The Revolution at the North Pole

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the North Pole, the elves worked tirelessly to produce and wrap as many presents for the good little boys and girls in the Nice Department.

But this was far from nice, or naughty.

With no breaks, barely fed, and being forced to keep working.

The Naughty Department was filling the work orders for all the naughty boys and girls, with efficiency. Elves collapsed on the job, their supervisors snatched them up to send them immediately to Sick Bay.

Even the supervisors had been pushed to the max. Two of the most senior staff were found dead by hanging themselves from giant peppermint candy canes in their offices.

Sick Bay tallied up the losses suffered from the Naughty and Nice Departments, and their dry erase board was filling. The Medical crew got to battle rhythm and knew what to do with each exhausted elf. Milligrams of sucrose, hydration fluids, a protein supplement, and a sedative to allow them to rest.

Their beds were filling up.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer trotted into the factory, after flying around in the cold misty hair to stretch and prepare for the Christmas journey. After time, he learned to get physically stronger as he remained as the lead Reindeer for Santa.

He saw the chaos, and the misery of the elves. It brought a tear to his eye, and his red nose blared.

“It just gets worse every year.” Rudolph said as he looked on at the meekly dying elves. Some were passed out from exhaustion. “But not like this.” He said as he trotted in further.

He almost stepped on an elf that was collapsed on the verge of death.

“Oh my heavens! Are you alright?” Rudolph squatted down and tried to lift him up a little to sit him up. The elf was pale, sweaty, and gasping for air.

“Must.. meet.. quota..” the elf recited. Over and over.

“He’s delirious!” Rudolph grabbed him with his teeth and heaved him over his back. He flew over the Naughty and Nice departments immediately to sick bay.

And he saw the mayhem.

All of the elves lying in beds, hooked up to IV’s, the groans and moans of pain and exhaustion. It was a surprise to Rudolph that even the staff were functioning at this overwhelming capacity.

“Doc! I got one! I need a Nurse!” Rudolph screamed as his bright red nose blared. It got the attention of the staff at the desk.

A nurse elf ran over and reached over to grab the dying elf off of Rudolph’s back, laying the elf down on the floor.

“Oh Rudolph! We are in trouble! I don’t know if we have have beds open!” The nurse elf frantically took vitals on the ground with the dying elf.

“Must..meet..quota..” the dying elf recited.

“Nurse! We’re losing one at bed twelve!” An elf assistant screeched over the desk. Rudolph looked past the desk and saw the elf in question. He was convulsing and flailing around, spitting up peppermint candy juice.

One of the nurses began to suction and maintain an airway. The Doctor elf came storming in and tried to sedate the dying elf at bed twelve to ease the convulsions.

“This is outrageous! He’s the fifth elf in the past 30 minutes!” The doctor yelled, pushing a sedative into the elves right thigh.

The nurse suctioned what was in the way in the dying elves throat.

Rudolph, stood there, watching them work on one elf.

He looked down at the dying elf at his hooves.

The elf looked up at him, reaching out with his right arm.

“Rudolph, I don’t wanna die alone.” The elf whispered, as he knew his time was coming. Rudolph frantically looked down at him, and back at the doctor. And at the nurses station which was unoccupied because all the staff were on patients.

Rudolph flashed and blared his red nose, “Help! He’s dying!”

The nurse elves and the doctor elf rushed over, grabbing the elf at Rudolph’s hooves, and carried him to a bed. The dying elf locked his eyes on Rudolph and his bright red nose, reaching out to him.

“Rudolph! We have a ton dying here, and that son of a bitch Santa and that bitch Mrs. Claus are the reason why!” The doctor yelled as he sedated the dying elf to comfort the elf as he passed onto the next life.

“You’ve got to do something!” The doctor finished.

And at that moment, something happened inside Rudolph, something snapped.

He trotted out of Sick Bay, and felt nothing but anger. He took flight back to the Naughty and Nice Department, soaring overhead. Once he reached up above everyone, he preached, “Elves! Stop what you are doing! Now. You all need rest, and food. The madness needs to stop!” Rudolph thundered his voice down below.

“Take your weak first to the mess halls, get them fed. Rest of you behind them.” Rudolph finished and soared over them to head to the mess hall kitchen.

Rudolph’s nose blared bright red and he announced as he entered the kitchen, “Prepare meals for the work crew! They are sending the weak and the injured first. Dispatch a small team to Sick Bay, feed the wounded and staff. Now!”

The elves started running frantically and getting trays out, opening pots and pans of fresh food of all sorts of varieties of meats and fruits, vegetables alike. A small three elf team took two carts of food for Sick Bay.

Rudolph supervised the operation briefly.

Then, he took flight to the Reindeer Den. Flying in with swift speed, and landed in the middle.

“There is chaos in the Naughty and Nice department, there are dozens of elves dying in Sick Bay. I need all of your help!” Rudolph commanded.

Donner trotted out of his cubicle and stared at Rudolph.

“It’s that unbelievable quota that fucking guy wants these guys to do, Bro. We all tried to tell him!” Donnor trotted closer to Rudolph, Cupid overheard the conversation and peaked his head out from his cubicle.

“Wha… what do you suggest we do?” Cupid asked. A couple of reindeer heard the clatter and commotion.

Rudolph trotted over to his cubicle, his right front hoof moved the pile of hay, revealing a glass plate with a button behind it. He then smashed the glass, exposing a giant red button. A quick buzz sounded as his cubicle floor opened up and arose a metal closet.

“We arm ourselves. And arm any able bodied elves. We are taking this fucking place over!”

Inside the closet were sharpened candy cane spears, peppermint grenades, and gumdrop mines.

Rudolph commanded, “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, you are Alpha Team. Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, you are Bravo Team. I will be Romeo One. We’re gonna storm the gates of North Pole Sanctuary, breach, and clear any elven hostiles. End goal, we need to take out Santa and Mrs. Claus. No prisoners gentlemen, no mercy.”

Each reindeer armed themselves appropriately, Blitzen smeared peppermint candy in tiger stripes across his snout and face. The others followed suit and smeared peppermint candy across their snouts.

“Let’s go bag this fuckface!” Rudolph yelled as the other reindeer cheered in motivation.

Cupid punched the intercom pager with his left hoof, to get on the loud speaker in the Mess Hall.

“Attention to all elves, we are arming a resistance force to take North Pole Sanctuary. Any able bodied elf that is able to fight, come to the Reindeer Den, we will arm you appropriately. Time now.” He clicked off the intercom pager.

“And now we wait.” Comet said.

“Let’s see who shows up!” Dasher huffed.

They heard a clatter up the stairs, cheers and grunts from over a dozen elves.

“Elves Squad, reporting for duty!” The tallest elf saluted with his candy cane staff.

Comet nodded off to the side, “arm up!”

Elves grabbed what was left of the sharpened spears, peppermint grenades, and gumdrop mines.

“Okay, Alpha Team, we need you to grab six elves with grenades. You will penetrate the gate. Eliminate any resistance. Once you are clear, Bravo will approach from the west side of you, and breach the access point. Mine that area in case anyone escapes. Exterminate any one. I’ll breach from the south, I’ll meet you all in the center.” Rudolph commanded, and everyone nodded understanding the plan.

The elves saddled up almost two on each reindeer, with Rudolph empty. They took flight from the Reindeer Den, and swung a hard curve around to all face the snowy cold North Pole Sanctuary. Three stories tall of magnificent structure.

The dark dressed elves spotted the reindeer in the sky protecting the gate. There were several of them posting guard.

“Why is Rudolph coming over?” One of them asked.

The senior guard shrugged, “probably to update us on progress of the quota.”

And as the dark elf responded, a candy cane spear pierced through his chest from the back, spraying blood across the snow, the gate, and the guards.

“What the fuck?” The nearest guard yelled as blood splattered his face. “To arms! We are under attack!”

More spears flew from the hands of the elves, striking their intended targets. An elf threw two grenades at the wounded dark dressed elves and the gate, two good massive peppermint explosions erupted. Hard candy shrapnel went everywhere slashing the remaining elves, brutally dismembering them.

A dark dressed elf crawled to the intercom, with no legs. Gasping for air, he punched the button.

“We are under attack!” Rudolph’s hoof crushed through the skull of the squealing elf, and smashed his pink cotton candy brain.

“What?! Who is attacking?” Santa said over the intercom.

“Santa! I’m coming for you, and your bitch!” Rudolph yelled as he smashed the intercom.

