back from the tunnel, hearing the last of what Tucker had said.

“Ide say this one, it has more statues and places to hide things.”

At that Tucker set off, not wasting any more time deciding, wrong or right, Addy knew the orb was a long way off no matter which way they went.

 

 

Walking about a 100 yards they came to the first room. It was about 30 feet tall and about twice that long and wide. In all the walls were statues, some on ground level, and others all the way at the top inside alcoves.

“Spread out and look for any orbs. If you sense anything Addy yell it out.”

“Ok” Addy said as Tucker walked away looking around.

Addy was walking up to a wall look at all the statues, she was amazed at the detail, the statues were almost life like. Each depicted some scene between one of the main races.  A dwarf giving a small elven child a toy he had made. An elf protecting a gnome from a charging Orc.

“Each of these is actually a person, entombed in stone, depicting something they did in their life.” Thomas said coming up from behind Addy.

“Ahh gross.” Addy said, jumping back, she was just about to touch one.

“hes lieing, their just statues. They are depicting real life things though.” Trin said, walking over to them.

Thomas just laughed as he walked away. “I totally had you tricked though.”

Addy shook her head, looking at a statue of a small elven girl who was riding a horse, their hair whipped back, perfectly depicted in stone somehow.

“They are beautiful. Scholars think this was built as a moment to our history, thousands of years ago to show future generations the meaning of peace between us all.” Trin said as she walked up to the horse, touching its main, and looking into the little girls eyes.

“Why would they hide it down here then? It should be something everyone sees.”

“The prophecy. The reason all us magic creatures hide from the humans. If humans found it they would realize magic was real, and then the prophecy wouldn’t come true. I guess it defeats the purpose, but at least it’s still here.”

Addy knew about the prophecy. The reason the Government of the unseen was made and the reason all magical creatures hid themselves. Thousands of years ago a great seer predicted that everyone on the planet would die if magic stayed as the dominant power on the planet. The only way to save everyone was to let the humans develop by themselves, let technology prosper, though some humans did keep magic. The seer never was able to say what technology would save the world from, but it was taken serious enough all magical creatures hid or were hidden, and the Government of the Unseen was made to insure they remained that way. Everyone once in a while seers still got predictions that the world would end whenever magic was accidently seen in the world, forcing the Government to crack down even harder on using magic in front of anyone non magical.

“Let us keep going.” Tucker yelled to everyone. “Unless you sensed anything.” He said looking at Addy.

She shook her head as she walked towards the next tunnel leading out of the room, the orb she was sensing hadn’t gotten any stronger sense they had been walking.

 

 

The next room only 50 or so feet away this time, was smaller and only had one statue scene in it. The center of the room had a huge fountain, the water turn to stone as it came rushing out the top. Around it was about 15 figures, all laughing and talking together as several little kids splashed around in the fountain.

“Amazing.” They all said at the same time. The water almost looked real, even though it was stone.

Tucker just grunted, looked around and dint see any orb.

“Do you sense anything?”

Addy held up the bracelet, not feeling anything in this room, but she did feel like the orb was getting closer, not much but it was definitely slightly strong.

“No, but it is getting stronger.”

‘Then let’s go.” Tucker and Kitty went for the next tunnel as everyone sighed, not being able to look closer at the statue.

As Addy walked along Thomas came up beside her.

“When I put on the gloves I got a sense that whatever it was showing me was near water.”

“Are you trying to say it was back at the fountain?” Addy asked, not sure what he was trying to get at.

“No. I just know from what I have read about these tunnels that there isn’t any water down here, no underground river or lake, nothing.”

“So where just wasting our time then looking in the tunnels?”

“It’s possible, but I doubt it. Every place in the school has been explored thousands of times by students and Professors; this place is our best bet. If we’re going to find a secret tunnel or hidden cave with a lake or river in it, it’s going to be down here. I just thought maybe if they hid something down here they might have given us clues like the fountain. But you dint get any strong sense their so that’s obviously not it.”

“I’ll keep my eyes out for anything looking like water when we get closer.” Addy said. She doubted they would find anything the explorers before them dint find like a secret passage or something; the explorers had had years to explore every inch of this place. We only get a day to search miles of tunnels.  The only chance they had of finding the orb was the benefit of actually knowing what they were looking for so they could sense the right magic.

 

 

They continued on for several hours, passing room after room of statues. Not finding anything that looked like an orb except for a ball a human kid was playing with it a scene of a bunch of kids playing together. Which made several Trin and Thomas really happy, realizing kids dint have balls back then, but the ball dint react to the bracelet when head it up to the ball. Apparently kids found a way to have balls even thousands of years ago.

They hadn’t really made any progress length wise, they had gone several miles, but apparently the tunnels stretched on for many more miles. And the bracelet had actually started to sense the orb less and less after about mid-way through their journey. Tucker though maybe the Tunnels circled back around, and that they might have been getting closer. But Thomas pointed out from the maps he had seen about the place, both the dwarf/gnome tunnels and the human/elf tunnels went fairly in a straight line for miles and never circled around or connected. The tunnels were supposed to represent how dwarfs/gnomes were underground and the humans/elves were above ground, so their paths never connected except for the beginning, the highest point of the tunnels.

Thomas had pointed out with the direction they were going, and how close the school was to the ocean, they were probably actually underneath the water by now, which made everyone just more scared of the tunnels as they realized how many millions of tons of rock and water were above them at the moment. He was the only one happy to be under the ocean, realizing that if the orb was anywhere it was probably somewhere underneath the ocean from what he had sensed from the gloves.

Addy sat down at a bench next an old human lady in one of the biggest caves they had been in yet. She was exhausted, not physically, they had only walked several miles because they had to stop and search every statue for anything resembling an orb. But she was exhausted because of just doing something so tedious for several hours. The statues were beautiful and fascinating to look at, just a kid could take only so much without any actually happening. Even Rue was tired, she had jumped on Kitty’s back about an hour back with her arms and legs splayed out to either side of her back, fast asleep.

“You sense anything.” Tucker asked, coming up and sitting next to her.

“Nope.” Her stomach growled. “I do sense that I am hungry and officially bored though.”

Usually Tucker would laugh at that, but he just stared.

“Me too.” Ignoring the part about her being hungry, Tucker continued on. “Usually something happens by now, someone gets chased by a ghost, or theirs at least weak skeletons to smash or shoot. I’ve never actually been in one of these situations where nothing happens. I’m an adventurer, I don’t want to look at thousands stupid statues.” As he finished he punched old lady in the face, thinking to push it off the edge, but it just stopped his hand completely, shaking it in pain he spat at it instead.

“Maybe we should go eat, explore a little more then try to come back another day.”

“I agree we should go eat. But the whole coming back another day is a no. Ainamaf barely got permissions for us to come down this time.  He has power at the school, just not as much as he use to have as Chancellor of the government.”’

Addy doubted that, Ainamaf might have lost a lot of power but he still demanded immense respect and loyalty from many people. She had her suspicions that Ainamaf dint want draw attention to what they were doing down here, so he could only get them down once, not that he dint have the power to go down here whenever he wanted to. Or send anyone he wanted to down here.

Tucker stood up.

“Were going to start heading back, will stop for launch on the way there. After which were going to head as far as we can threw the dwarven/gnomish tunnel sense the bracelet has just been getting weaker going this way.” Tucker said loudly so everyone could here.

Addy heard several people sigh about them continuing on and not going home and several just happy to eat. She wasn’t sure what she was, she was curious about finding the orb, but if nothing happened soon she was probably going to collapse out of boredom.

 

 

They stopped at the fountain area on the way back, no one actually wanting to wait to get to the bottom of the stairs to eat.

Tucker had packed almost a feast in his back pack, it was all cold items, beef jerky and smoked hams but he still had more than enough to go around to everyone three or four times over. They sat at the edge of the fountain, eating silently. Most of them wanted to be out of their and back in their dorm or playing a game. But no one wanted to say anything to Tucker, they did agree to it, and it was their only chance to find it. Also had many chances did you get to impress the head of your school while exploring something off limits to most of the world? So they kept their mouth shut.

“How far did we actually get through that tunnel?” Michael asked Thomas.

“Umm, maybe a quarter. They tunnels are supposed to run for almost 10 miles each.” You could almost hear Michael think about what happens if they don’t find the orb in the dwarven/gnomish tunnels. Would they have to go all the way to the end, and maybe even back here and go all the way to the end of the Human/elvish tunnel if they dint find it down there. Spending the next 20 hours in here, Tucker had said they had 24 hours’ worth of exploring time once they entered the tunnels.

“Well then, let’s finish eating and get this over with. Maybe we’ll find something to smash, liven it up a bit.” Tucker said starting to put away the food.

Addy was just finishing her jerky, giving some to Rue on her shoulder as she noticed Thomas rummaging around the center of the fountain were the kids were playing. She could see he was eyeing a plug in the water; it had a stone chain attached to it, connected to the center of the fountain.

Addy got up and walked over to him, curious if he found something. As she was walking out their though he pulled the chain which moved like a real chain not a stone chain. As he pulled the plug came out of the bottom of the fountain, she could see his eyes go wide as he saw something happening.

