Amulet of the Elements Journey to Destiny

Continue the quest to save Evernia, in book two, of the seven book series for AOTE.
The first battle for Evernia and the search for the Elemental Gemstone has left every side of the war battered and broken. The peace treaty formed by the both the Dragons and Hellhounds has come to be broken, or so it is thought. Zacura Bloodclaw, the seventeenth Keeper of the Elements has gone missing, rumors spreading far and wide that she came to perish in the battle of Morgaideign. New ancient breeds known as the Imorti have come to demand payment for a blood debt made nearly three centuries before. Can King Calira and his newly crowned Queen defend their territory against the old and feared breed, or will they fall to their will. The Raxin Defanta, a mysterious and destructive fog of uncertainty continue to sweep the lands, leaving death and darkness in its wake. With Evernia's only hope among those who have vanished, will allegiance and bloodshed prove enough to keep life revolving upon the plane


2. One

"Where could she be? It has been nearly four months, and yet, she stands among the missing." The weary voice of Maerick had come to say. "She will return to us cousin do not fret over such things. You always would tell her to believe in herself, to have trust in you and what you knew she could be. Now it is your turn to do such things, worry will only strike you with the palm of stress and beat you with the fists of sorrow. Let time continue to spin and see your beloved to your clutches once more." Talon replied. The two men had come to stand on the western balcony of the Ma'liona tower just outside the castle gates. Both, in honor of their lost, wore black robes of mourning. In death, their men had been laid to rest peacefully. Each given a private ceremony in honor and praise of their accomplishments in life. The wives of the fallen had been given a lifetime's worth of gold in order to now support what their spouses had left behind. Families had been torn apart, never to be the same again. But even so, there came a time when even those who ruled so high above their lessors, felt the weight of loss.

"What if she went back for Manuke and fell to the might of the enemy?" "Do you have so little faith in her? I do not know her well, but I do know this. Zacura Bloodclaw was born to fight she was born to lead. Without her, I think we would have come to fail long ago. Her presence among us has brought together worlds thought to never face each other again. Races once enemies, scorned by the past now fight together as one people. That alone should be proof enough that she is going to be okay. Our gods would not let her fall, there is a belief in my heart that makes it skip, I actually believe her to be the Keeper." Maerick turned to face the King his eyes heavy. "A Keeper can fall." Talon placed a soft hand on his cousin's shoulder. "That they may, but can you not feel her around you? Have you yet to develop a bond of emotions with her?" "How could I? I had not the time nor the opportunity. I found her and then again she was gone."

Talon moved forward his eyes looking to the sky as he spoke. "Do you not witness her tears falling around us. The Rise has not seen rain in over two hundred years, yet we stand within a storm. Have you not been able to feel the rumble of soil so deep below our feet as we came to bury our men? Have you become blind to the glow of fire so far out of our reach? Zacura is still alive, she may be battered, she may be broken, but she does live." "I can only hope you speak the truth, I can not lose her again. She is all I have left of my life of greatness, my years of glory and honor." The rain fell hard around them, thunder cracking above their heads in a ballad of competition. "You have everything that you need my cousin, a wife, children, subjects. I stand a dragon with nothing more than battle scars and memories of how those came to be. I have never felt true love, I have never had someone look up to me or need me to support them in every way." "There shall come a time Maerick, yes it may seem as if I have so much more and while I am thankful it is not easy. You must ask yourself if this is truly what you need, what your soul needs to become a being of calm nature. I have watched you struggle for centuries, wandering aimlessly to find your way. Only you and I know your real purpose with that hound. It is not something our people would view as natural, even still, love is love." Maerick's tight grip came to crush the iron of the railing. "I do not choose who I fall in love with, nor does one hold such a power. It is the heart of a dragon that comes to choose its lover. For all, I know my beloved may lay slain in the soils beyond your land."

"Do not place your love upon a being you do not fully believe in. You told me she promised you she would return. She will, and if she does not, you can always greet her on the other side when your time comes." "No, I will go searching for her. I will find her body and see it properly buried." "You speak as if she is already dead. Do you hold no hope she will return to you?" "I want to believe that she will but if..." The man's voice came to crack, tears beginning to swell in the waterline of his eyes as if an ocean threatening to storm. "If she never comes back.... and I had come to hold such hope the fragment of a heart I yet hold would be shattered. For years she was mine contained in time for my pleasure. She was a daughter to me, I was given dreams of her as an adult I fell victim to love. It corrupted me, I swore to protect her Laxrindren and I could not. For weeks I have stood upon this balcony praying to gods I deserted long ago to bring her back. My prayers have not been answered, I fear they never will. Such is my punishment for years of breaking families and killing hope." The tears fell then, and suddenly all embarrassment was consumed as he let go and faced his greatest fear.

His knees came to hit the ground, his face burying within his palms as the thunder cracked. The King came to kneel beside him offering comfort. The feeling of his cousin so broken in his arms made him shed a tear to share his pain. "You listen to me, as a servant of Halotia I believe that all our sins against them are forgiven. If only we ask for such forgiveness. Do not let this consume you, the punishment ruled towards one soul is not often passed onto someone they love. Do not think of such things I beg of you. She will come back, I promise in some shape or form she will come back. She will Maerick, just trust in her." Talon looked to the east the road he believed they would return on. There was no sight of them, for a moment he wondered if it was Maerick or himself he was attempting to convince.

