The Great Horn Legend of Cantha
" Paths not easily chosen, are usually the one's worth walking."
Lord Peabody, a young monk of Ascalon, sat meditating in his quarters at the Honored Heroes Guild Hall. His apprentice, long time friend and Amazon by trade; Amarah Awayuki, was sitting just behind him, waiting patiently for him to finish.
Lord Peabody grinned from cheek to cheek. She was going to sit there for however long it took him to finish. She was determined to be the best student he had ever had. Truth be told, she was the only student he ever had. He regarded Amarah with the utmost respect. She was willing to do anything to learn a new and useful skill. He knew that being a healer was very difficult and he had warned her that it would be hard work.
She took the challenge head on. She was interested in the art of healing since she was at Nolani Academy, but chose a different path in life. She was such an amazing student that the professors could not turn her down when she asked permission to learn a third profession. Amarah had already mastered two. They had pointed her in the right direction and she came to Lord Peabody with a willingness to learn and an open mind.
Peabody chuckled to himself. He could feel her presence behind him and could hear her whining quietly in pain. She had been kneeling in the same position for about half an hour now. He would take a few more minutes and then give her a break. She was passing this test very nicely. She had a ways to go, but he was confident that she would make it.
* * * * *
Amarah was kneeled on the hard wood floor of the monk's living quarters still, cringing from the pain in her ankles and knees, but she refused to move. She knew what Peabody was doing and she welcomed the challenge. She was trying to master patience and the ability to overcome pain. Lord Peabody himself, was teaching her these very important skills. She remained where she was and would continue to until he told her she could rise.
Her pale, gray eyes gazed at him admiringly. She wondered how she had gotten so lucky to be his personal apprentice, right out of her training at Nolani Academy. It was a miracle at all that she was even allowed to learn the ways of a healer, for she already had two professions. She was a skilled elementalist and a phenomenal mesmer. She had learned both arts of magic so quickly, that she finished her schooling in a matter of months.
Lord Peabody was a master of his profession and was only a few years older then herself. The monk had been a hero during the war against the Charr and was given the title of Lord. He was also head priest among the Priests of Balthazar, which is a great honor in itself. He was always modest though, unless the situation called for diplomacy and or severity. He never tried to be more then just a mentor and friend to her.
Lord Peabody finished his exercises and rose, turning to face her. He smiled and motioned for her to rise as well.
Thankful to be off her knees, she obeyed the unspoken command and stood before him.
"Good morning, Miss Awayuki. What's on your mind?" he asked, using her last name instead of her first.
He knew this annoyed her and loved to watch her fume. He even thought it was a little cute. Though he would never be anything more then a friend. He didn't want to get involved with her. It would ruin what they already had.
"Nothing really. I just wondered why you have been so quiet the past couple days. You usually are more talkative than you have been; I just wondered if something was wrong."
Peabody smiled, 'she always was so very good at determining my feelings,' he thought.
"I'm fine, Amarah, just a bit concerned," His brow furrowed, recalling the images of the previous night.
His dream, vivid to say the least, was still fresh in his mind.
"Anything I can help you with?" She immediately offered her services.
"I just have a feeling. . . like something life altering is about to happen. I don't know why, but I feel as if something we have done has caused repercussions elsewhere."
Amarah simply looked at him, more confused then before. It was obvious she did not share his concern.
"Perhaps it is nothing. I wouldn't worry about it. It is just the ramblings of a overburdened monk. Pay it no mind."
She simply smiled and exited the room, heading toward the main foyer in the hall. The Guild Lord inclined his head once, then returned to looking out of place and emotionless. She never did truly understand his real purpose for being there, but never was so bold as to ask.
Two familiar faces entered the hall just moments later, followed by several others. She grinned as she watched her best friend, Diana Cutshaw, smack her partner playfully. Her companion, Rai Beadeaux, reciprocated the blow to her shoulder and then ran for cover behind Amarah.
"Hey, Amarah. How's my favorite Amazon?" Dee asked, hugging her instantly.
"Did you ever get the chance to visit your Amazon sisters?" Dee asked.
"No, I never left for home. I am almost afraid to go back. When they find out I have made friends with men, let alone living with one, I'm not sure that they will accept me back with open arms."
"Hmm, I see your point."
"Looking good, Amarah, haven't seen you in a while. Where's the Boss?" Rai asked, using Peabody's pet name and wrapping an arm around Amarah's waist in greeting.
"He is coming out soon."
"God, I miss this," Rai said, putting his other arm around Dee's waist as well, "It's been a while since we have all been back together."
"Hey Amazon, long time no see!" a vicious looking man yelled from across the foyer.
"Hi Vilas; how's it hangin?!" Amarah yelled back.
"Short, shriveled and….well…..you know the rest," he laughed.
He looked dangerous, but he was as harmless as they come. That is, unless you pissed him off, then he is your worst enemy. He was a deadly necromancer who took life and death very seriously. However, when in the company of this special group of friends, he was a complete goof off.
Amarah shook her head at his perverted comment and brushed it off as nothing to be bothered with. He was just being Vilas; obnoxious and playful.
Stonebones, another member of the guild came waltzing in with his best friend Elesyia, the Lady of Gandor. She had also been a pivotal part in the war against the Charr. She decided to stay here with the guild because she said she could not think of being anywhere else. This place, to her, was more home then her kingdom ever could be.
"Hey guys, welcome back," she said to them in friendly greeting.
They smiled and gave her a hug, then walked to their corner to sit and talk as they had been routinely known to do. There was love in that happy two-some, if you thought about it. Amarah certainly thought so.