“Get out of the water!” He screamed, looking at Addy.

She looked back confused. Water, it was just stone. But as she was thinking that the stone underneath Thomas was rapidly turning to actual water, swirling down the drain as Thomas tried to run; falling over himself he made it to the edge of the fountain before his body was sucked towards the hole.

“No!” Addy screamed, heading towards him, trying to grab his hands. But as she neared him the stone underneath her started to rapidly turn into water also. She reached her hands out trying to grab Thomas.

But he pulled his hands in as he screamed “Run.” Looking wild eyed at her as he finally went down the hole which had gotten large enough to fit him through it.

Addy realized her ankles were fully in water now, she wasn’t being sucked in yet, but as she turned around to start running towards the edge the water started to deeper and suck her feet down more and more.

Tucker jumped over the edge of the fountain, carrying his huge back pack and armor he easily cleared it landing on the stone water turning into real water. He landed in a full sprint smashing through a stone statue of a kid splashing water, barely slowing as it got trampled as he took the most direct route to Addy. He stopped, grabbing rope from his backpack as he threw it out to her, tying off the other end on the smashed feet of the statue he just destroyed he jumped into the water not waiting to see if Addy would grab the rope. Veronica, Michael and Trin all jumped in also rushing after Tucker.

Tucker grabbed a hold of Addy with one arm, grabbing the rope with his other, powerfully pulling them both towards the others as they grabbed the rope and started to pull them in. But right as they got their the stone turned to water beneath them, the statues legs liquefying the rope going slack they all slipped getting sucked into the water. Kitty was at the edge, prancing, not sure what to do, Rue had flown to her, squeaking at them also not knowing what to do. As Addy was sucked into the hole she heard Kitty roar, just seeing her leap after them, not willing to let her master go by himself no matter where it lead.

 

 

They were all flying through a tube, water rushing around them. Luckily it was large enough that the water wasn’t completely drowning them, so they had plenty of chances to stick their head out and take gasps of air. Tucker had let her go a while going, get jostled, forcing her out of his arm. She could have sworn the tube actually did several loops, sending them every which way in darkness except for when of the torches they had flew past. She did have to admit it was good they weren’t regular torches otherwise they would have been in complete darkness.

After what seemed like several minutes they finally landed, splashing down into a small pond of water in a cave she couldn’t quite make out. As she looked around she saw Tucker and Thomas at the edge of the pool, Tucker yelling orders at people to swim to them. As she swam to them, the water splashing all around her, she could see all the torches except for the two Thomas and Tucker had sink to the bottom, falling lower and lower until their light just faded away. The pond must have been hundreds of feet deep.

Tucker grabbed her as she got near, hoisting her up to the edge. As she looked back she saw Rue and Kitty land. Kitty plowed towards them, surging through the water as Rue clung to her back looking around wildly not knowing what just happened. As they got to them, Rue jumped to Addy, snuggling into her shaking as Addy tried to dry her off and calm her down. Kitty shook, sending water flying around everywhere.

From behind them, as Tucker went over them all making sure they were ok they heard Thomas.

“Holy…” As they turned around, his torch lit up a bunch of contraptions made of wood and metal, tubes going everywhere and huge metal pipes running through the chamber.

“This is a gnomish… something or another.” He finished, touching one the contraptions off to the side, which was still whirring as gears moved, Thomas took his hand off, sticking his fingers in his mouth. It must have been hot also.

As they looked around, taken aback but what they had just found, Tucker noticed a light coming from one of the tunnels off to the side.

“Behind me now!” Tucker yelled, Thomas came running, not wanting to disappoint that voice. He drew out his crossbow, cocking it and leveling it at the tunnel. Kitty growled off the side, she had moved her way behind some machines, silently placing herself to strike at whatever was coming. Everyone else pulled out weapons, Veronica casting spells on hers as Addy chose to prepare a spell to cast. Michael turned into a panther, staying back though, not wanting to do what Kitty did.

As they waited they noticed voices. At first they were thinking gnomish voices because the machinery, but as they got closer they realized they were human and they were speaking English.

“I knew this wasn’t the correct way, we were supposed to go up, up then down over those rocks, down the stairs, then take a left and a right…” Whoever was talking got cut off suddenly as someone else loudly said SHHHH.

“I feel that there might be something ahead, be quite.”

“You’re always wrong, there isn’t anything dangerous in these old tunnels.” The first voice said, which was clearly a women’s voice now that they could hear it clearer.

A women in puffy purple robes popped out of the tunnel as she looked around. She heard a growl close to her as she noticed all of them with weapons drawn and Tuckers crossbow level at her.

“Nope, nope, you were right this time. Happy?” The lady said as she walked backwards from where she came, disappearing back into the tunnel.

She came out again, this time with the other male behind her, using her as a shield; he had his torch above her head as he peeked around her. She was screaming yelling curses at him about this was the last time he used her as a shield.

“Who’s there. Friend or enemy.” The man said, hiding completely behind her. She had given up by now and just stood there with her arms crossed as she rolled her eyes.

“Friend, I hope.” Tucker said, still pointing his crossbow at them.

From out of the tunnel came two other people, a large orange haired dwarf wielding a huge double bladed axe and an elf with white hair and just as white skin, he hadn’t pulled any weapon.

“It is more polite to name yourself first then declare friend or foe. I’ve know people for centuries who I still don’t know if there my enemy or not.” The elf smiled, bowing low as he took his hat off.

“I am Arun Leaffire. And this rowdy bunch are the Fallen, a group of explorers, quite well know, you might actually know us.” As he came up from his bow he was still smiling.

“No actually. I’m part of the Forgotten explorers guild, maybe you’ve heard of us.”

“No, and I’m pretty sure I would of heard of a group of explorers that uses child labor.”

At that the dwarf next to Arun bust out laughing. But stopped suddenly, as Kitty growled louder, silencing him. Kitty had gotten behind him, and was ready to pounce if Tucker fired or ordered her. Or she might just do it anyways if he laughed at her master again.

“Maybe we got off on the wrong foot.” The elf continued. “I meant no harm, as good faith ill call my man off, if you call your cat off. Dullblades.”

From off to the side Addy heard and finally saw a small gnome carrying two drawn daggers walk past her and the others, coming from behind them were he had apparently snuck without them noticing like Kitty had to them.

He walked over to male and female humans, the female still angrily staring at the male.

“Kitty.” Tucker said. Kitty walked past the dwarf, pushing into him sending him lightly into the wall without any effort with her almost thousand pound body. When she reached Tucker the elf continued:

“Now maybe the weapon.” He said pointing to Tuckers still pointed crossbow.

Tucker hesitated, not really wanting to put it down, but they were outnumbered and he dint have much choice. He was after all with a bunch of kids, and the Fallen seemed like a battle tested group more than capable of taking care of themselves. Sighing he lowered it, but kept it in his hands.

“Better. Now what are you doing here?” Arun asked.

“I could ask you the same thing.” Tucker said.

 

 

Apparently the Fallen were down their also because unlike the Forgotten, they just searched ruins by themselves for the thrill instead of to make money. But they weren’t opposed to selling anything they found while doing it. They weren’t able to remember how they got down here, saying they spent so much exploring going from one place to another that they couldn’t even remember what day of the week it was. Which Addy thought was weird, but made sense for why Tucker hadn’t heard about them. Explorer’s guilds and groups only consisted of several dozen in the whole world, almost everyone knew everyone who was in the business, but if they never left the places they explored then Tucker would have never gotten a chance to hear about them.

“So what are you looking for down here or you just here for the adventure like us?” The lady said, her name was Edna Treston, and the male that had used her as a shield was her husband Bob Treston. Their names were quite weird to Addy, they seemed old, but they were odd people so they fit them.

Thomas started to talk, but Tucker talked over him before he could reveal what they were looking for.

“Were exploring for the school of magic in Seattle, me and a few students got a rare chance to look around the tunnels. The students get extra credit and I get credit for finding anything and the right to write a paper about our experience. A truly once in a life time chance.”

Addy was impressed with Tuckers excuse, she  dint think he could actually come up with something so smart. But she guessed she really hadn’t ever seen Tucker in a situation that actually required him to act like a grown up. Addy looked over the elf though when Tucker was saying it and noticed he wasn’t buying his excuse, even though everyone else nodded their head excepting it. The elf narrowed his eyes at Tucker, realizing how weird it was for the school to send down only one teacher if it was a once in a life time chance. It should have been all teachers with a couple lucky students who were all in their final years at school, not students obviously just leaving home for the first time.

But the elf dint say anything, just continued to tell Trin more about the tunnels they were in. They both were from the same city of elves so they had hit it off immediately, Trin using it as an excuse to find out as much as possible about their gnomish surroundings.

Tucker was also from the same city the other dwarf was from, though their relationship was still strained because Tucker wasn’t in the mood to talk at the moment, still curious about the other peoples true motifs. The other dwarf though was more than happy to launch into story after story as Tucker sat there. His name was Buster Battlender and he was going over a story about a battle he once fought in years ago, even when Edna had asked her question and Tucker had responded, not stopping in the least.

