End of Days: Rebirth VIII

The Light of Uther

I stood in the darkness not knowing where I was or how I got there. Then a freakishly large human appeared before me. He was old and had a great white beard, his face was hidden by the hood of his cloak. In his right hand, he held a great sword that was easily more than a foot longer than I was tall. Right as I was about to ask him where we were he spoke.

“It is not your time to die young Paladin.” Stated a powerful voice.

Then it hit me. I remembered the battle on the bridge and how the Orcish Captain had struck me down. I looked to see that my breastplate had a straight gash an inch below my clavicles, any higher and I could have lost my head to the Orc.

“Do you know who I am?” I asked the man.

“That is not for me to tell you at this point”. The man replied.

“No, not who I was, but who I am.” My voice echoed. “I am Cinredi, and I ride for the world!” I punctuated my point by thrusting my lance into the air. The man didn’t respond. Then a familiar burning sensation swept over my body as a white flame enveloped me.

Balfore the Swordsmen was standing over me, and as I sat up water and morsels of food forced itself out me and on to his feet. His embrace was overbearing as I was trying to cough the water out of my lungs. 

“Damn it boy, you had me scared for a second there. I thought we were going to lose you.” Balfore said as took a step back.

“You did.” I replied as I started to stand up. Haeys was walking towards us from the river. He stopped picked up my Breastplate and other parts of my armor that Balfore had tossed away to expose my chest so he could resituate me. I pressed my hand to the still bleeding wound. The pressure caused an intense burning that was quickly relieved as I opened a channel to the positive energy plane. The wound slowly began to clot and then scab over. The scab hardened turning a dark red color as the light from my hand flowed into my body. I could feel the muscles reconnecting beneath my flesh, and as they did the bruised tissue around the gash slowly yellowed and disappeared. The scab gave way to new flesh pink and calloused. As the light faded away the scar stayed behind. A mark of failure to remind me that I can’t be so careless. I’ve died twice now, at least to my brief memory. I have been lucky so far, but how many times can one person be spared? The others helped me back into my armor and I noticed that we were nowhere near the bridge. The river must have carried us a long way down on its seaward path. We made camp about an hour more downstream, we didn’t want to risk the Captain finding us while we slept. The night was silent as we sat in a circle in our fireless camp. It was if the whole world was waiting to see what we were going to do next. a cold wind blew in from the sea as I drifted into slumber. I never slept so well in my life. The warmth of the sun woke me the next morning and as I donned my armor I noticed that most of the pain in my chest was gone, and only a slight tightness was left behind. I approached the others who were putting away our supplies.

“I’m sorry guys, I let you down yesterday.” I said remorsefully. They all burst out in union saying that it wasn’t my fault, those were the Queen’s men. They were expertly trained and experienced in the way of war. 

“What would have happened if they got Alessisa? It would have been my fault. If I would have just thought out my moves better we could have taken them down” I argued. I felt like I was miles away from them with them standing right next to me.

“This isn’t the way to Skrayhorn.” Said an unfamiliar voice as an old cloaked man approached us. He kicked sand at Alessisa and then spat a small spark at her feet, causing her to jump back a few steps.

“What are you doing over here?” He asked.

Alessisa spoke out “Who are you? And why are you here?”

“I AM PENDOS, GOD-DRAGON OF WISDOM” Boomed the old man. A small gust of wind gusted past where we were standing causing all lose clothing and Alessisa’s hair to dance for a brief minute.

“You can turn into a human?” Haeys asked.

Pendos laughed in response. “Do you think I all ways go out as a giant all-powerful dragon? No, it is best that I remain inconspicuous.”

“Why are you here to see us?” Balfore asked.

“For the first time in many great years Uther, the God-Dragon of light reached into our plane to contact someone,”  Pendos said. “Have you told them of your vision yet Cinredi?”

They all looked to me. “I had thought about sharing it. There really wasn’t a good time.” I said. “When I died, I was in the dark and a large human told me it wasn’t my time to die. The same white flame that was in the vision we got when Morgul brought us back engulfed me and I was back by the river with Balfore.”

