Prophecy of the Rea'dans

Part 3

She came to and looked into the anxious faces of Mourûn and an unfamiliar Rea'dan.

Are you okay? asked Mourûn.

I think so, Aurora replied, sitting up. What happened?

That monster was dragging you back to its lair, answered the other Rea'dan. You were lucky I saw you two. I managed to stab a spear in its side as it swam past. It let you go and disappeared back to its den. He pointed to the dark mouth of another underwater cave.

This is Mamoru, Mourûn said. He thinks he can get us out of here.

At this, Aurora's eyes brightened. She climbed to her feet, Mourûn and Mamoru ready to catch her if she fainted again. Let's go.

Are you sure you're okay to walk, Mourûn asked.

Yeah, I'm fine. I just want to get out of this place, she replied, bending down to pick up her rather damp rucksack. Which way?

Mamoru went ahead, leading them down passageway after passageway. He told them how he was one of the group that had left to retrieve the Kur'hahsha. They had been a group of ten but now he was the only one left. The maze's predators had picked them off one by one.

They turned a corner and faced a dead end. Mamoru turned round but didn't walk on. Don't look at the wall, he said, so they did the same.

After a couple of seconds he spun round and before them, where the wall had stood, was now an open passage. He walked forward, Aurora and Mourûn followed on.

How did you do that? Aurora asked, a little confused as to what had happened.

I have been here for many, many days. I have learnt the secrets of the labyrinth.

But wait, there's something I don't understand. If you know the way out then why are you still here? This had been bugging her for a while now and, no matter how she tried, she couldn't think of a reason.

They turned a corner and Mamoru pointed to a large red globe imbedded above the gate of the maze. That is what killed two of our group. You try and get out and it steals your life force.

But you said you knew how to get us out of here! exclaimed Mourûn.

Maybe not you or me, but Aurora I think could get out. Mamoru tried to explain. You see, if I'm right then the death globe can only kill Rea'dans. You should be able to walk away unharmed.

If you are right, Aurora said, worriedly. If you are wrong, I'm doomed.

You will have to take that chance if you are going to return the Kur'hahsha. There is no other way out. Once you have it, then the death globe will no longer function, the maze will disappear. And we will be able to walk out unharmed.

What about the creatures? Mourûn asked as he remembered all the dangers he and Aurora had passed.

They will disappear too as they are the creations of Tholzam. But before Aurora retrieves the Kur'hahsha we will have to hide here and hope nothing comes this way. He turned back to Aurora. You should leave now. The longer you wait, the more power is given from the Kur'hahsha to Tholzam.

But I don't know what to do. How can I do anything? If he is so powerful, as soon as he sees me, he'll kill me. Aurora was terrified. She could hardly keep from shaking and her voice trembled violently.

That is the trick. Do not be seen. He is so arrogant that he will believe nothing could get this far. I know that he will keep the Kur'hahsha poorly guarded, as none of the Akubitsu are smart enough to want it, and he will see no other reason to need it guarded. Once you have that, nothing can oppose you, not even him. He thought for a moment, trying to think of a plan that would help her. You couldThere have been rumours that he leaves any Rea'dans that he finds in a network of chambers.

Great! Aurora thought. Another maze!

He takes them out at random and tortures them for his own enjoyment. If you go there then I am sure that you will find more help. Just remember, the Akubitsu are stupid. They have very little reasoning skills. You could easily outsmart them. Now you should go. The Prophecy shall prevail and you will survive. I am sure.

Aurora nodded, hitched the rucksack up her shoulder, took a deep breath and walked towards the gate. Her heart raced and her breathing was hard. She stood at the gate and looked at the glowing globe above her. She looked ahead, closed her eyes and took several steps forward. At any moment she felt the globe would reach out and destroy her.

She opened her eyes, turned and looked up. She had passed through the gate unharmed. She was safe.

Now go, hurry. Do not stay in one place for long as the Akubitsu may stumble upon you. Also, though the Akubitsu are stupid, they have keen eyesight. Keep to the shadows and they will not see you. Mamoru waved her off after this final piece of advice.

