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Maladrid tales of domi.., p.11

Maladrid - [Tales Of Dominhydor: Book One], page 11


Maladrid - [Tales Of Dominhydor: Book One]

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  “Dordin!” Yven screamed as she squeezed herself through the bars and teetered on the stony window ledge.

  Dordin darted around his attackers until he was standing directly below the window.

  “Jump, Yven!” he cried, and Yven pushed herself off the windowsill and crashed onto Dordin’s back.

  “Dordin! I can’t hold on!” Yven exclaimed as he set himself down onto four paws and her body began slipping off of his back.

  She fell to the ground with a thud, and Dordin gently scooped her up with his teeth and starting swerving between the hordes of Achnora. The Anjila screeched overhead and swooped down to claw at him, but he would not be stopped; he barreled through Lochydor faster and faster until he was a black and white streak weaving between his enemies.

  “Close the gates!” shouted an Achnor.

  Dordin bore down as his wounds burned deep; the poison from the Coltina’s horns coursed through his body, and caused him to weaken and his speed to diminish.

  “Please, Dordin, don’t give up,” Yven whispered with her body dangling from his mouth.

  He gathered all the strength that remained in him, sped up again, and leaped through the closing gates with his tail slipping through just as the doors slammed shut. He continued to run for hours through the Eastern Free Lands until finally he collapsed in a vast grassland and Yven tumbled limply from his mouth.

  * * * *

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  “Maladrid, wake up.”

  “What? Why?” Maladrid murmured when he awoke to Nonwe nudging his shoulder.

  “Because the Bartosca have come and they’ve brought something of great importance. Follow me to the borders of the Forest.”

  “What’s the point? There is no hope left. My last shred was destroyed when Yven was taken,” he said sorrowfully.

  “I beg you, Maladrid: follow me.”

  He rose reluctantly and trailed Nonwe out of the twilight clearing, and as they walked, the Yaerla appeared from between the trees to travel beside them. As the Forest dwindled, Maladrid saw the bright light of day and a great plain ahead, and in it stood a small herd of Bartosca: massive bear-like creatures with brown fur, ivory tusks, and tan horns that curled beside their faces. Though their statures and shapes were intimidating to Maladrid, their mouths were filled with small, flat teeth, ideal for chewing vegetation, and he heaved a sigh of relief. They were obviously large enough for three full-grown Hohmara to ride, but two of the present Bartosca were bearing a different load. Lying across their backs was a very large black animal with white paws and a white belly, though the white bits were partially dyed red with blood. Beyond that cargo, sitting atop another Bartosc, was a maiden with smoldering green eyes and wild red hair that spun in the breeze.

  “Yven!” Maladrid cried and rushed toward her with his arms open.

  “Cali, vanti tene,” Yven whispered to Cali the Bartosc, and he knelt down and allowed Yven to slide off his back.

  Maladrid and Yven met with a happy embrace, and he thankfully peppered her cheeks with kisses, but when he went to lay kisses on her hands, he gasped upon seeing her wrists wrapped in bloody rags.

  “Yven, what devilry is this?” Maladrid bellowed while inspecting the wounds.

  “Achnoran devilry,” she replied with misty eyes.

  She embraced him again and buried her face in his neck

  “What good am I now? I’m useless,” she whimpered, but he lifted her chin and looked deep into her emerald eyes.

  “No, Yven. Never. You are a warrior queen and by no means useless.”

  “How can I be a warrior if I can’t even wield a blade?”

  “Yven, come into the Forest and drink of the Pools of the Yaermaca. They shall heal you and you shall wield a blade again,” Nonwe said.

  “I’m useless,” Yven whispered as the tears streamed from her eyes.

  “Farmin, Dalyde, bring the Tylira into the Forest as well,” Nonwe said to the Bartosca carrying Dordin.

  The Bartosca followed Nonwe, Maladrid, and Yven into the Forest with Dordin strewn across their backs, and though the Tylira was limp and his eyes were closed, his shallow breath was persistent. The rest of the Yaerla stood with the remainder of the Bartosca and the plain became filled with chatter as the two races conversed like long-lost kin.

  When they reached the heart of the Forest, Yven’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped. She gasped at the Yaermaca, tall and beautiful in the twilight wood as the Bartosca eased Dordin onto the ground.