“It is not very often that my brother Uther intervenes in the affairs of this world, even before he left the material plane,” said Pendos.

“We need to find Morgul.” said Tahn.

“Cinredi, you should ride Arionix ahead with someone to Skrayhorn. That way you would be more likely to catch Morgul.” Balfore the Swordsmen suggested.

“I don’t think we should split up. What if something were to happen because we weren’t together? The Captain could have more men waiting to strike.” I pleaded.

“Cinredi, we need to find Morgul.” Alessisa said in a calm voice.

“So then it is settled, the boy will head to Skrayhorn.” Pendos declared. Knowing that I could not best the Dragon, even in his human form, I summoned Arionix and prepared to leave our campsite. Haeys fiddled with his compass and after a brief examination, the Elf appeared to be startled. He quickly put it away and turned to me as I finished the last of my packing.

“I’m coming with you.” he said. I was glad that someone had volunteered. I wasn’t quite ready to make such a long trip alone.

“Before you go I have something else to tell you,” Pendos said. “The Gods that your mortal races cling to are all creations of mine, they are not real and have no actual powers.” We all gazed at him in amazement. “I created them to give you mortals something to celebrate and gather around, but Akor has corrupted them and they now cause your races to fight and kill each other.”

“So your brother perverted your pantheon causing war and sorrow to take the place of the peace and prosperity you envisioned?” I asked as I thought about the Irony of a God getting taught a lesson for playing god. The great dragon said nothing in response. We then said our goodbyes and then headed back towards the small merchant village of Skrayhorn. The time flew by as we raced across the rolling plains that made up most of our journey. Arionix’s hooves made a dull thud on the soft dirt and grass as he galloped at an unearthly pace. Much to my annoyance, the speed caused the wind to whistle in the mail slots of my helm, dulling my abilities to perceive any oncoming dangers. Slowly the clouds that lazily drifted through the air went from the normal daisy white to that of the deep purple of lavender as the rose-red sun floated down towards the horizon. Haeys and I made our two-man camp as the last of the sun’s light slipped away. We sat around our dim glowing fire in silence. Haeys spent most of his time looking over his compass. He appeared to be elsewhere as he nervously prodded his ancient device.

“Is something the matter?” I asked. He shifted his gaze towards me at a rapid pace that made me think he was unaware that I was sitting on the other side of our meager fire.

“It’s pointing towards Skrayhorn.” he said as he put the bronze compass away.

Those were the only words that were said that night. My head was filled to the brim with questions. Why am I alive? Why Did Uther prevent my death on the bridge? Am I really that important? Was the flame that enveloped me and the others when Morgul brought us back the same flame that Uther used to save me? I had found myself doing something I can never remember doing before. I sat on my bedroll and I prayed. Not to the false deities that Pendos had created, but to the one true beacon of light and law in the universe. Uther God-Dragon of Light. If he was willing to help me twice before I couldn’t see why he wouldn’t want to protect his investment. After my prayer, I meditated on the day’s events and retired knowing that Haeys would keep a watchful eye as I rested. When I awoke the next morning Haeys was quietly making breakfast. We ate quickly and then we were back on our way to Skrayhorn. The day went by slowly despite the fact that we were speeding over the grasslands. I thought about the people that lived in Sovereign. We have only interacted with a small handful of its inhabitants, and those we have seen are either Involved with the Queen or against her. I had to get a better feel of what the citizens wanted their country to be after we defeated the Queen and her lackeys. To say that that was the worst of their problems was a gross understatement considering that Akor was planning on ending the world altogether. So much weight is on our shoulders, and if we make even one mistake hundreds could die.