“We need to continue.” Arun said, standing up as his conversation with Trin had ended.

“Yup, we should be on our way too.” Tucker said standing up also.

“Were going this way.” Arun said, pointing to the opposite tunnel to the one they came out of earlier, to the left of where Addy and the others had landed. “If you want to follow, we would be glad to have you, there’s supposed to be an underground lake up here if the lore we read is correct.”

“Nope were going the other way unfortunetly.” Tucker said, throwing his back pack on.

Thomas elbowed Addy in the ribs slightly. She looked over it wondering what he wanted, but he just looked at her like she should know. It hit Addy, the lake; Thomas thought the orb was near the lake. And Addy did sense the orb to the left not the right.

“I think we should go with them.” As Tucker looked at Addy, who narrowed his eyes at her, not wanting to go with them, Addy held up her arm and jingled her bracelet and looked left. Hoping Tucker would understand what she was trying to tell him.

Apparently he did because he said “Fine, this is mainly for the kids anyways.”

Arun smiled at that, noticing everything that had just happened, more than Addy wished he knew but she had tried to do it as subtle as possible.

“Good, any other company then these people is always preferred.” Edna said, excited.

Arun was already waiting at the tunnel entrance to the left, saying something to Dullblades, the gnome from earlier who scampered off into the tunnel, apparently taking the lead. They all started down the tunnel, unsure of each other’s group. Tucker normally would have been glad to have others, but not with a bunch of kids around.

 

 

“Something’s off with them. Arun was talking about the sun dial in the center square at Myth Muldrien.” Trin whispered to Addy as their grouped walked way behind the other group.

Addy looked at her awkwardly, tilting her eyebrows about trying to think of why that was important information. Trin noticed and said:

“The sun dial was destroyed almost two centuries ago. He said he saw it months ago.”

“The battle the dwarf was talking about was almost a millennia ago. They aren’t what they seem.” Tucker said. He still had his crossbow in his hands.

“I think their harmless, they probably just spend more time in books and confuse them reality.” Addy said, she really did believe they were harmless. Edna had compared her to her daughter, telling her she was just as cute at her age. These people weren’t murderers or harmful, they were just odd.

“I think that’s even scarier then what I was thinking.” Tucker said, not liking the idea of them not even not was fake and what was reality.

 

 

The Fallen had stopped in front of them, Dullblades was back talking to Arun about something when Addy and the others caught up to them. They were still going through tunnels filled with gnomish machinery, whirring and winding as they passed. They even passed a giant tube that had something liquid going through it, Veronica had screamed saying she thought she a face in it but they in the couple minutes they stared at it no new faces showed up. They stood in a small cave at the moment with only a couple tubes and gnomish machines in it.

“What’s the problem, why did you stop?” Tucker asked as they got to the other group.

“Go forward and watch it, we’ll be their soon.” Arun said to Dullblades, who took off back down the corridor in front of them. Arun then turned to Tucker.

“Dullblades encountered um… a mechanical man. It seems to be old and may not function correctly, but he said it did move so we must assume it is still dangerous. It is most likely an ancient sentinel to protect something.” Addy thought it was weird he used those choices of words then just call it a robot, they really must spent all their time in ancient books.

“That just means were getting close to something then. Let’s go smash it before it knows what happened.” Tucker said lifting his crossbow.

“Yes, I agree oddly enough. It is old so hopefully we can attack and neutralize it before it knows what happened.” Arun went on to detail a plan, but from what Addy could see no one was actually listening to it. Edna and Bob started to pretend fall asleep mid-way through and buster kept on adding in suggestions about smashing it. Tucker was actually the only one listening, which surprised Addy and dint at the same time for some reason.

Going forward they walked to the tunnel entrance and to the next cave were the mechanical man was. The kids were supposed to stay back, and run into the tunnel if things got out of hand. As they got into the cave Tucker sent Kitty off the side circling around to the other side so silently Addy lost track of where she was at almost immediately. They had put out all their torches so Addy could only make out the room by the light coming off a large forge directly to the right of them coming out of the tunnel, it started 20 feet below them and went to the ceiling. They stood on a ledge of a ramp that sloped downwards almost all the way to the other side of the room. To the right of the ramp on the otherside of the room, which was a big rectangle, the forge and them on a small side of the rectangle, stood the mechanical man and the door to the next room. Hanging above the entire room was different swords and pieces of machinery that were obviously made in the forge.

Through the center of the room, going from the forge to the other side, separating the ramp from the other side was a river of molten lava or maybe metal flowing. To each side of the river was a work station, some still with items being crafted on top of them, tools thrown about as if workers were still working here. But it was obvious from the rust and the dust all around workers hadn’t been here for centuries.

“Stay here.” Tucker said, reminding all the kids they weren’t doing anything in this fight, because he knew they wanted to help. All the kids had drawn their weapons already regardless of what Tucker said, ready to fight if it came to it. Tucker knew that, he just had to at least try to keep them out of danger.

The Fallen and Tucker walked to the bottom of the platform, Tucker and Arun standing back, Tucker lifting his crossbow and Arun fitting an arrow to his longbow. The plan called for them to sneak of on the thing and attack before it could respond. But now that Addy saw it she dint that would be enough.

The ‘mechanical man’ was almost 20 feet tall, coming just below the top of the platform Addy was standing on. She could see blue glowing tubes going from its back to the wall behind it; it looked like the same liquid substance Veronica had though had a person in it. The thing had a round body and round everything else, like a swollen mechanical humanoid. The left arm was torn to shreds, blue liquid dripping out of it. Its eyes kept flashing blue and the cogs and gears in its body underneath its armor plates kept whirring every 10 seconds or so as it sputtered to life then died again, blue liquid squirting rapidly out of its arm when it happened.

Before Arun could give his single to attack Buster tripped over a tool on the ground, loudly falling to the ground. But instead of waiting to see if the mechanical man had even heard or could even hear Buster roared and lifted his axe as he ran forward. Bob and Edna also yelled as they charged in yelling profanities about the robots mother.

Addy saw Arun just shake his head, the robot hadn’t responded to the noise and couldn’t obviously hear. So them charging in and attacking haphazardly was just more dangerous than trying to keep the element of surprise that wasn’t even lost.

Buster hit the robots knee cap with his axe, making a loud ringing noise as all his axe did was slightly dent and scratch the metal. Edna launched a ball of ice at its face, freezing its head in a huge chunk of ice. Bob swung his sword at its other knee cap, not even scratch or denting it. From above came Kitty and Dullblades falling onto its shoulders, Dullblades sticking his knives into its eyes and Kitty raking it with her claws. After a few minutes and a couple more hits they realized it wasn’t alive anymore.

‘Stop.” Arun yelled. Buster was still swinging his axe in his battle rage, not even noticing there never was or had been a fight. But he stopped after he heard Arun, falling back as he tried to catch his breath.

“A real battle might have actually given you a heart attack.” Bob laughed at Buster, who was still breathing hard.

Buster tried to lift his axe to swing at him but he started coughing as he tried to suck in more air, which just made Bob laugh even harder.

 

 

Addy and the others came down from the ramp to meet up with the others, jumping across the small river of lava only several feet wide.

“No wonder I’ve never heard of you guys, your terrible in a fight.” Tucker said.

“Well some of us, but not all of us. But if I remember correctly I don’t even recall you do anything. So that puts you at the level of the kids.” Bob said.

“Stop it. We are explorers not fighters, and we are exceptional at the former.” Arun said as he pulled open the double doors to the next room.

He stopped though, turning around as everyone else turned to the robot which was making loud whirling sounds as the tubes in its started to glow brighter blue as more and more liquid pumped into it. Its eye started to stay open now, not turning off after a couple seconds.

“I would argue that point also.” Tucker said as he got his crossbow out.

 

 

“Behind me!” Tucker yelled. They creature was now fully alive, but at least it was moving slowly, its head was covered in steam as the ice around it melted rapidly from Edna’s previous spell. Its first swing was at Buster who easily rolled away. But as his right fist hit the floor it still smashed a sizable hole and sent cracked throughout.

“Get back to the ramp.”  Tucker said firing his crossbow at the robots eye left eye, it stuck their making the robot veer left as it instinctively tried to see what he couldn’t see anymore.

Addy and the other ran for it, Michael turning into a cat and leaping the whole 20 feet to the top of the ramp. The others jumped the river and made it the bottom the ramp and sprinted upwards.

Edna launched another ice attack at its head, thinking to completely blind it for the couple seconds it took to melt, but it just instantly turned to steam as it, not stopping it at all. The robot reached up grabbing the arrow pulling it out. The liquid eye ball out with it but was completely replaced by more almost instantly.

It moved forward, smashing everything in its way as Arun and Tucker Launched arrow after arrow into it, almost all of them bouncing off harmlessly or getting crushed in its gears if they landed between the joints. It moved as if in slow mow, taking barely two steps in the time it took Addy to get to the top of the ramp. But it seemed to be gaining speed as it kept going.

