After taking the prisoners to the jail, Alistair returned to the king's throne room to await his orders. Standing in silence for three minutes the suspense became too much for the worried warrior.
"Sire, what are my new orders to be?" His voice was quavering a little but strong nevertheless.
"How long have you been apart of my army Alistair?" The King asked keeping his eyes fixed on the amulet he held in his hands.
"Sixteen years, sir."
"And in that time, how many times have you failed me?"
"Once, sir." His reply was sorrowful as he knew what the following statement would be.
"Yes, and that is one time too many. Guards take him away and place him in prison. There he will stay for all eternity." The King waved his hand and Alistair was taken from the room without the slightest inkling to form a protest.
Throughout the previous conversation, the King had not once looked up from the amulet, he was transfixed by it. The gold and silver felt warm in his hand, calling him to it. He could feel the power from within the amulet pulsing through him, making him feel invincible. Slowly he traced the contours with his fingers and the trail he left began to glow a bright red. His eyes widened and reflected the red of the talisman.
Suddenly the amulet lifted itself from the King's heavy grasp, and rose steadily to just above his eyes. Light exploded out from the amulet forcing the king to shield his eyes from the force of brightness.
After what seemed like hours the amulet began to fall, all the light which had once resided in the charm was lost to the forces of darkness and the King's hidden agenda.
As the amulet finally landed home in the king's hands, he noticed that it was heavier, and the stunning silver and polished gold had been turned to the darkest black he had ever seen. He realised that it was even darker then the darkest ebony wood. The rosebud had become that of a wilted old rose, and the once blunt golden thorns were now razor sharp and the blackest he had ever seen, vines now criss-crossing the strangled flower.
He stared at the withered rose and noticed that it was slowly changing from the dark black to the colour of hatred filled crimson. After a few minutes since the start of the transformation, the rose was now a rich, deep blood red.
The stone which had once radiated with the shear power of the charm now seemed at a constant state of war with itself. Colours raced. Powerful blues fought demonic reds, yellows against browns, silver against black. The soul of the amulet was torturing itself, causing the pain. Then the transformation was complete.
No longer did it welcome those of great power to its appealing splendour, but repulsed all who had a soul. Now it called to the dead, the tortured beings of the darkness.
To the king's amazement the candles in the room suddenly blew themselves out but yet there was no hint of a breath of wind. Turning to gaze at the fire he noticed that the blaze was quickly dying and becoming glowing embers. This shocked him as there was still a large amount of wood in the fireplace which, but moments before was being stripped of its fuel.
Fear etched its way into his sturdy heart, and his eyes took no attempt to hide his fear.
Sitting alone in the dark room he called out to Siial. To his astonishment the small man didn't come. Believing he didn't hear the call, the king called to him once more.
"Be silent fool!" Hissed a deep menacing voice, "Why have you awoken us?"
"W-What are you talking about?" The king stammered while hurriedly looking around him to find the source of the voice.
"Don't play dumb with us child." The second voice was much higher pitched, and the king believed that it must be that of a female.
"You have called for the aid of us and now we wish to know why before we unleash our pets upon your world." The first, by what the king could tell, was a determined sort and didn't like his time being wasted.
"I have read," began the king, searching for the correct words, "I have read that there was a race of beings who possessed great magic, and that this power was contained in the simple object of an amulet like the one I hold now. It is said that a war came between these beings and many was destroyed along with the amulets which held their power.
"Finally the war came to an end with only two of these being left, the rest had been destroyed. The two made a pact that the killing would stop. They were foolish and trusted one another only to be betrayed eventually by the pleasures of the flesh."
"Yes we know the stories, imbecile, but what is your point?" The first speaker retorted angrily.
"I ask that you help me to destroy all those who oppose me, I need your help to win my battles, my wars. Will you help me with that? You see, as now that my small enemies are locked behind bars, all I need now is to extend my empire and become a greater king then my father had ever dreamed." A smile crossed the king's face as he revelled with the conviction of the words.
There was an extended silence as the two comers contemplated their answer to his request. After minutes they finally answered his question. Three wisps of smoke grew from the floor in front of the king and slowly their forms began to take shape. First they formed the demonic creatures that they were, and then finally, they took the shape of a human.
"We thought that this form would be more 'appealing' to you." The second apparition stated.
"Now, king, you have called for our aid and we are going to allow for it to begin. But my lord, bear the following in mind. We do not aid you for your intentions but that of our own. We are in charge; you are merely aiding us in our endeavour to be free." The first being spoke, its voice now soft and spoken with a hint of satisfaction.
The king looked over the three beings in front of him. They were varying in heights and widths. He looked at the first speaker and ran his eyes along his body. The man was as white as the marble in the king's bathroom and his eyes held a red look. Tears and rips laced his once great garments, covered in mud and dirt that the original colour was lost to the ages. Balding at the front and back of his head, grey hair covered liver spots and rancid scars.