Goodbye, but don't worry, as soon as I can get out of here, I will come and help you, Mourûn called after her. She didn't want to spoil his thoughts with the fact that once he was able to leave, she would have the Kur'hahsha and she would probably have to protect him.

She waved goodbye and turned towards the dark tower looming above her. It was covered in black-bricked turrets and tall, narrow windows. Red and yellow flickered light escaped through the slits. Taking another deep breath, she walked forward.

Looking around, she searched for a way in. She saw huge metal doors, much like the ones that she had passed through to enter the maze. But these seemed to be covered in carvings of evil beasts. Groups of Akubitsu frequently passed through them. She watched for a while, thinking what she was going to do. They were obviously not going to just let her walk in. She would have to hope the Dark King used a back door.

Just before she left to look for another way in, a group of Akubitsu came dragging a Rea'dan. The Rea'dan was only a young girl, her dark brown hair matted to her head and her skin covered with her own blood. Her arms were held by one of the Akubitsu and she was being dragged along on her back. Behind her followed another of the Akubitsu, carrying a large, black whip. He repeatedly sliced her skin, clearly out of sheer pleasure, as after each slash, as the Rea'dan writhed in agony, the Akubitsu and the others around would make a noise that could only be laughter, but it was a disgusting sound and Aurora shuddered every time she heard it.

She looked away, unable to watch the suffering of the innocent girl. She heard the growls and more laughter from the guards at the door, but was confused when she didn't here the door being opened for the clan and their prize. She looked back, and was surprised to see that the group had gone past the door, but was following a small path round the side. Aurora followed behind them, keeping behind the rocks that littered the ground.

They came to a smaller metal door. They lifted the barrier and quickly opened the door, flung in the girl and slammed it shut before the other Rea'dans that Aurora saw inside managed to run out. They all laughed again and walked back to the main door.

That must be the entrance to the chambers that Mamoru was talking about, Aurora thought. After the Akubitsu had gone, Aurora crept out from hiding. She pushed against the metal bar to lift it up. It took a lot of effort but she eventually managed to move it. It landed on the hard soil with a very loud thud and imbedded itself in the ground. She then leaned back with her hands on the handle and pulled the door open.

The Rea'dans seemed surprised to see someone else at the door, but as soon as they realised the door was open, they immediately ran out. Many of them called out to others, causing more and more to run from the adjoining chambers.

They huddled around her, obviously trying to thank her in their own language. She couldn't understand a word of it so she just stood there nodding and smiling slightly. Then she heard a voice that was speaking English. She looked around and saw it was the girl that she had just seen taken there. Now that Aurora saw her close up, she noticed that the girl was actually a young woman. She was very thin and covered in deep cuts. She forced her way through the crowd and spoke to Aurora.

have you seen do you know did you meet stuttered the Rea'dan, trying to think what exactly to ask. Have you met Mourûn? she finally managed to say.

Unsure why the woman would ask this, Aurora said, Mourûn? Yes, he is fine last time I saw him, As she said this, the woman's eyes lit up and tears appeared at their corners. A huge smile spread across her face. She took deep breaths and tried to calm herself

Where is he? she asked as she realised that Mourûn was not there, and again the worry crept back on to her face.

We came through the maze and at the end there was this globe thing that could kill him if he passed under it. He stayed at the gate with another Rea'dan, Mamoru.

Thank the Gods he is alive. She grinned uncontrollably. Then noticing the confused look on Aurora's face, she explained. I am Trinoh'har and Mourûn is my son. He went missing at about the same time as you left, so we assumed that he had gone after you. He always has tried to be brave and has always wanted to fight those awful creatures, she shuddered, from the cold wind on her wounds, or from the memory of what she had been through, Aurora couldn't be sure. Why he doesn't just stay away from them, in safety, I don't know.

Well he's safe now, Aurora said, trying to cheer her up. She deliberately didn't mention the monsters that lived in the maze that could be gnawing on her son's bones at that very moment. Just be thankful for that.

Yes, yes, he is safe. She took deep breaths again. But you, you must continue on your quest, and quickly, before any more innocent people die.

I would, if I knew how to go about it, Aurora said, almost ashamed of being so stupid that she didn't know what to do. But I can't see any way in, and she pointed to the large tower that rose above their heads.