Alpha team strapped explosives to the gate and blew it as they all stood clear distance. The bodies of the dead elves disintegrated from the concussive blast.

“Alpha go! Push through! Bravo! Get to your spot!” Both teams dispersed rapidly and made their way to their designated spots. An alarm blared and dark dressed elves came out with their weapons to meet the aggressors.

It was a slaughter fest. Just a night before Christmas.

Bodies of the dark dressed elves littered the place like trash left on the side of the road. Bravo team rigged the exit access point from the west in case anyone escaped. Alpha lunches through the front door, tossing peppermint grenades and getting into fist fights with the darkly dressed elves.

Rudolph took to the skies and went through the south access point. He saw a reinforced door. Unwrapping four peppermint grenades, he charged with mighty speed, and breached the door with his body.

He immediately took flight and released the live grenades, expecting to meet resistance. Dozens of darkly dressed elves threw their spears and chucked grenades at Rudolph. He whipped around and dodged the grenades as his weapons exploded, sending shrapnel and pieces of the elves across the lobby.

Alpha team committed to the breach on their side, as did Bravo. They all met in the bloody lobby.

“Everyone up?” Rudolph commanded.

“Alpha is good!” Dasher replied.

“Bravo is good!” Comet responded.

Rudolph surveyed the area, and looked at the stairs leading up to the offices of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“This is going to be the worst part. They have the best position. We have to avoid getting near that door, approach it on both sides. Stay clear, breach it, and I’m sure they’ll be expecting us to walk in.”

Without hesitation, Alpha and Bravo stacked up on each side of the door, avoiding standing in front of it. The elves gripped their grenades, and their spears.

Two elves planted gum drop mines at the bottom of the stairs in case anyone walked up on them.

On the other side of the door, Santa Claus was armed with a peppermint mini gun, he wore his red pants and boots, Santa hat, bare chested with chain linked peppermint bullets in an X pattern across his bare chest and stomach. Smoking from his cigar. Mrs. Claus mounted a gumdrop grenade launcher, she wore a red dress, with black boots instead of her black pumps. Sporting a red bandana. Her eyes were trained down the sights.

“Rudolph! You’re a naughty reindeer!” Santa yelled through the hallway. “Come in and lets be civil!” He smiled through puffing his cigar, as he prepared the rotary spin on the mini gun.

He pulled the trigger, and peppermint bullets pelted the door, shattering pieces of oak.

“Christ!!” Dasher yelled.

“Nah, fuck all that!” Comet said, briefly turned around to expose his behind, and kicked the door in with his back hooves. The door clambered open and more peppermint rounds whizzed by, barely skimming past Comet’s buttcheeks.

Prancer approached their side and kicked it the same way to breach their door. Unfortunately, Santa expected this, as he sent a volley of rounds towards that door. Dozens of rounds slammed into Prancer’s flesh, severely wounding him.

An elf screeched and grasped Prancer’s antlers, pulling him out of the way.

“I’ve got him! You get in there and fuck his Jolly Saint Nicolas’ ass up!” The elf yelled as he pressed into Prancer’s wounds to stop the bleeding.

An elf leaped off the back of Dancer.

“Give me all your grenades. I want to throw as many as I can. I won’t haven much time.” He said as he snatched off peppermint grenades.

The elf ripped off his shirt, and showed his bare chest.

“Nah, you won’t make it past that door!” Rudolph exclaimed.

Santa let out a volley of peppermint bullets, Mrs. Claus fired a few gum drop grenades down the hallway. They all ducked for cover.

The bare chested elf had a peppermint grenade in each hand, and licked a couple of the peppermint grenades sticking them to his chest.

“It was an honor, Rudolph.” The bare chested elf was about to approach the door.

“Wait!” Comet yelled.

The bare chested elf stood looking at Comet.

Comet leaped over the door, avoiding the onslaught of peppermint bullets, yelling over the loud weapon fire.

“We’re gonna breach the roof on top of them!”

Comet snatched up the bare chested elf and burst through the roof above them.

Dancer and Blitzen broke ranks and assisted the breach efforts.

“We need to distract them!” Cupid said as he peaked down the hallway. “Hey you fat fuck! I hope I ram my antler up your wife’s ass!”

Mrs. Claus launched a volley of grenades, “I’m in Santapause! Hot flashes here we come!” She unleashed more grenades.

Dancer, Blitzen, Comet, and the bare chested grenade Elf was ready. They slammed their hooves into the roof above Santa and Mrs. Claus, crushing the infrastructure to gain access. Santa pulled up the peppermint mini gun and opened fire. The elf leaped down through the hole and latched onto Mrs. Claus’s back. She frantically screamed in horror.

Santa pulled his mini gun down and aimed it at Mrs. Claus.

“Shoot him!” She yelled as the bare chested elf hugged her.

“Night night, bitch!” The peppermint grenades exploded, and Mrs. Claus absorbed the shrapnel and concussion blast, turning her into a pink mist.

By the time she exploded, Rudolph and the rest of the team stormed the hallway.

Santa snapped to, and opened fire down the hallway. Some of the elves and reindeer hit the ground, some weren’t so lucky.

“Get the fuck down!!” Rudolph yelled to the unwounded staff, as they low crawled quickly to cover. Several of the elves had been wounded.

Vixen and Dasher were wounded as they were the first ones to enter, and laying all low. Yelling from their injuries.

Dancer, Blitzen, and Comet breached quickly down and landed on top of Santa. Santa shoved the mini gun into Comets chest and opened fire, turning his insides into a peppermint factory. He was dead.

Dancer pierced the stomach of Santa, and tore outwards, as he snatched and unraveled his intestines. Blitzen kicked Santa straight in the chest to knock him down.

Rudolph stood over the dying Santa. He was coughing up blood, as it splattered across Rudolph’s fur.

Without hesitation, Rudolph stomped on Santa’s skull. With a loud crunch, his hooves caved into his skull, and he kept stomping into the smashed skull until it was unrecognizable.

“Come on Rudolph, he’s dead. We gotta get our wounded to Sick Bay. It’s over man!” Blitzen yelled at Rudolph, and shoved Rudolph to get his attention.

“It’s not over, it’s never over.” Rudolph replied.

Rudolph trotted over with his bloody hooves, and tried to pick up as many wounded on his back as possible, the remaining survivors grabbed the wounded reindeers, elves, and made their way back to Sick Bay.

Blitzen stayed.

“I need some explosive charges, I’m blowing this place North Pole high!” He searched, and found Mrs. Claus’ gum drop grenade launcher.

“That’ll work.” Blitzen armed himself and took to the snowy cold skies. He pulled the trigger and let the drum magazine full of gum drop grenades fly out the barrel, hitting the sanctuary with everything it had. The explosives set a chain reaction to the weapons area where they kept their weapons, and set off the flammable and combustibles that caused the sanctuary to explode from within.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were no more.

* * *

Christmas Day came.

They rush delivered to all of the nice and naughty boys and girls, as if nothing ever happened. Kids and adults opened up their presents and either cried from seeing coal, or shouted with glee seeing a new toy.

Many elves died in the Revolution, and the events leading to it.

The bare chested Elf that sacrificed himself in the name of freedom, was hailed a hero and he was honored in song. They began to construct a statue, holding a peppermint grenade in each hand.

Comet sacrificed himself also in the name of freedom, as they erected a statue to honor him at the center of the Reindeer Den.

Vixen and Dasher eventually healed from their wounds, and returned to Reindeer duties.

Rudolph and the rest of Alpha and Bravo team protected the elves, and ensured fair treatment of all elves. They were now tasked to carry out the traditions of Christmas. Rudolph, the lead reindeer, with the help of Vixen, took in all naughty and nice lists. Prancer was in charge of letter mail to the North Pole.

And the rest is history….

The Shadow (part 6)

(MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES!)

The Master Magician suddenly appeared in Moludri’s quarters. Moludri looked over his right shoulder with his palm still raised off the desk.

“Hello Moludri.” The Master Magician’s face remained hidden in the shadow of his over sized hood and open his arms in a peaceful gesture. “It appears you discovered a secret!” He said.

Moludri stood up and knocked the chair over.

“What did you do to me?” Moludri replied as his teeth clenched and grind against the molars.

“Moludri…” The Master Magician raised his hands up in a motion to surrender to him. “Allow me to explain. Just a moment.”

“Speak quickly.” Moludri agreed with his hands in tight fists, prepared to deliver the worst blow to the Master Magician’s head.

