The Beginning of the End

Part 1

The Sins of our Fathers

By Trever Walton

Chapter One

The Prophecy

"Hey get back here you thief," Graham yelled to Mordack as he ran down the main street of Crownguard, the capital city of Daventry. Graham Morgeilen was 17 years old. He was short for his age but he hoped that, like his father, he would just grow late. He had dark hair and had a face that looked like it had been carved out of stone. He was also blessed with intense blue eyes. He was reasonably strong being the son of hunter. Many of the younger girls adored him but Graham, still caring little for girls ignored them.

Mordack Levian like Graham had dark black and rather untidy hair. That is where all similarities ended. Mordack was two years older than Graham. He was tall and would have been more powerful looking if he hadn't been so skinny. He had a usually wore plain black robes even in Daventry's hot summers. The Levian family was feared and hated by the people and respected by the Crown. They were arrogant and acted like they owned everything (which actually wasn't far off). Mordack didn't want to be like the rest of his family and was actually turning out to be quite a troublemaker.

One thing about his family that Mordack did like was he was born with magic in his blood. Magic tended to follow bloodlines but there were some occasions when it would skip over people or perhaps someone from a non-magic family would find the had the gift. Everyone in Mordack's family was well trained in the art. Mordack had no formal training but his family had taught him a lot.

Mordack had been friends with Graham a long time but recently as Mordack tried harder and harder to be different than his family, they had been slowly drifting apart. They were still friends but there was constant tension between them. Mordack's most recent escapades involved stealing a knife that had once belonged to graham's father but after his death 3 years prior it was given to Graham's brother, Kemper.

"Please give it back, Mordack, it was my father's!" Graham shouted after Mordack as he continued to chase him.

As Graham ran he knocked the baker's basket of bread out of his hands. "Hey you better get back here and pay for this you little demon!" He yelled going red in the face but Graham never heard him as he continued down the street reaching the end of the market area and running through fields.

Coming over a hill he saw Mordack run into the forest. The forest Graham's mother had forbidden him from entering in fear that he would join his father on the other side. Graham stared at the forest and remembered.

Graham was 12 when his father took him into this forest to teach him about tracking one summer. Graham was excited, not so much for learning about tracking as he was about being with his father. Graham adored his father. He ran into the forest ahead of his father. He turned back to call out to his father to hurry but his call got caught in his throat. The trees grew so densely that Graham could no longer see him.

"Father! Father help me. I'm lost!" Graham called spinning in a circle no longer even certain of which way he had come. Feeling hopeless he just sat down at the base of a strong oak and began to cry.

It hadn't been long but Graham felt as if it had been hours when he felt a strong hand on his shoulder.

"Son," came his father's voice "the first lesson I want to teach you is to travel slowly. Look around you watch for landmarks so you don't get lost. Second be quiet. If you scare away all the animals you will find tracking to be much more difficult."

Graham looked up, into his fathers smiling face, relieved that he had found his father or rather that his father had found him.

Graham's father had pointed at the ground at some small tracks, likely rabbit, and his father went on to explain more about tracking...

The moment Graham entered he felt it grow darker and colder around him. The forest was a dangerous place filled with wild animals and as of late dark magic-users and thieves. Remembering what his father had taught him about tracking animals Graham looked to the ground. There he saw tracks a child could follow in the newly fallen leaves. Following Mordack's rather twisted path through the forest he eventually came to a small clearing. The tracks led right to the center where there was a small pool edged with blue bricks up to about a foot off the ground. The edges of the bricks were rough and it looked as if the pool was quite old and had been neglected for a very long time. After looking into the pool and finding no sign of Mordack, Graham started pacing around the edge of the clearing wondering what to do.

Mordack emerged from forest from where Graham had entered walking backwards with his hands raised into the air. "Eradere" he said and the tracks that had been plainly visible earlier were erased. Mordack was quite talented in magic for his age

"Have fun finding your way out now," Mordack laughed while walking to the pool and standing on the bricks on the side of the pool nearest Graham.