The second was quite different to the former with a radiant beauty. Her skin seemed to be soft and made of silk. Light-brown hair flowed over her subtle shoulders. Considerably shorter then her counterparts, her body was slight as if a slight breeze would break her. A powerful smile drew across her face as she realised the king was looking at her, bearing her bright, gleaming white teeth. Staring into her dark crimson eyes, he lost himself in a world of happiness and ecstasy.
Finding himself far too reluctant to drag his eyes from her beauty, the King transferred his gaze to the third, silent figure. Cloaked in a robe darker then night, the hood over his head, the king wondered why this third, and final, being was cloaked in such a way. Gawking into the hood of the figure, he noticed two, sharp red coals. Staring into them, he saw them switch to return the glare. Feeling cold settling about him, fear shot into him heart again. Unable to remove his eyes from the figure, he could feel his soul being drawn out of him through his eyes.
Hearing the handle of the door turn and click, he felt the haunted clutch on his soul suddenly release.
Disappearing just as they came, the king found himself alone once again in the room. Light returned to the candles and the fire raged just as though it had never died. Feeling the fear leave him, the king slumped back down on the throne, the amulet still tightly clutched in his hands.
Slowly the door opened and Jasmine's head appeared at the opening. Smiling, she looked over to him before opening the door completely and walking through. Shutting the door behind her, Jasmine walked over to her fiancé and placed her hands on his thighs.
"What's wrong honey? You seem bothered by something. Can I help you with whatever it is?" He looked into her eyes and succumbed to their power no longer feeling guilty for his lapse in loyalty to her just moments before. Taking her hands in his own her held them to his chest.
"As much as it pains me to do this, my dear, I cannot tell you what bothers me. It would place you in too greater danger and there is nothing more in the world that I want then to see you safe from all dangers. Now, my dear, please do not burden yourself with the affairs of myself and my council. When the time comes and I know you will be ready for what concerns me, then I will let you know, but only then. Do you understand?"
"Yes Stew, I do, but I really don't want to have to."
"I know sweetie, but you have to, simple as that. Now let's go and feast for tomorrow we wed." Placing his hand around her waist, they walked from the room, overjoyed at the prospect that their wedding was just tomorrow. Slowly the amulet teetered on the edge of the throne to finally fall and come to rest on the cold, stony floor.
Swirling mist appeared in the room before the three beings appeared once more.
"How could he leave us here like that?" The first spoke, much irritation in his words.
"Oh come off it, Harik, I remember some time ago when you were just like him, fawning over all of the girls in the Valley." The female stated.
"I-I was different back then, less mature. Just because I wasn't one to devote myself to you, Ventrera." As the words hit home with their desired effect, he took the time to smile before copping a hand to his face. "Gee, what was that for?"
"Oh you know the usual, being an arsehole like you are."
"Arsehole? Me? No, no, no, I believe that you are mistaken Ven."
"Oh, don't flatter yourself Harik. You never took the time to even say hello to me when we were alive, the only difference now is that you are bound with Furtric and I inside the amulet's hold."
"You think that I never said hello to you?! I said it plenty of times. What makes you think that I didn't?"
"Ah, maybe just the undeniable fact that you didn't. Ok, just don't start, ok. I know how you used to be around me. Everyone else got a piece of the 'Hary Magic', yeah, everyone 'cept me. Ok, so just don't act like you care about me because you never did." A solitary tear traced its way down her delicate face to eventually land on the floor, burning a small hole in the marble as it landed.
"Silence." Furtric settled his voice a booming giant, deeper then the sound of thunder. "I grow tired of these futile arguments. We have a job to do, you both know what it is, and we must do it. As soon as he returns it starts. His stupid reason for wanting to utilise our powers is feeble to be kind. Too long have I waited to seek my revenge on Tiaclin for what he did to us, now he must pay. And what better way then with the death of the last people he cares about. His son Willem has already passed through into our world, and now we just need to destroy his final legacy, his daughter Summa. Then and only then, will we be free.
"That fool of a king thinks that we are going to help him in his plight to rule supreme, but no my fellow people, he is merely a pawn, just in the right place for my plan to work." Though the others couldn't see, a maniacal smirk crossed the cloaked figures distorted face.
Once again the room grew cold, and the candles blew out, the fire died completely and the three beings surrendered to their place, inside the heart of the amulet.
Struggling against the guards which restrained him, Alistair braced himself against the prison door as he was forced into a cell by six burly men. After a few minutes of pushing, pulling and fighting, Alistair's old body gave away under the pressure the men were applying. Crashing onto the floor, the door was closed and Alistair began to rise slowly and under incredible pain.