Bob and Buster were smashing its knees as Kitty and Dullblades smashed its head. But it just slowly tried to stomp the two below as it slowly tried to swat the couple on top. They all dodged but they weren’t making any progress, just scratches. Addy cast a spell of lightening at it, Veronica following close after as they both realized they might not be able to join the fight, but they could stay here and do something. They lightning bolts hit, sending the robot into spasms, it lurched throwing Dullblades and Kitty off.

Both Veronica and Addy cheered, thinking they had atleast done something to it. But it quickly stopped and started forward again, this time even faster. Buster and Bob dodged the next stomps.

“We need to fall back!” Arun screamed.

Addy noticed something though; as the creature got faster more and more liquid flowed out its left arm and on the floor. The creature was so bloated because it used the liquid inside of it as power and it required a lot of it. The gnomes must have had the creature turned off because its damaged arm, the liquid couldn’t stay inside it so they had to hook it up to tubes for it to work and only when the door opened instead of always so it dint just constantly leak liquid.

“Destroy the tubes behind it.” Addy yelled as everyone down on the floor was rapidly trying to run away from the robot that getting faster and faster. Arun stopped at the bottom of the stairs as Addy said it, looking back at the tubes.

“Tucker, can you order your cat to destroy the tubes?” Arun asked as Tucker came past him, he stopped looking back the monster also, he hadn’t heard what Addy had said in all the commotion. Only Arun’s elven ears could make out her screams over the robot moving forward.

“Yeah, why. We should be running, there’s no way we can defeat that thing.”

“Because it is its power source, without it, it will die.”

Tucker looked back, noticing what Addy noticed. He nodded realizing they actually had a chance.

“Kitty, the tubes, cut the tubes on its back.” Tucker yelled as he ran behind the robot, sending an arrow into a tube once he got a clean shot. The mechanical creature continued on straight for the ramp, its feet were covered in molten lava from stepping in the river.

Kitty and Dullblades who had heard Tucker also both ran behind the thing, cutting tube after tube. Blue liquid squirting out all over them, Kitty completely covered from ripping them with her teeth and claws.

The monster finally started to slow, its eyes and gears glowing less as it stopped getting new liquid and all the liquid it had poured out of its left arm onto the floor sizzling as it hit its own foot covered in lava. Its hand was half down, about to smash everyone on the ramp and the ramp itself before the creature stopped.

No one cheered, still too scared from what had happened.

“Good idea kid.” Arun said as he walked up to Addy patting her on the back.

 

 

They all walked into the next room more prepared and willing to work with each other than before. Staying in one big group with Dullblades and Kitty up front they walked through the door and down a tunnel. The new tunnel was apparently used to ferry up the ore to the room with the giant robot to be turned into metal from the furnace.

Addy looked at her wrist noticing a gleam, when she looked down she saw that the bracelet was glowing slightly red. She tucked it under her sleeve not wanting the people in Fallen to see. She needed to tell Tucker though who was walking slightly ahead of her. She tapped him on the shoulder as they continued through the tunnel littered with mining carts and broken rails were the mining carts use to sit.

As Tucker turned around Addy kept moving not wanting to draw attention, Tucker followed about to ask something but Addy put her finger over her lips signaling that he shouldn’t say anything. She pulled out the bracelet and lifted it so Tucker could see. When he saw it he was nodding his head, realizing why Addy was being so secretive.

“At the end of this tunnel should be a lake. If the book I read was at all correct. It tends to not mention things like that giant mechanical man.” Arun said, walking slightly ahead of them.

“It usually mentions almost nothing, except what the place was like a thousand years ago. About how their use to be gnomes mining, kids running about, ale houses open, and gnomes invented unheard of mechanical devices. Except all we run into are skeletons and giant robots wanting to crush us.” Buster said as he poked his axe at a gnomish skeleton lying off the side of the tunnel. He wore small coveralls and had a pick axe in his hand.

Now that Addy actually looked around she noticed quite a few of the skeletons. Something horrible must have happened to them all for them to of died so suddenly in the tunnels like this. She dint see any signs of fighting or anything, but they were just skeletons, so she would have been able to tell if there was fighting even if it was obvious.

“Arun, do you know what happened to the gnomes down here?” Addy asked, curiously.

“It’s uncertain, water could have flooded the tunnels, a gas leak from mining, or maybe just disease. The bodies are to decade to see what killed them, and the books I have read definitely don’t say anything about what happened. I’m sure we’ll found out more once we get to the main city at the lake.”

“I, will also found find a bunch more of these” Bust said kicking one of the gnome skeletons. “Maybe this time they will be happy undead who just want to give hugs instead of eat our brains, bwahaha.” He bellowed turning back around and walking on with the rest of the group.

But Addy continued to watch as the gnome he kicked got up, lifting his pick axe and throwing it at Buster’s back. Addy screamed, not knowing what else to do. Buster looked perplexed as the pick axe hit him in the back and oddly went flying straight through him as if he wasn’t solid.

“Why did you have to go and do that?” Buster grumbled, turning back around as he lifts his axe, swatting the little gnome aside to smash against a rock face.

Tucker was lifting his bow at Arun as Dullblades and Kitty came back around the corner in front of them.

“What are yaa?” Tucker asked Arun.

Arun dint respond immediately, he was too busy looking around at all the rising skeletons. Apparently not taking too kindly to buster first poking their falling comrade then smashing him against a wall.

“I don’t think know is exactly the time my dwarf friend.” Arun said pointing around to all the gnomes, which were rapidly starting to gather now, gaining more and more control over their bodies and picking up their falling axes or whatever was close.

“Make time. Elvish friend.” Tucker growled, he noticed the gnomes rising too but wanted to figure out if the Fallen was friend or foe before he messed with the gnomes.

Addy couldn’t take it though, all the Fallen were already battling the gnomes along with Kitty.

Addy jumped in front of Arun spreading her arms out.

“Now isn’t the time for this, if they wanted to kill us they would of done it a long time ago. Were just kids, who do you think would of won if they fought us? Them, and they know that.”

As Addy finished talking, Veronica, Trin, Thomas, and Michael all chimed in agreeing with Addy.

“Fine.” Tucker said as he pulled the trigger, sending an arrow arcing over Arun’s shoulder and straight into a gnome that had launched itself at his back. “But I want the truth after this is over.” Tucker finished pulling out an arrow and loading his crossbow.

The fight was almost over already, the Fallen taken care of all the gnomes in the current stretch of tunnel they were in.

“There’s more coming from behind.” Buster said as he finished off the last gnome in the back, crushing it with his axe.

“What about from ahead.” Arun asked Dullblades.

“A few, and a door leading into the city from what I can see through the holes in it. But it is barricade from the other side.”

“Now’s not a time to give up on adventure then, forward.” Arun yelled, the other Fallen member’s yelling in response, running forward to meet a new wave of gnomish skeletons.

Tucker was looking at them, plowing through the ranks of gnomes, noticing they worked better together and that him and the kids would only get in their way.

“We’ll take the back. Take out anything coming from behind.” Tucker yelled to Arun, who was shooting arrows from the behind the line of Fallen members. After he launched an arrow he turned his head towards Tucker and nodded.

“Let’s move forward with them, but take off anything that gets close, you aren’t warriors yet so let’s stay back unless you have too.” Tucker said to all of them, Michael was in his cat form, Kitty stayed back protecting them from anything that came near, while the others all had their weapons drawn.

Around the corner came three gnomes. Tucker took out the first with an arrow to the head, and Addy and Veronica took out another with twin fireballs, engulfing in it flames. And to Addy’s surprise Trin took out the last one with a ray of light shooting out of a small mace she had pulled out of somewhere.

Addy looked at Trin who just shrugged and said “I am training to be a priest.”

The gnome Veronica and Addy had fireballed got back up, its clothes burnt away. But before it got any closer Michael leaped on it and took the entire body in its mouth, shaking it as bones flew away.

“Keep backing up!” Tucker yelled.

Addy turned around noticing the fallen already around the corner in the tunnel, making rapid progress. They all started to run to catch up, going around the corner as the Fallen smashed into a large group of gnomes.

“We have to help” Veronica said as she started forward.

“No, let them do their job while we do ours, if they gain ground from our back were both dead.” Tucker said as he let an arrow fly towards a gnome that had come around the corner with them, rapidly approaching swinging his axe towards Veronica’s back.

The gnome fell to ground his skull crushed by Tuckers arrow. Veronica was looking at, realizing her mistake as a large group of gnomes came around the corner.

Addy got up to 10 before she lost count, all of them looking the same. She had to stop them before they overran them. She did have one spell Ain had taught her for stopping a large group approaching her. She dug through her pockets finding a bottle of water; the spell required a spell component because it was more powerful than her normal spells. She said the couple words to the spell as she flung the water out of the bottle in front of her.

The ground in front of the gnomes turned to ice as they ran onto it, sending them sprawling and to Addy’s surprise straight at them. They were on a slight incline, they were at the top and the Fallen at the bottom. The gnomes started to speed towards them, one already dead from an arrow Tucker had shot. As the got closer Addy hoped they would stop, but her spell continued to turn the ground to ice, spreading under their feet also and down the incline. They went sprawling along with the gnomes, but because they weren’t moving they were able to stop themselves before they slipped down the hill. Kitty however was having problems staying up, she couldn’t manage and all four of her legs went wide as she started to slip down the hill.  The gnomes went sailing past them, one hitting Kitty on her way down making her pick up speed.