Once Skrayhorn was in sight I slowed Arionix to a trot and we entered the village. I wondered how the others were doing and how there travels fared. Haeys and I had to be at least a day ahead of them. We dismounted Arionix and I dismissed him back to his home plane. A sight that made some of the more merry customers outside the Blonde jump in astonishment. We then entered the bar to see it was a fairly busy night for Ylloh and Remba. Haeys immediately sat down at the bar and started drinking as if he didn’t have much time to available to him. I on the other hand was on a mission. The whole reason we had returned to Skrayhorn was to find Morgul and Morgan, The Swordsmen’s youngest son. If anyone knew where they were it was Ylloh, that’s one thing I knew for sure. By the time I was halfway to the corner table she met most of her more important guests Haeys was already hastily finishing his second drink. I plopped down at the table with her and Rapheil and they both seemed to be shocked by my presence.

“Is Morgul still in town?” I asked.

With a perplexed look on her face, Ylloh responded “how did you know he was in town?”

“A Dragon told us” I replied, “Along with a few other things.” I looked at Rapheil. “Alessisa has learned quite a bit about her past as well. She is probably going to come to find you when the others get into town.” I looked back to Ylloh “So where is Morgul?”

“He’s at the lumber yard I believe,” Ylloh said. At that, I left the table and ran out of the blonde. I had so much information to discuss with the Necromancer that brought our group back to life. As I ran through the streets the clanking of my armor echoed of the wooden buildings. I barged into the office of the lumberyard to see a young Human, maybe a year or two older than me. He was frightened by me slamming the door open.

“Is Morgul Here?” I yelled at the young man.

“He’s at my house with my dad.” he said. I pointed behind me towards the streets of Skrayhorn and the man shook his head in agreement. “yeah it’s right next door.”

I then bolted out the door and towards the home of the lumber yard owner. I paused outside the door when I heard a surge of uncontrolled laughter. The full body and loudness of the laugh reminded me of the Swordsmen. I knocked on the door and a few seconds later a middle-aged Human open it. “What do you want boy? I have Company and don’t wish to be bothered.”

“Is Morgul here? It is important that I speak to him.” I answered.

“Morgul you have a visitor.” the man said as he opened the door. I could see into the house and at a table near the center of the large room I could see the Elf that had brought me and the others back to life. He was dressed in his Black leather armor just as he always was. Morgul the Necromancer. It felt like it had been years since I’ve seen him when it hadn’t even been a month.

“Cinredi? is that you? Morgul asked as he walked to the door. “How have you been?”

“I have been better” I said. “We need to talk. The others are still on there way here from Pendos’ lair.”

“Ah so you have meet Pendos.” he said with a tone of elation.

“Yes, that is how we knew you were here in Skrayhorn.” I responded. “I also meet Uther.”

 A look of shock came over the Elf’s face. “What did you say?” he questioned as he closed the door behind him so that the people in the house could not hear your conversation.

“We ran into some of the Queen’s men on Utesler’s bridge. The Orc in command of the group  killed me and if Uther had not stepped in as he did I would probably be half way out to sea by now.” I stated.

“I’m sorry that it came to that Cinredi.” Morgul said as he placed his hand on my shoulder. “You look as though you are tired maybe you should go rest at the Blonde, I will stay in town long enough to talk with the others, but if you don’t mind I am in the middle of a business meeting and need to get some matters straightened out.” As he finished his sentence the door opened up to a man who looked strangely like Balfore, only with a long black beard. I gasped as I realized who he was.

 “Morgan?“ I asked.

“Who are you boy? how do you know my name?” The pirate asked in response.

“I am a friend of your father, he is on his way into town. I’m sure you’ll have a few questions to ask him.” I said

“My father? Morgul do you have something to do with this? Morgan said as he shifted his gaze to the Elf.

“Perhaps we should go back inside and talk about this.” Morgul said as he motioned inside. “I will see you tomorrow Cinredi.”

I then returned to the Blonde and went into the basement room where Ylloh let us stay. After taking my armor off I prepared for a restful night of slumber. Haeys was already passed out in one of the bunk beds nearby.

I meditated on the day’s events and drifted off into sleep.


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