I'm sure someone will know. She turned to the crowd that had slowly been becoming quieter as they tried to understand what was being said. She then yelled something in their own language, getting a few calls back. Looking back at Aurora, she repeated what she had just heard. They say there is a way to the inside through the tunnels. It's the way that the Dark King comes to fetch the ones for torture. Her voice lowered as she said this, but became more threatening. Her hatred for Tholzam was clear. They can take you there. Some even say they will help you and go with you. I will come too.

Aurora was amazed at this. These people were willing to come with her into almost certain danger. But she supposed that they wanted to get back at the creature, for it was certainly no man with the things that he had done, for all the tortures that he had created and all the killings that he had caused. She smiled slightly and muttered a thank you. She couldn't think of anything else to say.

A roll of thunder and, a few seconds later, a flash of lightning, reminded her that the Dark King was gaining power. She had to get the Kur'hahsha before it was too late. The Rea'dans, understanding what was going through her mind as it was probably going through theirs too, signalled for her to follow them and they went back into the dark and dreary chambers.

The others, who were either too injured or too afraid to follow, stayed just away from the chamber door, so they would not be caught by the Akubitsu, if any were to come round this side of the tower, but close enough to be found by Aurora and the Rea'dans when they came back.

Their journey was silent. They were too afraid to say anything in case the sound travelled through the roof and into the tower. But what was there to say? To hold a conversation in such treacherous times was impossible.

After many turns, some of which seemed to take them back in the direction of the door for a while, they reached a metal barred grate. Had Aurora been left alone, she would have been lost after the first few turns and would never have gotten this far.

They stared out the grate down a high dark corridor, lit only by the occasional candle, and those burned with a strange dark red flame that hardly gave off any light to see by. But from what they could see, they weren't sure if they wanted to see any more. The walls, made from large grey stones, seemed to be covered in a strange liquid that they weren't sure if it was water, or something much worse. More doors lined the hall, each with an ugly stone head standing above them. Large beasts, what Aurora thought had to be stuffed, stood every few metres. But there was something about their eyes that gave them life and looked like they could pounce on any passing trespasser.

There was no sign of any Akubitsu to guard this corridor. It appeared to be safe. The strongest of the Rea'dans pushed the grate open and the group poured out of the almost pitch dark hole from which they had come.

She heard whimpers from some of the smaller Rea'dans, and the entire group stared around with wide eyes, expecting at any moment for something terrible to happen to them. Trinoh'har spoke quietly with one of the older Rea'dans. She nodded and the younger ones scrambled back through the grate. Aurora could hear their footfalls on the hard stone ground as they ran from an invisible pursuer.

Aurora gave Trinoh'har a questioning look. "They were afraid," was her reply. "I don't think it's fair to make them go if they don't want to."

Aurora nodded, understanding perfectly. She wished she could run after them, flee from what she believed to be a suicide mission. "I guess we better be going," she said instead, and looked down the never-ending corridor. She took a few steps and the rest followed her. There was only about six left, including her and Trinoh'har. The others all seemed to have been through many battles. They all looked like past knights who had gone through terrible pain and suffering, leaving them scarred but still brave.

Why do I have to lead them? was all she could think. She wanted to duck behind them, then they could lead and if there was danger then, whatever it was, would be too busy gnawing on the Rea'dans' bones to notice her slipping away.

Then she realised what she was thinking. How could she do that to these people, these people who had been so keen to help out, who only wanted freed from the death that the Dark King was forcing on them.

They came to a cross; every way seemed exactly the same, to go on to a small pinpoint, the hopefully dead creatures and the dripping walls watching their every move. Then, as they stood staring down the corridors, they heard the rasping growls of a clan of Akubitsu. A door creaked open in the wall of the corridor ahead of them. They all ran down the right corridor before the creatures would look round the frame and see them.

Taking turn after turn after turn after turn, they found that the candles were getting fewer and the corridors were getting darker, and Aurora was sure the liquid on the walls was getting darker too, and possibly redder, but she was hoping that it was just her own eyesight playing tricks on her.