"Finally, the boss graces us all with his divine presence!" Vilas said sarcastically, getting down on bended knee as Lord Peabody walked into the foyer.
"Shut up, Vilas, you know I hate it when you guys call me that."
"As you wish, Master Peabody," Vilas continued, saluting the already annoyed priest.
"Come on, cut it out," Lord Peabody pleaded, laughing as he shook his head in frustration.
"So what's up, Peabody? It's been a long time since we have all been called here. What gives?" Dee asked what everyone else was apparently too bashful to ask.
They all gathered around him, Stonbones and Elesyia getting up and joining the rest of the team.
"Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I just felt that we should all be together for what I have to say. I have been feeling like there is something coming and it's not………."
Three sudden booms were heard just outside the gates to the guild hall. The Guild Lord moved amazingly quick to see what the commotion was about. The answer crashed the gate down and forced the Guild Lord back into the foyer so hard that he hit the opposite wall. He fell to the ground and collapsed. Elesyia checked his pulse. He was alive, just unconscious.
Peabody did not move as the others had into a battle maneuver, but simply waited to see what would enter, uninvited of course.
A man sauntered into the hall, followed by a group of people he had never seen before. The man in the center was tall, and light skinned. His facial features were of Asian decent. He was clothed in light clothing that covered every inch of him, as though he were trying to hide himself. He was well armed with daggers and throwing discs.
'They must be from another continent. They look like no one from around here.' Peabody thought.
"You shall all perish here today! Attack!" The man announced.
Before anyone knew what was happening, the man and his party lunged at them. Peabody's comrades engaged in combat to protect their guild. He stepped back and watched, drinking in the entire situation, trying to figure out why this had just suddenly come about. He gazed around, taking in every face, analyzing every move, wondering why they insisted on causing trouble.
The man who was first to enter seemed, to Lord Peabody, to be the most angry and he wanted so much to understand why.
He saw that Dee and Amarah were exhausting their energy and their bodies, so he cast a healing spell and an energy raising spell on both of them. They felt re-energized and plowed forward into their attackers.
His attention was suddenly drawn to the open gate once more by a young maiden, no older then 22 years. She was sweet and innocent looking. She looked a bit lost upon entering. She studied the scene that had opened up before her arrival. Then her confusion turned to anger. She noticed him standing on the corner of the stairs just watching the ongoing battle and ran at him.
She was dressed very similar to the Asian man. She must have been of the same decent. She was armed like him also. She was also very beautiful, even graceful in the way she moved.
Peabody was completely surprised when she disappeared right before his eyes. He looked around cautiously, hunting for a sign of her. He was even more perplexed to find that she had reappeared right in front of him. The minute she was visible, she was slashing at him with daggers that she had deftly slid from their sheaths on her thighs.
It was a good thing indeed that he was always prepared for everything. He was never without some kind of weapon. He used his staff as a barrier to her assault and pushed her back. Anger flushed her face, and she pivoted only slightly to gain the upper hand. Her movements fascinated him and he missed her next swing of blades. Her dagger made contact with his face. It grazed his cheek, cutting him indefinitely. It wasn't deep enough to be a mortal wound, but deep enough to need stitches.
At the sight of his blood, she backed up and looked at her blades. She watched as the blood dripped from the tip. She looked slightly horrified at first, then regained her composure and waited for him to catch up.
He put his fingers to his cheek, felt the warm blood and grinned. No one had ever bested him in hand to hand combat before, except maybe Amarah, but then; he had let her win.
His smile seemed to only aggravate this female more. She back flipped and decided to take a different approach. She was powering up for a magical assault, though which one he had no clue, until he saw the flames envelope her body.
'An elementalist…….interesting. She is indeed powerful, fire takes a lot of energy, and she just wasted much of it combating with me.'
Then he saw a phoenix glowing above her head, and then swoop toward him. He knew that trick from Amarah, she had tried to use the same tactic on him once before. He merely dodged it. Stopping this women was his top priority, and decided that she was worth more alive. He saw many bodies lying around, mainly the intruders. Anyone on his team lying dead would be resurrected later. He used one of his necromancer powers to raise a small army from the corpses littered on the floor and sent them after her. They surrounded her, but never attacked.
She remained where she was, prepared to defend herself. She had apparently never seen such magic. It did scare her a little, the look of shock was evident on her face. She didn't quite know what to do, but he could see that she was figuring it out. She was not about to let this stop her. She was strong and used to winning and getting her way.
She was good at covering herself. She always kept moving, turning and pivoting, making sure she knew what was going on around her. She tried first to force her way through, but the undead would not budge. They were not easily swayed. They held up their weapons and stood ready to keep her within their circle. When she backed up again they lowered them. She was stuck, and she knew it. That was not about to stop her though.
She whistled and several of her comrades looked to her. They stopped what they were doing and ran to her aide. She must have had some kind of hold over them or they wouldn't have dropped all to help her.
They ambushed his little army and then returned to what they were doing. She brushed up and glared at the monk. She was not happy about being caught off guard. She was angry and if he wasn't mistaken, slightly embarrassed. She did not attack him again, her attention was on her team. She looked at the others, watching as they fought, and he noticed a tear rolling down her tanned cheek. She had not wanted this. He knew that now.
Lord Peabody looked to where she was gazing so intently and saw that it was the man that had entered first. Now that he really took the time to look, they did look alike. Perhaps this was all a family thing. They must be brother and sister. He saw that he was about to administer a deadly blow to Dee and was going to move in to stop him. However, the young girl did it for him.