“Watch out!” Addy yelled.

The Fallen turned just in time to watch the gnomes sail down the hill and hit a pump launching them straight at them. But they all managed to jump out of the way, though Addy doubted it mattered from what she had seen about Buster.

The gnomes smashed into the other group of gnomes the Fallen had been fighting, sending them all to the ground and creating havoc. Kitty went flying along with them also, ravaging gnomes once she landed perfectly in their midst. The Fallen got up, seizing the advantage, Bob smashed a gnome with his shield, Edna fireballed a group of five of them with a fireball powerful enough to actually melt their bones, Arun launched arrow after arrow, and Buster smashed several with one swing of his axe.

“Quickly to the door. Before more come!” Dullblades said, finishing off a gnome near the huge double doors on the far end of the tunnel.

They all rushed the doors, hearing more gnomes come from behind them.

Buster the door with his axe, sending cracks throughout it, but it held. The door was wrapped in iron every foot or so, so even if they destroyed half the wood they would still need to get through the iron.

“Damn it. I guess we fight to the end” Buster said, leveling his axe towards the tunnel behind them.

“Don’t be so dramatic, its not like you can die again anyways. And were just going to go through this wall here instead.” Edna said, walking over to the left of the door.

“OO the wall. Of course, let me just axe that to death for you.” Buster replied snorting as he noticed more gnomes come around the corner, this time a large group that Addy couldn’t even see the back of. They just seemed to pore out of the tunnel. They must have missed a lot of skeletons lying around the tunnels, or they had come from some part of the tunnel they hadn’t been to yet, let the tunnels the Fallen had come through when they landed in the water.

Edna ignored Buster as she began to cast a spell, throwing something Addy couldn’t see onto the wall.

“Hurry Edna, we don’t have much time!” Bob yelled at her right next to her.

She finished her spell, creating a hole that just seemed to appear in the wall.

“Thanks Bob! Let me just shorten a spell that’s a thousand years old so it’s quicker for you!” Edna yelled as Bob ignored her, running through the new hole in the wall away from the charging gnomes now almost upon them. Once she noticed she followed right after him.

Tucker launched an arrow at the oncoming horde as he ran towards the hole, pushing Veronica and Addy forward with him.

“To the hole!” Tucker yelled. But no one needed urging, everyone was already running towards it. Most of the Fallen was already through, Addy, Tucker, and Veronica going through next as Michael and Thomas came right behind. Buster was fighting off the gnomes as they got closer, keeping them from reaching the hole. As Thomas and Michael got through last Edna waved her hand and sealed the hole and the gnomes in the tunnel behind them.

“What about Buster?” Addy asked.

“Eh, he’ll be fine I’m sure.” Bob said, but as quickly as he said it Buster came out of the stone wall, flying towards Bob.

“O, I’ll be fine will I?” Buster said as he landed on Bob and smashed his axe into his face which went straight through it and cracked on the concrete behind him.

Tucker was pointing his crossbow at Arun again, who noticed and turned to him, Addy, and the other kids.

“You already know that won’t do anything.” Arun said to Tuckers pointed crossbow. “Just because were ghosts doesn’t mean we want to hurt you. We are adventures like you, we just like to explore.”

“Ghosts who explore? Why would you explore, your dead.” Tucker growled, not putting down his crossbow regardless of if it would do anything or not.

“I don’t know, all I know is I enjoy it. One day we just all woke up exploring some old elven forest city, and ran into a group of explorers not much different than us. And every day sense then we do the same, new place , new people.” Arun finished by shrugging, not knowing what else to say.

When he finished the door next to them shook, as the gnomes crashed into it. They all looked over scared as pieces of debris came cascading down from the pile of stuff blocking the door. It was mostly just pieces of furniture and random objects stacked haphazardly. Addy guessed it would only last a little bit until they knocked it down.

“We need to get moving.” Tucker and Arun said at the same time. Tucker looked at him and glared, continuing on.

“We need to find a place to hide from these…”

“Zombies.” Thomas said excitedly.

“Those aren’t zombies.” Arun.

“Whatever they are we get moving now so we put as much distance between them and us.” Tucker finished saying after Arun and Thomas’s side track.

“High ground, easily defendable.” Buster pitched in as he finally got off of Bob.

Addy felt a tingly on her rest, looking back down she remembered the bracelet, glowing a much brighter red now. She focused her mind on it luck Ain had taught her and instantly got an image of a ship. She looked across the city to the lake off in the distance, spotting the ship she had seen. They needed to get there, otherwise this whole exploration was wasted because who knew if Ain could get them back down here or not.

“The lake.” Addy said pointing. “If we get onto that ship we can easily defend it, and I’m guessing these ‘things’ can’t swim.”

“She has a point, we once came across a group of skeletons near an underground rive once. They sunk straight to the bottom and had to walk across that way, took them hours.” Edna said, laughing a bit as she remembered it.

“Ahh I remember that, we had lunch while waiting for them. Good times.” Buster said smiling also as he remembered.

“What do you think?” Arun asked Tucker, not wanting to take charge with the tension between the two of them so high at the moment.

Tucker thought for a second, looking over to Addy he looked down at her wrist. She was pointing to it, trying to turn her body sideways so only Tucker could see its glow as she uncovered it from her sleeve.

“I agree, let’s get going.”

 

 

The city was large, stretching all around the lake that was almost a half mile wide except for a little spot were a river ran out of the lake, apparently how the ship got in and out. Though Addy dint know where it possibly would go after it left, being hundreds of feet under the sea. Maybe there was a magical connection to the sea? She could see everything throughout the massive cavern from streetlights that were still on, running after thousands of years thanks to magic or gnomish ingenuity.

She dint have any time to think though as they ran through the city. They had just randomly picked a street and started running towards the ship which was about a quarter mile away. But as they got into the city they realized they were going to have to go a lot farther, getting lost and having to double back and going down streets for blocks in the wrong direction to find their way to a correct street leading the right way.

Passing houses, shops, stores, pubs, restaurants, and things they could only guess at. They saw more tubes and machines all about doing things they could only guess at. But more disturbingly they passed more and more gnomish skeletons, thousands of them. The gnomes weren’t moving yet, but it was only a matter of time until they started to.

“Stop!” Tucker yelled as the reached a four intersection. “We aren’t making any progress.” He pointed up one of the streets were you could clearly see the blockaded door.

“Pshhh how do you even know that’s the same one?” Bob said, but as he finished a bunch of debris cascaded down and went rolling down the street towards them.

“Ok maybe that’s the same door.” He said, shutting back up as he skulked over to Edna who just shook her head at him.

“What’s your plan then?” Arun said.

“There has to be some way to tell which way we’re going. A map, did someone notice any flow in the way the streets are going other than just randomly every direction, or is there a spell that could help?” Tucker finished looking around to them all.

“There is a spell, a floating eye a magician can use to float around and see threw.” Addy said, remembering when Ain had used the spell and let her take over the connection so she could fly around and look at things in the city. She looked to Edna though, Ain had never taught her the spell and it was much too powerful for her to use.

“I haven’t used that spell in years.” Edna shrugged.

“I have an idea.” Trin said, stepping up as everyone looked at her.

“If this city is like modern day gnomish cities then it was designed in zigzags. They did it so people could drive fast sense they always had to beware of who else was coming around the corner. So if you just follow the street one way, then the opposite way, and repeat you should make progress in the direction of the lake.” As she said it she drew a small design of what she was talking in the dust on the ground.

DRAWING HERE

“But I haven’t seen any cars.” Buster said, looking around curiously now.

“There are cars here, rudimentary cars, but cars indeed. Gnomes were quite advanced, even back then.” Arun said, backing up Trin’s story who nodded at him in thanks. Buster just shrugged in response not wanting to argue and not having any better plan to try.

“Ok let’s get going.” Tucker ran on down the street they were already going, cutting back when he found another street going the other way, which lead them slightly closer to the beach.

As they ran along they finally started to see cars and Addy even though she saw a motorcycle, though it was the oddest one she had ever seen. It was as large as a car with two wheels almost as large as her. How a gnome ever rode that she could only guess.

They turned a corner and ran into a large square, surrounded with buildings and what Addy thought was a church at the far end of it. There was a fountain in the center, and hundreds of skeletons lying about. All the streets they could see were block with cars piled up in large heaps and the street they had just come from had a pile of cars that was obviously pushed over but use to block the street also.

“I don’t exactly want to agree with the kid.” Bob said looking at Thomas. “But this is kind of zombie like. Maybe their reanimated skeletons now, but it’s looking like thousands of years ago they were zombies. What else would you barricade against? Gas?”

“Maybe, maybe it doesn’t matter, and maybe you’re an idiot. Either way we should be moving.” Edna said to Bob. And as if in response the blockaded door they gone through earlier burst open, sending a large crashing sound throughout the cavern. They could all still see it above them, over the roof of the buildings. Watching as about 50 of the gnomes poured out, running towards the street and straight towards them.