"Don't be a jerk. Please just give me that dagger it was my fathers" Graham pleaded.

"You mean this dagger?" Mordack asked pulling the dagger out of a pocket of his black tunic.

Mordack held the intricately carved dagger over the pool. It had a silver blade and the hilt was plated with gold. It had runes carved into one side of the blade. It was an Elvin blade and was said to have great magical powers though no one in the family had yet been able to figure out what they were.

"You wouldn't dare!" Graham said.

"Wouldn't I?"

Hearing those words Graham ran straight at Mordack. Mordack's eyes widened in shock as they both tumbled into the pool.

The large blue bricks continued down to the floor that was covered with writing and arcane symbols that were unrecognizable to Graham. Looking above him Graham saw Mordack frantically swimming to the surface. He looked as if he was having some difficulty. Graham looked down once more and saw the dagger on the floor of the pool. He swam to bottom retrieved it and returned to the surface.

Clambering out of the pool and glancing behind him he was surprised that he didn't see Mordack. Looking in the water he couldn't see him either. He put the dagger in the sheath that hung from his belt and dove back into the pool. He still couldn't see Mordack anywhere. As Graham swam back to the surface he noticed a rather large hole in the side of the pool near where Graham saw Mordack earlier. Swimming towards it he felt a current of water coming out of it. He swam a little closer and suddenly he was caught in the current and forced down to the bottom of the pool. He went zipping right into another hole that Graham had not been aware of.

He entered a tunnel. All around him was a pale blue light. The walls were smooth and had more runes carved on them. Graham felt light-headed and knew that if he didn't get some air he would soon pass out. The tunnel narrowed and he felt it starting to speed up and he could hear an ominous roar ahead of him. That was the last thing Graham remembered thinking before he passed out.

When Graham awoke he found himself in a large underground cavern. He was leaning with his back to the wall of the cave. Next to him was a small fire which looked as if it was magic as there wasn't wood or any other fuel below it. Looking up Graham could not see the ceiling of the cave. Directly ahead of Graham was a waterfall about 20 feet off the ground. It fell into a pool that fed a small underground river on Graham's right. The river gave off a pale blue light, whether it was because the water itself was glowing or it was the bed and walls of the river that glowed Graham was unsure. The blue glow reminded him of the blue glow as he traveled through the water filled cave before and he concluded this was the river he had been in earlier. Graham also decided it must have been the waterfall creating the roar that he heard. The river looked like it was traveling quite fast. A short distance from the pool there was a fork in the river but the fork nearest Graham only went on for a few feet then swirled around creating an eddy that eventually pushed the water back into the other fork. The river then continued onwards getting closer to the wall on Grahams right until it entered into a hole in the wall and disappeared near where Graham was sitting. On Grahams left another river came pouring out of a hole in the wall that graham was leaning on. It only traveled for a short distance before it too disappeared into another hole in the wall. This river had a pink glow to it. On Grahams left the cave extended into the darkness and Graham couldn't see anything.

It was out of this darkness that a tall dark figure appeared and began walking towards him.

The figure was tall and had dark hair. He walked slowly towards where Graham was sitting. As the person drew nearer to Graham he looked right into his eyes. Suddenly recognition dawned on Graham. He was staring the face of his father.

"Father! What? How?" Graham exclaimed wondering how this was possible.

The sudden noise appeared to startle Graham's father and he turned and walked back into the darkness.

"No, don't leave me! Father come back!" Graham shouted.

Suddenly another image appeared from the darkness. At first all Graham could see was a bright light bobbing up and down. Then as it came a little closer Graham could see it was another tall figure dressed in dark clothing running towards him.

"Father is that you? Did you come back" Graham called in desperation.

"No Graham it's me what's wrong? Are you okay" Came a voice.

"What? Who are you? Father please come back!" Graham said in desperation.

"No Graham. It's Mordack. Your father's dead!" Mordack said as he ran into the circle of light.

Mordack was carrying a fire in his hand similar to the one on the floor near Graham. The flickering light reflected in Mordack's green and panic-stricken eyes.

