Rose, Damia and Zeig all walked into the town, masquerading as a burial plot for humans. Immediately, they were noticed.
"General Zeig? Commander Rose?" A deep man's voice was to be heard, as they felt the presence of many people around them.
"Yes, we are here, approximately on time, with a friend in tow." Zeig answered, stepping forward.
"This is good news. Our farseers felt the power of the Darkness Beam and feared you two had perished. Were you successful in procuring the dragoon spirits and vessal dragons?" General Werring stepped out from a headstone, which was actually the entrance into the underground city.
"Well . . . Rosey has her dragoon spirit and vessal dragon. I, on the other hand, am still without. Just my blade to guide me in my pursuits of freedom." Zeig answered back, sheepishly yet firm. He was disappointed no other immense dragon had shown itself, but he would survive.
"As long as you both are alive and uninjured. Tell me, who is your young companion?" He asked, and Damia surged forward.
"My name is Damia! I'm their companion for life!" She was very excited, and full of life. "They rescued me from from certain death not even ten days ago! Since then, they've shown me many ways to stay alive if I am ever to be separated from them again. Which'll never happen." She said all this within a single breath, so no other person could said anything otherwise.
"Cute kid." Werring replies, smirking, the hardness of his face momentarily forgotten.
"Yes. Now, Damia, follow General Werring inside, and we'll meet you there shortly. We have a few things to attend to first." Rose said, and Damia shook her head in understanding.
"What business is this, Rose?" Zeig asked her when they'd arrived to where they usually slept in that bunker.
Rose immediately grabbed Zeig's face and brought it to her, kissing him passionately. Zeig didn't resist, and wrapped his arms around her back, pulling her closer. They stood like that for several moments, as if the world no longer mattered, and they were the only two people in it.
But all wonderous and beautiful moments in life must draw to a close. As this one did. Vice Corporal Franklin tapped his knuckle against the wall, interrupting them. He smirked, and said, "General Werring asks for your audience now, there is an important message from Diaz waiting for you both."
They nodded, and the Vice Corporal left, and they looked each other in the eyes, and were content. "We'll finish later." Zeig said playfully, and pinched Rose's left cheek, which received him a soft, playful slap on the face.
"You think so highly of yourself. Good, don't stop." They walked away from the hold and towards the General's office. Since this was is Official home office. They were stationed in Vellweb, much further to the west. The Crystal Palace floated some 300 miles to the east of Vellweb, though not as much interaction between the species was apparent. No one knew why.
They entered Werring's office, and sat down in the two chairs across from his table, with battle plans and the like on it. "As of right now, we have not declared open war on the Winglies. We are simply the average, run of the mill resistance. We would like the Winglies, especially Melbu Frahma, thinking that. We are scattered and weak, whereas he is strong. He doesn't understand the half of it. Currently, we have been gathering an army in secret for three years, and our numbers are in the thousands. There is only one thing we are waiting on. Dragon Spirits." Werring stopped for a moment and cleared his throat. "Yes, anyway, Diaz has sent this message via runner for you two." He handed Zeig the letter and allowed him to unseal it and read it.
After a moment, Zeig gave Rose the letter, and let her read it. "This is grave news. Librarian Syuveil is missing, presumed dead. His library/home was attacked three weeks ago, while we were looking for our spirits. This is very bad, he was the one who explained to Rose and I the importance of Dragoon Spirits in the first place. We had never heard of Dragon Knight's before. With him, much intelligence and understanding is lost."
"This is bad indeed! Without his help we could succumb to such a severe loss of knowledge, it would unimaginable." Werring said, sighing heavily.
"But the only bit of good news," Zeig said, reading the ending of the letter. "Is that his body was never recovered, unlike all his servants and his understudy. He has the potential to be alive. Or at least Diaz likes to hope so, since we need him for the war effort. We might be lost without him." Zeig sighed heavily.
Rose patted him on the shoulder but had no words of condelence. There wasn't much that she could say anyway.
