Amulet of the Elements Chosen of the Stone

In Evernia, the planet of sinful creation, it is said that no creature is created equal. The reign of dragons has come to spread over the many lands, while the hatred for humanity and those of Drathellian blood grows. Even still, the wealthiest of monarchs have come to be humbled by the might and danger of a noxious and plague spreading cloud known as the Raxionian Bane. According to legend, only the Keeper of the Elements can restore balance to the doomed planet, he or she that is the Chosen of the Stone. Prophecy states that the era of the dragon and the hell hound shall rise together as one to lead the masses of the lost, but will it stand true when two enemies face each other after centuries of war.
The Embryonic Era left the planet in a state of barren waste, rebuilt on the backs of those know as Tyliquin witches as well as the Wyvern dragons that now rest in extinction. It is unknown whether or not the gods have condemned the planet, or if the Bane has been created by the scor

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7. Chapter Six

And so, as the breezes before their creation, the waves of every ocean and sea shall roll endlessly as the spans of time. Protected, is he granted the gift of life, through the hymns of the water's world. May no beast of the waking bring destruction to his door, may no god contaminate the purity of Aquation's kingdom.

—Zenoria G 84–31–9

The flow of the ocean was as he remembered, powerful and joyous. Its waters clear as freshly blown glass carried the Red Fae from the bustling port of Shylo to the searing coastlines of Jazzeer. The waves of crystalline blue sang a song of enchanting relaxation, the repetition of their laps setting the King at ease. But even as his eyes washed over the vast open waters, he knew something dark was to greet him upon the horizon. Sek was a moment sail away, and when he stepped foot upon its shores, everyone would have to be on high alert.

"Captain! Navoni starboard!" All eyes on the ship turned to view the leaps of the mighty whales. Their bodies were grand and black with eyes the color of the sun. Each jumped from the water returning to its tranquility with a splash that rocked the ship. "Aquation's guardians have come to carry us to the safety of Jazzeer. How I pray, they do not cross into the shallows of the ports. It would be a shame to see such beauty slaughtered." Spoke the King, his arm reaching to extend toward the curiosity of a young calf.

"Aye, milord. It would indeed, but unfortunately, the people of Jazzeer see only beauty within themselves." Spoke Shovawn, the King's assistant. He too reaching out to touch the head of the creature with a smile upon his thin and rosy lips. "Perhaps one day they shall open their eyes and view what truly inhabit these waters. Their legends restrain them to fear and closed minds; only courage could free them from it." The young whale returned to hide beneath the waves, the pod continuing soon falling from sight.

"Do you think they understand what we are? Why we cross their home and fall upon the masses of sand that should be their own? They must see our ships often to approach us so swiftly." The King gave the man a nod and crossed the deck heading into the main cabin, Shovawn following close behind. "Aye, they paid us a visit today, not because of the ship, but what it symbolizes." "I fear I do not understand, your grace. What could a ship mean to them?" Laxrindren took a seat and pulled a quill from its ink and began a letter.

"The Zatheria's main course comes directly through this location. And seeing as it is the main fishing ship, the dwellers of the sea will flock to any ship, in hopes of being granted a free meal. Such is the wisdom of the ocean's wonders." The young man took a seat with the king pouring him a small cup of brown liquor. He repaid himself with the same and took a sip finding a hesitant voice. "How fares the Queen? I have worried for her in your recent loss." "She fares, as well as any mother, would, I suppose. The nights torment her still, but she is beginning to move on again."

"Oh, I shall give thanks to the gods. I could not bare seeing the light fall from her eyes." "I fear you glance too close, my old friend. Even in her darkest state, I do not fear for her. It is her father I worry about." He took another drink. "What of elder Ramsra? He has not begun to fall ill, has he? Such could mean grave danger for you, milord."

"You speak words far too familiar to me. I do not know; he did not specify what it is he was in need of, or why we must meet in such a dangerous area. He speaks in circles, though I fear it something grave, I pray I am mistaken." He continued to write short sentences of love and longing. Applying his signature, he rolled the parchment tightly, tying it closed with a golden ribbon. "See this delivered to my wife. I am confident she awaits some form of a word from her King." The assistant stood taking the letter in his large hand, bowing his head in respect before exiting. The door closed softly, the King's eyes falling to the drink left for him.