The maiden ran at the assailant and pushed him away from Dee. The man spun to counter his attacker and brought a blade down into her side. She winced once and then used her elemental wind powers to blow him across the room. She was indeed very strong as he had thought. Lord Peabody was very interested to see what else she would produce. She was wounded and still had the heart and the energy to fight back, at one of her own none the less.
"What the hell are you doing, Sister?! Have you lost your mind?! I would have had her!"
The woman ignored him and turned to Dee, "Are you alright?"
Dee was shocked that she was just saved by the enemy. She didn't know what to say. So, she said nothing.
"Are you alright?" she waited one more minute, then used her powers to heal her wounds from battle, "There, if you're not, you will be."
Lord Peabody was stunned. She was a warrior, a healer, and an elementalist. He wondered if there was anything she couldn't do.
The rest of Dee's team were amazed by her abilities, as though she could do them all.
"Jada, I demand an answer!"
"This has to stop! I don't even care that they started it."
"But we were just………" one of them said.
"Sister, we need to …………"
"I said enough! Pull back! That is an order!"
They did as she instructed. Her brother however, did not. He was determined to be a pain. He walked up to her and grabbed her by her arm, hurting her. Peabody could tell. She grimaced slightly.
"We have come too far not to kill them now," he said, clenching his teeth.
"We came here to talk; not to murder!" she glared at him, standing her ground even though he held her firm.
"I came here to fix the problem. They are the reason for our pain, and I intend to see this through." He threatened.
"This has to stop; this is not what we're about. We were sent here to figure out what had happened. They are a peaceful people, we can talk. That is what I wanted to do in the first place. Why is the fighting necessary?"
"They let that monster loose! You expect us to just sit back and let them tell their lies?"
"I expect you to follow orders," She was firm, even in her situation. She tore her arm out of his hurtful grasp.
"I am. I'm getting rid of the problem as we were told to. They are responsible for the death of our parents." He grabbed her arm viciously again.
She looked at him shocked, and unbelievably. She had apparently not known this ludicrous information. She stared at him, trying to ascertain if he was lying to her or not.
"That is not true. They were alive when we left."
"You know that I know, I have the ability to know."
She wrenched her arm out of his grasp.
"No, I won't believe that. You're lying. These people couldn't have possibly known that anything would have escaped the horn when they blew it. I can't think that; they are a peaceful people," she was torn between anguish and righteousness.
"Is that so? Then why are they fighting us? Wouldn't you think that a peaceful race would want to talk first?"
"We entered their domain; they attacked without questions first to defend their guild."
"We didn't attack first," Amarah spoke up, "They did as soon as they blasted through our doors. We were in the middle of a meeting when they came bashing in. Your Brother there said we would all perish today."
"What?! Battousai, you lied. You started this? How dare you disobey me!"
"I do what I want, Jada. I have every right to be here and fulfill my duty to my homeland. They need to be taught a lesson."
Brother and Sister stood against each other.
Lord Peabody suddenly understood what was going on. They were here to find out who had wanted to kill their people. When they blew the Great Horn of Ascalon, he had felt an evil entity that even he could not describe. He felt it before he had put his lips to the mouth of that horn. He blew into it anyway. He had witnessed the evil aura leaving the horn and flying off toward the east. He knew then that something terrible was going to happen. He just didn't know where. Now he understood her sadness, and his anger, and the utter confusion the others suddenly felt. His team was looking at him, shock present on their faces. They were wondering what the man and woman were talking about. All Peabody could do was hang his head and shake it sadly. It was his fault.
"You are to go outside and wait for me. Take the team with you. I will speak to them myself."
" I don't trust them; I won't leave you alone in here. You were fighting a monk, Jada. What monk fights, let alone against a woman. Some peaceful race, sis." Then he grinned, suddenly she was thinking twice.
Her brother seemed to have made her uneasy. She was being manipulated, and suddenly she was angry.
She turned around and tears were streaming down her face.
"Tricky devils you are. A monk that battles. And to think I defended you and your people."
"I am not….." Peabody started.
"Save it, Monk! It's you and me! One on one, no others! We end this now! Are you ready for me?!" she was walking toward him; angry, ready to kill. She was no longer thinking about what was best. She was under her brother's manipulative spell. She was weak to his will. Lord Peabody could see him grinning behind her. Battousai was pleased with her reaction.
"I won't fight you."
"OH, now he wants to be civil…." the brother said.
"Shut up, Battousai!" she yelled over her shoulder.
She was drawing her blades as she walked. She conjured a fire storm just then and Lord Peabody had only to dodge it. It was powerful, apparently empowered by her obvious anger. She was still coming at him.
"I will not fight you," he repeated.
"It's a little late for this sentiment, Monk." She growled, her eyes suddenly blazing bright white. She looked almost non-human.
He approached her, and knelt down on bended knee.
"I'm sorry for your loss, my lady. I feel nothing but guilt at what I have done. I am sorry, I will help you in any way possible. Please take this as a request to aide you in your fight where ever that may be?"
He hung his head and she stopped her pursuit of the monk. Her brother, however, was not satisfied. She was about to speak when Battousai vaulted over her and stabbed the unsuspecting monk in the back, killing him instantly.
Just like that, the battle ensued. His people were furious at them and wanted nothing more than their deaths for his. Dee was shooting arrows left and right, hitting anything that moved that wasn't a friend to her. Rai was right behind her doing the same. Stonebones was right up and in the enemies face, slicing them in half. There were so many of them.
Elesyia was back as far as she could get and warned her comrades of the oncoming meteor shower. They took cover and she knocked down several of the invaders.