They stood up to leave, shook hands with Werring, and departed, after inquiring to the location of Damia. The waterdock. I'm not sure if that's an insult or what she really wanted. Rose thought to herself.
But, Damia was quite happy once they arrived, staring at the single dock, the ship there. Possibly docked permanently, or at least until Diaz needs transport to this section of the nation. "Is it time to go?" She sounded dejected, but perked up almost immediately. In her former life, she'd never really been happy except when daddy was with her. Now, she couldn't contain her enthusiasm for everything. It was as if she had been reborn in Rose's arms. If such a thing were possible.
"Yup! But don't you fret Damia, we're on our way to speak to the creator of this entire rebellion! Without him, we wouldn't even have a city that is protected somewhat from Wingly attacks. You'll absolutely love him." Zeig said, patting the girl on the back slightly, reassuring her everything would be fine.
She looked hopefully to Rose, but she only smiled and nodded. If Rose agrees, then it must be true. I can't wait to meet whoever they're talking about! She thought to herself.
Belzac wiped sweat from his forehead, staring at the barren desert in front of him. He'd already traveled three days in it, and not a bit of water was in sight. Almost as if everything was a maze. They'd also encountered many terrible beasts along the way. Kanzas had turned out to be an amazing fighter. Not stronger physically than Belzac, who stood head, shoulders, and mid-chest taller than him, but he was a much more experienced fighter. He did look to be in his late 30's after all. Belzac being barely 26. He had much life left in him.
"Hey big boy, when the hell are we gonna get outta here? I'm sweating so badly I think I weigh half!" Kanzas barked at him.
"Do I look like I even know where we are? This place is a damned maze!" Belzac growled back, kicking sand up and making a mess on his trousers.
Shirley trailed behind them slightly. She only talked when was needed, but was otherwise completely silent. Both men could tell she suffered from the heat and dehydration, but said nothing ever since she tried to stab Kanzas in the thigh when he sneaked to her tent a week past. Her only words had been, "Not now. not ever." She had gone to sleep, and been left alone since.
"What kind of leader are you?" She asked, breaking her silence so swiftly it stopped both in in their tracks. "What sort of a leader tells his subordinates he's lost? You truly fail."
"Hey! I ain't no subordinate of that hunk of shit! He's just taking me to Emperor Diaz. I don't give a shit about their resistance. I just need more trophies." His eyes hungered for blood, though the wind was kicking up sand everywhere and it was marred by the billowing heat.
"Whatever you say. He's still leading both you and I into certain death. A desert? What was he thinking?" She shook her head and continued on, past the two men.
"Must be that time when they bleed." Kanzas said, always a vulgar person. Belzac grunted in anger, not entirely disagreeing with the dangerous man, and tried to keep up with Shirley, who was forging ahead quite fast.
"You stupid men! This is where we began!" She exclaimed, as they came upon the entrance into the desert Belzac had so expertly lead them into.
"I traveled over the desert last time we came from Vellweb. At least to come this far out to save one stinking village from certain doom. At great person risk, I might add." Belzac eyed her wonderingly, hoping she'd say something she'd regret.
She raised her chin and said nothing . . . about the subject at hand. Instead, she redirected it: "so, Mr. Leader, how do you suppose we get to Vellweb?"
"We could take the around route. That's how my men are getting back home. But we need to be there before them."
"Your pride at stake simple man?" Kanzas said, looking at him. "Because I don't care how we get there. I can take desert or even ocean. I'm stronger than most men alive." He wasn't boasting, either.
"No! I don't care about pride. We just need to get back to Vellweb quickly."
"can you lead us through the desert this time without getting us lost and going in a large loop?" Shirley asked. Belzac nodded, to confirm.
"I was just so irritated at the both of you that I lost track of everything. We'll be out of it within two days and almost to Vellweb. Or least almost to a transportation devise that will carry us there very quickly."
"Then lead on. But remember: I don't wish to die." Shirley said, and Belzac once again lead them into the desert, one sand dune at a time . . . .