"I heard you shouting and hurried back as quick I could. Are you okay?" Mordack asked.

"I'm better than okay Mordack! I saw my father he's not dead. He's here in this cave! We have to go find him!" Graham said standing up.

"Commisceo!" Mordack said and threw the fire he was holding into the air. It then shot towards the one near Graham and two fires became one.

"Calm down Graham, please your starting to scare me" Mordack said as he approached Graham to look into his face.

"You don't understand Mordack. I saw him. He was here right where you are standing now" Graham said with a now crazed look in his eyes.

Mordack was worried Graham was losing sanity and did the only thing he could think of. "Quietus" Mordack said outstretching his fingers and pointing his open palm towards Graham. It was a spell of soothing and calming. Graham's head lolled to one side and fell into deep sleep. Exhausted Mordack lay down and decided he would go to sleep as well. As he lay there he couldn't help but wonder whether Graham was losing his sanity or he had actually seen his father.

"Mordack?" Graham called into the darkness.

Mordack woke up as Graham called him. "What is it?" he asked.

"The fires gone, I can't see." Graham said.

"Ignis" Mordack said pointing at the ground where a fire was now burning that hadn't been there before.

"How long have we been down here?" Graham asked.

"I'm not sure"

"I had the strangest dream. I dreamt I saw my father"

"Really, how odd."

"What happened how did we get here?"

"Well, after you knocked me into the pool I got caught in a current of water. It's strange though. I'd been there before but I had never seen those tunnels."

"I feel the same way. The first time I went in I didn't see the tunnels but I saw you struggling with the current. I grabbed the dagger and climbed out but you never came to the surface." Then Graham's face went from nervous to angry "Why did you steal it anyways?"

"I don't know. I wouldn't have stolen it from you if you hadn't been "borrowing" it from your brother."

"Oh yes. That's great! So it's my fault you stole it? I don't think so."

"We're trapped in a cave and you're fighting over a stupid dagger. There are more important things to worry about here! Wait! That's it, the dagger!"

"What's it?" Graham yelled. He was still angry.

"Hand me the dagger for a second"

"What so you can run off with it again"

"Look around you! Where do you think I'm going to go!"

"Fine" Graham said handing Mordack the dagger.

Mordack turned the blade over and over in his hands. The light from the fire flashed off the runes. Mordack stared at them.

"You said this was an Elven blade didn't you?" Mordack asked.

"Yes my father got it as a gift"

"I think it was the dagger that let us enter the tunnels. There was probably a magical protection on them and the dagger allowed us to bypass it. The remaining question is who is building these tunnels?"

"That would explain the writing on the floor of the pool. It reminded me of the writing in your spell books"

"You read my spell books!" Mordack was furious.

"I tried. Well only the black one with the red dragon on it"

"How dare you!" Mordack yelled, now very angry.

"Hey I thought we had more important things to worry about" Graham said.

"If that's the way you're going to be, next time I have the opportunity to save your life I won't" Mordack shouted.

"What? You saved my life?" Graham was suddenly very quiet, "What happened?"

"As I was saying earlier, I got sucked into the tunnels when you knocked me into the pool. Then eventually I shot over the waterfall. When I was in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall I cast a float spell on myself. I rose to the surface then was easily able to climb out of the pool. I figured you wouldn't be too far behind so I sat on the bank waiting for you.

"When you finally came down the waterfall I saw you were unconscious and I wasn't quite sure what to do. You were pushed to the bottom of the pool. I sat watching waiting for you to rise to the surface. Eventually you were pushed away from the waterfall and able to rise to the surface. When you came up you face down in the water and I knew I didn't have much time. I was going to cast the float spell on you but I have to touch the other the person to do it, besides that I had never cast a spell on another person before. I wasn't sure if I would be able to. I ran along the edge of the pool. I tried a fetch spell to pull you out of the water but the spell was only meant for small objects not people and it didn't work. At the fork in the river you got pulled into the one with the big eddy. That was a bad thing but it meant that I was able to reach into it to try to cast the spell on you. I reached in and was only able to barely touch your arm but I hoped it would be enough. I cast my spell again but this time trying to focus the spell on you. It worked you rose up out of the water and you were lying on your back. It didn't look like you were breathing.