The tears came to a halt as Maerick came to sit his head thumping from the pressures within his nose. "If Manuke is dead, that means she would return the Keeper's Descendant. Her real journey would at last begin, he sighed. I would have not even been given a chance to say thank you or goodbye to that old wolf." "Honestly I do not think him dead either. Before you were born and when I was in my youngest years, I remember the transition of the Keepers. I actually remember it as if it were yesterday. My father had taken me to Jacirah in the Emerald Isles. We were in the ponds of Trae'zu, I was playing with the young Prince and Princesses when out of nowhere the waters began to churn. They spun so strongly we had to fly to free ourselves from them. The ground came quake, the sky turned a dark and vicious red. Off in the distance, we could see fire erupt, smell the ash in the air. The elders thought it to be the end of our world when in fact, it was merely the new beginning. It was a transition that was witnessed from one end of our world to the other. There are so many myths and legends about it. So many of those stories are told throughout the lands in different tongues and paintings. Remember the Keeper is the protector of all those who inhabit this planet. Its birth is witnessed by all who believe and hold gaze towards to sky. They both are alive, I am certain of it."

"I hope you are correct because if they have died, I fear bad blood will come to brew between us." "Why do you say such things?" "Because if Zacura died by the hand of any of Draconvieh's men, I would kill him. I will see him slain and see each of his limbs displayed upon the ground of my caves in the Malie Mountains. Your wife would not take kindly to me killing her brother I am sure." "No she would not, you are right. But I do not believe Calira to be the entire problem, he is part of it, it is that Blood witch who leads him in trickery." "Yes, I know her well, though I wish not to admit it. I have her on my list of those to conquer.What is her moniker?" "Tonisa Tyliquin, she will have to be dealt within due time, I fear there are far more urgent matters to attend. I hear that my brother wishes to marry her. Hexonia and I must attend their wedding if we want to keep the boy." Talon came to pace in thought. "That would mean two sadistic beings would rule over Dread." "Yes with the death of Lady Alexandria, he has chosen to take a new wife." "Wait... Alexandria is dead?" "Yes her body was found thrown in a waste pit in a nearby village. We are scheduled to attend her burial services within the week. I believe that woman had something to do with her death. She was always looming about watching our every move."

Maerick sighed. "With her death, your fathers would soon follow. It was only by the union of Calira and Lady Alex that he remained untouched by your greatest enemy. What are you going to do cousin?" Talon gave a groan, he had yet to figure out such a plan. He was unable to speak to his wife about it because she had been left in the dark in the matters of men. " I will have to go and talk with them I suppose. I can only be hopeful though, they have a horrid opinion of us." He looked at the Platforms of Transcendence. "My Queen's ancestors started this feud, and when their death was imminent, they ran to hide in the safety of their forefathers. It left Ramsra to fend those of Emerald Isle off alone. Though his actions did not help the matter." "What did he do?" " Well as many Emperors before him he had many mistresses, and one he took was a daughter of the late Zumaridi Argon'atsu II. Zumaridi attempted to have Ramsra marry his daughter Inozak." Maerick interrupted. "Wait he named his daughter foolish?" "Yes, it was a name he gave her as she hit her middle years. She was never an intelligent dragoness. According to the history books, she was beautiful as most females of the Imarti breed. Yet her beauty did not outweigh her stupidity, she became pregnant and was later murdered. Though it is unsure how she came to die Zumaridi blamed Ramsra and sent his soldiers to claim his head. In a final attempt to save his life, he forced Calira to marry Lady Alexandria. Her family and those of the Imarti were allies, thus making the Raye'zore clan allies to them as well. In the end, the Emperor's life was spared as long as Alexandria lived. With her now deceased I'm sure they are gathering plans to strike."

"Then we will need all the help we can get. Is it not rumored that they hold the powers of the Edifurix?" Talon took a moment to think before answering. "Yes, I believe they do, but some do not even think them to be real. I mean dragons born of soil, who breathe flames of toxins seem a bit farfetched." "I would not put anything past them, they are one of the most powerful families on our planet. Everyone fears them not many would rise with us to fight them off." "Oh yes, you are absolutely right. That is why I am going to awaken those who started this quarrel." Laxrindren pointed towards the gates. "Hexonia's ancestors must come down and aid us, they have the power, just not the courage. They are wyrms and wish only to sleep in peace until they outlive those hunting them. I am, but one dragon, I can not carry the weight of the entire world nor shall I." "Do you think your sisters could help you?" "Oh my, The Talon Sisterhood, they are well, distant, to say the least." "They are still your blood, I am sure if their little brother came asking for aid they would not turn him away." "They may some anger has been left to linger between them and I." "I guess your father's funeral?" "Yes, that exactly."

The two came to rest under each other's arms as the rain came to slow, and the sound of a wailing baby came into their ears. "Well, I think it is time for a family visit. I could hold things here while you are gone. I will not leave until Zacura returns." The King smiled. "I will alert my court of your kind gesture. It seems Hexonia, and I will be traveling for quite a while. I will keep in touch with you through my aerials. Perhaps after this, I will actually be able to stay within my walls for more than a few weeks." Maerick chuckled. "Perhaps."


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