Syuveil marched with a mile-long transport of prisoners, brought in from far stretches of the three continents of Endiness. He himself was not one, but he was masquerading for another chance to get inside Kadessa. It was the central hub for Wingly society, and maybe with more understanding, the two people's could coexist. He doubted it highly, people were naturally a war-like race, except in supreme power. They otherwise cower in fear and do as their master tells them. Some people believed humanity to be peaceful and hence the Winglies overtook them due to their lack of violence. But, in truth, it was that humans were too afraid of the magical ability of the Winglies. And they could fly, too! Only birds can fly in humanities eyes. They were simply too above them to do anything.
Which is why Emperor Diaz is staging such a giant resistance. He has the means and the power. And with Dragon Knights at his disposal - and they would be disposed of eventually, he couldn't stand to share the reins of power any longer than neccessary - he would win the war. Syuveil knew this. Yet he still helped the man. Even if his heart and mind weren't in the right place, his resistance was long overdue. As far back as human history goes, Winglies have always been superior to Mankind. They have feared and cowered and idolized them from a distance. And the Winglies were content in this form of worship. At least, until 300 years ago (or so the records state. No human being lives that long) Melbu Frahma became Supreme Ruler of all kindgdom come. In truth, he was a terrible dictator, who erected five floating cities in the span of but 50 years. Which, in Wingly time, was practically nothing. He created so many laws for the governing of Mankind and the many other creatures below the Winglies, that many humans began to chafe under his rule. But a few hundred rebels compared to thousand if not hundreds of thousands of Winglies? Their wars were nothing. Squashed without even trying. But Frahma needed to be stopped. According to the religious text of the One Tree, there are 108 species the creator Soa made. All came from the One Tree. The Virage Embryo was supposedly the savior of everything, creating a paradise. Frahma harnessed this power, and used it to create his power base. Now, no intelligent Wingly stands before him divided, if they wish to live.
He must be stopped. With his using the awesome power of the Virage Embryo, which would create a paradise by destroying all natural life on the planet. Frahma knows this, and this is how he can use so much power from it in the first place. Diaz was directed towards the destruction of the five cities, and Fort Flanvel, obviously. Destroying the floating battle station would make air attacks that much more potent. How to destroy something that large, though . . . . Syuveil had corresponded with many heads of intellect. They'd come up with nothing. The place that interested Syuveil the most was . . . Mayfil. Frahma found a way to control all spirits as they died. Human, giganto, mininto, and every other sort. Obviously, because of the Life City, or Crystal Palace, the WInglies who were born into the world are the magically superior ones. And the stronger their magic, the longer their life span. Which is why not very many Winglies have died a natural death since the Life City was originally floated. The second of the five to go up. Kadessa being the obvious first one. Flanvel was up before them all, but it was mobile, therefore not technically a city. Though you can fit two thousand Wingly into it without as much as batting an eyelash.
Zenebatos interested him the least. He never cared about politics and creating of law. It was all heresay anyway, since Frahma created laws that benefited him and only him. Aglis was another and the last one to be erected. It serves as the study of all magic. He was surpised that no dragons were hauled there. But then, the Winglies never trusted in any sort of magic except their own.
Syuveil pondered much, as he had nothing else to do but walk. He had spoken to Diaz about the Dragon Knights in great depth. In the end, the man had only gleaned that they would have terrible and frightening powers, the likes of which the Winglies had never seen before. So he appointed two of his general's in charge of capturing dragoon spirits. He didn't care it was done, or why. General Zeig, and his wife-to-be, Commander Rose set out nearly two months ago to obtain such spirits. The old scriptures stated that in times of turmoil, the spirits would gather. All in all, there were supposedly 7 obtainable dragoon spirits. The scripture spoke of the Divine Dragon, but it also said the Winglies have had it locked in the Mountain of Mortal Dragon since the beginning of time, and the seals wouldn't be coming off anytime soon. But then again, there was more activity in the Mountain than ever before. Syuveil believed the seal was all but broken. And Frahma doesn't care because he believes all creatures are beneath him, therefore useless to keep under his otherwise keen eye.