  “Maladrid, fill your hands with sap and bring it to Dordin,” Nonwe said hurriedly.

  Maladrid bent to the Pool in front of Baliwa and gazed up at him, noticing that the Yaermaca’s only movement was caused by the breeze through the silver-tipped leaves. He filled his cupped hands with sap, carried it to Dordin, and put the thick liquid to the Tylira’s mouth. Dordin’s large pink tongue darted out; when he lapped at Maladrid’s hands, the rough texture tickled his palms. When the sap was gone, Dordin opened his eyes and licked his chops, and though his legs trembled as he stood, he was able to walk slowly to the Pools. As he drank, his fur grew in luster, his eyes became bright again, and his wounds closed. The poison in his body was eradicated by the healing power of the Yaermaca sap and, restored; he let forth a mighty growl as the sugary liquid dripped down his chin and beaded on his fur.

  “My Dordin! My savior!” Yven cried as she ran to him and threw her arms around his thick neck.

  Dordin wrapped his huge white paw around her and nuzzled against her face.

  “Yven, it’s your turn,” Nonwe whispered, and motioned to a Pool with his twiggy horn.

  She released Dordin’s neck and walked to the Pool glistening in the reflection of the leaves sparkling above. She knelt down with Maladrid beside her, and he gingerly removed the rags from her wrists. He cupped his hands in the Pool and brought the sap to her lips, and when she shot him a look of worry, his smile reassured her and he offered his hands to her again. She sipped as Maladrid tipped back his hands and the sap flowed down her throat like a healing river. A rosy blush immediately flooded her cheeks, and as warmth coursed gloriously through her veins, her abrasions and lacerations were miraculously mended and all pain drifted away. The rawness in her crudely carved wrists faded and the lesions closed, but from the newly healed skin, five finger-like branches accented with knobby wooden joints sprung forth. Numerous layers of Yaermini encased each twiggy finger, and after a few moments of healing magick, Yven once again had hands to wield a blade. She flexed her new fingers, opening and closing them with perfect ease, and surprisingly, she felt absolutely no difference between her wooden hands and those that had been made of flesh and bone.

  “The Yaermaca have given you a great gift indeed,” Nonwe said. “Your hands are now of the same matter as the Yaerla.”

  Yven continued to clench and release her hands while Maladrid disappeared behind Baliwa and came forth holding Vetna and the rest of her discarded gear. He bowed to Yven with Vetna flat in his hands, and when she grasped the hilt and thrust it into the air with a powerful cry, everyone in the Forest bowed their heads to the queen shining fiercely in the twilight wood.

  Her chest heaved as she sheathed her blade and gazed at the creatures looking upon her in awe.

  “I have been in Nave’s Bend in the Castle Lochra, and I felt the power of the Cyrin,” she started. “By Yaliwe, I felt the light of it, but it was veiled by the shadow. I know that Shacore has it. He has the key to Hana, or to whatever he perceives Hana to be. The earth will be stricken with sorrow and torment, and we shall all fall to darkness and death if the enemy is to wield it. Whether we win or lose, the earth as we know it will be changed forever. If this is all part of Yaliwe’s plan, then I admit I do not understand Her will at all. Death is swallowing Her earth,” she whispered, and with her jaw clenched, her face became like stone. “I say if so many are destined to go to Hana before their time, then let us bring Hana to them.”

  She climbed atop Dordin the Tylira, facing the heart of the Forest with all eyes upon her, and when she whispered into his ear, he reared back and shot forward through the Forest. The others quickly took off after her, and when they made their way back out onto the plain, they saw Yven polishing Vetna with her dress.

  Balibasa the Bartosc nudged the Yaerla Dynide and asked, “Do you think we’re all going to be urged into battle?”

  “I doubt the Yaerla will have to go,” Dynide replied.

  “I wager you will.”

  “You want to bet?” she asked competitively.

  “Always. I’ll wager that everyone is asked to go,” Balibasa said.

  “And I say only the Bartosca will be asked.”

  “The prize will be…” he began as he looked around.

  He spotted a beautifully woven blanket that was draped over Barco the Bartosc’s back and said, “The winner will get Barco’s prized blanket.”