"Before I had a chance to do anything more to get you out you got pulled into the other fork. You were heading towards the place where the river enters into another tunnel in the side of the cave. Now that the spell was active on you the water wasn't pulling you along so fast. I ran along the edge ahead of you and at the place the river starts to get narrower right before entering the tunnel and lay down. I put my hand out as far as I could. As you came closer you were on the far side of the river. I tried casting my fetch spell on you again. It worked but just barely. You were pulled across the water into and I grabbed your arm and pulled you out of the water. I leaned you up against the cave wall your next to now."

"Wow" Graham said afterwards, "I didn't realize you were so powerful."

"Well it takes a lot out of me to cast my spells. Plus the ones that I use have to be memorized every time their cast. I was amazed that I was able to cast so many spells in a row. It barely even affected me. It was like I was somehow able to draw power out of something besides myself. I'm not exactly sure what that something is though."

There was a long silence in which Graham thought about what Mordack had told him and Mordack just sat enjoying the silence. Finally Graham spoke "So what have you figured out? Did you find a way out?"

"Huh? Oh well I discovered some other caves but there isn't much there." Mordack said, "I found one cave with a big boulder blocking it and another with a small pool of water. That's about it. You know there is something I'm wondering about." using the knife Mordack began to cut off part of his sleeve.

Finishing with the knife Mordack set it sown and pulled the sleeve of his left arm from the elbow down. Graham saw lots of scars on Mordack's arm. Some of the scars started at his hand and disappeared up the remainder of Mordack's sleeve.

"What happened to your arm? Where did all those scars come from?" Graham wondered.

"Ritual Magic." Mordack answered.

"Ritual Magic?" Graham was curious.

"You know like summoning, teleportation spells, raising the dead. Lot's of ritual magic that I do requires blood." Mordack explained, "Now go stand at the tunnel the river is coming out of and watch for this piece of my sleeve."

"Oh" Graham said almost wishing he hadn't asked.

Graham did as he was instructed and Mordack threw the piece of fabric into the river that started with the waterfall. Graham stared into the glowing pink water waiting for the black fabric. Pretty soon there it was flowing past Graham in the river.

"I see it!" Graham shouted to Mordack.

"There! Now we know these two rivers are actually one. Isn't it strange that they glow different colors" Mordack wondered then put his hands together and raised them into the air. "Sensus Magus" The rivers and pools suddenly both appeared to ignite into flame.

"What did you just do?" Graham asked.

"It's a spell that make things with magical properties appear to catch on fire. Well not necessarily fire, it depends which of the seven magic towers you want to be a member of. I can make it so only I see it, or I can let others see the flames as well. Since my parents are teaching me, and they where schooled in the fire tower that's the form my magic will take." Mordack said, as the once blazing fires on the rivers now faded away, "So the rivers have magical properties. That's probably why I have been able to keep my energy up even after casting all these spells. They are allowing me to use their magical energy instead of draining my own. I'd like to take samples."

Mordack pulled two vials out of hidden pouches in his tunic and filled one with the blue water and one with the pink water and returned the vials to his pocket.

Confused by all the talk of magic Graham simply nodded his head and changed the subject, "Will you show me the other caves you found?"

"Sure" Mordack said, "First I'll take you to the one that I was in when I heard you yelling. I wasn't able to finish exploring it."

Graham looked down at his brown shoes ashamed that he got so caught up in what must have been just a dream.

He followed Mordack across the large cavern and into a large tunnel leading out of it. The tunnel was leading them higher and Graham hoped it would lead to an exit. After walking for a short time they came to a fork in the tunnel at which Mordack turned right and they continued walking. Eventually the tunnel started to widen and they entered into another large cavern though not as a big as the one with the rivers.