They walked for a few more minutes, then found that there were no more candles, and they were reluctant to continue in the dark. Aurora then remembered the torch in her backpack. She hadn't used it in a while and was reluctant to use it now but there didn't seem to be any other choice. Taking it out, they lit it with the last candle. At first, it was reluctant to burn and even then it appeared to burn with a strange, clear, almost black flame, but finally, as the cloth that was wound round the torch was slowly burnt away, the flame became brighter, and illuminated the corridor for a much further distance.

Again they walked forward, looking around without paying much attention to detail. Finally, just when Aurora was about to give up, turn around and go back, they came to a huge doorway. Again, they heard the growls of more Akubitsu through the door. Looking round the door frame, they saw there was a light coming from the centre of the large hall, what looked like a globe on a pedestal, but the light was incredibly faint, and it barely illuminated the stool upon which it stood, never mind the whole room.

Everyone now looked at the torch. They knew that there was nowhere to put it out, but to walk in there with it was asking for death. Also, even without it, the Akubitsu would still be able to see their shapes moving in the dark. There had to be a way to distract them.

Aurora tried to remember all the advice she had been given over the last few days. If she could just outsmart the Akubitsu, if she could get them to chase something out the room. She looked at the torch. She remembered how the Akubitsu had chased it before. If she could run through the hall and out the other side with the torch, then maybe the Akubitsu would follow her, giving the Rea'dans time to grab the Kur'hahsha and get out.

She told Trinoh'har, who then translated for all the others. But for some reason, they disagreed. There was a lot of shaking heads and mumbling that could only mean something similar to no'.

Trinoh'har explained. We do think that the plan would work, if it were not for one problem. You are the one that needs to take the Kur'hahsha. It will only destroy the evil if it is in your hands. It is that that the prophecy has foreseen. That is why one of us must take the torch and be the diversion.

But they won't make it, Aurora said, unable to believe what was happening. They will get caught and and She stuttered to a stop, but she didn't need to finish. It was clear what she was trying to say.

And you were about to go do the same thing. Why do you find it so hard to believe that none of us could do that too?

I just thought She wasn't sure what she had thought.

One of the Rea'dans came up and took the torch. He would have looked young were it not for the few grey strands of hair. He had a deep cut down one side of his face and travelled down his thin neck. He stood at the doorway, ready to sprint, with the others lined up behind him.

Trinoh'har looked at Aurora, sadness deep in her large eyes, and said, When you see my son again

But Aurora wouldn't let her finish. She knew the sort of things that were about to be said. Last words and requests, to be passed onto her son, as she thought she wasn't coming back. Don't go with them then. I need all the help I can get.

Trinoh'har started to argue that it was her duty but again Aurora stopped her.

You have a son waiting for you. He needs you. Aurora decided she sounded incredibly cliché, but she knew that it had worked. She could now see the doubt in Trinoh'har's eyes.

The doubt faded and she spoke a few words to the Rea'dans. They nodded, and they shared comforting words, what Aurora correctly guessed as their equivalent of good luck'.

The old Rea'dan said one more word and the four of them ran across the hall, the torch waved high above their heads. Trinoh'har and Aurora watched as the Akubitsu looked up and immediately all of them, above a dozen or two, ran after the doomed Vanishing People, and the hall was left empty.

Aurora and Trinoh'har listened to the growls disappear out the opposite door then both ran in to the pedestal. But, before Aurora could grab it, the ground shook and they slipped and fell hard onto the dark stone floor. Flames rose from cracks around the wall, the Kur'hahsha glowed redder and a large dark shape moved through the wall. It landed and revealed itself: Tholzam, the Dark King.

He looked no longer solid but a dark shape made from only a cloak. Underneath that black cloak, no feature could be seen except for his eyes. Those eyes, that burned through yours and got inside your head, glowed out from a hidden but yet still sinister face. His hands, concealed in long sleeves and gloves were held above his head, and a red circular glow appeared above him.

Aurora felt so revealed to him, like he could read every mind in her head. There were no secrets from him. She felt like she was about to melt into the ground and disappear forever, or better still wake up. She had forgotten that she was still dreaming. What would her parents think when they came to wake her for school and found their daughter in burnt and smouldering pieces? She shuddered. This was what the red light ball was about to do to her. She cowered, knowing nothing she could do.