"I suppose a single libation would not do me harm. It could be my last." Presenting himself with reassurance, he took a long hard drink placing the cup on the table. His face soured, the taste of the drink, bitter and lingering.

"What in Evolo's name?" There floating in the calming waves slept a girl. A young lady as bare as the day she split her mother's womb. Her skin was baked and claimed by the sun; either she had been left adrift for some time, or she was an eastern girl. "Captain, alert the King. He will want a view of this!" The man in white and platinum robes made his way toward the sealed doors of the upper cabin. His fist banging upon its wood like a fury storm.

"King Talon, King Talon! Rise and lay eyes to a wonder. A woman, a young lady, floating upon the sea!" The bangs of fist and yells of concern fell soft and muffled into the King's ears. The drink had begun to alter his mind, and now he came to stumble. The door swung open revealing a drunken King holding bottle in hand. "What is all the fuss about? What woman would be sailing alone?"

"You must come see for yourself, your grace." Noting his commander's venerable state, Ransol swung his arm around his back and led him to the ship's railings. The woman was unconscious and nearly drained of life; her young frame tarnished by the beatings of the sun. "By the gods, that is no woman. She is but a child! Get her aboard! Ransol, unhand me and fetch some clothing. It is not proper that we gaze upon her in such a state."

The entire crew began bustling about some fetching ropes, others gathering water. The King stared onto the beauty of the female, regret, and shame burned in his heart, but there was something about her. Two men crashed into a passing wave each soon surfacing applying a single rope to either edge of the thin board she floated upon. The rest of the crew began to hoist them upwards, and within moments, the three were on proper ground, safe, aboard. "She is not responsive, sir. She isn't moving."

All moved aside as Talon made his way towards the sleeping beauty, his hands gripping tightly to a red woven blanket. Throwing it over her curled body, he took a moment to gaze upon her face. She had a keen nose and prominent cheek bones; he had seen her face before, but where, he could not recall. "Get her below. See her with cool water. The sun has claimed her mind. She is ridden with fever." He stood his head aching. The drink once again had taken the best of him. The crew returned to their duties as the girl faded into the darkness of the stairwell. "Who do you think she is?" Spoke Shovawn, his arms folding into his sleeves. "I am not sure, but I intend to find out."

The Red Fae pulled into the docks of Jazzeer; its horns bellow alerting all commoners of the King's arrival. Within its hull remained its most precious cargo, royalty, coins of both silver and gold, and of course, their newfound witch. It had not been long before the goods and horses were unloaded, his majesty saddled proudly upon a radiant white stallion. It bore fur of shining pearl with eyes as blue as the waves they had ridden on. Upon its back beneath his rider laid the handwoven cloaks of Crystal Springs, strands of platinum threads mingled with the likes of gold tassels. He stood at twenty hands the standard allowed to carry the weight of a draconic ruler. Even bearing such size, the beast remained as kind and swift as his handler.

While most of the ship crew remained aboard, Talon and his few men made their way into the large and grand city. The heat of the sun burned at their flesh but was balanced by the cooling winds of the ocean. The horses made their way inward toward the brass gates of Jazzeer Capitol, the main greeting area and home of all the main exports. The merchants of grain and fish, they were called a people of beauty and shadow craft. Though most indigenous to the land had personal quarrels with any creature, who claimed the title dragon, some men of wise age held a dedicated heart towards the sky gods.

The scents, sights, and sounds of the city were endless. From the shore, the waves carried in the aroma of fish and the strong musk of the beyond, below the curling white foam. The songs of street performers and laughter of children chasing dogs filled the ears of the men, most of which spooked the horses and caused them to break formation.

"Is it as you remember it, your majesty? Men receiving coin for women dressed in less than rags, the sand turning gold beneath your feet?" Spoke Sir Giar, a man of tall and firm build. He had been part of the Talon Court since his young years and was noted as a real friend to his grace. The man was young in features, bore hair of black and was blessed with eyes of white, a draconic of old indeed.