Back where the monk lay, Jada, the sad girl from a different continent, was kneeling down next to his body.
'How could this have happened. I just wanted him to tell me the truth. I never would have actually killed him. I was listening, he was telling me what had happened. This shouldn't have …..How could Battousai do this.'
She had pretended to be angry so her brother would stand down and so that the truth would come out. It was working and then her headstrong brother had ruined it. Now they will never stop fighting.
She gathered all the energy she had left and used her resurrection spell on the dead monk. She knew that she wouldn't be able to use the spell again for about three daysd, but she didn't care right now. All she wanted to do was stop the war before it started. Right now it was this guild; it could spread to all of Ascalon.
It took a good ten minutes to complete the spell, but she did it. She was crying for him and she didn't even know him. She looked into his face and wondered about the man behind the savvy exterior.
With the spell completed, she was weak, very weak.
His eyes slowly opened and looked up at her. He saw her crying and reached up with a weak hand and wiped away the tears. She took hold of his hand and closed her eyes. She was reciting a prayer in a language that he had never heard before. He would have to ask her what she was saying.
"What happened?" he asked.
"My brother happened. I resurrected you. I am so sorry about all of this." She hung her head.
"I'm fine, my lady."
She smiled. Lord Peabody will never forget it. It was imprinted in his mind forever. She had the most beautiful smile he had ever seen. Nothing was forced or impure about it.
* * * * * *
Everything was working perfectly. He had been a little worried when his sister stood against him, saying that this was not going to happen. She had the right to command. She was a commander in the Japanese Canthean Army. She outranked him. But, he was and always has been very good at manipulating her into his way of thinking.
Now they were back to fighting. A war would definitely ensue. Soon he wouldn't have to supervise this little skirmish and would be able to go to find the horn itself. This was the guild hall that it was rumored to be in. That was what the people in Ascalon City had said.
He looked around the room, smiling devilishly at what he had started. The women of the guild were strong, but getting slower all the time. They would be the first to fall, after their monk of course.
Speaking of, he wanted to see the dead bastard. That monk was about to cause more trouble then he needed. Battousai had seen to that, the dead monk was just the start.
He turned his head and his face fell. He was alive! Damn his sister, Jada had healed him. He would not let this ruin his fun. It was time Jada learned a lesson.
* * * * * *
Lord Peabody finally had the strength to stand up. The second he was up, Amarah took notice and smiled.
"Guys, Stop! He's alive!"
The battle stopped and the monks' people were jumping and cheering. Their opponents were mystified. They didn't know what to do. If they didn't want to fight, they had to just sit back. Some of them were getting a little tired of this start and stop fighting.
"Bitch! What is wrong with you!" "I'm tired of your attitude brother. Get out of here! Leave this place! Outside….now, " she then turned away from him. She was cheering with the others.
He would not stand for this. The monk was a problem and he needed him to die and stay dead. Nobody would get in his way. Nobody!
Battousai ran at full speed toward the cheering and smiling companions gathering around his enemy. He sliced his way through two people, and then went right for the monk. Jada sensed him coming and moved to protect Lord Peabody. She did protect him. Battousai didn't have time to stop before he stabbed his own sister. She moved in his path and he wasn't prepared for it. He had run her through and watched as her face lost its color.
His blade delved deep into her stomach, all the way up to the hilt. He could feel her blood flowing over his bare hand. He pulled away and looked into her hurt face. She was pale. She was wincing, but was trying to look brave and strong.
"Oh my god, what have you done?" Amarah and Dee said in unison.
Lord Peabody's face fell at the sight of her pulling her brother's blade from her gut.
"I'm fine, really. I'll be okay, don't worry about me." she strained to speak.
Jada gave Lord Peabody and his team a smile, before turning to leave. This time it was forced.
"You really must stay, we can heal you here," the monk said.
"I'll only be a minute, I'm fine, really."
She stumbled toward the door, holding her wounded stomach.
Her people were looking on, horrified at what Battousai had done.
"Sir, how could you?! You should have listened to Commander Mikazuki."
She suddenly stopped, her hand braced on the jam of the door and Lord Peabody ran to her. He turned her around. She was dying and she knew it. Her face was white and her eyes were starting to glaze over. She looked into his eyes and seemed to be saying goodbye. She was saying something to him with her eyes that she would only say to someone she was friends with.
Her knees buckled and she started to fall, her eyes rolling into her head. He caught her and laid her down on the floor. He had already healed and resurrected someone, he didn't' have the energy to heal her. No one else in the room had the power to resurrect just yet, except Amarah and she also used it this day.
"I'll bring you back, I promise," he said, before her eyes closed and her body stopped fighting. She was dead.
* * * * * *
"Is the commander….is she….." one of the attackers began.
Lord Peabody turned around slowly, his face calm, but serious.
"She's dead. I would rez her if I hadn't already resurrected once today."
Devastated by this information, the attackers turned on Battousai and surrounded him. They were coming at him, raising fists, presenting weapons, pulling new ones out of hiding places. They were becoming his lynch mob.
"Back off, men! She was my sister, don't you think this is hurting me too?"
"You did this!"
"Stand down, Hunter! You are way out of line!"
When the rest of his team closed in on him, he panicked.
"I will never forget this, the way you are all turning on me. They are the enemy! I will destroy you all for your insubordination."
Out numbered and out classed, Battousai ran for the exit and disappeared into the night.
The attacker named Hunter, turned to face the monk again. He and his comrades looked dejected.
