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Maladrid tales of domi.., p.8

Maladrid - [Tales Of Dominhydor: Book One], page 8

 

Maladrid - [Tales Of Dominhydor: Book One]
 


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  “Forever?”

  “No. The Cyrin allows all those who have passed beyond to briefly return to Dominhydor. During that time, they are free to make their peace or see those they left behind, but most important of all, any spirits that are trapped in Dominhydor may join Hana in its return above. The Isil who dwell within this rock will finally be able to go home when the Cyrin is wielded.”

  “Why hasn’t it been used? Why are the Isil still here?” Yven asked.

  “The Cyrin is extremely powerful, milady. It is not to be used so casually.”

  “Certainly not by an average creature, but you are a Daian, one of Yaliwe’s chosen. Surely you could wield it.”

  “It is not my duty to wield it. It is not my path. Someday, the Cyrin will serve its purpose, and when that day comes, the world will be at peace again.”

  “Then it was the Cyrin’s light I felt. I felt it go out,” Yven whispered.

  “Its radiance is still burning in my heart, so I know it has not been extinguished, but it is entombed in shadow. You see, the Isilmaerte is where the Cyrin was kept. Since the Isil couldn’t be in Hana, Yaliwe decided that they should at least be near the key to Hana. That way, they would always have Her light nearby.”

  “You said it was kept here. Where is it now?”

  “Taken, I’m afraid, by the servants of the Dark Lady. Not long ago, I was called back to Mancyte for several months while I took part in the Diadorin, the Council of Daian, and when I finally returned, the Isil were weeping. The Cyrin was gone, and though the Ione and I searched under every last stone in the mountain, I knew in my heart that we would not find it.”

  “Shacore,” Yven growled.

  “Yes, but what manner of demon this Shacore is, I don’t know,” Garyli said.

  “Why would Shacore want the Cyrin? Does the Dark Lady seek Hana on earth?” Maladrid asked.

  “Those who worship Her believe Hana to be dark and cold as they are, but they are fools, and their lord is an abomination and a liar,” Garyli replied. “The Cyrin must be found, my Children. It was not meant for hands as cruel as the Shadaran’s or any other servants of the shadow. These are dark days, yes, but they are nothing in comparison to what will happen if Shacore opens the sky. Their Hana will be our Ol, and no pure of heart will escape its torments.”

  “I want to go home. I long for the comforts of the Dolihol,” Forbor said sadly, and Garyli patted his head in sympathy.

  “I’m afraid I’ve robbed you of the daytime, my friends; you must be on your way at once. The Forest of the Yaermaca is not far off. You should take rest there and drink of the Pools to restore your strength. But I bid you stay, Forbor. This is no journey for a Dalitant, even for a prince as brave and honorable as you. Stay with me, and in time, I will lead you back to the Dolihol,” he said and Forbor bowed his head in concurrence.

  “Goodbye, Forbor. I pray we shall meet again,” said Yven as she bent down and kissed the top of his head. “Yaliwe pala e ia ve.”

  “Thank you for all of your help, Forbor,” Maladrid said sincerely.

  “It has certainly been a pleasure meeting you both. I wish you the best of luck,” he replied as he unfurled his wings, flew up into the air, and landed in Maladrid’s arms.

  “You are truly the son of kings, and you will be forever in my thoughts and prayers,” Maladrid replied.

  As Garyli unlocked a door and gestured for them to follow him into another tunnel, Maladrid sat Forbor down on the ground and waved goodbye, but his eyes slipped back to his dear friend and savior until the tunnel’s suffocating darkness swallowed the light from behind. For over an hour, they walked as the Ione glittered in the walls around them and sang to each other until they finally reached the last door, which Garyli opened to reveal a bright world with a potentially aphotic future.

  “Keep straight ahead and the Forest of the Yaermaca will soon be upon you,” Garyli said. “Dear Children, I’m afraid I feel a grief in my heart that cannot be quelled. An era is ending. The Li seem to be steering far from their origins, but perhaps that’s what Yaliwe intended all along. My love and the love of Yaliwe go with you. Alamintyl, Children.”

  With that, Garyli disappeared into the Mountain and locked the door behind him, but for a few minutes, Yven and Maladrid stood in silence while they looked off into the distance, back at the Mountain, and then to each other in short, nervous glances.

  “Yven?” Maladrid finally said.

  “Yes, Maladrid?”

  “Have we any hope to defeat Shacore, retrieve the Cyrin, and survive?”