Placing his hands on the wooden bed hanging from bars on the left of the cell, he raised himself to his knees. His eyes were swollen and blue, cuts below his eyes were bleeding freely and black bruises covered his barely covered body.
Rolling onto the bed painfully, he stared at the ceiling as best he could. Hearing the scurry of a mouse to his right he looked around the cell. Chains and bones lined the small room, and blood splatters created a mosaic on the cold, grey slate floor. Audible were the cries of torture victims and those wrongfully accused. Managing to roll to his left he was greeted with the face of a prisoner. With is heart missing a beat he stood awkwardly and stumbled from the makeshift bed. Taking a second look at the prisoner he became suddenly thankful. It was Garborne.
Unsure of whether he was intentionally placed near him or not, he was grateful that he was either way. Rushing as quickly as his injured body allowed, he returned to the bed and smiled at the former soldier.
"Garborne am I ever glad to see you." He was amazed at the clearness with which the words came out.
"Shh! Summa is still not well and Purnell needs silence to heal her." Worry etched in his hurried words. Turning his head to face Summa's limp body, Garborne stared at her. Since the first time that he saw her in the clearing, he had been instantly in love with her. Her skin was like silk to the sight and he could only imagine what it was like to touch. Letting his eyes dance over her body, he took in all her majesty for the first real time. Her waist was delicate and complimented the rest of her body. Letting his eyes wander from her thighs, they made their way, slowly up her body, eventually stopping at her breasts. They appeared to be perfect, round and not too big. His thoughts ran as he stared at her and blood rushed to his groin. Avoiding an incident, he lay on his side, curling up into a ball and pretended to be asleep. His plan didn't quite work as a few minutes after he closed his eyes, he fell into a deep slumber.
Looking around her, Summa was confused of her new surroundings. She remembered being helped into a prison cell, not in the middle of a frozen wonderland. Somewhere to her left a wolf howled in the frozen lands. New snow covered the ground beneath her bare feet sending shivers up her body. Turning to look at the space behind her, she spied a small hut. Dashing across the open valley, she reached the hut quicker then she thought she would.
Upon reaching the safety of the hut, she pushed the rotten door open and stepped inside. Warmth rushed at her, welcoming her instantly to the hearth.
Hanging above the fireplace were two crossbows and a longbow displaying their intricate designs. She noticed that they reminded her amazingly of Willem's work.
Walking towards the bows she drew her fingers over the ridges and valleys of the wood, tracing every detail. So absorbed in the works of art, she failed to notice the person stirring in the back of the hut.
"Welcome Summa." Turning suddenly, she looked into the gloom of the hut. Noticing an outline she pulsed instinctively towards it, as though she had always done. As she neared the figure, she heart began to beat faster like she was frightened.
"Are you afraid?"
Slowly the figure began to walk towards her and soon enough she realised who it was she had gravitated to, her father.
His cloaked appearance which she had previously seen was now uncloaked and he was draped in a vibrant silver silk and gold threaded garb. She noticed that his skin was a deep, rich brown much darker then her own, and as the garb didn't cover his arms, she could see all of the muscles that lined the bones of his arms. Impressive she thought. She stared at his face for moments and saw where her features came from, yet there was a difference between them as he had an incredible emerald green shade to his eyes.
"Father?" She questioned even though she already knew the answer. She saw him nod and she ran towards him with her arms outstretched. They embraced for the first time and as he held her, he felt her begin to breathe sharper, and he could hear muffled sobs. Holding her tighter, he began to calm her with his words, and soon enough, she broke from the embrace to look into her father's eyes.
"It's been so long since I have truly looked upon you my dear, you have become such a beautiful young woman from the little girl I remember. You are the spitting image of your mother. She was just as beautiful as you, but now, it's been a long time since I last held you like that. Do you remember the day I came to you and comforted your fears?"
"No I don't." Her cheeks were glistening with her tears, her eyes red and cheeks flushed.
"Ah well, it sounds like we have a great story on our hands, come, sit by the fire and warm your body, I will get you a blanket." Sitting her down he walked to the bed in the corner of the room and pulled the blanket from the bed and proceeded to wrap it around her frozen body. Shivering from the cold, her lips were blue and she had pulled her legs up and held them close to her to keep her body warmth near her.
They talked long into the night, the fire transfixing their gazes and her father's words filling Summa's ears. Outside the old hut new snow began to make it's descend to the rocky ground and cover it for another day of winter.
Entering his chamber the king lead his fiancé into the room, the fire was burning silently and to them even the noise of the streets below the window were gone and nothing existed apart from them. He turned to face her and looked deep into her eyes and in that single moment between them, nothing could have broken the bond they felt. With a single look they could have moved the mountains together and not even moved a muscle.