"Is there nothing you can do for her? The Commander has been good to us for several years. It is an abomination that we did not obey her as we have in the past. Her brother is a conniving man, and we will never forgive him. We do not want to see her like this."
"I will not be able to resurrect for a few days. I have used too much energy. Amarah is also skilled in the healing arts, but she too has already used that ability."
"So then, you can help her when your energy returns to you?"
"I hope so. Usually the body is no longer able to be resurrected after more then a day. The soul, you see, leaves and goes to next world. I only pray she has a strong soul."
In despair of their fallen leader, they headed for the door.
"Please, I know we are all strangers, but stay until your leader's condition is known for certain. I could not ask you to leave in the middle of the night. It is not safe out there at this hour." Lord Peabody said, welcoming them into their guild hall for the night.
"The boss is right, stay a spell, we'll have a good time tonight." Vilas said, clapping his hands, attempting to lighten the mood.
"Vilas, Elesyia, will you take them to get set up. Find them quarters to share and bed clothes," They moved to do as they were told. Peabody watched as Elesyia wrapped an arm around Hunter and consoled his soul.
"Amarah, Dee? Would you please take the Guild Lord and the other guards that are lying unconscious outside, to the medical wing. I'm sure they are in need of some attention."
"Yes, sir." Amarah bowed respectfully, while Dee rolled her eyes.
"You know buddy, you got her doing your every whim. She is wrapped around your finger." Dee commented and clapped him on the shoulder before hurrying after her.
"Stonebones, Rai? I want the two of you to take first watch at the gate. With the damage that has been done, it will be an open invitation for anything that lurks outdoors tonight. We will fix it in the morning."
"You're the boss."
Now that he was alone, he turned to the body on the floor behind him. She looked so peaceful, even in death. He didn't want to move her for fear of disturbing her eternal sleep.
He picked her up and carried her to the funeral pyre in the middle of the cemetery ward. They would burn her corpse here if the resurrection failed, just like the war heroes had been burned in honor. Here was where all of the fallen heroes lay. He knew that after three days of death, she would not rise again. For her teams sake, however, he would attempt to try. For now, here is where she would lay until his energy returned to him.
He crossed her arms over her chest and straightened her clothes. He brushed her hair aside, so her beautiful face could be seen by all who came to gaze upon her.
He felt anguish for the others, the ones who missed her so deeply. He himself missed her as well, though he could not understand why. She was a complete stranger to him. Yet the way she looked at him in her dying moments; her eyes were those of a friend, not an enemy or a stranger.
Lord Peabody believed that they understood each other in a small way. This girl had so much to teach him. She was very fascinating, and the more he had watched her in action the more he wanted to learn about her.
He gazed at her still body, that innocent face. This was the embodiment of purity. That purity had been tested many ways in such a small period of time. As a Commander of her land, a young one at that, she had to deal with several different types of problems. Her team disobeyed her as did her brother. She dealt with pain, sadness, joy, betrayal, and death. She was stronger than even she realized.
Now here she lay. Death had taken her, and she hadn't yet begun to live.
Amarah, Dee, Vilas, and Elesyia entered just behind Peabody, but did not make a sound. They watched as their leader cried for this stranger. They entered fully and remained silent. They circled the maiden and bowed their head in prayer. It was the least they could do for the woman who had brought back and protected their leader to the death.
"What are you going to do? You know that she will never wake again."
"I know Amarah, but for their sake, I will try. Get some sleep, I will attend to her."
"Master….." Amarah started.
"Please Amarah, I would really just rather be alone right now."
Nodding her head, she backed away and left the ward, the rest of the team followed quietly behind her.
Silence filled the room, and Lord Peabody was alone at last. He left for only a few minutes and then returned with a book of prayers. They were written in foreign languages. He believed that Jada was from Cantha. It was the only continent that made sense, considering her facial features and peculiar armor. Cantha was the only Asian continent that he knew of.
He remembered her words perfectly, he just had to figure out what they meant. He knew it was sweet and lovely, but now he wished to know exactly what she had said.
He found the prayer in the book, but it was unreadable. So, he turned to his book of translations. He spent a few hours learning what they meant. She had used this prayer he found, but changed the words slightly to make sense in her situation. She knew he wouldn't understand, but did not know he would go looking to understand it.
He had to decipher each word individually. The prayer read:
I speak of sadness and pain for you
Through the sorrow I feel
I am sorry
The anger for which I have shown you
I recall and now show you kindness
With all my heart
My beating heart
I vow here and now
I shall protect you
The Innocent Soul of Peace
I shall Live for you in this hour
My heart now belongs to you
Monk of Ascalon
He could not believe what he had read. He went back and translated it again. She was spouting words of love and fulfilling honor. At least, that was the way it sounded. That couldn't be right, they were total strangers. Perhaps her giving him her heart was a cultural thing. If only he could ask her. His resurrection power would not be ready for another two days. He doubted that he would ever have that chance. Three days was just too long to be dead.
His shock, however, could not mask the joy he felt at the words on the page. Yet she had fulfilled her duty and honor too soon. She had protected him, even given her life for him.
Now the more he read it, those beautiful words she spoke, the more he thought. He was now drowned in sadness, for he would never hear her voice again, and never look into those deep blue eyes. She was dead, and no magic in the world could change that now.
"How are we doing, Rai? I see you have started the repairs on the gate already," Peabody said, walking toward his friend.
"Doing good, Peabody. I started early this morning. I thought it was a good idea; thought it would keep my mind off of the recent event," he turned to his leader, "Do you really think that you can resurrect her after so much time?"