“They are raising the others as they pass.” Arun said as he was squinting his eyes. Addy knew elves had good vision, but she could barely even make out the door anymore in the little light given off by the street lamps, let alone what the individual gnomes were doing.

Veronica screamed, tearing her leg away from a gnome’s hand that was lying next to her. “I think they did more than just raise the ones they passed.” She breathed as Kitty came over and crushed its skull before it could get up.

“Move! To the church.” Tucker yelled as he grabbed the small axes by his sides and swatted at a gnome, cleaning taking off its head with such a powerful swipe. They all bolted towards the door, Kitty and Michael making the most progress as they ran forward, bowling over gnomes and raking them with their claws when they could.

All around the square the gnomes started to rise now, thousands of them. But luckily for them they were animating slowly, barely even managing to get up yet. Let alone fight them as they passed. Addy casted her fireball spell and lighting spells on her weapons, hoping they gave her a bit more punch for anything getting to near.

And sure enough a gnome lunged at her, she smashed her right dagger through its skull, making the whole skeleton erupt in fire as her dagger amplified her spells power. The gnome started to trash as the fire burned, so Addy stuck her left dagger into also releasing her lightening spell. The gnome stood straight as the lightening went through it, and the fire on the corpse leaped into her left dagger as it absorbed the fire.

She just realized her daggers could be used to make increasingly strong fire spells if used together. Her right amplifying the spell and the left absorbing it so she could it again and again, consuming more fire the more she used it. But she had little time to think as a gnome crashed into Thomas in front of her, knocking him down before he knew what happened. Addy pointed her left dagger at the gnome and let her fireball go again. It hit the gnome with a small explosion sending it several feet in front of Thomas.

He got up instantly, nodding towards Addy, his eyes widened though when he looked towards her and behind her. “Run faster!” He was screaming as he turned back around and jumped over the gnome. Addy turned back around to see almost all the gnomes behind them up and moving towards them.

She rushed forward again quickly stabbing the gnome on fire and absorbing the fire spell back into her dagger just in case. She caught up to Thomas quickly enough with all the adrenaline running through her. Gnomes were coming at them from every side now, and everyone in the lead was had gone to a half trot as the swatter and fought their way through the gnomes. They were almost to the church though, with its huge double doors that hopefully had some way to bar them close on the inside.

Thomas and Addy reached the group, wading into the gnomes with them. Addy casted another fireball spell onto her right dagger to amplify it, sending it off towards a gnome she immediately stabbed with her left dagger that was now engulfed in a fire. She got movement out of the corner of her eye, turning around she saw a gnome lurch for her from her back. Dullblades appeared though spinning through the air, a dagger punched into its skull as he flung it the ground launching himself forward and plunging his other dagger into another gnome. All happening so quickly Addy wasn’t even able to lift her dagger to cast her spell. When Dullblades finally came to a complete stop the second gnome he had stabbed came tumbling off his dagger as the force of his hit finally halted. Jumping straight back Dullblades began to single handedly hold off all the gnomes in the back. Add turned back around trusting completely that nothing would get her from that direction.

By now that were at the stairs. They used them to their advantage kicking the gnomes down them so they fell and hopefully fell into a pile of separate bones instead of a full skeleton. Making rapid progress they ascend the stairs and piled into the church. The church was empty of skeletons except for a few at the front alter that Addy could see.

“Close the doors!” both Tucker and Arun yelled, Tucker not stopping to glare at Arun this time with so many gnomes coming in behind them.

Everyone rushed to the doors closing them as quickly as they could, but they were about 20 feet tall and solid wood rapped in iron. Dullblades was still fighting on the top of the stairs keeping any gnomes from reaching them. As the doors got close to shutting Addy though they were going to live him outside, but realized she dint have anything to worry about with them being ghosts. But Dullblades still jumped in through the doors at the last second, his instincts for self-preservation kicking in from when he used to be alive.

As the doors shut and Buster and Tucker slammed the giant metal bar into place locking barring the doors shut they heard hundreds of gnomes smash against it. Sending the door inwards and making the stone creek and crack as the weight pushed against it. But the door held, so they were safe for the moment.

 

 

After they got in Trin explained the church should offer some protection from the gnomes. That’s why there weren’t any skeletons in the church attacking them. Even the two skeletons at the alter weren’t animated, they were sitting on their knees as both of them held the same golden gear. Arun explained it was the symbol of their god. They must have died protecting the building, keeping up a protection spell to keep the zombies or skeletons out.

“We need to keep moving.” Tucker said to them all as they sat at the pews, everyone living eating and catching their breath.

“Why, were perfectly safe in here. We could wait them out until they go back to sleep then make a run for it.” Arun said still standing over by the two gnomish priests, he really wanted the solid gold gear but he oddly wasn’t able to grab it as a ghost. Which confused Addy, he was able to interact with almost anything else, why not the gear? She thought maybe it was because it belonged to priests so he wasn’t allowed to touch it, no matter how powerful he was as a ghost.

“We don’t know how long that will be to start out with. We dint come prepared with weeks’ worth of food, we have a day or twos tops. And at the moment we are positive that the majority of those things are outside the front of this place, with the back of the church leading directly to the boat.” Tucker replied.

“What makes that any better of a place to hide? You will run out of food just as fast their as you will in here.” Arun was trying to grab the gold gear again, but stopped as he realized what Tucker was saying. He had to know something was up. “Why do you really want to get to the boat?”

Tucker stuttered, not knowing what to say. “It’s… just more defendable and boats usually have supplies on them.”

“I agree, but thousands of years usually tend to effect supplies. Though maybe it’s possible the ship has special magical cargo or containers.  But still risking that trip is reckless until where sure we are out of supplies. There has to be something there for you to risk the journey.” Arun said walking towards Tucker now, looking more and more perplexed.

“Just tell him.” Trin said next to Tucker, fed up with keeping secrets from people who obviously just wanted to help them.

“Fine.” Tucker sighed. “There’s something on the ship we came down here to find. Without it we wasted this whole journey and risking all our lives for nothing. If we can just grab it before the school comes searching for us it won’t be a complete waste.”

“Honesty. Was that so hard.” Arun said as he sat down next to Addy. He whispered to her as he sighed more “Dwarfs, so stubborn they would rather die than tell the truth.”

“I can still hear you.” Tucker said, making Addy and Veronica giggle.

“Good, then listen while I tell you my plan to get you to the boat. We may be dead, but it doesn’t mean we don’t care anymore.” As Arun finished all the Fallen group nodded their heads agreeing with them.

Addy thought they might not have been the smartest or best exploration group when they were alive, because of their stupid shenanigans. But being dead, Addy realized they were the first chose of people she would choose to bring along in a deep dark cave in the midst of thousands or possibly millions of gnomish zombie skeletons. It made sense to her why they became ghosts, they genuinely did like exploring and helping people.

 

 

All of them moved out to explore the church, trying to find a back way out or something for them to escape. They split up into groups of two after Arun and Tucker had decided it wasn’t dangerous in the church otherwise they would have been attacked by now. All the gnomes in the entire city had to have be reanimated by now.

Trin and Addy took the tower on top, not expecting to find any secret passages but to scout out anything they might see from above. They went through a door in the side of the main room in the church, Trin going first with her mace small mace pulled out glowing a bright white as she held it in front of her.

“So what god are do you worship?” Addy asked, not really expecting to run into anything so she was talking normal.

“I’m not really sure.” Trin shrugged as they started up stairs going in a huge circle. Some of the torches they passed still burned, the magic not worn off yet. But the majority was completely dark making it impossible to see in most of the doors they had passed or anything past Trins light.

“Don’t priests usually only worship one god? Most of them usually don’t like when you worship another god while asking them for spells.” Addy got up to the top of the stairs on a landing leading out to a dark tunnel with no torches burning. They could see some doors smashed opened, the wood cracked as if something or someone had smashed through them looking for someone.

“You usually gain the most power by asking for power from one god and getting into his or hers good graces over the course of your life.” Trin pointed her mace into one of the doors as they passed, illuminating an old desk with book shelves around it. The desk was small inside the room; it was like they built the building for anyone to fit inside of it, but the gnomes only took up a small portion of it.

“But I enjoy everything about all of them, people aren’t just one thing. Sometimes I’m lucky and thank Ebisu or sometimes I enjoy watching the moon and thank Tet. People aren’t one thing, like the gnomes god of invention Gore the Brilliant, do you think all the gnomes only invented things all day every day? Or did they love and paint also. I might not end up the most powerful priestess because of it, but I can’t just pick one for the rest of my life.” Trin stopped in front of a door and shrugged as she finished.

Addy looked behind her and saw dancing shadows, she knew it was just Trin’s light playing tricks, but the more and more she looked around the more it started to play tricks on with her head. After all she had just spent the last several hours with proof ghosts were real, why couldn’t there be more ghosts around a place so creepy.

“We should keep moving, this place is scaring me.” From behind Addy a book fell over settling in the dust, making a loud noise in the silence. Addy jumped screaming.

Trin just laughed as Addy pulled out her blades and started to turn circles to see look at everything around her.

“This place is haunted, it’s still holy ground. It’s not like a regular human church, no ghosts or anything reanimated is getting in here. Except the Fallen, I’m guessing some god made them into ghosts, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to enter.”