  “I’m afraid we haven’t the hope to achieve all three, Maladrid, but my own survival is not my first priority in this battle.”

  They walked mile upon mile with the moon brilliantly lighting their way, and Maladrid found that he couldn’t stop his eyes from slipping up to it. He imagined the moon as a world in itself and that those who dwelt there were untouched by thoughts of darkness, even at night. But one of his reveling glances suddenly filled his veins with ice when he spotted a menacing shadow cast across the moon. Soaring across the illuminated sky was a gaunt ivory beast with its massive spiny wings spread as it darted through the clouds. It was not alone, however; there were scores of the creatures, swooping lower and lower with fangs bared and claws tearing through the clouds.

  “Yven,” Maladrid said nervously, and when she followed his gaze to the flooded sky, she immediately drew her sword.

  “Anjila!” she shouted.

  All of a sudden, from leafy alcoves, a clan of roaring Achnora emerged and swarmed toward Maladrid and Yven. Maladrid swiftly unsheathed his blade and plunged it into an Achnor’s forehead just as the beast was about to sink its teeth into his neck, and Yven whirled around with graceful brutality and sliced at those descending upon her. When an Anjil dove toward her and scratched her face with its talons, she leapt up, grabbed its leg, and pulled it out of the sky. She slammed the screeching beast down to the ground, and as she drove Vetna into its chest and forcefully ripped the Anjil in two, its gnarled body broke into hardened chunks of stone that ultimately fell to dust. While Yven continued to slash at whatever beast dare attack her, Maladrid found himself watching her in amazement. The blood-stained queen, hungry for each kill, enraptured him so that he didn’t notice the Achnor creeping up behind him. The beast lunged and knocked Maladrid to the ground, but when the Achnor flipped him onto his back and its claw flew toward his throat, Maladrid’s blade flew as well. With one stab, he severed the Achnor’s arm at the wrist and stabbed it in the chest, but torrents of hot black blood poured onto Maladrid’s face, and though he kicked the demon back, he couldn’t see the impending danger for the viscous filth in his eyes. The impending danger, however, wasn’t his own. He heard Yven desperately screaming his name, but even when he’d wiped the blood out of his eyes, he couldn’t find her. Her cry sounded farther and farther away, and when he finally saw her, she was just a dot dangling from the talons of the distant Anjil above him.

  “Yven!”

  The Achnora swarmed over him, and though he tried to break through them to follow Yven, they wrestled him to the ground. Just before their hands closed over his eyes, he saw a shard of brilliance fall from the sky and sheath itself in the ground. Abducted by Anjila and Yven was still helping him; she’d dropped her sword. With a mighty growl, Maladrid exploded out of the beasts’ grasp and bolted toward Vetna, and when his hands wrapped around the hilt, the remaining Achnora seemed to know they’d met their match, snorted angrily, and began to retreat.

  “Wretched interloper!” one of the demons yelled.

  “Pay no mind, brother. Shacore will deal with him in time. The girl is enough for now.”

  “Perhaps Shacore would give us a taste of her. I bet her insides taste of honey.”

  “Don’t even think about it,” Maladrid hissed threateningly, and the Achnora roared with laughter.

  Maladrid had turned his eyes back to the empty sky, still searching for his friend, and he was so fixated on
his sullen search, he didn’t notice one of the Achnora pick up a large stone and hurl it in his direction. It cracked Maladrid on the back of the head and flooded his brain with heavy darkness, but when he collapsed to the ground, his pain swelled more from his failure than his injury, and it was all he could think about before everything faded to black.

  When Maladrid awoke, his head throbbed intensely and the smell of Achnoran blood filled him with extreme nausea. The slain beasts lay scattered before him with their wounds oozing onto the grass and staining it with the color and stench of death. Maladrid forced himself to his feet and began to tiptoe in-between the bodies with the hope that he wouldn’t stumble upon Yven laying among them. He screamed her name as he weaved between the carcasses, so loudly and so many times that he quickly became hoarse.

  ”You’ll find no pretty Hohmara maid here,” hissed a voice even hoarser than his.

  An emaciated Achnor, holding its wounded stomach and shaking, looked up at him with murder in its eyes. The dark blood bubbled and frothed between its fingers and dribbled from its mouth as it sputtered and coughed, and Maladrid pressed his blade against the Achnor’s throat.

  “Pretty, pretty little maid,” it wheezed as a rictal smile crept across its face. “The pretty Hohmara won’t be pretty for very long.”

  “Where is she?” Maladrid asked sternly as he pressed the blade harder against its neck.