Lord Peabody paused as some of Jada's people walked into the foyer, "I hope I can, but it has never been done. I will certainly try, for their sake if nothing else."
Rai patted him on the back and nodded. He knew he was doing it for them, for he agreed with Peabody. The time between was just too much. Her soul would definitely leave for the next world before the monk could resurrect her.
Hunter walked toward them both, "Hey, is there any way we can help? It's our fault that it is in the condition it's in. And we could use something to keep our minds off of Commander Mikazuki."
The few people behind him hung their heads. Lord Peabody stared at them. He didn't know what to say to them; he had no words.
"Of course, we would be glad for the help. Rai, I leave you in charge of the repairs. Hunter, see Rai for instructions."
Hunter stared at him, a little taken aback. Who was he to give him orders?
'Now you are just being silly….you did ask if they could use the help. He is doing all he can…the monk, and he was willing to try and save their commander. Stop being so dumb!' Hunter thought.
"I mean, if you don't mind….I understand that you are used to taking orders from your commander. But, you said you wanted something to keep your mind off of things, and I only thought that……."Peabody didn't know how to finish his sentence.
"Um, no….it's alright. I just am so used to Jada that….I'm sorry. Rai, tell us what you need done."
Hunter smiled and pushed up his attacker armor sleeves. He looked to the others and ushered them forward. He knew they needed this as much as he did.
Lord Peabody decided to go and check on the others.
"Ok, I leave you all to your work. Carry on, see you later."
Lord Peabody saluted his comrades and guests and started down the main stairway. He turned right and walked through the officer's quarters. He continued on and saw Eleysia of Gandor and her partner Vilas entertaining some of Jada's soldiers. He smiled and moved on toward center court. Dee and Amarah were teaching some of the others how to fight. They were going to train for a while.
"How is everything going here? Looks like the girls are working you guys pretty hard." he laughed.
"Yeah, it's great! They are so good. We don't have many elementals on our continent. Those who are, are usually elites in the army." the female beside Amarah smiled.
"You are a learning from a good one here. Amarah was first in her class to graduate from Nolani Academy. She is also a great mesmer."
"What is a mesmer?"
"And you are?"
"My name is Sinistra, I am a Lt. in Jada's team. I am a Necromancer/Assassin. She needed someone who could raise the dead."
"Hmm, if she has known necromancer magic, why did she seem so surprised when I raised a minion army to block her attacks on me?"
"I am not a minion master, I can only raise two at a time. You raised several, something not many of us can do. There are not many of us on Cantha that are Minion Masters. Those who are, are also in the elite. Elementals, Minion Masters, and Rangers are not very common on Cantha. As it turns out, Miss Mikazuki is one of the elite. She has many skills. She is a elemental/assassin. She has also learned monk skills, ranger skills and ritualist skills. I am sure she could've learned more if she wanted to. Hunter has….had been training her to use a sword, she wanted to learn warrior skills."
He had been right in thinking that she was very powerful. She had much to teach him. He wondered if they were all part of the elite.
"Well, to answer your question, a mesmer is an illusionist," he smiled.
"Very interesting, I would be interested in learning those skills."
"Tell you what, you teach us what a assassin is and their skills and we will teach you whatever you like."
"Deal," Sinistra smiled and shook Peabody's hand.
He smiled as did Sinistra, "Very well, carry on ladies."
Two Days Later. . . .
Apprehension filled the air as the Asian soldiers waited for Lord Peabody to join them.
The one called Hunter was kneeled down beside his late Commander. He held her limp hand in his, and kissed it, tears welled up in his eyes.
A young woman, a member of his squad, laid a hand gently on his sagging shoulder and leaned in to his ear.
"I understand that you are upset, Hunter, but you are acting as though you love her," she said with a hint of jealousy plain in her voice.
"No, of course not. I love you, Sinistra. I just admire and respect her. She was always fair and very kind. She never asked anything of us that she wasn't willing to do herself. I just feel so. . . .empty."
"You're right. It won't be the same without her," Sinistra agreed, sighing.
At that moment, Lord Peabody, Rai, Amarah, Vilas, and Elesyia arrived. Stonebones and Dee were supervising the fixing of the gate.
Peabody stood opposite Hunter and bowed his head in silent prayer.
"Would anyone like to say a few words?" Everyone stared at him, seemingly horrified at the concept, "I mean, in case this doesn't work like we all want it to. If it doesn't, which is more likely to happen, she will be burned here with the rest of the heroes of the Charr War. You can then take her ashes back to your land."
There was silence, then. . . .
"I will speak for her," a deep, male voice answered from the back of the room.
His blood on fire, Hunter spun furiously around and whipped his sword at the voice. Stonebones blocked it with his own. He and Dee had escorted Battousai to the cemetery; for he had returned.
"Not happening, buddy. Not in here."
"You bastard! How dare you show your face here, Battousai!" Hunter shouted angrily.
Peabody could hear the absolute pain in his words.
"I came to apologize," Battousai said, "I never meant to kill her."
"That doesn't bring her back!" Dee added in outrage.
She didn't know why she said anything at all. She didn't know this girl. She wasn't friends with her. She didn't even know if she liked her, seeing as how they were fighting with her only days before. Something about the way she died endeared her to the girl. Jada had saved her best friend and Dee would never forget that.
"If you hadn't been so intent on killing him!" Hunter pointed to Lord Peabody without even looking at him, "She would still be alive!"
"You're nothing but a murderer, Battousai!" Sinistra said, just as outraged.
"Murderer!" one of their comrades repeated.
"Traitor!" another cried.