The cave was pretty uninteresting except for a large boulder emerging from the right wall of the cave. The walls of the cave were smooth and looked like they were not naturally occurring.

"What do you suppose is on the other side of this boulder?" Graham asked.

"I don't know" Mordack answered, "I wonder if I could move it." Mordack pointed at the rock. "Patefacio" The boulder started to shake but it didn't move.

Graham asked, "What was that supposed to do?"

Mordack said "I was hoping that it would move the boulder, but I didn't think it would work it's too big. I wonder who built this place. It doesn't look naturally occurring but the walls are too smooth for it to be man made. That only leaves magic." Mordack raised his hands into the air again and spoke the words Sensus Magus" and the walls and the boulder appeared to burst into flame.

"See this room is magical, and so is that boulder. As near as I can tell it's an opening spell. I wish I could figure out how to activate it." Mordack said.

"Mordack, you already cast the spell that makes the magical things light on fire. Didn't you say you had to memorize it again now?" Graham asked.

"If I memorize a spell five times then I can cast it five times before I have to memorize it again. Most of my spells I'll memorize four or five times" Mordack stated "Now be quiet I need to concentrate!"

Mordack clapped his hands and said "Instigo". There was a flash of light. Then nothing happened.

"That spell is supposed to trigger preset spells but apparently this one has a different trigger. Well I guess we are not getting out this way. Follow me and I'll show you the other thing I found." Mordack said.

Graham and Mordack walked back towards the intersection and this time took the other path. The followed it a short ways this path also sloped upwards. It was a much steeper incline than the other tunnel. After a few minutes the tunnel started slanting down. It soon led them to a very small pool of water.

"Do you know where this tunnel leads?" Graham asked.

"I'm not sure. I was planning on going to check it out but I decided I would go check on you first." Mordack answered running his hand through his jet-black hair

"Well, one of us should go check it out." Graham said.

"You should go. You can swim better than I can" Mordack said scratching his head.

"I can barely swim at all," Graham answered.

"Well if you go, then I can wait here and keep this fire going so you don't get lost while you're down there"

"Okay" Graham said, "Do you think we might find a way out?" Graham kicked off his boots and pulled off his red tunic revealing his weak build. Graham always wished he was stronger, unfortunately the constant payments from the king to Graham's family allowed Graham to fall into a lazy lifestyle. Graham threw his tunic onto a boulder and then kicked off his shoes. He then prepared to climb into the pool.

"All right, I'll be back shortly, I hope." Graham said sticking his foot into the water. "It's cold." He then slowly climbed into the water. The first thing he noticed besides the cold was the silence. He could barely hear anything. Looking up Graham could see the flickering light of Mordack's fire. He swam along the tunnel looking back periodically to make sure he could still see light.

Coming to a bend in the tunnel Graham paused. Hoping the tunnel wouldn't go much farther, he continued swimming no longer able to see the light of Mordack's fire. Fortunately Graham soon saw a faint light coming from ahead of him. He started swimming upwards towards the light. When Graham broke the surface of the water he was greatly disappointed.

He found himself in a small, enclosed room with walls going straight up. The light was coming from above where there was no roof. Graham could see stars above him and part of the moon. He could also faintly make out a bucket.

"Oh" Graham shouted, "I'm in a well! Help! Help! Can anyone hear me!" Graham waited but no one answered his cries. He called a few more times but no one came.

Graham dove back under the water and turned to swim back towards the cave where Mordack was waiting for him. Turning around the bend in the water Graham was greatly relieved to see the light coming from Mordack's fire. As Graham swam towards the light he saw a strange sight. In the entrance to the tunnel Graham saw flashes of light. It looked like balls of light were shooting all around the cave. After the flashes of light suddenly there was only darkness. Graham swam upwards as fast as he could. Feeling along the roof with his hands he eventually found the opening into the cave. Out of breath he climbed out of the water.