The Master Magician walked over to the open window slit with his hands held behind his back. “The frost troll toxin that coated the claws, was extremely deadly. And it’s the worst toxin I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been around for two hundred years. The toxin invaded your vital organs, killing you very slowly.” The magician turned his head over his right shoulder, looking at Moludri.

“In all purposes, you were dead by the time you were carried to my chambers.” He paused.

“Once I discovered how badly you were injured, I had to regenerate the good undamaged cells, which wasn’t very many. I had to tap into very dark and evil magic that I haven’t used in a long time, to save you. And with that, I had to… resurrect you from the dead.” His head faced back to the window sill.

“I am not proud of what I had to do. I swore I would never use the dark arts of the arcane, Moludri. I have killed scores of people, warriors, mages, I killed many people. I devoted my time to learn to save lives instead of take them.” The Master Magician said as he faced with his whole body towards Moludri.

Moludri relaxed his stance and slowly released his fists.

“I granted you an ability to be able to heal yourself, and unfortunately it is very permanent. You may think this is a wonderful thing, but I assure you, it is a curse, Moludri. You are in all aspects, immortal.”

The Master Magician took two steps backwards, and his tip tapped the window sill.

“Allow me to demonstrate your ability.” The Master Magician said as he leaned back and over the window sill. Moludri rapidly closed the distance between them to grab the Magician but was too late.

Moludri watched the Magician plummet to his very death from several stories. He heard the disgusting gross wet popping sound as his body hit the pavement below.

Moludri panicked. His hands gripped the window sill as his body was half way out the window peering below.

Then, with his vision, he saw The Master Magician come to life, and then vanished into a wisp.

“As you can see…” The Master Magician appeared from behind him. Moludri snapped around and saw his figure. “I fell from a great height, and broke essentially every bone in my body. My soul never left my shell, and I regenerated.”

The Magic Magician approached Moludri very closely, and they locked eyes for a first time.

“Moludri…” he reached out to Moludri and held his shoulders and paused, “I had no choice. I had to save you. Please understand.”

“You should have let me die, Master Magician. I never wanted this!” Moludri snapped back at the Magician. The magician retracted his arms off of Moludri and back pedaled to avoid a physical confrontation.

Moludri absorbed and played back the Magicians words in his chaotic mind.

“What did you mean by ‘had to save me’?”

“Speak to me tomorrow morning, I will answer your questions. I promise. I owe you this.” The Master Magician faded into a wisp and vanished from his quarters.

Moludri stood in silence, looking over at his bed and his new replaced equipment. “And how the oblivion am I supposed to rest?” He said out loud. He sat in the middle of the room, legs crossed, and tended to his deep meditation techniques. He fell into a trance and allowed himself a brief moment of peace.

What Darkness has fell upon me? What evil lurks in the shadows? Is it me now? Theodmer, what were you telling me?

* * *

The Master Magician re appeared in his healing chamber, clutching his chest. The pain buckled his knees out from under him as he clawed the ground. “What have I done, great Divines? What choice did you give me?!”

The pain became gradually worse, as he crawled on the floor. He eventually made it to one of his work benches. Grasping with dear life of the tables front leg, pulling himself up to the flattop of the table. Gritting his teeth, gripping an ink pen, and a piece of ripped off letterhead. He propped himself up by his arms and his neck strained.

His hands shook from the pain, sweat poured from his face, gasping for breath through the waves of pain that pulsed through him. The magician tried hard to focus each letter onto the parchment.

O….M….N….O….C….

The ink pen slipped from his hand as he collapsed onto his back into unconsciousness.

The Shadow (part 5)

After several days of intense magical spells, potions, solvents, salves, and diligence, Moludri survived the horrendous endeavor.

Moludri, unconscious, laid on a cushioned altar, covered in a medicinal blanket to help extract the remaining toxins that may have lingered in dormant to strike again – and possibly kill him. The Master Magician patted the head of the damp skinned Moludri.

“You are very lucky to be alive. Alive indeed.” The Master Magician said, as if Moludri was wide awake.

His assistants were busy brewing up new potions and creating new solvents to replenish the exhausted supplies hastily. They were all experienced chemists and a couple were arcane savvy. The smells of red mountain flowers and lavender filled the room to mask the pungent smells of the stronger materials used to create new items.

Cerlith was never told that Moludri came back.

She knocked on the door to the Master Magicians room, and one of his assistants answered the door.

Cerlith entered the room, talking to the assistant that greeted her, and looked over at the man on the table. She didn’t recognize him, and didn’t want to bother the Magician. She walked around and watched the assistants work creating more items.

“My Magician, you emptied your shelves. It’s like you prepared a division for war!” Cerlith laughed a little. “You are always fully stocked!”

The Master Magician smiled and looked over at her over his shoulder. “Ah yes, well, we used a ton for a scary toxin that plagued one of our brothers. He’s lucky to survived the ordeal.”

“Well, thank the Divines for your knowledge and your assistants.” Cerlith nodded in gratitude.

And then she walked closer and saw the man wrapped up in the blanket.

“Wait, is he a Red Blade? Or one of the King’s 5th?” Cerlith couldn’t recognize Moludri, he lost a tremendous amount of color and appeared to be lifeless.

“My Cerlith! Don’t be silly! Look at him closely.” The Master Magician said, and moved the blanket off of Moludri.

Cerlith gasped and stumbled back, stricken by surprise. Covering her mouth as to not let out a scream.

“Moludri was badly poisoned by a frost troll on his mission. No normal man would have lived. But he’s alive. We’re not sure the extent of the damage yet, but I am hopeful for a full recovery.” The Master Magician said as he smiled at Moludri.

Cerlith grasped the hand of the Magician, and he turned to her.

“Please take care of him, I was not aware he returned.” Cerlith’s eyes were filled with flowing tears.

“Oh now! Don’t you cry! He’s perfectly safe here. You can come see him anytime you wish. I am very aware of your…love interest with him.” The Master Magician said as he laughed, “I may be old, but I am certainly not blind!”

“Oh I will.” Cerlith wiped her face and held Moludri’s head.

* * *

Khodesh and Haezid sat at the inn in Yagos next to each other. Their back was towards a warm fire being stewed to keep the common area warm. The bard was strumming his lute and sang the story of various heroes come and gone.

“Let’s spend one more night here. And see if Moludri pulls through.” Khodesh mentioned to Haezid.

“I agree. He looked dead by the time we found him. They say he’s gonna make it! The Eights willing, of course.” Haezid finished his mead.

“And this time, no separate beds.” Khodesh got up to talk to the innkeeper.

Haezid was startled as she walked off, looking at her.

“What did she just say? Nah. That’s the mead taking!”

* * *

Moludri was in a deep state of his subconscious.

He sat criss cross in a giant, quiet, empty room. Bright white walls. The only sound was his breathing. Eyes closed. Deep in focus.

Theodmer appeared in front of him.

“Hello cousin.” Theodmer spoke and Moludri’s eyelids ripped open.

Moludri tried to speak but his voice fell silent.

“You can’t talk because you aren’t dead. Don’t panic!” Theodmer shrugged. “So that’s good news for you.” Theodmer walked around to the left side of Moludri.

Moludri could only track him with his head and eyes.

“You are one lucky little Elf I say! Very lucky son of a bitch. As much as I love your company, and miss it, you can’t stay here. The Red Blades need their hero!” Theodmer pats Moludri on the left shoulder and arm as he knelt down.

“There is an evil within your own ranks, and you are the only one that’s going to stop it. I have already foreseen it. Let no one know of your intentions to seek the truth.”

Moludri looked right at Theodmer in his eyes, as Theodmer smiled back.

“I know you can do this. Now wake up! Times wasting!”

* * *

Moludri gasped raggedly and sat straight up, the magician room was dark, and no one was in his room to tend to him. He lifted off the blanket and felt, unusual.

“I know you can do this…”

Theodmer’s voice echoed in his mind.

Moludri felt numb, void of everything. He felt as if he was now just a shell. He was careful with getting off the altar, absent of any clothes. He grabbed the blanket and kept himself covered appropriately.

“I don’t feel right. It must be from my extended mediation.” Moludri said to himself.

“Yet I am not cold. Nor hungry. Not even needing to quench my thirst.” Moludri puzzled, his dark elf vision allowed him to see in the poorly lit room with ease.

Moludri cracked open the door and peered out the little opening. And then he stuck his whole head out of the door.