It was beginning to sound too much like a lynch mob again. Peabody had to make it stop now, before it was uncontrollable.
"Enough!" he yelled over the din. "That is enough, now."
They turned on him now, shock etched into their faces.
"He deserves to die!"
"Not here and not now," he said plainly.
Amarah stepped forward, glared at Battousai, then said, "As much pain as you are all experiencing, I understand the way you feel. But do not be foolish enough to add anger and revenge to your sadness. It will only lead to evil things. Mourn for her. . . .yes. Do not betray her memory by killing for her."
"Well said, my dear, Amarah. Indeed, now is the time for mourning," he turned his eyes to Jada's brother, "By all means, Battousai, say your words. Be warned, however, your fate lies with the King of Ascalon should my healing spell fail."
"And if it works, what then, monk?" He sneered at the monk, almost threateningly.
"Then I would leave you to your commanding officer, of course."
"My sister," he responded, sounding utterly disgusted.
"You got that right, pal!" Vilas interjected.
"Let us bow our heads. Battousai, proceed."
Battousai came forward, weaving his way through his estranged team. He looked at his sister's still, pale body. His gaze fell on the open wound in her abdomen.
He smiled inwardly, then put on his best act.
"Jada Mikazuki. . .Commander. . . Friend. . . My dear, sweet sister and Lady of the House of Mikazuki. A kind soul and an innocent, despite her vast experiences. Her heart was warm, her mind was swift, her soul was pure. She was a Lady of the truest kind. A hero of war. A savior among our people. She shall be missed. . . And always loved. Jada shall never be forgotten. In our hearts she will forever live. May she forever rest in peace."
Lord Peabody inclined his head, then raised his arms to the heavens.
A glowing appeared between his palms, dimly at first, then became brighter and brighter. He then lowered them, and let the power flow into Jada's body.
Everyone watch anxiously, waiting, hoping upon hope that she would wake from her slumber. No one moved; not a sound was made. They watched in anticipation as Lord Peabody worked his spell.
Inwardly, Peabody prayed, using the same words that Jada had used days before when she spoke them beautifully in her own tongue.
Fifteen minutes had passed and Lord Peabody was growing weak. He removed his hands from their position above her and sighed heavily. It had not worked, as he had known it wouldn't. He couldn't save her life as he had promised her.
"I'm sorry. . . . .truly I am."
They cried, hugging each other in comfort for their loss.
Battousai remained silent and seemingly unaffected. The members of the Guild looked on sympathetically.
"Sorry. . . . .for what?"
Peabody's eyes snapped open at that beautiful sound. He moved quickly back to Jada's body and smiled.
"She's alive!" Hunter cried.
Jada's eyes were open. Indeed, she was alive. She was weak and evidently in some pain, but she was alive.
"Commander, you have no idea how happy we are to hear your voice," Sinistra claimed, clasping her hand around Jada's.
"Amarah, heal her wound will you? I fear I have no energy left to finish."
She nodded her head, smiling at her master. No one had ever accomplished what he just had, revived a body that was dead three days.
"You did good, Master Peabody."
He smiled, accepting her praise. Dee hugged her best friend; Elesyia followed suit.
When her wound was healed, she sat up. She got hugs from her entire squad and smiles from the monks people.
"Thank you, kind monk. . . .and you too young Amazon. I am in debted to you both."
Battousai moved into view, silencing the room and wiping all joy from it as well. He bowed before his sister, "I await your orders, Commander."
Jada stood up, weakly; leaning on Amarah for support.
"Do you see what happens when you act rashly?" she asked calmly, keeping her tone even.
"Yes," he lowered his eyes.
"Look at me!" she ordered. "You have lied, disobeyed me, murdered in cold blood and dishonored our family and our country."
"Yes, Commander," he scowled, not because he felt guilty, but because he hated when his sister scolded him. He didn't care about what he had done. He merely needed her alive. For now, he would forebear.
"Do they believe in punishment here in Ascalon?" she asked, her eyes never leaving her brother's.
"Yes, though nothing severe," Rai answered.
"Do you have a facility for such punishment?"
"Yes, just a small gaol. No windows, no candles. Chains hang from one wall. Prisoners are held for three days without food. Water is provided once a day," Peabody informed.
"That will do for now. Perhaps it will remind him who is in command. I may be your younger sister, Battousai, but I am still your commanding officer."
Peabody nodded slightly. Stonebones and Dee quickly took hold of Battousai. He fought and struggled for freedom, but they were more then a match for his tiny build.
"Take this time to think, Brother. I would hate to have to do this again."
He swore under his breath as they carried him away.
Jada started to fall, her knees were collapsing beneath her. She was healed but very weak.
Amarah caught her, and Sinistra took hold of her other shoulder. They grinned and helped her to stand.
"Amarah, take her to my chambers, she can rest there for a while. I am afraid that we are out of empty beds. I can sleep in the courtyard for the night. Let her rest in comfort." Lord Peabody said.
She nodded, and the two of them carried her out the door.
Dee looked at her friend, "What happens now?"
"We help her and her people. It was my mistake that led to the trouble they are having. I felt the evil aura leave that horn when I blew it, and I have been having dreams lately that something was going to happen. It seems that something has already started."
He looked at Dee and saw that she was in for whatever lay ahead.
"Tell the others to put travel packs together, for us and for them. Everyone must be prepared for our long journey back to Cantha."
"That is where she is from. She spoke to me in a foreign language when she resurrected me. I looked it up, and found that the language is Asian. The only Asian continent is Cantha. That is where the trouble lies."