"I must say, it has changed much since my last visit. In the Craiyton era, its people lived beneath the roofs of simple brick and hay. Now they lounge under that of buildings grand and painted gold as if they rival the gods themselves." "Well, your majesty, they owe all forms of advancement to you and your great grandfather. If not for his claiming over this stretch of land, they would have been wiped clear from existence. It is why the elderly gave you the respect your name has earned, the ignorance of youth is bliss indeed. They have no idea what you have done for them." "I am forced to agree, but how can the child be expected to respect something their elders have not taught them to cherish? The young are but paintings of the loins who created them, and while wisdom may come with age it begins with the knowledge of the those before us."

Giar pressed his steed onward granting a lingering glance at two young full-breasted women in passing, lowering his head in thought for a moment. "Well, even if the elders raise their grandchildren in the beliefs of fools and defeatists, they know how to breed if for nothing else but beauty. Did you see the tits on those two?" The King gave a laugh. "My eyes lie upon no other than she who lays claim to my name, though it is true that the most beautiful women are birthed from the Isles of Sek. But remember Giar, beauty is not without temptation, and often temptation can lead you to your demise either with haste or quite slowly."

"Well, in that case, I shall die a satisfied and happy man." He laughed. Shaking his head in vague disapproval, the King moved them forward, traveling through the busy streets. His presence was indeed known. It was not every day ordinary workers laid eyes upon a traveling party of such impressive nature. Eyes young and old studied their every move, some with looks of distrust and hatred, and others with envy. Within a sea of sharks remained few whales of peace, and their songs of love had long been silenced. In the distance, they could take a view of the Tritheria and all her glory; her bright white wood and blue sails drifting in the wind. The grand majesty had arrived and remained awaiting them.

"Serio." "Your majesty?" Answered the young boy of blonde hair, his eyes red with heat. "Pair with Maximo. Ride ahead and secure the area. Alert Emperor Ramsra that we have arrived." With a nod and a quick gesture behind him, Serio turned his horse and was off; leaving nothing more but the King's command and a trail of rising sand behind him, Maximo followed.

Fishers stood within their boats getting a full view of the wonder and speed of the white stallions. Their muscular limbs beat upon the sand, the wave of their manes and tails blowing in the wind free of any bands or braids. They were a mere blur of angel dust upon fields of gold, a being unnatural to the likes of the Sunland's. The strength of their bodies carried them rapidly across the stretch of beach and to the temple of Remazoon. The smell of burning herbs began to fill the air the closer they drew to the sacred building. The sound of daily labor began to fade as the calm of silence eerily fell onto them. The horses came to a stop before the brass and iron doors. The temple sat directly upon the sand; from its frontal view, it seemed as if it was part of the nature below it. The two men eyed the structure carefully not wishing to make a mistake and possibly alarm the natives.

"I believe this to be where his high grace would reside; it seems befitting of him." Spoke Maximo. Serio dismounted, his brown leather riding boots sinking into the sand. "How I pray you are not mistaken because a ship rocks before a building does not mean its rightful owner may be within it." Taking the reins of his horse, Serio made his way to the entrance. Securing the reins with a tie to a nearby post, he gave a stern knock upon the doors. For some time he waited, but his attempts to gain attention went unanswered, and thus the feeling of fear began to creep over him. Maximo kept watchful eyes upon their surroundings, tying his horse, Braxon, next to that of Serio's.

"No one is present. I have given four knocks, and still, no one has come to greet me." ''Give it time, Serio. Perhaps the priest is attending other matters. After all, this is a holy temple. I would not approach it with impatience." Just then, the doors swung inward, their hinges crying out with age. From within the darkness came an old man dressed in robes of soft gold trimmed with red rope. His head remained covered along with his feet and hands, only when he looked upward did they realize who greeted them. Immortal Father Triviance, the protector of the sun lands and supreme voice of the laws of Halotia, had come to welcome them. Both Serio and Maximo gasped in shock immediately falling into the sand pressing their foreheads to the ground in respect.

"Rise, my children. Though your bright shining's of respect are highly favored, such things are not needed in present times. Tell me, does his majesty Talon soon follow your trail? If so how many ride upon his sides?" They rose, and Maximo answered wiping sweat and sand from his brow. "Yes father, he does indeed. Only three remain riding with him they are not far behind."