“Well, perhaps I’ll tiptoe up to my actual room.” He summoned his shadow form, as Moludri turned into a black wisp. The blanket that covered him fell to the ground. He cruised through hallways and rooms, bustling and active training arenas, dining area, and passed through all of the quarters to his.

He reappeared on the other side of the door.

All of his items were exactly how he left it, with a new uniform staged up. He put on undergarments to keep himself covered, and sat in his wooden chair at the desk.

“Oddly enough, I’m not tired either.” Moludri said to himself.

A weird sadistic idea crossed his mind. He wanted to see if he was still stuck in his subconscious mind, so he grasped a tiny throwing blade on the desk in his right hand and poked his left palm. He felt nothing.

Moludri’s facial expression changed.

“Odd. I didn’t feel that.”

He then shoved the blade completely through his hand, tearing through flesh as it started to bleed. The hilt stopped the blade from going further.

He withdrew the knife and laid it on the desk. The blade was covered in his blood from his hand.

Moludri looked at the wound he gave himself, closely analyzing it. But something odd was happening inside him. He felt a weird rush of blood flow, almost like feeling a sense of a flush, and a tingling session go down his left arm.

As he peered into the hole in his hand, his hand started to heal, and started to cover the stab wound that he inflicted upon himself.

“What in the Divines?” Moludri stared at his hand as the hole closed itself up, and left no mark.

“What the hell happened to me?” Moludri said as he turned his hand around back and forth to see the palm and the top of the hand.

The Shadow (part 4)

Moludri had been wounded from the frost troll battle, and with local remedies, and his knowledge of first aid, he’d done his best to prevent infection. Unfortunately, he needed a magician to help heal his wounds as it began to do internal damage.

It has taken him longer to get back to Yagos. He’d been on foot for almost a month. The pain from his wound reached his joints, it affected his energy, and sometimes, he would throw up from being very dizzy. Moludri refused to give up and kept going. He never prayed before to the Divines, but he felt this was the best opportune time to start asking for help.

Moludri, after meditating in the forest, getting closer to Yagos, another three days of travel he estimated in his condition. The meditation he figured would help buy him time to muster his strength.

But as he started to move, his joints in unison ceased to move. He felt what was like an arrow pierce his flesh internally across his chest with searing pain. Clutching his chest, gritting his teeth, he forced his joints to function. He collapsed to the ground, propping himself up on his left hand, both knees into the ground, and his right hand and arm grabbing his chest.

Blackness started to fill his vision. Moludri was not afraid to die, he was a shadow. His remaining strength had diminished, and he collapsed onto the ground.

* * *

“Hey, that’s a Red Blade!”

“What the hell happened to him?”

“He’s barely breathing. We need to get him to Yagos.”

“Wait, he looks familiar. Haezid, look at him.”

“By the Eights! That’s him! We need to move!”

* * *

Haezid was carrying the barely lifeless Moludri in his arms, cradling him. He entered the town of Yagos. Khodesh was calling for help frantically. Some of the soldiers from The Kings 5th Army recognized the assassin immediately, and rushed like a wildfire to come to Haezid.

“Get your master magician! He’s dying!” Haezid yelled as he kept carrying him down the path to the windmill. One of the infantryman scurried quickly to the Red Blades lair, beating on their door.

The Red Blade Guard opened the doors slit at the top with a clank. Her dark elf eyes scanned the guard.

“You are not Red Blade. What is it?” She inquired, as she gripped her daggers handle from behind the door.

“It’s Moludri! He needs help!” The infantryman huffed and looked at her with his wide blue eyes. “He’s being carried!”

The dark elf gasped and took a step back. She closed the door slit quickly and opened the door. As she opened the door, Haezid, Khodesh, and the lifeless Moludri in his arms.

“Thank you, infantryman.” Khodesh nodded to him.

“By the Gods, I hope it’s not too late.” He looked away.

* * *

Haezid and Khodesh met with the Supreme Council, and their Master Magician of the Red Blades. Haezid carried him to the chamber of healing, and laid him down on the concrete slab on top of an altar. The magicians began quickly getting to work, cutting off his gear and stripping his armor. Spells were being performed with a quickness, glowing green and blue auras were floating around and creating their own light.

“The Frost Troll had some form of a poisonous toxin..” the Master Magician G’wilt said. Analyzing the injury closely as Moludri was levitating off the altar. His giant crimson robes and his hood covered G’wilt’s face and long white hair. “Any normal person would have died from this. We will do our best, the toxin reached all of his vital organs. We must not be disturbed.” The Master Magician escorted aggressively everyone out of the chamber and closed the door behind them.

Raelgae looked at Haezid and Khodesh before he spoke. Omnoc stood behind them.

“The Red Blades are in debt to you both. Tell me, how did you know who he was?”

Haezid explained the story of how Moludri helped them defeat Tadena the Evil to assist in saving the King’s children.

“We owed him our lives, without him we wouldn’t have been able to defeat Tadena.” Khodesh finished the story for Haezid.

Omnoc nodded, “We are eternally grateful, deeply. You knew Theodmer then…”

Haezid felt a rock hit his chest.

“Theodmer was my friend. I was there when he was killed. I watched him take his very last breath.” Haezid finished.

“You’ve done us a great service in bringing back Moludri. I will be sure to inform him, if he wakes up from this.” Raelgae said as he reached out to shake both Khodesh’s and Haezid’s hands.

“I wish to offer you each an item from our armory, and I wish to offer you a Red Blade medallion. It will grant you passage to our sanctuary. You show this to the guard on duty, and they will know to let you in. Come, follow me.” Raelgae motioned them out of the hallway, Haezid and Khodesh following closely.

As they disappeared from Omnoc’s view, he stood there as he heard the magicians chant different healing spells and could see bright flashes of different colors from under the door.

“The Divines I beg of thee, do not take our Shadow.” Omnoc said, as he sat cross legged onto the floor and meditated in deep thought.

“I do not know many magical spells, but I will offer Moludri my strength to heal.” Omnoc said to himself as he channeled his inner strength to Moludri. A dim orange color emitted from Omnoc, as it turned into a steady stream of a wisp under the door to the dying Moludri.

The Shadow (part 3)

Mount Artentis, cold and snowy at this time of year.

Moludri traveled for three weeks, through different weather patterns, stayed at local inn’s, gained intelligence and gossip from patrons and workers alike. He bumped into some of the Kings 5th army and tried to get more of a picture as to what could have happened.

He knelt down in the snow during the winding path up the mountain next to a skull, analyzing it with his eyes. Lifting the skull up carefully with both his hands. The blood had clotted and due to the weather conditions, some of it had congealed under it, leaving a jelly puddle.

The jaw was missing, no eyes, and the back of the skull had been broken, revealing a cavity the size of his fist. Moludri turned it around to inspect it further.

“Hard to tell if this was an unlucky traveler, or one of the scouts. His or hers brain is completely gone. Jaw severed.” He thought to himself.

Moludri stood up, after placing the skull back where he found it, and began the trek up the winding path into the mountain. Fresh snow crunched against his boot soles, looking around for more clues.

After about a half hour, he found his next clue.

It was an arm, severed at the shoulder as he pulled the arm out from the snow. It too, unfortunately, wasn’t enough to convince him that it was the remains of the scouts. It was just flesh, frozen and rigid from rigor mortis. Whatever did this, it wasn’t a blade.

“Someone ripped his or hers arm off. But where was the body?” He thought to himself.

He stopped and scanned the area as best as he could through the frozen tundra. The trees and bushes were beautifully dusted with snow and ice accents. Blood would be easy to show up in white. Then, he saw through the snow, the unmistakable crimson splatters. Or was it a red berry winter bush? Moludri walked up closer to see.

And there it was. The biggest clue of them all.

A scouts mutilated body was impaled through the chest and abdomen from the front, shoved into a wide tree trunk, and with both arms and legs ripped off. The scout wore the King’s colors for their regiment. The snow camouflaged the scout and his blood.

As he looked past the tree, he saw the rest of the scouts, or in this case, what was left of them. Moludri approached each tree, slowly, visually examining each mutilation. All various, most of them kept their heads, few were decapitated.

Moludri stood still, examining the last corpse he found, and he heard a crunch.

At an instant, he drew his katana and went into an immediate battle stance in the direction where he heard the sound. Waiting for movement. Something shifted not too far from him. A shape perhaps? What moved?

Then it blinked.

Moludri stood stiffly, and watched for it to blink again in case he was hallucinating.

It blinked again.