“Mmhmm, while I’m going to keep moving.” Addy said, still not believing Trin at all even though she consciously knew she was correct. She ran for the next torch that was still giving off light in the stairs at the end of hallway leading up to the next floor.

 

 

Tucker, Kitty, and Arun went together to look at the back of the church, trying to decide the best plan of escape. They went past the two gnomish priests still holding the golden gear and through a door to the side of the main alter, hoping it would lead them to the back door. It lead them into the main dining room, lined with short tables and a hearth in one corner that use to be used for cooking food. A huge kettle turned over in front of the dead fire. They saw a door in the back and moved for it.

“I don’t think running for it is the best plan.” Tucker said to Arun. All Arun had said of his plan up to now was running out the back door as fast they could for the ship and hoping the most of the gnomes were in the front and wouldn’t notice.

“Your plan of jumping from building to building isn’t much better. How far do you think your kids can jump? I saw some gaps there were easily 20 feet.”

“Then we find other places to jump.” Tucker huffed.

“And if we can’t?”

“Then we jump down and fight. Atleast we got part of the way their without any threat of a fight.”

Arun was about to say something but realized it was actually a good plan, they still did what he wanted, running on the street. But they also insured at least part of the way there was completely safe.  “I agree, actually.”

“People usually do.” Tucker said as he bwahaha’d. Pushing through the back door that just fell over slamming loudly as it the ground sending dust everywhere and making Tucker cough. Arun just stood there completely uninfected, marveling at the dwarven ability to be so full of themselves.

As Tucker continued to cough Arun stepped over the door and looked around the next room. This one still had a couple torches lit, it was the main library containing thousands of books, but looking oddly small because each of the bookshelves and all the books were about half the size they should have normally been. The shelves however still reached up to the ceiling, there must have been hundreds of thousands of books because the room was still a normal library size. Easily several hundred feet across and that wide.

Tucker got into the room and smelled old moldy and musty books and began to sneeze huge dwarvin sneezes that just sent more dust from the ground into the air, making him sneeze even more.

“I hate books.” Tucker said, between sneezes, walking into the room and following Arun across it to a door on the other side.

“I have noticed dwarfs usually hate books, is that because dwarfs can’t read, or because the concepts within completely allude them?” Arun asked Tucker who started to say a rude retort back began to sneeze before he could start.

Arun smiled as they continued on, Tucker to busy trying to control his nose to say anything else. They walked over the books littered all around the room and tables, making their way to the door in the back which they hoped finally lead to the back of the church. The torch to the right of the door still burned casting shadows around the room.

“I’ll open the door, you stick your crossbow out incase something charges in?” Arun asked as they got to the door.

Tucker began to reply but sneezed first, so he just nodded and lifted his crossbow. Kitty jumped on top of a bookshelf beside the door, ready to pounce anything that ran through.

Arun threw open the door and jumped back bringing his bow up just in case. But nothing came through; the door just swept open sending even more dust into the air and making Tucker sneeze even more. They both headed to the door, Kitty jumping down and following from behind.

Outside was a long covered breezeway made out of stone with benches every 10 feet or so on both sides for people to sit. To each side of the breezeway was a cemetery. But nothing seemed to be moving, a lot of graves were dug up but they couldn’t find any bodies lying around. At the edge of the cemetery was a low rot iron fence and behind that were more buildings with no signs of gnomish skeletons.

“It seems they really did only attack the front. Which is odd, they should be trying to attack us from all sides.” Arun said as he thought out loud, perplexed.

“Doesn’t matter why, it’s good for us.” Tucker shrugged as he smiled. He could see all the way to the ship, they had gotten almost 75% of the way there. They either needed to make a run for it on the streets or they could probably make it all the way to the docks hopping from building to building with how close they were.

 

 

Thomas and Dullblades were exploring the dungeon and crypts underneath the church, making sure nothing was coming for them from below. But other than Thomas screaming repeatedly after seeing a statue of a long long dead gnome before realizing it was just another statue, they hadn’t run into anything. The crypts were oddly well lit; they hadn’t run into a single torch not still on. Thomas had assumed it was because they had made the torches eternal down here, so their ancestors were never in the dark. While all the other torches were turned off and on constantly and in areas were the spells could easily be refreshed.

“Do you hear that?” Dullblades said putting his hand up to stop Thomas behind him.

Thomas stopped to listen but dint hear anything. “No, I can’t hear anything.”

“There is shuffling up ahead.” Dullblades moved forward with his daggers out.

They reached a corner and Thomas final could hear the shuffling, lightly but defiantly there. It sounded like a lot of gnomes moving around in one spot only a little bit down the hall around the corner.

Dullblades singled for them to stop and peered around the corner. He stuck his head out slowly; barely letting his eyes peeks around. But when he came back he had a perplexed expression on like he dint know what he was seeing.

“What is it?” Thomas asked, curious of what he saw to make him look that way.

“Gnomes, but… Just look.”

Thomas crept to the corner and looked around quickly seeing a bunch of gnomish skeletons all piled in the hallway. But they seemed to be stopped against something, as if they had run into an invisible wall. Every time one of their body parts hit the wall it shined a slight golden color for a split second before reverting back to invisible.

“Odd” Thomas said going around the corner fully to look at it closer.

“Kid what are you doing.” Dullblades whispered harshly at him, coming around the corner also with his blades cocked and ready to throw at the nearest skeleton that tried to run towards Thomas.

Which they did, but they all just ran awkwardly against the shield, stopping completely several feet ahead of them.

“It’s the same shield keeping them out above, it’s just we can see it this time.” Thomas stuck his finger at it, but it went clear though as easily as if it wasn’t there. One of the skeletons snapped at it but he withdrew it before he could bite down.

“Good, let’s check all the tunnels and report back.” Dullblades said turning back around.

“Why would we do that? We just proved were safe from below.” Thomas asked but Dullblades was already around the corner searching more.

While most of the Fallen might have been lazy and unprofessional, Dullblades dint half-ass anything. He would make sure they were secure every were below.

 

 

Trin and Addy finally reached the top of the bell tower after climbing up more stairs then either of them could remember climbing their entire life’s. The main was huge, defiantly not made for gnomes but made so the entire cavern would hear it when it rang. It was housed all by itself in a simple metal frame open on all four sides to the city. They walked up to the side and looked down into the courtyard.

There was thousands of them, maybe even a hundred thousand all stuffed into the front square in front of the church. Even more of them jam packed into the streets to all sides of them. Looking down Addy something weird, they weren’t all gnomes, she could make out ones clad in purple holding large scepters in their hands. Their clothes were unblemished, but they still moved and looked like the other skeletons.

“Do you see those purple ones? They look different somehow.” Addy asked Trin.

“Yeah, why are their clothes perfect and the other ones not, and their all holding the same staff.”

“Maybe they’re the leaders or something.” Addy shrugged moving right around the outside of the tower as they looked around more of the city. Once they got to the streets farther from the square they noticed the gnomes started to dwindle. They went all the way to the right and looked over the right of the church and they couldn’t spot any more zombies. Addy realized they were only in the front for some reason.

Going to the back of the church Addy looked over trying to see if she was correct. She looked down at the cemetery and the rest of the city and couldn’t spot a single gnomish skeleton for some reason.

Trin walked over from the left side and met Addy at the back looking down with her.

“There isn’t any over there. This is going to be a lot easier than we thought making it to the ship.”

Addy agreed, but couldn’t help but thinking it was too easy. She realized though in real life things dint always have to go against you like in a book, sometimes you just got lucky. Maybe this was their lucky day and they could just casually walk to the ship she could see a couple hundred easy yards away.  But today really hadn’t been that lucky when she thought about it, maybe they should just expect the worst.

 

 

They all met back in the main room of the church near the two gnome priests with the golden gear. Addy noticed Thomas looked shaken, remembering he had gotten the dungeon crypt she shook her head not able to imagine how scary it probably was down there.

From behind Thomas came Edna. She slapped him the shoulder and said “You look like you’ve seen a ghost kid.”

Addy laughed as he jumped into the air screaming. Buster and Bob laughed also, both making more corny jokes about how all of them were ghosts as they started to make boo sounds at Thomas.

Arun and Tucker walked in then though and they stopped as Arun looked at them and shook his head at their behavior. They walked to the head of the group standing with their backs to the two gnome priests.

“So, I hope what you all found is as good as what I did.” Arun smiled.

“Let’s start with everyone looking on the first floor for anything usefull.” Arun looked at Veronica, Michael, Bob, and Edna who were all looking around the first floor.

“Nothing much, almost everything was rotten or broken. But we did find a bunch of rope that looks pretty good.” Veronica said throwing a huge spool of rope on the floor.

“We found a couple kegs of lantern oil and gunpowder.” Buster said putting down a large sack he had over his shoulder caring a bunch of little kegs about the size of footballs.

“And one special keg of vintage, two thousand year old whiskey.” He put a small keg up to his lips taking a chug. The whiskey splashed on the floor going straight threw him.

“That hit the spot.” He whistled.

“What the floor.” Edna sighed.