  “There is no saving her. Shacore is strong. Shacore is wise. Shacore will break open her pretty head and feast upon the sweetness inside.”

  Maladrid grabbed hold of the Achnor’s neck, lifted it to eye level, and drew its reeking body close to him with his blade still threatening its throat.

  “Mind your tongue, foul beast of Ol,” Maladrid growled.

  The Achnor let out a fierce hiss and ran its thick black tongue mockingly over Maladrid’s cheek, but he swiftly grabbed the slimy tongue and held the beast aloft, and with a flash of his sword, the Achnor fell to the ground and clawed at its bloody, tongueless mouth. It coughed and twitched in a dark pool on the grass as Maladrid threw the tongue to the ground. He crouched next to the Achnor while sheathing his sword and stared somberly at the beast choking on its blood and rage.

  “I’m going to destroy your beloved Shacore, whatever it is,” Maladrid whispered. “And what’s more, I’m going to find all of your disgraceful kin and put them on a pyre. The sky will be black with smoke, and the air will be so thick with the stench of burning Achnoran flesh, you’ll probably be able to smell it from Ol.”

  When the Achnor’s body fell slack, Maladrid trudged back to Vetna’s earthen sheath and knelt beside it with his head bowed. His hand curled around the hilt and his arm around the blade, and he held it against his body so tightly that it shallowly sliced his chest and shoulder. After many drops of blood and tears were spilt for the queen, he finally stood, and with a tortured cry, he withdrew Vetna from the crimson earth.

  The pain in Maladrid’s burning wounds swelled as he began again, alone. The stench of the battle behind wafted on the teasing breeze, and his stomach turned with acidic waves. His mind couldn’t focus on anything but the nausea and pain, and if not for the sound of the breeze breaking on the branches, Maladrid wouldn’t even have noticed the small spattering of trees and brush surrounding him. Whistles and rustles accompanied the low howl of the wind, and whispers brought the memory of Yven’s voice. She called for him, begged for his help, and he could do nothing but weep. He had lost her, and what tortured him more than his solitude was the fact that he’d given her up so easily. They had taken her, and he had just stood there and watched like the hopeless fool he was. How was he to help save the world when he couldn’t save Yven?

  His heart beat lethargically as if it no longer had the will to keep pumping, and each slow throb traveled through his body to every gash and bruise. He knew that the continued pleas on the wind were merely products of his deliriously exhausted mind, but then, the cries turned to rhyme and song, and the music leisurely changed Maladrid’s sorrow to unexpected contentment. It took hold of his mind and body, and even his heart quickened to match the rhythm of the entrancing tune.

  Amidst the surrounding trees, there was one that stood as the queen to all others: a willow with long elegant branches and leaves so vibrant that they shone of their own volition. It swayed as Maladrid swayed, and a grand sweep of the wind’s music lulled them into a graceful ballet. He rested his head against its soft trunk, and while the song entranced and brought joy to Maladrid’s heart, something was brought to the tree as well: life. It wrenched its trunk free of the soil and when its roots fused together, they became dainty and pointed and she, the queen willow, danced across the field with Maladrid in her arms. They circled the stationary trees, and blossoms fell down upon them as they dipped and spun in the moonlight, but when he finally looked up and saw the willow’s feminine face smiling warmly upon him, he broke free of her grasp and recoiled in shock.

  “Who are you?” he exclaimed.

  When she giggled in reply, her verdant body glistened and the tiny leaves woven into her hair and dress fluttered. She stood several feet taller than Maladrid and her knotted locks of hair cascaded down to her waist, and though every inch of her was the color of new grass, each time she blinked, her green pupils shone with different tints ranging from myrtle to moss. Maladrid saw the wreath of ivy-colored stars that sat upon her noble brow and knew that her blood was rich with power, but in trepidation he drew Yven’s sword, and when the willow woman’s vibrant color was reflected in the blade, the land was sprinkled with spears of green light.

  “You’ve nothing to fear from me,” she said in a deep but feminine voice.

  “Who are you?”

  “I am the Fair Beloved, the Green Goddess. My name is Yvinhe, and I am the Daian of the Leaf.”

  “My apologies, milady,” he whispered as he sheathed the sword and fell to one knee. “Sorrow has wounded me and scarred my vision.”

  When she glided forward, the grass grew in size and luster. She touched his shoulder and eased him to his feet, and when her fingers caressed his face, her celestial warmth burned through his body.

  “Your eyes are scarred because they are the eyes of the world. I know what you seek, my Child.”