Syuveil feared the two would die horribly trying to gather the spirits. To obtain such spirits, they would have to kill fully-grown dragons. They weren't easy to kill in the first place. And of course Rose wanted to chase after the Darkness Dragon. One who didn't even have a form-filled body. But was pure dark energy. Untouchable save for one minute weakness. Of course Syuveil had known it. For the same reason he had known more than any other human alive. He wasn't afraid to do what was needed to get information. People were expendable as long as they served their purpose for the greater good.
At the same time, he knew Zeig had an indomnitable spirit, even if he was being dragged into it by Rose, who seemed to trust Diaz's every word. The poor girl had no clue what she was getting herself into. If not for those amazing fighting skills and being the lover of one of the general's, she might not have been allowed into the resistance at all as a fighter. According to most men, women were best in the kitchen and the bed, not on the battle field. Syuveil had no such quarrels. A human was a human, regardless of gender.
In the end, he would let everything play out as he saw fit. Diaz had no clue Syuveil could manipulate the man. Syuveil had only recently discovered he could. And he alone believed he knew what sort of world they all needed to live in. One without rulership over all. Every species alone yet separate, as Soa originally dictated.
"Move, slave!" He heard up near the front of the caravan. One of the men had fallen from heat exhuastion. Instead of saying something, he watched as the man was beaten to death by Wingly guards. Throwing his life away for a single mortal was simply unacceptable. He had much grander plans to attend to.
The caravan was lead into a meager side entrance to Kadessa. He once again had set foot onto the grounds. For the third time. He had to make it in further this time! He HAD to have that copy of The Unkempt King. He could help Diaz truly win the war with it. He knew the coordinates of the tower were Magician Grandee was located, and the private library of his couldn't be too far away from it. Problem was, have the inside of the Winglies compounds were controlled by the orb. And he only three locations within the city itself. Could be suicide. But that was a task worthy of his death. If he could procur the tome for only an hour, he could read much in it. Fabled to be in a language understandable to any who picked it up with the desire to learn from it.
They were all lead to a large holding cell. Easily 500 hundred human slaves, plus 50-75 giganto's as well. He knew most of them would be used as entertainment for the Winglies, in their great dome of massacre. He only hoped he'd have time to escape. His chains were real, but he'd broken out once. It was only the location of that hidden exit that saved him the other time he had to escape.
The large chain was released, and every human slave was released into the compound. There wasn't much they could do but run rampant like scared mice in a field, hawks flying overhead ready to dive down and eat them. So they panicked, collectively, and tried to mob their Wingly captors. Laughing sardonically, they flew just out of reach of their out-stretched arms.
Finally flying out towards the green orb at the top-most section of the holding cell, they disappeared into tiny green balls. The loud noise of the scrambling humans cut off nearly immediately, as this sort of technology was not seen by them everyday. Or at all, for that matter.
He knew there was another orb located in the back hidden by some sort of shield that was inpentrable except by Wingly magic. He had to catch a guard dozing there to sneak past. But he could do it. And he would, as soon as a guard was posted. Must be a power-trip deal, because it wasn't as if humans could use it anyway. Most likely if they actually could get past the barrier, and figure out where to go, all the locations leading from that one would take them directly into their captor's arms again. Effectively making it useless. He'd overheard two guards speaking of the coordinates of the barracks, and if Syuveil could use it during the dead of night, the barracks might possibly be empty of soldiers. It was worth a risk. But a calculated one. He made no others.
Half-way to Vellweb, and not a single dragon had been spotted. Zeig was growing impatient. For even though Rose had her dragoon spirit, Syuveil had not given them instruction on using them. And Michael was eating a lot of meat everyday. So much that Zeig was sick and tired of killing his meals. He'd told Rose to release the thing and let it find it's own food, but she had hated the idea.
"Well, Rosey. What are we going to do when he is fully grown? That should be interesting. And I suppose I'll have a dragon as well?" Zeig said, eyeing the dragon. In two and a half weeks, it had quadroupled in size. Almost as big as a man. And nearly as nasty as an evil one.