Brushing her hair away from her face with his hand, the king bent to kiss her. As soon as their lips met, the clouds outside parted and the light from the moon and stars shone through into the window, sending dancing shadows of the lovers to the walls behind them.
Drawing back from their embrace the king looked upon his queen-to-be and sighed. From the first time he had seen her walk into the baths so many weeks ago he had been taken aback by her beauty, he wasn't expecting such attractiveness in a maid. Yet she had proved him wrong and that is why he loved her. She calmed his soul and there weren't many people who could do that.
"I love you so much Jas, I don't know what I did without you."
"Shh, I know." Placing her finger on his lips she reached down to the knot on her shawl, tugging on it and letting the garb fall to the floor with the slightest of ease. Gazing upon the naked body of his fiancé the king was memorised. He couldn't wait for their wedding to have all of her and bending be lifted her from the ground and carried her to their bed while locked in a passion filled kiss. Sliding out of his leggings as his fiancé tugged off his shirt Stewart lay naked above her, frozen in these positions for minutes as they gazed into each other's eyes. Kissing her gently he began their new adventure together, and on that one night they moved the earth, and the heavens through the one act of destined love.
Awakening from her sleep Summa looked around her to find her father sitting at the large oak table in the back of the hut. The fire had been rekindled as there were a few new branches in the flames. Noticing that there was a bundle of clothes beside her she quickly dressed and casually began to wander towards her father but it wasn't too long before she heard his deep voice low and secretive. Halting her advance she stood still and soon heard another voice, and this one was familiar yet she couldn't put a face to the voice. Crouching behind a piece of furniture, Summa strained the limits of her ears as far as they could go in an attempt to hear the conversation between the two people.
Before she began to concentrate she heard several distinct words as they were repeated several times. Words like 'forbidden' and 'mustn't be allowed' were heard by Summa and she wanted to hear more of the conversation. As stealthy as she could, she crawled closer to the people and from then on their conversation was no longer private.
"Tiaclin you must listen to me, please, the amulet has be awakened and Furtric is more determined then ever to seek revenge upon you, if he knew that I was warning you about him, I can only dread and imagine what he could do to me. His powers have grown since you last saw him, Tia."
"Ven, I cannot allow her to leave, it is too dangerous, especially now that Furtric is free. Nevertheless, you must go now it isn't safe with you here, your spirit trail could lead him right to us. Please go, I will seek you out soon."
Summa saw a light flash before she realised that her father was standing next to her.
"Now, usually I fillet those who I catch eavesdropping, but I'll make an exception for you, come here." Clasping her hand he led her to the table and sat her down.
"Father who was that woman you were speaking with?"
"That is not possible, my mother died when I was young, that person cannot be her."
"The mother we placed for you on this planet was the woman who died when you were younger, Ven, she is your real mother. Summa you are the last living descendent of the sacred race of people who were the creators and protectors of the amulet, which the King now has control over. Furtric has attempted to control the amulet since the day it was forged, and now that evil controls the amulet, his wish has been granted. I just hope that your mother and I can stop him before terrible things begin happening in your world."
"Is she with him? Is she protecting us from him father?"
"Yes, I had tried to convince her otherwise but she was adamant that she would continue to protect over the amulet even if it meant that she risked everything for you, and your brother."
"Why would she do that?"
"You even have to ask? It's because she loved you and could see having either of you die. The longer you stay here, the harder it is for her to throw Furtric off your trail and mine. That is why I have called for Purnell to take you back."
"Father no, you haven't taught me everything I need to know. Please, let me stay."
"No Summa, I don't want to argue over this. I have taught you things that I must for you to continue your training with Purnell."
There was a knock at the door and as it opened Summa saw Purnell's cheery face appear through the opening.
"You could have chosen a better place to set up camp my friend."
"Now you know that I couldn't have Purnell," Turning from his friend to look upon his daughter he placed his hands on her shoulders and looked into her eyes, "know this Summa that you can call on me whenever you need to. Good luck. Purnell, take my daughter away to safety."
"Come along Summa, Corey and Garborne are worried, and your vitals are fading fast. We must get you back to your body.
"Take good care of her Purnell, the fate of your world rests in her hands, make sure she is safe at all times. If anything happened to her, I fear what would come of it."
"Have no worries Tiaclin; I will die for her and her cause, this you know."
"Yes, but you will not be the only one who will lose their physical life in this war."
"Don't worry Tia, we will keep her safe, you just have to trust that we will. Farwell my friend, see you when this is all over."
"Yes Farwell, Purnell."
Tiaclin stood at the entrance of his hut and watched as his daughter wandered out of his life once more, this time though, it was under the watchful eye of Purnell. "Know this my friend; this war is far from over, as it has just barely begun."