  “Hey! You can’t bet my blanket!” Barco exclaimed upon overhearing their conversation. “It’s been in my family for centuries!”

  “Don’t worry, Barco,” Balibasa whispered. “You know I never lose a bet.”

  “You’re on,” Dynide said with a nod.

  “War is upon us,” Yven announced. “Even upon you, the Yaerla, and you, the Bartosca. If we do not all fight, we will lose this earth of Yaliwe’s creation to the Dark Lady. I ask of all of you here: will you join me in battle?”

  The Yaerla looked to each other, their faces frozen in worry and doubt, and Balibasa bumped Dynide with his tusks and whispered, “I win.”

  “Yven, I applaud your determination, but we can’t just run off to Lochydor like this. We need more numbers. We need more strength. Shacore easily outweighs us on both accounts,” Nonwe said.

  “First, we shall head to Fircyn, the Hohmara arsenal city beneath Rosdin, to gather soldiers and weapons. You’re right, Nonwe: Shacore is strong, and the darkness that follows him is fierce, but we will have light, my friends. Maladrid, the White Star of Yaliwe, which shone to me from afar, will be our light of hope!” she declared, but Maladrid looked to the ground sadly and kicked at the short grass. “That is, if he still has hope,” she added and tilted her head to meet his gaze.

  He looked up and locked eyes with her.

  “If you were to lead me, Yven, my hope alone could consume the shadow,” he declared.

  “Cali,” she called to the Bartosc, and when he bent down, Maladrid climbed upon his back.

  “All who would save this world, follow the light of the Irylwe,” she proclaimed as she gestured to Maladrid.

  “Hail, Dordin!” she shouted with her branch fingers clinging to his fur as he bounded away.

  “Cali!” Maladrid hollered, and the Bartosc rushed off behind Yven and Dordin.

  The rest of the Bartosca sprinted off next, followed by Nonwe, who led half of the Yaerla to the front while the others brought up the rear.

  “To Fircyn!” Yven bellowed with her voice carrying across the plain. “And to a better future that waits to be claimed!”

  Beyond the plains lay a great lake with cool lavender water and the sun rippling as a white orb in reflection. It stretched for many miles around, but in the middle of the lake, there was an island of large flat stones that were baking in the sun. The company started walking around the lake leisurely, enjoying the sparkle of the indigo water and the slight breeze that caused the tiny leaves of the cril-gis trees sprinkled around the shoreline to sway and rustle.

  Though Maladrid’s eyes crossed his surroundings with no intended focus, his attention was suddenly drawn to the stone island and his eyes froze at the sight of a woman sliding up the rocks on her back. Her white hair cascaded down her bare and slender front, and the long white skirt that hung between her legs was drenched and clung to her pale skin. He stared in horrified curiosity as her body bent unnaturally out of the water and slid up onto the island. When she paused, her only movement was the rise and fall of her body, and it appeared to Maladrid as though the rocks beneath her were breathing heavily rather than the woman herself. He stopped walking entirely and stared at her, but he wasn’t the only one; several Yaerla and Bartosca had halted as well, mystified by the oddity. But the true oddity wasn’t revealed until the woman turned on her side and exposed another woman. At first, they appeared to be simply lying beside each other, but as they moved around, Maladrid realized that their backs were joined together. The second woman glared at him with large eyes that were as raven as her long hair and the sopping skirt clinging to her legs. Their faces and bodies were identical in feature and beauty, and together, their silent words called to the minds that would allow them entrance.

  “These are the Lonhe: Portitol and Forafir. They are the Ladies of Lorynhal: lost souls of Daian from the ancient days. We must not linger here,” Nonwe urged.

  Maladrid and the halted group began walking again, but their eyes constantly slipped back to the island to watch as the Lonhe began to spin. Their pale pink lips curled into smiles and their eyes fixed upon their audience as their white and black hair sliced through the air.


  He heard a whisper in his head, and it made him turn to the island again, and he noticed several of his companions turn as well. The Lohne spun faster and faster until they were a blur of white and black, light and dark, and suddenly, they separated and danced independent of each other. With their hands raised to the sky, they started to sing in a tongue that caressed the ears of all who listened. Maladrid’s body swayed with the music with his eyes half closed in dreamy delight, but when he heard a splashing sound, he was jarred back to reality and saw Bon the Yaerla in the lake, swimming rapidly toward the island of Lorynhal.