It’s white fur was an excellent natural camouflage in the environment. Once Moludri moved slowly forward, the frost troll then roared ferociously, showing his bloodied set of teeth. His hot breath deployed a mist in the cold air.

It rapidly closed the distance as it ran on all fours towards Moludri before leaping in the air to tackle him, and presumably remove his extremities as the troll did with the others.

As the troll leapt into the air, Moludri ducked and rolled under the gap between him and the angry frost troll. Immediately getting up he slashed at a diagonal fashion against the frost trolls back. The creature roared in pain as blood splattered on its fur and the snow. The troll turned around and swiped with its right arm to snatch up Moludri.

With a high kick, Moludri’s foot met the arm of the troll to deflect it, as the troll turned completely around to face him. They were at an arms distance, and Moludri knew this was dangerous. Moludri dropped and rolled back and left to gain distance as rapid as he could and went into a defensive stance with his sword to block an incoming attack.

The troll wasn’t slowing down, it wanted nothing more than to rip Moludri apart.

The trolls right arm came down with a swing, and Moludri met it with cold steel, slicing the flesh of its forearm. In return, the troll clawed the back right shoulder blade of Moludri leaving him stumbled and off balance. The claws sheered through his hardened leather and exposed flesh.

With a surprise, the troll kicked his injured side and sent him sprawling into the snow, katana still gripped in his hand.

Moludri rolled on his uninjured side through the fresh snow, and was on his feet again. Feeling the sting and his hot blood trickling down his cool skin. He sheathed his katana and prepared two daggers.

He had a plan. And it was going to be risky.

Dagger in each hand, he kept his stance low and aggressive. The troll roared in anger as the pain from its two injuries began to slightly blind its judgement.

“I guess you don’t like it when food fights back.” Moludri said to the troll.

“Let’s dance just a little longer.” Moludri finished.

The troll charged again and went to grab Moludri to wrap him up in its arms, to squeeze Moludri to death. He found an opening between the trolls legs and dove between them, he then got to his feet and stabbed both daggers straight down into each side of its neck. The blades sank deep with a wet chunky sound as the troll roared, grasping behind it to grab Moludri.

It grabbed Moludri by the arms and flung him like an insect about ten feet away into a tree trunk, slamming his back into it. The wind knocked out of him, gasping to regain himself. He was used to being beaten badly in training, so he could handle it in a real fight – for his life.

The frost troll roared and couldn’t reach the daggers well with its clunky arms, but Moludri had a secret. The dagger blades were poisoned, and since he introduced the blades into where he suspected the vital blood flow of the troll (assuming it resembled close to a human), it wouldn’t be long until the troll would die. Eventually, the troll removed both daggers after it gained its composure, blood leaking from two fresh new holes.

Moludri scrambled to his feet and drew his katana again. The troll began to stumble, whether the poison or the blood loss was significant enough to disrupt proper function, something slowed it down.

It’s roar became faint, as it dropped to its knees. Moludri noticed the face was turning into a dark green, and blood poured from its eyes and mouth, and the ear canal began to ooze blood. The poison was working it’s way through and killing it.

Moludri stood and watched the frost troll die slowly. Without providing it mercy by removing its head.

After the poison took full control, it’s eyes burst like bubbles in boiling soup, blood spurted from its nose and ears. The troll fell onto its right side, as the poison seized its brain and stopped all functions.

Moludri stood over its corpse, bleeding slightly still on his upper back, making sure the troll wasn’t breathing. He stuck the flat end of the katana blade next to the entrance of its nose, to see condensation indicating breathing. Moludri saw none, but wanted to make sure.

He lifted his katana up and came down on its neck, severing the trolls head completely from its body. Moludri used the dead trolls fur to clean his katana before he sheathed it back, and had to make the trek back to report the mission being completed.

As Moludri made his way down the path, he knew he needed to stop somewhere to properly inspect his wounds, and ensure no infection took place. It would be a day or two until he got somewhere to be seen, so he cleaned it the best he could with the snow. He headed to the previous town he stopped at prior, and checked himself into the inn for much needed rest.

The Shadow (Part 2)

Moludri woke up from his deep tranced slumber on his bed, wearing his undergarments. Unable to understand why he snapped to, he sat right up and started to scan his dark windowless dorm.

His room was small, but efficient. In his stone walled and rugged floored cube, he had his armor, weapons, and clothes in the wardrobe. A small wooden desk and chair in the corner. A locked chest at the foot of his bed.

A shadowed figure was near the doorway.

And the door was closed.

“Don’t be alarmed, it’s just me.” Cerlith spoke softly.

Moludri sighed and put both his bare feet onto the rug beneath his bed. Propping himself up by holding the edge of his bed.

Cerlith opened her right hand, palm facing towards the ceiling, and a small ball of light emitted. She controlled the ball as it floated upward towards the ceiling, and slowly increased its intensity.

Cerlith wasn’t donned in her armor, just wore a long sleeve and loosely fit pants over her minimal shoes. All black of course. She walked over to him as he sat on the bed still, and gently caressed the side of Moludri’s face with her hand.

“How are you feeling? I know your mind and heart weigh very heavily.” Cerlith said as she began rubbing her thumb over his cheek.

“His death was avenged. I have no weight to bare.” Moludri responded with his dark eyes looking up at Cerlith.

“Now I don’t believe that one bit.” Cerlith replied as she smiled slightly. “But that’s the answer I’d expect from The Shadow.” She sighed and stopped caressing his cheek. She walked over to his desk, grabbed the wooden chair, and moved it closer to Moludri to sit.

“Let me guess, you’re here to tell me that in my best interest, I’m not to leave on a mission for awhile.” Moludri looked dead at Cerlith.

“Partly that, yes.” She replied as she folded her hands into her lap.

Moludri had an irritated look and grunt sound as he shook his head.

“By the Divines, I’m perfectly fine. I will speak with the council.” Moludri said as he got up to go to his wardrobe and sorted out his uniform without his armor. He started to dress himself, and while he was distracted, she wrapped her arms around his waist and her face buried into his shoulder blade. He froze.

“Moludri…” she said with the side of her face into his back. Her voice vibrated up through his spine and ribs.

“Just take a break, please? Even if it’s just a day. Just one day.”

Moludri sighed.

“Is that a yes?” Cerlith smiled holding him tighter.

“For the love of the Divines, yes. Yes! Fine. I will take a day!” Moludri annoyed that he easily gave in, but perhaps, a day couldn’t be bad.

“Good. I knew you’d come to your senses! You’re so stubborn, and thick headed.” Cerlith said as she let go of Moludri, and took a step back to give Moludri some space.

“You’re the absolute worst person to take their side. I hope you are aware of this!” Moludri still annoyed at her.

“No, I don’t think so. I’m looking out for you because I love you, you blind idiot!” Cerlith yelled at Moludri as if she was scolding a child for stealing candy from a shop.

Moludri winced and grunted at her angry shrieking voice.

“I appreciate the sentiment, but I think it is you that is blind.” Moludri said bitterly as he was fully dressed. He physically moved her off to the side and left his own dorm to head to the council. Cerlith sat back in the chair, her eyes watered up.

“I wish you’d believe me. I am so madly in love with you.” Cerlith whimpered as she sat alone in his dorm.

* * *

Moludri approached the Supreme Council’s chambers as he could hear a rough, highly volumed argument behind the doors. There were Red Blade guards posted, along with the King’s 5th Infantry guarding the door.

He started to walk up to the door, as the room was well lit with torches. One of the King’s guardsman held out his hand.

“You aren’t authorized to enter. Please stay back.” He said in a stern voice. He was stocky and chain mailed up with a plated chest. One of the King’s elites. This guardsman was armed with a pike.

Moludri ignored his command and kept approaching.

The guard drew his pike and pointed it at Moludri.

With a blink of an eye, he turned into his shadow form, a wisp. He floated and darted past the guards and entered the Supreme Council’s chambers.

Moludri re appeared in full form past the door which put the argument to a screeching halt.

The room was full of the Senior Members of the Red Blade, and a Captain with his Lieutenants of the King’s 5th. Captain James Tyson, a human, a decorated warrior, stood straight with his bald head and sharp blue eyes. Plated armor with short spikes on his left shoulder armor piece. A green lion on his tabard indicated his branch of service. Infantry. His Lieutenants similarly dressed in the same fashion, except their helmets were still on.

“Moludri! You are not supposed to be in this room. What is the meaning of this?” Raelgae responded sternly.

