Chapter 23: God Knows

The morning came, as Justyen and Steviad entered into the Qeynos Hills. The hills were close by Surefall Glades, which was to the north, and to the south was the town of Qeynos, a human town. The skies were cloudy, the wind was cool and crisp, they felt the morning dew on the grass on their feet as Justyen and Steviad walked up a hill next to the trail that lead back to Karana. Looking out to the grassy hills, they could see rats running about and snakes slithering through the wet grass. It was such a beautiful morning, it was the perfect time just to take a break and have some fun for once.

Justyen frolicked through the grassy hills, spinning and jumping around, his wings mimicking his movements through the wind. Steviad sat on the hill and just watched, and smiled at his beloved feeling happy and free. It suddenly began to snow, tiny snowflakes gently caressed Steviad's face, as he felt a chill go down his spine, it felt nice. Justyen continued to dance in the snow, his hands creating cold magic and absorbing the flakes of snow. His whole body became cold, filled with the energy of the snow. It just felt so amazing to him, being out in his element, his love watching him and being outside in nature, he didn't want this moment to end. It was like the Gods knew exactly what Justyen wanted...

Just then, something horrific was heard on the other side of a hill close by. The sounds of banging metal, grumbling and growling echoes Qeynos Hills. Justyen stopped dancing, then flew across the hill, as Steviad followed after him, racing across the snowy, grassy hills. "What's happened?" Steviad asked. At the bottom of the hill was a bunch of gnolls beating against this strange creature made out of metal. They carried torches and continues to smack against the creatures metal spine and back, it was hunched over making itself look like a metal rock.

"Hey!" Justyen shouted. The gnolls took notice and went after him, there were about three of them. "What are they doing?" Steviad said, beginning to summon his Pendril's Animated sword and shield. "I don't know, but let's get rid of these things." Justyen said, casting a Blast of Cold spell. He knocks back the closest gnoll with cold energy, as Steviad's animated weapons attack the next one, it's sword flying through the air and hitting the torch out of the gnolls hand. Another gnoll runs up to Steviad, wielding a torch over it's head ready to attack. Steviad readies another spell, casting a shallow breath spell on it. The gnoll keels over in front of his, gasping for air, then eventually dies from loss of breath. Justyen races to the first gnoll he knocked over, then finishes it with another good blast of cold magic, it lies still cold and lifeless. Steviad's animation slashes and blocks the final gnoll's attacks, then kills it with one stab to the heart...

The snow began to pick up, they were standing outside the gnoll's den now, Blackburrow. Justyen knelt down next to the metal creature that was being beat on. It was made out of iron metal, rounded spikes go down it's spine, black spots aligned down it's back. Steviad comes up to them, noticing indents in the creatures metal armor from the gnolls. "What is it?" He asked. Justyen strokes his fingers along it's metal back and through the indent wounds. "I'm not sure... it's completely made of iron metal." He said. The creatures stirs, then looks up at Justyen. It had blue eyes and one fang on the bottom of it's mouth. It looked to be in some pain. "Steviad, the pyramid." Maybe the pyramid could heal this creature he thought. Steviad took it out and gave it to Justyen. He held it over the iron beast, as it began to glow bright pink, radiating healing energy over it's wounds and dents. Steviad watched in awe as their magical object did it's work, surrounding it with blinding bright color. Justyen began to tear, as he felt the energy flow through them both and all around the area. The dents became smooth, and the cracks melded back together, like from a welding torch. The iron beast was now healed completely...

The iron armored beast was known as a Lairon, which was not known to be in this world at all, just like Parasect. Steviad decided to take the iron beast as his own. His Pendril's Animation mounted itself on Lairon's back as a deadly weapon. They were going to storm Blackburrow and take revenge on the gnolls for what they did to him. Justyen looked to the snowy sky, then to Steviad. "Everfrost must be through Blackburrow... are you sure we can do this?" He said. "Yes, the gnolls will pay for this, I can't stand seeing animals get hurt." Steviad stated. Justyen just nodded, anxious to get into Blackburrow and hunt down a few gnolls on their way to Everfrost...

The hunt was on, Lairon charged into Blackburrow, the animated sword and shield on his back ploughed through a few gnolls that were guarding the entrance. Justyen slows down any gnolls that were getting away or running at them with his ice magic, as Steviad uses his shallow breath spell on any other wandering gnolls in the way. They had to act fast, as there were so many gnolls and their mana was running out. They were in the outside part of Blackburrow, an open area looking up at the sky, with other den passages around. In the middle was a waterfall that led down a pit to the deepest part of the den. Snow was coming in from the top, making rocky parts on the ground, wet and slippery. The exit to Everfrost wasn't that far, it was just through the armory just right of the pit...

Lairon charged through many gnolls entering the armory, bashing his iron head against the gnolls legs, while the sword slashed at their torsos. Steviad ran after him, followed by Justyen, into the armory, then into a tunnel on the other end. Corpses of gnolls littered this floor of the den, their blood seeping down into the pit, surely the other gnolls below would sniff them out. They stayed low in the tunnels that led to Everfrost, then slowly crept through, watching for any other gnolls guarding this exit of the den. "Looks like we made it through." Steviad said, taking a seat on a large rock. "Yup." Justyen said, coming up to Steviad and placing his hands on his shoulders. He smiled, then sat on Steviad's lap, coming into his embrace."I love you..." Justyen said, fiddling with Steviad's robe. Steviad just held him close, as they rested for the long adventure ahead through Everfrost Peaks. The final tome was just ahead, somewhere in the snowy tundra...