"Mordack? Mordack what happened? Are you in here?" Graham shouted into the darkness receiving no reply. Crawling along the ground he eventually found Mordack's unconscious body. Not sure of what else to do he sat Mordack up against the wall. Graham sat on the wall and decided he would wait for Mordack to wake up.

"What's going on?" Mordack asked waking graham.

"When I got out of the water I found you lying on the ground. I wasn't sure what I should do so I decided I would just wait. I guess I must have fallen asleep. What happened to you?" Graham said.

"I was waiting for you when a water elemental came out of the pool. I was panicked so the only thing I could think to do was throw my fire at it. That obviously didn't work and it came towards me and was about to run away when it touched me and I guess I passed out. I should be dead. I wonder how I survived." Mordack explained while lighting another fire.

"Water Elemental?"

"Yes, I will explain later"

Graham picked his tunic up from off the rock. Looking it over he saw large hole burnt into it. "Great Mordack look what you did!" Graham said as he pulled it over his head. Once it was on Graham looked down and saw the hole was over the left side of his chest. Surprised by Mordack's silence Graham looked up to see a dark figure had appeared while he was putting on his tunic and was now approaching them. Gradually Graham realized he recognized it.

"Father! I knew it wasn't a dream. I knew it was real. Why did you leave me" Graham ran towards the figure.

"Follow me." The figure said.

Graham's father, Murkesh, stood tall and had a powerful build. He had very wide shoulders and a well-developed body. His hair, like Graham's, was a dark brown. He was wearing white burial clothes, which gave him an almost ethereal look. Even in the burial clothes Murkesh looked very intimidating. Graham remembered well the feared look people gave his father as he passed through the market.

Mordack looked around, reluctant to believe that Murkesh was truly standing before him. Graham, on the other hand was ecstatic, although he did have some questions.

"What happened? How did you get here? I thought you were... umm... well... dead. Where have you been all this time" Graham wanted to know, but Murkesh simply looked into Graham's eyes then turned and started walking into the darkness.

"Father, why aren't you answering me?" Graham wondered running after Murkesh into the darkness of the tunnel.

Mordack was left standing there wondering about this strange turn of events. After pausing to think for a moment he followed Graham and Murkesh into the darkness lighting the way with his magic flame.

Mordack caught up to them in the middle of a discussion as they were walking back into the main part of the cave. Graham and Murkesh had been walking hand in hand so as not to get lost in the darkness.

"I'm sorry I have to go now," Murkesh said.

"But why?" Graham sobbed, "Could I come with you?"

"Come with me." Murkesh answered.

"No you can't go with him!" Mordack shouted.

"Don't listen to him!" Murkesh returned.

"I rarely do!" Graham glared back at Mordack.

"Just take my hand and you can be with me for eternity" Murkesh stretched out his hand.

Graham reached out to take the hand of his father. The moment before they hands of father and son joined, the light of the magical flame vanished and Mordack jumped at Graham knocking him over. The only light left in the cave was that of the rivers as well as an ever-increasing light emanating from Murkesh. Mordack brought his hands together and said "Impetus Ictus". He then opened his hand to reveal a small glowing red ball. Mordack threw it at Murkesh, as he did so it occurred to him that he was wearing different clothes than he had been earlier. The ball of energy struck Murkesh in the chest then passed through him and hit the back wall of the cave then ricocheted up to the distant roof. Murkesh looked up and suddenly there was a flash, and he was a large ball of light. The light shone up towards the roof then was gone.

Only moments later they heard a rumble and large rocks began plummeting from the roof, whether it was because of the red ball of energy of Mordack's or Murkesh light Mordack was unsure. After the cascade of rocks the tunnel out of the main cave was completely blocked up. Fortunately falling rocks hit neither Graham nor Mordack. They almost all landed near where Murkesh had been standing.

"What did you do to my father!" Graham asked franticly, standing up.

"Umm I didn't do anything. That spell went right through him. It was like he wasn't physically there. That other white glow wasn't from me. He did that. … Is it just me or did his clothes change."

"Umm yah they did... I finally get a chance to talk to my father again and it's snatched right out of my hands." Graham said, "Are you sure you didn't do that?"