“Lucky I didn’t kill your guards Captain, I’m in the mood to hurt people.” Moludri looked at Raelgae. “I want another assignment.”

“Request denied, I need you here.” Omnoc spoke up.

“I wasn’t asking!” Moludri snapped back.

The room was in a dead silence.

“Moludri! I’m going to look past this childish outburst from you, and assume you are stricken from grief. Leave these chambers, without further incident.” Raelgae responded to his temper with calmness.

“I could use him.” Captain Tyson said.

The council turned their heads and faced Captain Tyson.

“Absolutely not.” Omnoc replied.

Captain Tyson stared at Moludri, Moludri stared back, and then looked at the council members.

“Assassin, some of our scouts went missing in the mountains, I am here requesting help from the Red Blades so I don’t need to send a detachment. I need to know what happened to them. Report back to me if you find anything. And if anyone raises so much as a sword or a glare at you, you are to kill them.” Captain Tyson said to Moludri.

“Senior Raelgae and Omnoc, I’ll be heading to the mountains in the early morn. I will be swift.” Moludri said as he turned on his heels.

Omnoc immediately spoke up, “You are to remain here, Moludri.”

“Again, I wasn’t asking.” Moludri said as he walked out of the council’s chambers.

“I like that young man, what is his name?” Captain Tyson said with a smile.

“Don’t encourage him. But his name is Moludri, The Shadow is his nickname. One of my best assassins. I suppose you get your way, Captain.” Omnoc said with a sneer.

“The King appreciates your kind assistance, Supreme Council.” Captain nodded as his Lieutenants and himself excused themselves from the chambers.

“We are spread thin as it is.” Raeglae said to Omnoc.

“If there is a real threat, Moludri can handle it.” Omnoc shrugged.

“It would look bad if we turned the Captain away, and his detachment was slaughtered.” Omnoc finished.

* * *

The sun barely rose over the horizon, there stood Moludri with his battle armor on, katana strapped to his back, and his beautiful crimson scarf around his face and neck. The birds chirped, the wind whistled around the plains and trees, fluttering his scarf. He opted to walk instead of take a horse, and headed for a long journey to Mount Artentis.

To find out what happened to the Kings 5th’s scouts, and eliminate anything that crossed his path.

Cerlith watched him leave from above in a tower, and sighed.

“Come back to me, don’t be a hero, Moludri.” She whispered into the wind.

The Shadow (part 1)

(If you have not read The Four, this story may confuse you slightly with details that come from that story. I RECOMMEND reading “The Four” before continuing)

The sun had settled over the land of Yagos, north of Briewell, creatures four and eight legged of the night came about to hunt for food. The wind was still. The beautiful crescent moon appeared through the clear night sky with the stars shining bright.

Moludri, carrying the severed head of Tadena the Evil, walked at a leisurely pace back to the Red Blades sanctuary. He met no dangers from the path he took. He pondered as he walked, hoping in his mind that Khodesh and Haezid made it safely with the King’s children.

Past the forest, through rugged trails and hilly plains, he approached the secret society of assassins. He was in an area, far north of the castle where the King lived in Briewell.

Yagos was mostly Elven and Human inhabited, the dense town was developed well, using the ingenuity from both formidable races. Houses and storefronts made of brick and stone. Sentries from the 5th Infantry armored up and well armed with various swords to uphold local laws. They were too far from the main capitol (Briewell).

Moludri walked down closing store fronts, the wind came from the south, pushing into his back gently. He concealed the bloody head in a sack on his back. People who recognized the Red Blade bowed their heads in respect, some would wave. They may be the workers of evil, but they performed dark arts for the good.

“A fine evening for a stroll, Red Blade. Is it not?” One of the armored sentries spoke to Moludri as they crossed paths. The sentry was in full armor set, carrying a torch in his right hand, and his sword sheathed at his left hip. Moludri was cordial to the sentry.

“Yes indeed. I bid you peace tonight good sir.” Moludri spoke over his crimson scarf.

“Aye, same to you.” The sentry replied and nodded.

Walking up to the town windmill, he approached the wooden door, opened it, and walked down the spiral staircase to the sanctuary. His soft leather boots made little sound as they made contact with the wooden planks.

A metal door with a red outline of a diamond, dagger pointed up in the center, was pasted on the peep sight.

The Red Blades, primarily Elven, did accept a few talented Humans to their ranks. Not as often.

Moludri sighed and knocked on the door three solid times.

The peep sight swung open with a loud slide and a click.

“What….is the greatest sound?” The female eyes of an elf looked through the opening asked Moludri.

“Silence, my sister.” He pulled up his left sleeve to show the marking of the same Red Blade symbol past his wrist.

“Very well, Assassin. Welcome home.” She responded and several clicks and cranks resonated, the door opened inwards and Moludri walked past the elf Red Blade Guard.

Down the stone corridor, was their own little underground cave. The Red Blade symbols on banners hanging from the sides, their own Red Blade guards posted in various spots across the cave. Several openings and different paths leading to different spots. Quarters, training area, battle arenas, the sanctuary library guarded by sorcerers and librarians, and the main chambers for the Supreme Counsel members.

The most senior of seniors were part of the Counsel. If Moludri continued his service, he was next to be in charge of the Assassin sector.

But he was also the most skilled killer, which proved very useful.

After passing a few fellow Assassins, greeted elders, he approached the Supreme Counsel chamber. They were in a meeting discussing a situation that has arisen in the mountains to the west, to Kromwood.

“Ah, Moludri brother. Welcome home.” Raelgae, Senior Officer of the Order watched Moludri walk in on the meeting at their diamond shaped table.

Raelgae was dark robed, and wore a crimson sash at his waist. A dagger holstered at each side of his hips. His dark hair past his shoulders was straight and over his pointed ears.

They embraced briefly.

“I have brought the head of Tadena, as proof of his brutal fate.” Moludri replied and removed the sack off his back and handed it over to Omnoc.

Omnoc, Senior Officer of the Assassins smiled brightly, also dressed in the same manner as Moludri, with the exception of the Katana. Donned in light leather dark colored armor, and added more throwing blades to his attire at the chest, shoulder, and a few on his waist. His smile turned into a boasting grin. Setting the sack down off the carpet onto the stone.

“The Shadow does wonderful work, does he not?” Omnoc spoke.

“One of our best assassins, indeed.” Cerlith replied. She smiled at his return.

Cerlith is the Senior Officer of the Warriors. Slightly shorter in stature, she wore heavy leather to give her a combination of defense without sacrificing ability of movement. Her white hair was kept in a single ponytail, and her skin bronze. Her crimson sash around her left arm tied at the bicep.

Moludri looked at the giant world map on the table, with all of the towns and cities labeled. Tiny flags pinned where important areas existed, and where they had sent their warriors and assassins to conduct missions.

“What is next for me?” Moludri asked Omnoc, while looking at the map.

“You? Nothing. You are overdue for rest. We have more than enough people to handle light work. You need time to grieve for the loss of Theodmer.” Moludri’s head snapped up to Omnoc hearing his cousins name.

“May he rest in peace with the shadows.” Raelgae said sadly.

Silence succumbed the room and swallowed everyone’s voice, briefly, except for Moludri.

It hit deep in his heart that he saw his cousins lifeless body as he held him in his two hands. And the fury burned hotter. But that fury was quenched and the smoke simmered with the death of Tadena.

Moludri turned around and started to walk out of the Supreme Counsel room. He fixed his crimson scarf around his face and made his exit as the door closed.

“My heart aches for him.” Cerlith said as her focus was on the door where Moludri walked out of. “We didn’t know he would be dead by the time Moludri was dispatched.”

“None of us did.” Omnoc replied. They went back to the map and tried to break the heavy weight of saddened silence.

* * *

Moludri stripped off his chest armor and sleeves outside near the windmill, gently laid them down onto the damp green grass. His scars on his dark skin were barely visible due to the crescent moon. He kept his crimson scarf around his face, as it fluttered with the nighttime breeze. Holding his katana in both his hands, he began his warm up drills. Going though his defensive stances first, slowly, to ensure perfect form. Strikes. Slashes. All fluid and slow. Moludri’s skin glowed with sweat.

As his muscles and ligaments were loosened up, he went faster. So fluid and precise. His heart beat was calm, his mind was clear. He focused on all of his forms. Placing his katana back in the sheath, as it settled home, he felt at peace.

A ghost of Theodmer appeared behind him, smiling at Moludri. Theodmer nodded and walked away, fading out.