"I see. Step inside and remove your boots and vests for no harm shall come to greet you within the protection of my home." Doing as instructed, the two made way into the grand temple; its gray brick walls turned a soft shade of crimson from the roaring torches upon each pillar, which stood holding up the roof above. Mirrors of smoke filled the seemingly empty place, the scent of burning chervil slithered up their noses in the most unpleasant of ways. The sand was warm and comforting beneath their soles, the serenity of the temple making them feel as if they were in the company of Plexious himself. In the very back laid an altar, one sat atop the rest of several stairs surrounded by eight thrones. To the left of it hung a portrait of the great Incendartou, the first dragon; his body of red purity standing upon the rooftops of the ancient Domownia of Drathell. To the right hung his mate, Elaichia, her shining black wings wrapped around the young and beautiful Soria draped in white linens. The ceiling above was hand carved, the symbols of the holy engraved in every corner. It was indeed a place of peace; a neutral ground for meetings, both the histories of the draconian and the hellinoids were on display a sign that Father Triviance held no other in supremacy, but those who had given him life and title.

"Please take a seat, have a prayer or look around while I alert his grace. You will find meat and wine awaiting you near the study." "We give gratitude to your hospitality, Father Triviance." Spoke Serio, the promise of wine forcing his feet to carry him to said study. Light poured into the greeting area as King Talon stepped inside, his body bare except his trousers and cloak.

"Father Triviance, what a pleasure to see you again. I hope as the time before this one, it is on good terms." "Upon what conditions we meet, my son, I am uncertain, but it is indeed wonderful to be before you once more. Where stand your guards?" "Before your doors, I thought it unnecessary to bring them inside. They will not sit before Grand Elder Ramsra." "Very well, follow me. I will take you to him. He has been waiting for you for some time."

Walking silently through the sloping corridor, the two men turned left coming to face a wall of various books. The old man pulled backward a single book; it's spine coming to cause the shelf to spin and reveal a secret passageway. "His grace awaits you down the stairway and to the right. I pray all goes well." Without a word, Laxrindren made his way down the cold steps, following the dim light to the room in which Ramsra sat.

"My son, I see you have found me in this isle of trickery. I must say I am impressed with your haste." "Well, I could feel the urgency of your letter take hold of me. It was certain I must make your acquaintance before your issue escalated. So, tell me, why have I been ripped from the arms of my loving wife?" "Take a seat. Pour yourself some wine; you will need it." There it was, that feeling of utter demise, what could be so awful that he would need to drink the pressure away?

"How fares my daughter? I received word of my grandchild's demise. I give you my condolences." Talon filled his chalice and took a sip before speaking. "She fares, as well as any mother, would, perhaps even better, which worries me. It is as if she has simply accepted the fact she shall never bear me a living hatchling. She has even spoken that their deaths are just a part of our lives.'"

Ramsra hung his head, his hand moving to stroke his beard of gray. "She will give you an heir and soon. How I have come to pray, there has never been a Frostfire who did not produce at least one male and female heir. See hope and faith restored to her heart whatever way possible; the gods will favor you for your unbreakable loyalty even in such dark times. I believe they bless you through these untimely deaths."

"And how do you suppose such? Every day I watch my wife cling to blankets woven for our children, see her shed tears over their graves, and know that even as King I can do nothing to comfort her." He took several drinks and sighed. "Because of what is to come, what shall be. The very life of Evernia is at stake, including her inhabitants." Talon's eyes grew wide, the wine locking in his throat causing him to cough. "Evernia? Why? What has happened?"

"There is a cloud that moves from the Lunar Hills of Tridonia. It began there over two fortnights ago. The natives there call it the Raxin Defanta. It consumes all it touches, and in the short time of its existence, it has turned over nine hundred miles of land into barren cliffs." "It cannot be true. We protect those areas. Why have they not sent word for help if they are in such distress."

Ramsra rose rubbing the back of his neck in worry. "They have no way of sending word. Their horses have died of either starvation, thirst, or disease, and all travelers turn from them once they set eyes on the cloud. It looks like no other curse that has graced this planet. Even in my seven hundred thirty-five years of life, I have never once laid gaze upon such things." "Do you know what started it? Do you think it could be an airborne disease perhaps?" "No. This is the work of the gods, a way of teaching us a lesson of some sort. I only hope that we may find a way to beg forgiveness and regain their favor."