"Once he's older than a month, I'll let him try to find his own kills. Until then., we continue to feed him." She answered back, as she always did.
"I'll help you find animals to kill and eat!" Damia piped in, as she always did as well. Zeig let her help only because she seemed to have the sense of their location. He could find them easily once she pin-pointed their approximate location to him.
The trek was otherwise uneventful. They stuck to following the Manderin river upstream. It would eventually lead them into the passing of the two mountains, and Vellweb lay just beyond that. He would be glad to be home. And Rose would receive a heroes welcome. Since she was suspected to only be apart of the war because they were lovers. But this would prove she had the ability all on her own, since she had shown up a famous general in Diaz's army. Or . . . they might consider her coddled even more, because Zeig might've given it to her. Either way, he didn't care. Diaz knew people's worth, regardless of what others thought about them. Which was why he'd let the half-breed Belzac join, and above join, had eventually appointed him a fellow general. The man had a heart of gold, but was a brilliant strategist, and could take on twice or three times the damage of a regular man. He carried an axe three times the size of a regular one, and could wield it like lightning. It was a shame the man was a pacifist. He would've been truly terrifying on the battlefield.
They camped just before night fall, making as small a fire as possible, and putting it out even quicker. Any unwanted attention, they tried to avoid. But . . . they did have to eat. So Zeig allowed that small concession. He couldn't live with raw meat, either, for that matter. Though he protested that he could. Damia always slept within inches of Rose, and tonight was no different. Because of her obviously young age, Zeig slept a bit of a distance off, so as not to scare the poor girl. Even if it severely irritated the man. he definitely missed his lover's warm embrace, and the warm pleasure centers of her body. He missed running his hands through her silky black hair, or nibbling lightly on her flesh to get a reaction out of her. But, he could survive until Vellweb. If only with the knowledge he would have his way with her almost immediately upon arrival. She knew this well, and welcomed the day as well. She missed his extremely toned body, and firm grip on her shoulders and breast and buttocks. But, they were at war, and could forgo such animalistic feelings, as long as he stoo by her side. And he would. Until both were in their graves. As all people end. Especially soldiers.
Days passed quickly, and within a week and a half, they caught the first sight of the two small mountains that would lead them into the pass, which would then lead onto Vellweb. It was a protected city by Endiness as much as humanity.
Michael was twice as big as Zeig now, and was gone all day, only to return at night and sleep near Rose. With Damia on one side, and a 16 foot tall dragon on the other, Zeig kept his distance. He was fearful for his life. Sadly, Michael would probably grow at least another 20 feet, if not twice that much. He was not sure how a dragon's growth could be measured. Michael was already bigger than the previous Darkness Dragon they killed. And it had seemed ancient. Possibly because it's entire mass was formed of darkness, whereas Michael was just flesh and blood. Only time would tell.
Traversing the pass was difficuly, especially in the late fall, when the first snow had been dumped onto the area. Vellweb was fairly closed off once winter struck, except to the extremely fool-hardy or brave - or both, for that matter. Since one usually came along with the other.
Rose could tell from the look on Damia's face, that she'd never seen snow before. Coming from a warmer climate, even in the deep winter it had only been mildly chilly there, and never even thought of snowing. The weather was as fickle as men, according to Rose.
"Well, Damia, Rose. We're but a two days walk from Vellweb. Are you nearly as excited as I am?" Zeig asked, as they stood atop the pass, looking down into hundreds of wood forts at the distance that the planet rotated around itself. The horizon was pock-marked with them. Truly an awe-inspiring sight for a human who'd come from a village of 500 people, at best.
Damia looked more than happy. She looked so filled with joy it couldn't reside in a single person, and had to come bursting out at the seams. It could also have been her extremely pale blue/white skin looking even more white against the snowy backdrop. Zeig considered keeping himself in ignorance.
"Well, I for one cannot wait to speak to Diaz." He said, trekking down the mountain pass into the city of his childhood . . . .