The Four (Ending)

After a weeks worth of travel, stories being told to the children of the Four, after the horrible loss of two of their comrades, slayed creatures and abominations of evil, and had beheaded Tadena, the deranged and dangerous brother of King Udrekving, they arrived back to the beautiful region of Briewell.

King Udrekving sat in his throne room, another somber day without a word from anyone about what happened to the heroes to selflessly volunteered themselves to find his missing children. As time had passed, the great Kings health declined. He no longer carried an appetite, sleep never visited his bedroom, his social life was down to a mere silence. His senior magician had tried many of the certain spells and potions to ease his suffering, but he could not heal his broken heart.

His two guards always posted near to his left and right, loyal to the death they were. The small controlled bonfire burned bright in front of them. One of the King’s advisors sat near him, going through scrolls of information and treaties signed, ensuring documents were filled correctly.

There was a cheer. And clapping.

The King lifted his head off of his right hand. Sat up straight.

The two guards posted at the side of the King sprinted past, armed and went straight to the double throne room door. Their armored plated feet made clunks against the red soft velvet carpeted floor, torches down the aisle burned well. The crackles and hisses hymned the empty lot.

The guards looked at each other, nodded, and opened the door simultaneously, only to be greeted by the town mayor, tears of joy as his grin was from ear to ear.

“My King! Your children have been found!” The Mayor yelled.

Suddenly the King’s color and vigor returned at the blink of an eye, and was blinded by his own tears by the time he reached halfway to the door. His heart was in his throat, beating away. His stomach was upside down and housed a colony of butterflies.

The mayor stepped aside as Victoria and Gene grabbed their father and hugged tightly, following their father to the ground as he wept deeply.

Khodesh and Haezid stood behind them, allowing them to have their much deserved time. The cheers were loud and deafening, as the entire town entered the castle and rejoiced in the return of the King’s blood.

Haezid and Khodesh turned around and walked away, walking past the incoming crowd, bringing in fresh meats, fruits, sweet baked goods, wine, mead, and all sorts of fresh juices. There was a feast to be made to honor their heroes.

“We should stay Kho, free food!” Haezid suggested. Khodesh smiled and shook her head, “Food is always on your mind, besides bashing people with your shield.” Khodesh laughed as they both walked down the stairs from the entrance of the castle.

The both of them stood there, after the crowd cleared slightly, and looked into the distance. The wind was beautiful, the skies were clear and blue, the trees bustled with nature and sang their own silent songs.

“Thank you, Haezid. Much gratitude, and respect.” Khodesh said looking at him.

“I am confused, why are you thanking me?” Haezid shrugged it off.

“You could have left me for dead, removed my head, you carried me for a long distance to safety.” Khodesh explained.

“Nonsense. I did what I needed to do. I wasn’t going to lose another person on this quest. And your secret is with me. And hopefully the two children won’t breathe a word.” Haezid replied.

“Good, because I wouldn’t hesitate to eat them.” Khodesh said as she walked down the stairs, smiling so Haezid couldn’t see.

“You’re joking I hope. We didn’t go through all of oblivion to find them, just for you to turn them into a snack!” Haezid followed her with haste down the stone steps.

They walked past the empty shacks and grocery stands, everyone cleared house to get to the castle. Haezid and Khodesh made their quiet exit and left, walking towards the exit.

* * *

The King stood on top of his serving table with a chalice of red wine, sloshing around and spilling some onto the floor.

“We must honor our heroes who brought my children back! Where are they?” The King exclaimed.

Everyone turned and looked.

The mayor looked.

His top advisor looked.

Murmurs commenced in the area.

“Father, they had a rough journey.” Victoria said looking up at her father.

“Would you like to hear their story?” Gene asked.

The common area was quiet.

The King picked his son up and put him on the table next to him.

“Let me tell you all, the story, the story of The Four…” Gene smiles and begins to tell the tale…

*The End*

The Four (part 12)

Moludri’s boots barely touched the pine needled ground, his speed was met with aggression. He gritted his teeth behind the crimson scarf that fluttered like a ribbon in the wind behind him. His Katana beaming with the silver shine like the moon on a clear nights sky. And the stars glittering above in plain sight. His katana blade met Tadena’s warhammer’s shaft in a blocking crossed pattern. The clang was heard throughout the forest. Tadena immediately countered with a clear precision kick to Moludri’s chest to break the lock.

This was vengeance. Burning deep within.

Haezid, brought up his two handed battle axe and growled his battle cry. He indeed felt free from his armored burdens. His vision never so clearer. The wind carried his strength. The fire within him was awake, and wanted to end the very life of Tadena, the man responsible for the death of his best friend. His distance closed with Tadena and the Red Blade in close proximity, to bring his battle axe over his head and sever Tadena in half.

Punishment. Eye for an eye.

Khodesh, with the ash remains of Zrathrum still on her face, was determined. Clear minded and on the defensive. She went to a blocking stance by bringing up her two handed sword to deflect a counter from Tadena. She felt her inner beast blood take over. Her eyes began to transform to amber. Goosebumps flooded her skin and her hair began to stand. Her growl deep, dark, and vicious.

Peace was never an option.

Tadena heaved his warhammer with supreme strength, and expert accuracy. Haezid blocked the swing with his battleaxe and punched Tadena in his heavy plated armored solar plexus in an upwards motion. Tadena felt nothing as he returned the favor by bashing Haezid with his armored helmet in the face. Haezid immediately retreated to gain distance, blood pouring from a laceration on his forehead.

Moludri saw the opening he needed and went to remove Tadena’s leg. He dove and curled into a ball, to launch up like a coiled snake and went to swipe Tadena’s left leg above the knee with his Katana. Tadena moved out of the way, and his armored thigh took the damage from the katana. The gritty sound of blade on plate was loud and sent sparks. Moludri ducked low and brought his Katana up in a blocking stance.

Khodesh drove her sword into the ground with the point facing down, and growled to the sky, bursting though her armor as she bulked up in a furry muscular form of herself. Pointed ears, long snout, fur of darkness, eyes bright amber, and claws that were deadly and sharp. Salivating, and growling as her hair stood up.

Victoria and Gene watched the very same woman who helped them escape the castle, turn into a horrific creature.

“And that’s why you don’t trust strangers.” Looking over at Gene. “If she wanted to eat us, it would have happened by now!” Gene replied as he pushed her down. She got back up and they both sat behind the log to watch.

Haezid wiped his face, open mouthed, in a deep state of shock, “Gods! She’s a werewolf!”

Khodesh unleashed her animalistic fury and leaped with great height, her strength far outweighing all three of them. There was no stopping this pain train, it was coming right for Tadena. Her claws out and salivating, she lunged forward at Tadena with two hard swipes from her overly muscular arms, slashing his plated armor open in a cross slash pattern. Tadena took two steps back to absorb the power from Khodesh.

Tadena went to swing his warhammer, and Khodesh grabbed it in mid swing. Tadena and Khodesh were grid locked. Her bottom claws dug into the surface, her free hand grabbed the armored left shoulder of Tadena, claws sinking deep past his armor. Tadena did not so much as scream as blood poured from the holes. Khodesh’s brutal strength did not falter. With her left leg, she brought up her claws now caked with dirt, into the stomach of Tadena, disarming him as he stumbled back.

Moludri saw another opportunity as Tadena stumbled back, he dropped his katana and drew his stiletto. Keeping himself low to the ground he got behind Tadena, and his arm and body became like a spear, driving his stiletto into the back of Tadena. First where the heart was, the left kidney, and the right kidney. His trifecta attack. They pierced his armor and flesh. Tadena screams echoed in his armored helmet.

Haezid yelled his battlecry as Moludri was clear from danger, and drove the battle axe into the damaged armored chest of Tadena. It sank deep with a wet sound as it pierced flesh, and blood spurted from the deep gash. Removing the battleaxe, and as Tadena fell to his knees, Haezid timed his next strike at the neck. It came swiftly across his left side and like an executioner punishing a criminal, it severed Tadena’s head with a solid swipe. With a thump, his lifeless body slopped to the crimson colored pine needles.

Khodesh stood, salivating, growling deep and menacing. She scurried forward and began to devour Tadena’s corpse to feed. Digging into his torso, ripping through armor and flesh to get to his insides. A rib cage was tossed over her head, her fur and muzzle coated in blood. Once the rib cage was gone, she shoved her muzzle into his body and began her feasting.

“Should we uh,” Haezid swallowed, “stop her?” Haezid said, as the bleeding slowed from his forehead.

