Dangerous and long, is the Road to Askabet, especially for the nine year old Mianda. But with the help of a rat named Boomer, a centaur named Firehoofs and a dragon named Mew, Mianda eventually gets there, but, is that the end of her journey? Or ist that just the beginning? She has a strong enemy who wishes to get hold of her because she possesses something that belongs to him and he wants it back, no matter what it should cost.
.by Brigitte Stotzka
In the beginning:
The long night was continuing. Heavy clouds swept over the dark skies bringing rain and storm. A tall
man, travelling alone, made his way through the night sitting proudly on his white horse. He pulled
the hood deeper down to protect his face from the cold. In the distance he could barely see the lights
of Bendrill. Shortly before he reached the outskirts of the town, he pulled the reins to stop the
animal, climbed down because from here he had to go on foot. So he left the animal under the
shelter of some trees with wide leafy branches. “Take care my old friend. Be back a soon as I can”
He then made his way into town and entered an Inn he had seen in the distance. He looked around
but the streets were empty. He entered the Inn, glanced around, seemed to be satisfied with what
he saw and made his way to a table at the back wall. Two scruffy looking men, sitting at a table,
talking about anything that came to mind, mostly they just stared into their drinks.
The traveler motioned the Innkeeper to bring him something to drink to ask him if he had anything to eat.
“Not much at this time of night” answered the man with a slightly sour look on his face “Just a bit of meat and some bread”
“Bread will do, thank you” He didn’t want to think from where the meat came from. Meat was
difficult to come by since the darkness had set in, and cats and dogs had become just as rare as cattle or sheep.
The traveler had just finished eating his meal when two more men entered the Inn. The Innkeeper
looked somewhat surprised and annoyed at having so many guests at this time of night. The men
shook their heads after they were asked what they wanted to drink and made their way toward the traveler.
Glad to have found their friend, they pulled up some chairs and sat down.
“Gregorian” greeted the taller of the two.
Gregorian nodded graciously. “Alderan. Did you get it?”
“Yes”. The smaller of the two answered with a satisfied tone in his voice. “Here it is”. He reached
under his cape and pulled a long slim object wrapped in linen. Gregorian took hold of it, took a quick look what was inside, seemed satisfied and hid it under his cape. “Wonderful” he exclaimed. “Now, nothing can go wrong.”
Alderan, who had given Gregorian the package, asked slightly uncertain “Are you certain that this is the place? And this is the right night?”
“Yes. Tonight’s the night. And we have to get to him before he completes his plan” answered
Gregorian “If we don’t manage to stop him this night, well, I really don’t think I have to explain what comes next.”
They spoke quietly because they knew that walls could have ears. “Jan?” asked Gregorian “You do have the other item we need”
“Certainly” and Jan patted a lump under his cape. “Safe under here”
The three men sat in silence the next few minutes, each sunk deep in thought. Then Alderan looked
at his companions and declared victoriously “We came this far and I know we can go the rest as well.”
Jan nodded his head and answered with a deep voice “Then let’s go. What are we waiting for?”
Gregorian took some coins out of his pocket and paid for the meal.
The men then left the Inn and after pulling their hoods deeper over their heads, they made their way
along the dark and lonely street. They moved quickly and quietly down the long dark street. There
were no street lights and no one dared leave a light burning in their houses.
Finally they reached the ruins of a large castle. All that was left of this once magnificent building was a heap of stones and ashes.
“We should spread out, that way we have more chances of finding the entrance.” Suggested Alderan
quietly. They then spread out, picking their way through the rubble, rolling heavy stones and charred
wood, searching for something hidden beneath. Then, after removing a heap of stones he found it.
Alderan whistled softly and called out “I found it”
Gregorian and Jan dropped everything and quickly made their way to where Alderan was standing.
He then bent down and opened a wooden trapdoor leading down into a dark tunnel in which they could barely make out a wooden ladder.
Gregorian climbed down first, closely followed by Alderan and then Jan.
“Light” muttered Gregorian. And seemingly out of now where, a light appeared and they found themselves in a long corridor which led to a single door which was closed.
“Wait a second; let me look first if all is clear.” Gregorian carefully opened the door and looked inside before slipping inside.
Once inside he listened carefully before lighting up the room. He couldn´t hear anything so he called out softly “Light” and the room became visible. It was quite large with an altar standing in the center of it. Under the light the altar glowed slightly silver and a single unlit candle stood on it.
Gregorian went back to the door, opened it and softly called out his two friends should also enter the room. Gregorian called out softly and said
“Out!” and the tunnel sunk in darkness. Alderan motioned to Jan to give him what he held hidden under his cape. Alderan pulled out a small silver chest, delicately engraved with delicate letters. Gregorian placed it in a corner of the room.
“Gregorian?” Whispered Alderan. “Are you certain we are right here?”
Gregorian nodded and said in a whisper. “Yes I’m sure”.
“Now we wait?” Asked Jan.
“Yes,” Answered Gregorian “Now we wait.”
“Out” Called out Gregorian and once again it was dark.
After a short wait, the door opened and a small dark clothed man stepped in. He held a candle in his hand which sparsely lit the dark room.