"Yes, I don't think he was actually here. I think it was an illusion of some sort. What I saw might have been too. I think it's something about this cave." Casting a spell Mordack kindled a new fire on the floor and sat down next to it.

"Well, looks like are options are to try and get out of the cave the way we came or to see where we end up going if we enter the one with the pink glow." Graham stated.

"Well we can't very well go into the pink river. We have no idea where it would take us."

"Well what would you suggest, swimming up a waterfall?" Graham argued, "We don't have any other choice."

"Well okay." Mordack summoned the fire to his hand then he and Graham walked over to the pink river both reluctant to jump in but knowing it had to be done. "You go first."

"Why me?"

"It was your idea"

"Sure, but the moment I left you would probably just sit in the dark. Go!" Graham shouted pushing Mordack.

Mordack lost his balance and fell into the water. The moment his hands hit the water Mordack's fire was immediately extinguished leaving Graham in the dark. Graham watch in horror as Mordack went down the river towards the hole in the wall. He struggled to grab hold of the rock the whole way there but failed. Mordack was pulled under the water into the hole and he vanished from sight.

Graham felt bad at what he had done, although he knew that somehow they had to get out of the cave. Graham then, rather reluctantly climbed into the water. He had barely stepped into the surprisingly warm water when it carried him downstream to where he had seen Mordack disappear. Moments later he found himself being pulled under the water and into the cave.

Graham found that he was once again being pulled through an underground river. Looking around he saw that, like before, the walls were smooth and the water seemed to glow, although this time it was pink. He soon noticed that the walls were getting farther apart and the water was slowing down. The tunnel was now quite large and ahead he saw the tunnel branch off. Strangely enough at the fork all the water went to the left. Some sort of magical barrier was keeping it from going to the right. As Graham grew nearer he felt himself being pulled to the right of the cave and before he could wonder what would happen to him when he hit the magic barrier he flew through it.

He landed on the ground at the feet of a tall woman. She had pale skin that had a faint green tint to it. She was dressed in flowing robes of purple and red. She had pointed ears that reminded Graham of elves as did her height. Standing up Graham looked around to see Mordack sitting on a boulder glaring at him.

"Umm Mordack what's going on?" Graham was unsure.

In perfect elegance the tall women answered "It appears you two found a way to break the magical barrier keeping mortals from entering this realm. We, the faerie folk, are building a portal from the realm of mortals to the ethereal plane of the faeries. I am Titania Queen of the Faeries."

Graham bowed "Your majesty"

"Stand up straight. I am not your liege and there is no need for you to bow to me." Titania said.

Graham stood up, "My name is Graham. I have question. While I and Mordack were in the cave we saw things. What were they? Were they real?"

"Ah yes the Prophecy Cave. No it wasn't real not the way you think of it. Mordack should understand this better than you Graham as he is a mage." Titania began to explain.

"You mean it wasn't real? My father hasn't come back?" Graham was ready to cry but didn't.

Seeing the pain in Graham's eyes Titania tried to explain "The cave shows us things that may be. Sometimes it shows us things so that we can change them, other times it shows us things so we can make them happen, but there is always a reason for you to see the thing's it show's you."

Getting off his rock and staring angrily at Graham as he walked past, he asked, "Can we go? I want to get out of this place."

"Sure. I will cast a spell that should take you to the edge of the forest that is above us. First you two must join hands so you are not lost during the magic. I will now cast the spell."

Before she cast the spell Mordack got off his rock and walked over to Graham. They grabbed hands, eager to finally be returning home.

Titania raised her bare arms into the air and opened her mouth to speak the words of magic, but what came out of her mouth were not words at all. Out of her mouth came a small white bubble. It grew in size until you could fit Graham and Mordack inside it. Titania looked at the bubble with growing curiosity, as did Graham and Mordack. It landed on the ground and broke open and standing there was an elven maiden.

The elven girl looked relatively young to Graham but it is always hard to tell with elves. She wore a green dress. Her ears had a definite point to them and she was almost as tall as Titania.