  “Bon!” Nonwe cried as he stamped his hooves. “Bon, turn back; I beg you!”

  But Bon refused to adhere to Nonwe’s plea.

  “What’s going on?” Yven shouted as she rode up and dismounted from Dordin.

  “Bon jumped into the lake,” replied Dalyde.

  When Bon neared the rocks, the Lonhe crouched down to help the eager Yaerla onto the rocks.

  “Someone has to go in after him!” Maladrid bellowed.

  “The Lonhe are of indescribable power,” Yven said. “We don’t have the resources to combat them.”

  “Perhaps they do not wish him harm,” Nache said.

  “It doesn’t matter whether they wish him harm or not,” cried Baer. “He is our brother! We have to bring him back!”

  Nonwe looked to Yven as she shook her head sadly, and as if beholding a faraway dream, they all watched as the Lonhe pulled Bon out of the water. They ran their hands over his back and horn as they laid kisses upon his wooden skin and whispered into his ears, causing them to flicker in delight. Portitol, with her white hair shining, scratched under Bon’s chin and he closed his eyes in ecstasy while Forafir caressed his horn and her black hair tickled his nose. Then, with a horrifying flash of her hand, Forafir snapped his horn in half and drove the crooked tip into his throat. In panic, Baer leapt forward into the water, but Yven jumped in after him and wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him back to shore. The Yaerla whimpered as the Lonhe began gnawing on Bon’s flesh and the blood poured from his neck in torrents. He collapsed onto the rocks, and although his eyes desperately searched for the shoreline, his eyes clouded over before he could find it. He fell still, but the Lonhe continued to tear his body apart with their nails and teeth.

  When Bon fell to the earth, the rest of the Yaerla fell as well with bodies shaking in grief and faces streaked with hot tears; they sobbed not only because of their brother’s death or the brutality of the manner, but because his soul passed directly to Hana, he would never see the blessed realm of Yde.

  It took several hours to walk around the lake, and all the while, no one could resist looking back to the bloodstained island of Lorynhal where Bon’s once-majestic body lay in pieces. The Lonhe had since joined back together and returned to the waters of the lake,
leaving Bon’s remains to rot in the sun. With heavy hearts, the brothers and sisters of Bon plodded on with their heads bowed as they sang a quiet song of lament for the first of their kind to depart Dominhydor. And to add insult to injury, Bon, being of the Second Children, had lived only three centuries, half the lifetime of the Yaerla and less than half the lifetime of the Yaermaca which he was never to become.

  The pace of the group quickened as the sun began to disappear from the east, and as the shadow cast by the Forest of the Yaermaca trailed them, the Yaerla longed for the comforts of their twilight home. Much to the fellowship’s relief, Yven finally halted the party on the plains and declared it time for rest. The Yaerla huddled close together, a bit out of their element on the plain, and the Bartosca did their best to comfort them with talk of better days, days when Nave’s Bend was silent. Meanwhile, Yven was off in the distance practicing her battle technique, and every once and a while, a sharp glimmer came from her direction as she swung her blade. Most of the army eventually fell asleep, but Maladrid and Dordin stayed around the fire watching Yven practice.

  “She trains a lot,” Maladrid said.

  “You have no idea,” Dordin replied with a smirk. “She is a warrior queen first and Yven second. It’s the way it’s always been.”

  “It must be exhausting.”

  “Not if you love it as much as she does.”

  “Love what?” Maladrid asked.

  “Power,” Dordin replied. “Strength and command. Some kings and queens would turn that love into evil conquest in order to command all of Dominhydor, but not Yven. That’s why I’ve respected her since the day we met.”

  “When was that?” Maladrid asked with curious eyes.

  “She was just a child, no more than four years old, and while I watched her swing a sword that was longer than she was tall, she watched me with a child’s intensity and wonder. Eventually, her curiosity got the best of her; she dropped her blade, ran over, and crashed into me with open arms that couldn’t even wrap around my leg. We became fast friends, and King Lonho allowed me to be her personal steed as well as her guardian when her father was away.”

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