Gregorian could see through the invisible curtain he had conjured up to hide them. Then, the door opened once again and another man walked into the room. It was Baltevius, a tall man with long black hair. His face, once a good looking man, made hideous by a long scar, beginning above his eye, running down his face to his mouth and there continuing under his chin.
His dark eyes began searching the room.
“Leave” He ordered the man behind the altar.
“But I’m not…” stammered the man astonished. But Baltevius interrupted him and repeated himself “Leave, now.”
The man bowed and left.
Baltevius then made his way to the altar and laughed quite amused “Do come out, my dear friend Gregorian. I know you´re here”
Gregorian put his finger to his lips to say not a sound and stepped out from behind the curtain.
“Yes, I could smell that you were here” remarked Baltevius “I had awaited you earlier, I wish to welcome to my humble abode”
“Sorry, I couldn’t come any earlier” Answered Gregorian in a friendly way “I had so many other extremely important appointments”
Then, Gregorian pulled the hood from his head and walked slowly toward the Altar. His blue eyes gleaming with determination.
“What can I do for you?” asked Baltevius “Oh, and by the way, your friends may come out as well. We´re not in a kinder garden you know!”
Alderan and Jan stepped out from behind the invisible curtain. Baltevius nodded slightly his head in greeting.
“I suppose you know why we are here?” Gregorian nodding his head towards his friends, and then back to Baltevius. “Your days of spreading chaos are over. So, I suggest you give up and we could be on our way home”
“Oh, really?” Answered the arrogant man “And how are you going to do that? Have you left your army outside? I can’t hear them.”Then Baltevius nodded and then said quite graciously “Go away and I just might forget that you were here.”
“Oh, don’t underestimate me. That is your problem you know. You just don’t know when to give up, my friend” Gregorian went on “Oh by the way; I have something here for you.” Chuckling delightedly “You’ll just love it, I’m sure of that”
He took the long in linen wrapped item and held it up for Baltevius to see.
“It took a while but I eventually found it. Well, a friend of mine did, and he was so kind as to give it to me. Do you want to see it?” asked Gregorian Baltevius
“You know how I hate surprises.” Sighed Baltevius pretending to be totally bored. “Please, go ahead”
With that, Gregorian tore the linen covering off the object threw it onto the floor revealing a long silver sword, it too engraved with the same strange markings.
“Do you know what this is?” Asked Gregorian “It’s, as you can see a sword, but,” pausing dramatically “it’s not just any sword you must know, it was made many hundred years ago and I must say, incredible workmanship. But then, somewhere along the line it got lost. But, thanks to my good friends, it was found again.”
And then, watching Baltevius carefully “What do you think of it? I bought it here just for you old friend”
“I don’t suppose you will let me take a closer look would you?” asked Baltevius with an evil grin on his face.
Gregorian lifted the sword over his head, held it with both hands and asked “Certainly, why not? Come on over and I will show it to you”
The man stared at the sword and laughed. He could see no threat here.
“Then show it to me” he urged, his eyes gleaming with hatred. “Show me what it can do”
Suddenly he cried out loud “To me” and it seemed as if the walls were coming to life. Insects of all kinds began crawling out of the cracks, growing in size. They shoved and pushed each other and one
after they began filling the room with their presence and a horrible stench.
Alderan and Jan pulled out their own swords preparing themselves for a fight. They stood together building a triangle. They fought hard against giant scorpions with long tail with poisonous sting at its end. They had to be quick not to be stung by it and giant ants spitting their poison. Luckily the three were able to defeat most of them without greater damage to themselves.
Then, after most of the insects had been destroyed Gregorian cried out “Vanish” and a brilliant white light, filled the room. After the light das disappeared the insects had vanished leaving Baltevius standing alone.
Baltevius noted this and for the first time this day a strong feeling of fear. “No” he thought “This can’t be.”
Suddenly, it was as if the sword had discovered its purpose in life and a loud cry escaped Gregorian as the sword in his hand began to vibrate. It lifted him up in the air, and it became hot to touch forcing him to let go. The sword took on a horizontal position and began to rotate, getting faster and faster until it seemed only to be one object. A strong wind, forcing Baltevius off his feet, slowly causing him to spin like a top, lifting him up into the air carrying him closer and closer to the small chest. He began dispersing in midair, and he began screaming in anger.
Then, after recognizing his defeat he cried in a loud and menacing voice “You may have won this time. But, hear my words, I will be back. When you least expect it, I will be back, and I will be stronger than ever before. You don’t think this will hold me forever do you?” He cried out filled with anger and hate “When you least expect it, I will be back. And this time I will win.”
The hateful and menacing words were choked off as the chest closed. The sword fell on to the floor to Gregorian´s feet, and, breathing heavy, he walked over to the chest to pick it up. He then gave it to Alderan and asked him to take it to hide it so no one would be able to find it.
Then he picked up the sword and walked over to Jan. “Take this sword and put it back to where you found it. We might need it again”
“Let us leave this place and hope never to see it again”
The three men left the room, walked down the corridor, climbed up the steps and left this dreadful place. A soft breeze stroked their faces and they all breathed deeply to smell the fresh air. The sun was setting, throwing first rays of light over the tortured country side, bringing with it the long awaited warmth.
Alderan put his hand on Gregorian’s shoulder and asked him “Will he be back?”
Gregorian looked at him for a moment before answering. “I´m sure he will.”