"Who are you?" Titania asked, "This is not part of my spell." She approached the elf. Graham and Mordack dropped their hands and admired her elven beauty.

"I am an elf by the name of Erana." she spoke with such grace that one might think her royalty. "I have been sent her by the council of the gods. For the first time since the Ancients spoken of in the legends of the past the gods have met together and agreed that this meeting must take place. Throughout the council those with the gift of foresight have seen more and more disturbing visions of destruction. The god's have decided that the future of the world is held in your hands, and the hands of your families. The responsibilities will carry on through your family down two generations.

"They said that I must warn you of the trials and temptations in your future. First to all of you I will say that only when you stand together will you succeed. If the people of the world do not stop in their wars then we are all doomed.

"Titania, Queen of the faerie folk, you have not yet borne any children but that time will come. When it does you must be sure to watch your children carefully. For if you do not it shall be through their hands that many dark deeds come to pass. As well teach them to be firm. If your children are not firm with what they want the faeries will fall to darkness.

"Graham, son of Murkesh and Mordack son of Etburn, of Daventry, to you I say that the future of Daventry is in your hands. In the not to distant future one of you will find yourself ruling Daventry," she paused looking first at Graham then at Mordack "The other doing everything they can to get a hold of it.

Mordack your future is still uncertain. Two fates are waiting for you. The first is filled with light but there are few friends along that path. The second is poorly lit and leads into darkness. The second path is well peopled with those willing to help you rise in power. Through the events of the coming years it will quickly become apparent to all what you are going to choose. Choose wisely for the fate of not only the world, but also of magic lies in your choice.

And Graham, a great fate awaits you although there are some that would try and take it from you" Erana glanced at Mordack then continued "I want you to know there is powerful magic in your blood. The greatest mage yet is one of your ancestors, but gaining this power will be difficult for he gave his power back to the gods. Only when you are fighting for what is most important to you, can you unlock its power.

"To all three of you I want to say that the prophecy I have spoken of is still shrouded in the mist. It can be changed, but as more and more of it's revealed it will be harder to change it.
"Remember the only way that victory will come is through unity." Erana finished and slowly her entire body began glow with pure white light. The three others had to shield their eyes until the light receded. When they looked again Erana was gone.

"Well that is a lot to think about." Titania said. There was a long silence through which time all three were thinking of what they had been told. "Do you wish me to try the spell again?" Titania asked the humans.

"Yes please!" Graham replied but Mordack was silent, deep in thought.

Titania repeated what she had done before but this time instead of a white bubble there was a green one. Graham and Mordack joined hands once more. The bubble grew until it could contain both Mordack and Graham. The bubble surrounded them and all went silent.

The bubble was filled with green water, yet did not stop Graham or Mordack's breathing. Mordack let go of Graham's hand and turned away. The bubble began to rise into the air and right when Graham was worried it would hit the roof of the cavern and break it began to pass right through it. The bubble entered the stone and began its climb to the surface. Unbeknownst to Graham, Mordack filled a vial from in his robes with the green liquid. Eventually the bubble reached the surface. It rose out of the ground near the edge of the forest. As soon as it was fully out of the ground it broke open spilling the green liquid around Mordack and Graham. The liquid quickly seeped into the earth.

It was late; the moon was almost at the apex of its journey across the sky. It appeared that Graham and Mordack had been in that cave for a great deal of time.

"Well, goodbye Mordack." Graham said starting to turn towards the city.

"Farewell." Mordack answered, coldy.

Graham wondered what Mordack was so upset about.

"Umm, I'm sorry Mordack." Graham added hoping it would fix thing.

"Just leave." Mordack said.

Graham began the walk to his home at the city's edge. He too had many things to think about. Images of his father kept racing through his mind. As Graham reached the crest of the hill, before he began went down the other side, he turned to look back. Graham saw the dark figure of his friend standing in the midst of a small whirlwind. Then, not knowing what else to do, Graham turned around and walked into the darkness.