"You got it, Bud, I'll inform the others. Anything else?"
"Yes, keep rotating shifts on the prisoner. I don't want him left unattended. I have a feeling that fighting isn't' the only skill he has acquired in his youth."
"You think he's an escape artist too?"
He just gave her a look and she grinned, then nodded her head and left.
* * * * *
Lord Peabody made himself a place to sleep on the ground in the courtyard. He set down a blanket and pillow and lay beneath the stars. In this part of the temple, there was no ceiling. He had had the ceiling removed a few years ago. This was Amarah's favorite place, and now it was becoming his. He enjoyed watching the stars, viewing the beautiful sky.
He laid on his back and gazed at the stars overhead. It was quite a sight. Suddenly his mind drifted off as he closed his eyes.
He was thinking of his sleeping quarters, where the talented Miss Mikazuki lay, her wounds healing fully. He could picture her sleeping peacefully beneath his silk sheets. He hoped she was comfortable. Those silken sheets took forever to make. Silk is a rare material in Ascalon, it took some money and some time to get what he needed to have the sheets crafted for him.
A shadow suddenly loomed in over him. His eyes blinked open and he rolled onto his stomach to get a better look at the shadow in front of him. The closer it came; the finer the silhouette became. It formed the shape of a human figure. He turned around on his blanket to see Jada staring at him.
Utterly surprised, he scrambled to get to his knees.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I just…couldn't sleep. A lot has happened in the past few days. The darkness on my continent, my brother and his betrayal, your people and mine dying….its all so sad. I tried to get some rest as you suggested, but I just couldn't seem to keep my eyes closed."
"I understand. So many things have happened; I'm sure it will all work out."
"There is much to do still. My brother must be dealt with, and I have to get back to defend and protect my people. The evil entity will destroy Cantha if I don't return soon."
"I understand now what you were talking about. I blew the horn named Stormcaller in Ascalon."
She gasped, "What? You mean my brother was telling me the truth?"
Jada sat down, suddenly weak in the knees. Her brother had been right. She felt her pulse quicken. She would simply ask him why; learn everything she could.
"Yes, I'm afraid so. Blowing into that horn was the only way to save my people from the Charr invasion. I could feel the aura pulsing within it. I knew that something was amiss. I didn't know, however, that blowing it would release it. I was sent by Prince Rurik and his father, King Adelbern, to find the horn and play it, sending the Charr running for the hills."
"I see," was all she said.
"I had a choice; save my people or watch all of Ascalon fall to pieces. I did what I thought was right," he said, hanging his head in shame for making this girl and her people suffer.
The two of them were quiet for a moment, the silence was almost unbearable. Lord Peabody thought she would intend to kill him anyway.
"I can't say I wouldn't have done the same," she said.
"What?" he looked up at her stunned.
"If I were in that position, I cannot say that I would not have done the same thing. My people and Cantha are important to me. I would have done what I had to, to save it," she finally looked at the monk and smiled.
"You mean it?"
"Yes, I am sorry about all of this. It was not meant to turn into this whole big ordeal. We will be leaving in the morning. Goodnight monk."
Jada stood and turned to leave the courtyard. She was heading back to his quarters to give sleep another try.
He watched her leave, her nightgown trailing behind her. He blushed suddenly, the thought of her in her nightgown made his stomach turn with butterflies.
Where did that come from? It just wasn't right. He barely knew her, and he was thinking of her in intimate ways. He was a monk, he was not allowed to think like that. She intrigued him and that was all, he told himself. She was just interesting, nothing more.
He rolled onto his back again. There was only one thing that he could do. He would have to go with her tomorrow, back to her land of Cantha. He would help her fight whatever it was that he had set free by blowing the horn. That was the only way to fix this mess.
* * * * *
On the other side of the guild hall, inside his dark and damp cell, Battousai hung limply on the wall. He was chained at the wrists. He stood there, contemplating his escape. He was careful to appear sad and hungry, so that the onlookers who occasionally checked in on him would not get suspicious.
'Who does she think she is?' he thought to himself, 'She has ruined my plans for the last time.'
He had to, among other things, find a way to keep his meddlesome sister out of his way. He also still had to find the horn itself, and dispose of that annoying monk Peabody.
The horn had to be here somewhere. That mangy old codger in Ascalon City had told him this was where it was rumored to be. He would find the horn and return to Cantha with it. His master would be proud of him and would make him a very rich and powerful man.
Battousai smiled, thinking of his sister. She thought that it was a demon of some kind that lived in the horn. Shaking his head, he slipped his skinny wrist out of the last cuff. Rubbing his joints, he moved silently to the door, and listened.
An evil and powerful man, Shiro Tagachi, was the soul that lived within the horn. The only way to release him was to play the ancient instrument. Now that has been done, Cantha was about to be purged of the undesirables: every last human that stood against him. However, he still required the horn, he wasn't quite human yet.
Shiro Tagachi, used to be the emperor's personal bodyguard. In the Legends, it tells of his evil plot to overthrow the monarch. He had apparently killed the emperor on the holy seal within the palace, though he was killed shortly after by none other then the famed assassin, Nika.
Nika was a personal assassin for Master Togo, a friend to the emperor. She obeyed him and followed Shiro into the palace. Togo had had his suspicions about him. Nika was the best in her profession; his sister Jada was a close second. The two of them would have to be dealt with.
He already knew that his sister would be the perfect sacrifice for Shiro. The master needed a real body to inhabit, didn't he? Who better to become ruler of the Cantha, then a person with power over the imperial army? It was Nika who would be the problem.