"Where do we begin? I will do all I can to aid you and our people." The elder Emperor began to pace as if his next words would not come quickly. "We must swallow our pride and ask a favor of the Farek family. Rumor looms that they too have walked with the cloud and remained untouched. With them perhaps we can find a way to combat its power, or at the very least mark its origin." "The Farek family...it is known to all that you have quarrels with them. The Raye'Zore clan and The Farek's have not had communication for over three hundred years" "That is why you must go to them and speak with their patriarch, win his trust, and begin our duty to protect this planet and those upon it."

Talon stood. "I am married to your daughter I am your ally by default. If they hold animosity towards your name, mine shall be no different." "You are a Talon. You carry the name of your father before you, not my own. When you married my daughter, she became a Talon. Her name as a Raye'Zore was erased. But that is of little matter. They hold no grudge towards me. It is I who hold hatred for them." "Why do you place hate upon a house so small?"

"Such answers were before your time and had nothing to do with our future. All you must know is that they have sought my favor since the day they crossed my honor and my loyalty to them. I will not deal with them directly, but you can. They will see all your wishes turned to command. You are my son of marriage and the protector of my dear beloved daughter. Aiding you would place them at least one step closer to regaining my trust." Laxrindren allowed his head to fall into his palm his head swimming.

"If Hexonia learns of this she will worry herself sick. To reach the Farek clan, I must journey into the lands of Aleanthos and doing so could mean my death. If I perish, that will leave my wife a childless widow." Ramsra moved to place a stern hand upon his son's shoulder. "If you do not risk your life now, it will inevitably be lost in the near future, leaving your name and legacy unknown to any generation that could have been. You will not be slain. You are of noble and resilient bloodlines. It is why I allowed you to take my only daughter into your protection. I would not ask so great a feat of you if I did not believe you to be befitting of it."

Though he spoke twisting words of both reassurance and demise, the young King knew of his oath, his birthright, and his duty. He would not be the husband his wife claimed or the protector of those who elected him if he did not test fate. "You will not be without aid, my son. I have someone who will grant you wisdom and protection during your journey."

"Who?" He asked coming to rest once more in his seat. "Priestess Elgama Rosenwater, she is a respected woman of the crafts of Laioun and a known healer. She lives not far from here. She is to arrive by tomorrow morning and will accompany you back to Crystal Springs and Aleanthos after that." "You speak as if you knew I would agree with this father."

"I prepared because none of us have a choice anymore. We fight or die, the prophecies of old legend have come to burn before us. We must race to either pass their tales or slow them. We are born of both Hailotia and Drathell—we are the prophecies. We are the only beings to draw breath to change them for however long we can. It is our duty to save those beneath us, those who look to our strength for protection. It has always been so and shall forever remain. We were created for this. See our lives spared bring me the might of Aleanthos and see Evernia and all her worth given to your name and only yours. I will step down and see that all others follow command. This planet, her lands should remain to the being who shall save her from decay. I am entrusting you with my well-being. My life may not survive long enough to witness your glory, but I will be remembered in your triumphs. I have reason to believe as well that the Farek family remains untouched due to the elemental gemstone. It is the only thing that perhaps could leave them spared by this demon walker. Elgama knows it well. It is why I send her with you. She has already begun her tracking of it. Though she points in a far different direction than I."

"I will see it done, but you must promise me something." "Speak it, and it shall become law." "If I fall and fail you, you must remain by Hexonia's side, see her remarried and cared for. Can you promise me that, grand elder?" "If that is your wish, I give you my word on my honor to the very bloodline of my breed." "Then I shall summon all strength in me to complete my duties as the King of the northern plains. May the deities of Aurontix bless us with fast and fruitful travels. Tell me when shall I depart for the snake pit?" "Within one week after returning home to your wife, spend time with her, enjoy her company. It will be some time before you see her again." He nodded. "I ride to the sea Rani in the morning if I am to depart from my Queen again. In such a short period of time, I will bring her no less than a gift fit for a goddess." He smiled and gave a bow. "I will have my messenger Maximo alert you of my departure. I will return to greet Lady Rosenwater before the moon graces the sky. I bid you good day father." With that Talon excused himself and returned the way he came mind heavy with the burden now placed upon his shoulders.

 

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