“Save it also, it’s probably more flammable then the lantern oil.” Arun said. Buster sighed but put the keg with the others.

“Anything else?” Arun looked around but nothing came forward so he continued on, asking Addy and Trin what they found.

“The gnomes are only in the front, all of them in the entire city from what we can tell. None of them there are behind us or too the sides.” Addy said.

“Just like we saw out back, should be a quick hike over the rooftops through the streets all the way to the ship.” Tucker said smiling. He sneezed near the end though cutting off his smile as he scowled and mumbled something under his breath Addy couldn’t quite make out.

“I’m not sure but that might not be true. It could be nothing, but I did see a bunch of weird gnomish skeletons out front. They all had on purple robes and were carrying the same staff.”

Arun said hmmm as he looked at Addy. “That makes sense now.” He said looking down at the floor as he thought.

“I was wondering why they were all out front. If they were after us they would have the place surrounded. But they aren’t after us, their listening to the purple robed figures. That’s why they’re all near them.”

“So theirs gnomes still down here controlling all of those things.” Enda said pointing to the front door which was still being hit by gnomes as they flung themselves at the door trying to knock it down.

“No, no.” Arun moved his head back and forth. “They used  to be. But now their dead and reanimated like the rest for some reason. It’s just their staffs still have the power to control all of them.”

“So what you’re saying.” Bob started to say laughing. “Is their reanimated zombies, controlled by other zombies. So it’s like their intelligence isn’t like most skeletons and akin to a rock, but it’s more like a rock being told to do stuff by another rock.” Bob finished laughing even more.

Arun looked taken a back for a couple of second taking in what Bob said as he shrugged and said. “I guess, yeah exactly that. Kind of.”

“Then what are we waiting for, let’s walk to the boat while they relentlessly try to knock down that door.” Bob laughed.

“It’s not going to be that easy. They can still sense us, we were chased her for a reason. The second we leave this place they will know and they will come.” At that Bob seemed to shrink a little.

Arun looked over to Dullblades who nodded and told Arun what he and Thomas had found. The shield held them back at every tunnel; they were completely safe in here.

“Good, then I think me and Tucker have a plan. We just need a small diversion first.”

 

 

 

“Isnt this a little, well pointlessly elaborate for us just to run to the ship.” Thomas asked, they all had different kegs in their hands and were still standing in the main room next to the two gnomish priests.

“When you’re dead all you have is pointlessly elaborate plans to get you through the day, what else is their pretend to live for.” Buster said bwahahaing as he slapped Thomas on the back.

Thomas hit something on the floor as he stepped back trying to halt himself, but instead he fell down on top of the two priests knocking the golden gear loose from their hands.

As they all looked around they saw a golden sheen spread throughout the building, fading as it worked away across the walls and finally to the door. When they looked back at each other they noticed the priests were turned to dust and the golden gear had lost a lot of its shine as it lay still on the floor.

“That’s bad isn’t it?” Thomas said looking wide eyed at Arun.

“Ide say out of the dumb things I have seen my group of people do, top five maybe four dumbest things I have seen.” Arun said shaking his head as he looked at Edna who shook her head agreeing.

As he was talking the door began to shake more and more cracks spreading heavily throughout and the old iron in the door starting to bend because the magic wasn’t keeping it together anymore. In the little time they watched they were able to start see gnomes through the holes and one was even able to almost fit through the center of where the two doors came together as they doors were pushed in.

“Top 3, definitely.” Edna said as the iron started to break.

“We should be running, people.” Dullblades said from the door leading to the back and to the boat.

Everyone realized their hezatation probably cost themselves valuable time as the started to run towards the back door as the front door finally gave in and came crashing in. As they ran back Addy saw Trin grab the golden gear, she probably hoped she could use it with her knowledge but Addy dint have any more time to think about it before they were all shoved through the door going into the old dining room.

They ran on not stopping other than to bar the door as they went, no one really thinking a solid wood door that was almost rotten all the way through would actually slow them at all. They got into the library barring that door also as they fumbled over the books as they ran, no one really paying attention other than trying to get through the final door. They got through it and barred that one also, this one however was solid iron, and would hopefully hold them off for a bit longer sense they couldn’t shove enough of them against it to break it anytime soon.

As they kept running after barring they door they all stopped noticing Tucker wasn’t following them, he kept looking at the keg in his hand and looking back.

“Do you have an idea.” Arun asked, stopping and turning back around.

“We don’t have much time, they will be coming around the sides also anytime now.” Dullblades said from off to the side of the cemetery, scouting with Kitty would seemed to be enjoying herself lately Dullblades.

“They will come no matter what, but maybe we can take a couple hundred of them down.” Tucker said lifting up his keg.

 

 

Tuckers plan was simple, there was only three ways the gnome were going to come at them. One of was from the church, and the other two were the main streets to either side of the church. They placed a third of their kegs at the back of church and lit and ran, the other two thirds were with the Fallen and Tucker who split of into equal groups. Addy, Veronica, Thomas, and Michael went with Dullblades running straight for the boat as fast they could.

Several seconds later as they went down the first street losing sight of the church except for the top of it a huge explosion erupted lightening up the cave like there was a small sun in it. Not stopping Addy turned her head and looked back, the entire back side of the church collapsed sending dust and ruble everywhere. Addy hoped none of it came down on top of Tucker, but she doubted it sense they were on top of the building next to the streets a good hundred feet or so away.

They turned another corner, zigzagging with the weird gnomish streets, making their way down to the boat slowly but surely. Addy knew the streets would slow down the gnomes just as much as it did them, so she wasn’t worried with them catching up at this point. However she was worried about the others, if their bombs didn’t give them enough time to get on the ship…

As she was thinking that two bombs went off almost simultaneously one from Tuckers side and one from the other side. Tucker had hoped to take out the buildings next to the streets so the gnomes either had to find another street or climb over it, either way hopefully slowing them down enough that Addy and the others had enough time to get the ship ready to sail far enough from the docks when Tucker and the others got there.

They turned another corner and Addy heard another bomb go off as she finally could see the docks and ship right ahead of them, they had a straight run. Now hopefully the others would get there before the gnomes so they dint have to set sail without them.

 

 

Tucker was waiting with Arun on the rooftops next to the street to the left of the church if you were looking at it from the back. They had worked their way ontop of the buildings on the other side of the road farther away from the church. Because the buildings right next to the church were about to get showered with stones, and right as Tucker was thinking that, that exactly is what happened.

The explosion took off the entire back of the church, crumbling and falling over itself, hopefully crushing and halting all the gnomes on the inside. The building obviously wasn’t structurally sound anymore, because Tucker was willing to bet if they put explosives at the front they could have taken the whole thing down.

Focusing back on the road they both waited, kegs in theirs hands with short fuses so they could time the explosion more accurately to make out as many as possible. They were going to have to wait a bit, because most of the gnomes were still in the square in front of the church which had all roads blocked except one. So they had to pour out of that one and come down the side streets.

“You now that I think about it we could just blow the buildings and block them and be running right now.” Tucker said, realizing the gnomes weren’t nearly as fast as he had thought when he made up the plan.

“This is why I personally like books, so much more time to plan out and think of perfect plans.” Arun smiled. “Here they come anyways, might as well blow a few up.”

“And that’s exactly why you’re a ghost and I’m not, because I don’t spend all my time wishing I was in a book and could up with a perfect plan or not, I just come up with the plan that keeps me alive.” Tucker lit the kegs fuse and threw it to the other side of the street through a store fronts window.

As Arun went to say something the keg exploded drowning out what he said, all Tucker heard was something about how real life was nearly as fun though. The keg exploded crashing the building down on top of a group of gnomes running by. Arun through another keg, this one on their side of the street just a couple buildings down so they dint hurt themselves also. They jumped down a rope they had used to climb to the top with, Landing in the street as the other bomb exploded blocking the entire street with rubble. Tucker shot an arrow in the skull of a gnome would have made it past the explosion.

They looked at their handiwork and could already see gnomes crawling over. They both lit the two last kegs they had and chucked it over the wall as they started to run as fast as they could to the ship.

 

 

 

Bob, Edna, and kitty waited on top of the buildings to the right of the church. Arun had insisted Kitty go with them saying “I at least one smart person to go to that side.” Which even Edna shrugged and agreed with when she looked at her husband whose only reply was “Yeah, well you’re dumb too.”

The church had already exploded caving in way more than Edna had thought it would, covering them with dust and little pieces of rubble. Kitty was off to the side licking herself clean as her and Bob waited.

“I see one coming.” Bob said pointing ahead of them at one lone gnome racing down the street.

“I’m going to go take care of it.” He said smiling as he jumped down the rope to street level. Edna was about to say to stop, they should waste their time with one gnome but he was over the side before she could say anything.

“Make it quick the others are coming now.” Down the street she could see hundreds poring through the street now, plowing over cars and other objects in the street.

The gnome reached Bob who shield smashed the gnome against a wall sending it flying through a window which made him laugh.

“We need to light the kegs now. Their almost here, get back up here now!” Edna yelled as Bob went into the building after the gnome, which could still be heard move around inside.

“This will only take a second.” Bob jumped into t