“Not wise. Werewolves are brutal and we would be outmatched. I have never seen one before. Only in literature.” Moludri was watching Khodesh rip and tear into the remains intently.

Khodesh howled at the sky, covered in blood all over her fur. Blood mixed with saliva coated her muzzle giving it a pink color. Bones were scattered across as Tadena’s body was far from recognizable.

She stood up on her back legs, as her eyes began to change colors. She gripped her muzzle and head, growled as she went down to the ground. She writhed and growled, slashing around as her body began to transform back to her human form. Her growl descended to a scream, as her form took hold. Khodesh laid in the puddled remains of Tadena, breathing deep and coughing. She was naked and exposed.

Moludri turned away as not to stare.

Haezid walked around, keeping her at a distance for assessment of the situation. He noticed that Khodesh was still in a daze. He felt safe enough to approach her as he knelt down next to her as she shivered.

He reached for her hand, and held it.

“It seems we all have our secrets.” Haezid said to her.

Khodesh, looking at him wide eyed.

“If you wish to kill me, I will not fight you. I am vulnerable. Weak. I have no strength left. Please, the only thing I ask, is make it quick.” Her eyes weld up with tears. “I am a monster.” Her voice cracked.

Haezid smiled down at her, and moved her hair away from her face with his free hand. “We are all monsters, Kho. You just happen to be better at it than the rest of us.”

Haezid released her hand and lifted her weak body up with his arms, carrying her in front. Her beautiful figure exposed to nature. Khodesh looked up at Haezid, and smiled briefly before she saw darkness. Her weakened state drove her to unconsciousness.

“We have a long journey back to meet up with Krilge, we have to find linens to keep her warm.” Haezid said to the back of Moludri, who also saw the two children.

“I am afraid I have to be on my way. I must bring the head of Tadena the Evil to my masters to ensure the job was done”. Moludri said with his back still turned, holding the severed head. He did not want to be caught staring at Khodesh’s naked form.

Moludri had a flashback of the last time he saw his wife, alive. He shook his head to halt the memory, and store it for a later time.

“You are a fine warrior, Haezid. Your journey will be watched from above, the divines will protect you. You will not see any danger. Should you come across any dangers, I will send my shadow far and wide across the land to your aid.” He walked away from Haezid, Khodesh, and the two children to pick up his Katana off the battlefield.

“What the hell is a shadow going to do for me?” Haezid grumbled.

“I am Moludri, a Red Blade assassin. I am a shadow.” Replied Moludri, as his figure slowly turned into a dark vapor and disappeared as he kept walking.

* * *

Hours passed after scouring though the castle for linens, they made movement back to the Orc village. Krilge stood outside the gate to the village, anticipating their return as he felt their presence come closer. Offering them healing ointments, food, and a place to rest.

The Four (part 11)

Moludri kept his shadow form and steadily crept behind the bleeding almost naked man, Haezid, and the barbarian battle ready woman, Khodesh. He had a memory flashback of the memory he viewed from his dead cousin Theodmer and knew they weren’t the enemy.

“Wait, do you hear that?” Haezid stopped in mid step.

Moludri froze.

Khodesh looked around and looked behind.

“You’re fine. We need to find these kids.” Khodesh replied.

* * *

Victoria and Gene ran down a random stone corridor, barely lit with burning torches, full of fret. They came to a cross.

“Which way?” Gene said, confused.

“Oh Oblivion, I have no idea. Let’s go right! There’s no windows! I could tell which way we were facing if we did!” Victoria replied as she took his wrist and ran together down the right corridor.

* * *

Tadena, angry and enraged, cruised down the corridors of his commandeered castle. His armor clanked loudly and he moved like a train destined for the next stop. After passing a couple of turns, he figured he could just head to the exit on the other side of the castle, and wait for the two children. He activated a trap door and slid down the tunnel, and headed for the underground exit back to the surface.

* * *

Victoria and Gene burst through a door, hoping to heaven that this was the end. Sure enough, they reached the giant common area. Completely barren of any furniture or of anything of value. They flew down a flight of stairs and made their exit across the room. There, they entered the corridor with Haezid, Khodesh, and Moludri in his shadow form behind them. They start their final approach to get out of this hell they’ve been trapped in.

“Who are they?” Victoria said, as two people approached them armed with weapons.

Gene grabbed his sisters hand and they made a break for it back to the common area. Unable to determine whether friend or foe, they didn’t want to stick around to find out.

The door was jammed shut, and left them exposed to the unknown danger that was closing in on them.

* * *

“That’s them!” Khodesh yelled, as she went into a full sprint and closed the distance between them and the children.

She slowed down a bit and went to a walk, holding her hand out after she holstered her sword.

“We’re not here to hurt you. Don’t be scared. I know you’ve been through a lot, and you’re confused. We’re here to save you from your uncle.” Haezid caught up and saw the two children.

“Yeah, what she said. We heard your uncle is short a few acorns to say the least. Listen, we don’t have time to debate. We’ve already come a long way, we’ve lost friends along the way, I’d like to get you back to your father. Your king.”

Gene stopped and looked at Haezid.

Then looked at Khodesh.

“Sis, they are here to help us.” He looked back at Victoria. “I can feel it.”

“If they wanted us dead, we wouldn’t be having a conversation.” Gene finished.

“Good, smart kid. Stick close and stay behind us.” Haezid said and the four of them made their movement back the way Haezid and Khodesh came. Khodesh holding up the rear of their formation, with Moludri still lurking in the shadows.

“But where is Tadena?” Khodesh said.

“Never mind him yet, we’ll cross paths I’m sure.” Haezid replied.

* * *

Tadena patrolled around the exterior of the remains, walking around the forest that surrounded the ruined castle. Watching and waiting for the children to emerge.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are.” He said under his helmet.

* * *

After many turns and twists, Haezid and Khodesh, with Victoria and Gene closely behind them, emerge back to the forest. The door swung wide open, and a rush of cool air blasted past them. Moludri couldn’t use his talent in daylight, so he stood at the entrance of the door to avoid detection.

He is here. I can feel him draw the dark powers. Moludri said to himself.

“Don’t you want to go back and get your armor, Haezid?” Khodesh asked.

“Nah, no need. Never felt more free.” He replied.

A shadow formed in front of them in a mist. It took shape and there stood Tadena in his full battle armor. His two handed war hammer head rested on the pine needles. The handle standing up and held in his dark armor plated gloves, and stood with a strong presence.

“You’re not to go any further.” Tadena said.

Haezid immediately went up and held his battle axe in both of his hands, slanted to give him a more blocking stance.

“So you’re that lunatic uncle I heard about.” Haezid said casually towards Tadena.

Tadena gripped the handle tighter.

“You have a choice here Tadena, surrender. Let us take the children. You get to live.” Khodesh said as she stepped forward with her two handed sword in her right hand.

“Or you get to die, and we take the children anyway.” Khodesh finished.

“I don’t think either of those are options.” Tadena said as he picked up the warhammer and went into his battle stance.

Khodesh smiled.

Victoria and Gene retreated back behind the heroes, finding a safe spot to not only take cover, but to watch the battle.

Moludri appeared behind the children using his stealth talents, as it provided a silent step. His katana was sheathed. A throwing dagger in each hand.

Gene looked behind him, with wide eyes.

Moludri brought his index finger up to his lips, a sign to keep quiet.

“Look Sis! A Red Blade!” Gene whispered excitingly. “The stories are true! The greatest fiercest most silent warriors!” Victoria looked and saw Moludri in his armor, with the red scarf around his face.

Moludri knelt down, and took cover with the two children.

“Your uncle is responsible for the death of my cousin. He is to die. You two stay here. If we die, I want you to run in that direction,” Moludri points without exposing himself, “and do not stop. There’s an Orc village, a Shaman named Krilge is expecting you.”

As Moludri finished his instructions, he reached out to the log, somersaulted over it, landing on both of his feet and launched the two throwing knives in the direction of Tadena. The throwing daggers flew straight and true, and were nothing more than a blur as they whistled past Haezid’s left shoulder. They made impact into Tadena’s armor, as they embedded their blades into it. Tadena didn’t flinch, but only turned his head.

Haezid turned and saw where the knives came from, and saw the Red Blade assassin. Guess he’s on our side, Haezid thought.

“A Red Blade!” Khodesh said.

“No matter! More lambs to the slaughter!” Tadena yelled as he charged into Khodesh and Haezid with Moludri drawing his Katana and rapidly closing the distance.