  “I seek the Cyrin,” Maladrid replied, “and my friend, Yven.”

  “Ah, yes, the queen of the Hohmara. I dare say she is the most promising sovereign Dominhydor has yet born. Except maybe for you,” she said.

  “I’m no sovereign. I don’t have a drop of royal blood.”

  “I know,” she replied smugly. “But that’s not important right now. You called me, Maladrid, and I came. What can I do for you?”

  “I don’t know what you mean. I never called you. I wouldn’t even know how to go about summoning a Daian.”

  “I am the earth and all that springs from it. The queen’s blade penetrated my breast, and when you clung to it and your tears rained upon the soil, your heart cried out to me. So here I am.”

  “Could you help me find Yven?”

  “Yven? She is not lost. You know exactly where she is headed.”

  “Yes I do, and I have to save her.”

  “No, Maladrid, you cannot save her. She is on the path that she must take, and as she must take hers, you must take yours.”

  “I won’t abandon her,” Maladrid said sternly.

  “You’re not abandoning her. You’re continuing and waiting. You’re following your course.”

  “I don’t deserve a course. I let her go,” he whispered. “I’m nothing.”

  “Fine,” she said with a shrug. “So you’re nothing; you’re common. You’re a stranger to these lands, a simple boy with no experience in dark times such as these. So, what are you doing here? Why don’t you just go home?”

  “I can’t. Even with as painful as this journey has been, it would pain me more to turn my back on it and to turn my back on her. She saved my life and dulled my ache, and for that, I refuse to turn. I will
continue.”

  “Of course you will. It is your path,” Yvinhe said warmly. “Do you know the story of Nomil, Maladrid?”

  “I’m afraid not.”

  “As you know, there are two languages in Dominhydor: the Speech of Yaliwe and the Common Speech of Nomil. I was the first to speak in Yaliwe’s tongue, but it was Her language because if not for Her, I wouldn’t have spoken at all. And not to sound high and mighty, I was also the one who named Her.”

  “You named Yaliwe?” Maladrid asked in awe.

  She nodded and continued, “That was very long ago. Before Dominhydor, there were only Yaliwe and the Daian. We spoke in the Speech of Yaliwe, for it was all we knew. It wasn’t until after the world was created that we began to speak as you and I are speaking now. When the Lady of Light created Dominhydor, there was life within but no life upon, and for several years it remained so as my ilk ventured down to fashion its earthen majesties. But when the farwe fell from Hana, the Star Stones burrowed into the earth and sands of the sea, and they became the Children of Yaliwe’s Dominhydor. The first to traverse the earth were the Isil, quickly followed by the Tylira and Inha as well as the fiendish Coltina and Achnora. I created the Yaerla myself from roots and seeds and the breath of Yaliwe, and they grew as saplings rather than from the farwe stones. I greeted them when they were grown and I spoke to them in the tongue of Yaliwe, and once they learned my language, they began to speak it to others. However, as the speech traveled across the earth, it became more and more muddled, and those that lived far from the Forest where the language had started pure were saddened that what they spoke was only a bastardization of their creator’s tongue. The closest thing to knowing the Lady is knowing Her voice, and not being able to understand Her language prevented them from ever really hearing Her. To make matters worse, because of the muddling, kin on opposite sides of the world were unable to communicate with each other. The Bartosca of Taerydor spoke a completely different version of Yaliwe’s Speech than their brethren in Deydor. The Inha all lived in the same region; they didn’t have the same communication problem as the rest of the races, and therefore remained indifferent to troubles of the other races. There was one Inha, however, who loved to travel throughout all lands in Dominhydor, who found the addled versions of speech frustrating and unnecessary. The Inha Nomil was no one really. Just like you,” Yvinhe remarked with a wink. “But he was no weakling either, and he was very resolute. He wanted to know the creatures unlike him; he wanted to speak to and learn from them. He spent a long time journeying across Dominhydor, but when his life was rocked by the tragic death of his best friend Elent, something switched over in him and he locked himself in his house for a year. When he finally emerged, twenty years had been added to his face and stature, and he held in his hands a massive bundle of papers that were feverishly scrawled with strange characters and words. The Mosecora swarmed his home on the day of his emergence and he taught them the language that he had spent a year devising, and spread the new words across Dominhydor from Dorel to Colytaer. His kin spoke ill of him and deemed him too common to talk for Yaliwe. What right had he, they thought, to create a new language for Dominhydor: a common language, so to speak?

 
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