Trinoh'har had seen that shudder. She knew she had to do something. She looked for a weapon and, seeing only Aurora's sword, grabbed it and ran at the evil shape. Aurora tried to pull her back but was out of her reach.

Trinoh'har drove the sword deep into where the Dark King's heart would have been, but it just went through cutting air, and fell to the ground with a clang. A deep but intimidating laughter was all that she got in response and the Dark King focused on her, the red glow disappearing as his mind concentrated elsewhere. He lifted her up with his mind and started to crush her bones.

Aurora felt the attention drift from her. She had her mind to herself again. And now she knew what had to be done. She stood up and leaping for it, grabbed the Kur'hahsha.

It burnt her fingers and she nearly dropped it. The heat of hatred that Tholzam had placed into it had become almost as hot as the flames of hell from whence he had come, and where he would now return. Her own hands became ice cold and she felt tingling. It let out its last red beam of light, then started to become brighter and bluer.

Tholzam became weak and he dropped Trinoh'har. She fell to the ground in a crumpled heap, unconscious, but still in one piece.

Tholzam started to fade. His cloak turned to liquid and dripped onto the floor, dissolving it like acid. He let out pained cries but no one cared. His eyes lost the glow and faded into his skull. His shape lost the menacing blackness and became only pale grey. Bones started to appear then crumbled into piles of grey dust. He shrunk into nothing but his agonised howling went on. It echoed around the room until it seemed to seep through the bricks and stones and out down into the earth where it was still hot enough for him to survive. And he was gone.

Aurora looked down at the globe in her hand, which glowed with such a bright blue she couldn't stare at it directly. It was no longer hot, and her hands were no longer cold, but it was just at the right temperature to match hers.

Looking around the room, she saw that it didn't look so frightening any more. The walls were only covered in water, like the sides of a cave. The bricks were no longer dark, the almost black they had appeared, but light grey. Then she noticed Trinoh'har collapsed on the ground like a discarded toy by a cruel child. She ran towards her.

He chest moved up and down in the relaxed way it does when someone sleeps. But her hair was covered in blood and one arm and one leg was broken from the fall. Aurora placed one hand on her forehead out of pure instinct. The Kur'hahsha in the other hand glowed, if it was possible, brighter than it had before. Then Trinoh'har herself started to glow. She moved as if dreaming. Her leg and arm bones set right, and her wounds, even those from when she was being whipped earlier, healed, not even leaving scars.

The light around her faded and the Kur'hahsha went back to its normal brightness. Aurora took her hand away, and Trinoh'har opened her eyes sleepily. She saw bright light for the first time in days, months and possibly years; it didn't matter anymore. That time had ended. She looked at Aurora and said, You did it. He is gone?

was all Aurora needed to reply. She gave Trinoh'har her hand and she helped her up, no worse the ware for what she had just been through. They walked, not talking, not needing to talk. There was nothing to say. They walked back through all the halls they had travelled through on the way. The Kur'hahsha guided Aurora and she guided Trinoh'har.

As they walked the black flames of the candles they had passed earlier burst into normal fire and actually lit the way. Not that they were needed anymore as the Kur'hahsha gave off enough light, but the yellow candle flames gave a more pleasant atmosphere, especially after what they had just been through.

They went through the chambers, coming out on the other side to hear the calls of dying Akubitsu. It was terribly unpleasant to hear, the strange grating screams. It was like fingernails being scratched against a blackboard and made them wince. They got louder and then ceased forever.

Seeing the bright light coming through the door, then seeing shapes behind it, the Rea'dans who had stayed behind, along with the Rea'dans who had run back, rushed towards them, seeing their suffering was over. The wounds caused by the Dark Kings evil beings on each of them was healed as they came and they were happy for the first time in their life.

They saw another dim flash of lightning but the roll of thunder afterwards didn't sound for some time. They all looked up and saw the dark clouds were disappearing towards the west and the sky was clear. Pinpoints of stars gleamed down on them and a bright half moon shone down. In the east a red glow appeared, but it wasn't the unpleasant red glow they all had gotten used to, but the warm glow of sunrise.

Light moved across the land, showing for the first time the horror that the terrain had endured. It was completely black from ash and charcoal, but the sun shone on it and the Kur'hahsha blinked green light once, and, radiating from Aurora, green grass pushed through and trees grew green buds that opened out in leaves and flowers. The world had colour again.

A rumbling started behind them, coming from beneath the tower behind them. They turned while backing away from it, as the bricks fell and the tower was left in ruins and grass grew over them, making it look like the remains of some old castle from hundreds of years before.

Aurora then remembered the maze, and Mourûn and Mamoru trapped in it. She started to run towards it, seeing the large gate with the red globe above. Trinoh'har ran after her, then all the rest followed.

Standing below the gate, she held out the Kur'hahsha. It let out a blue shaft of light aimed at the Death Globe. It shattered and the walls around it fell like the tower had before. Mourûn and Mamoru, seeing the way out safe, ran to join the overjoyed party that stood there. Mourûn ran straight to his mother and they hugged, both glad to be rejoined.

Aurora watched as the maze, that she had found so many dangers in, was destroyed. Like dominos falling in a line, the parts of the walls tumbled. Now that she could see the distance, she saw that it wasn't actually that far. She started walking, planning on getting back to the cave before the end of the day and therefore completing her quest so she could wake up in her bed.

Behind her there was much rejoicing and high spirits as their outlawed lives where over and everything could return to peace and happiness.

Over the horizon they saw a great host of horses, ridden by many different Rea'dans, led by the King. They stopped in front of her and the King got off his horse and bowed before her. Aurora found this experience strange; to have a King treat her like she should be treating him. But he was saying, You have saved us, rescued us from such Evil as cannot be described. You have fulfilled the prophecy as was foreseen and brought back the Kur'hahsha to the deserving protectors. Come with us and we will take you to the city where you can see what we Rea'dans are truly like. There, there shall be a great gathering in your honour. A horse was brought forward and she mounted with great difficulty without dropping the Kur'hahsha.

The group now travelled to the west, with the sun warming their backs. As they neared, they saw white stones, covered in burn marks littered the ground. One white flash from the Kur'hahsha and the stones flew into the air. They reassembled the beautiful buildings that this city had once been famous for. High turrets with gold tiled roofs upon tall white clean walls rose above them, and Aurora was dumbfounded and speechless with the magnificence of it all. Comparing these to the cathedrals of our Earth, our buildings were vulgar and insipid, covered in tasteless designs, while these had the most beautiful paintings up some of the walls. They showed all the mythological creatures that here existed, unicorns and flying horses, fauns and mermaids, elves and trolls, giants and dragons and many more beautiful and dangerous creatures she had never seen.

They all dismounted and were taken into a great hall, where a glowing fire already was lit to provide warmth during the night and to give light for the festivity that was about to take place. But first a feast was prepared. Aurora placed the Kur'hahsha onto its own pedestal in the centre of the room where it could be seen by all; the object that saved them from vanishing completely.

For the first time in nights, Aurora was able to eat until her heart was content. There were plenty of fruits and meats and other delicious meals. Then the table was cleared and music started to play. She saw Surash and Dashid and they came over to see her and give their thanks. Later, Mourûn came over and danced with Aurora until she couldn't stand any more and had to sit on one of the chairs around the room. It was all too much for her. She felt her eyelids drop and her head fall onto her chest as she drifted off into a pleasant sleep.

She woke in her own bed in her own home in her own world. There would be no more dangers to face. She was safe in the real world. She was safe! There was nothing to worry about any more, nothing apart from getting homework in on time and passing her exams, all of which sounded trivial compared to what she had been through. She decided that she could cope with anything.

She got up, ready to face whatever life through at her.

As I've been saying throughout this: I would really like constructive critisism, plot ideas and suggestions, etc. Also, I am thinking of doing a sequel to this. Would like to know if it would be worth it. So let me know. Okay so it may not be written for quite a while since I have other stories to do as well but I need to know. Well, anyway, I hope you liked it, and let me know what you think.