Rise of the Thrall Lord
The Battle of Fisheye Cove - Part 14
The farther they went through the tunnels, the more Inazuma was sure he had been here before. It was a faint memory, and the place would be much changed in a thousand years, but perhaps.
He had been to the pool chamber once in the last decade with Ruka; one of her stashes was hidden behind a secret door there. If she came out of this alive, they’d be moving that one again. He wasn’t sure how much of the complex she had originally explored or cleared, but it had to be over ten years ago and he knew that these places rapidly filled with vermin and the occasional serious threat. So he kept his senses sharp on the lookout for danger.
This last corridor did indeed lead to a stairway up, and Inazuma could almost feel Meriwynn’s relief. Through his link with Gulhalk he could sense even that fearless boy’s spirits rise as they ascended. The first landing had closed doors on either side.
The girl motioned her brother up the stairs with her dimming light stick when he paused to consider the doors. He felt the pull of the boy’s desire to explore, it was infectious. He began wondering himself what was behind those ancient doors.
They made it only a half dozen steps further up before the magic illumination on the stick gave out again. He sparked as much as he could to give them some light. Inazuma watched the look of concentration on the girl’s face with interest; she was recalling the mystic formula for light. That she had the mental energies to actually invoke the light magic again proved the girl was a natural arcane caster.
She held up the glowing stick and grinned at her brother. The boy swung Inazuma up in a grand salute and grinned even wider at his sister. As the boy turned back up the stairs, only Inazuma saw the girl’s expression change, she was truly worried about her family and Gully in particular.
When they climbed to the next landing, they stopped and stared. A torch lay on the floor, still glowing red and smoking on the damp stone.
As Meriwynn turned a perplexed look at her brother, they heard a faint yell from up the next flight.
“Now you’ve done it foul beast! The God of Storms will strike you down for that!”
“Uncle Vic?” Meriwynn said querulously.
The girl was stopped in indecision for a moment trying to figure out what was going on. Not so her brother; in a flash he was sprinting up the steps with Inazuma in hand. They burst up the final few steps and through an arch at a headlong run. The chamber was a grand half cylinder, arched overhead, with decorative pillars down each side and a long pool down the center. The boy barely stopped himself from sliding across the slick marble floor into the pool in his rush.
In a moment, Inazuma assessed the situation; what dim light there was in the chamber came from the ceiling of the eastern end. But he didn’t need that to see the whole chamber clearly. A black dragon was stalking a human who had climbed a statue at the western end and was jumping around on it like a baboon.
It was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. The black dragon, Yiglelot he believed was the name he had heard, was just a young adult, and he was already seriously injured by several lighting bolts. If only Inazuma had a full charge, he felt they could win this fight with one more solid strike.
The truth was although he could generate an endless supply of minor shocks, or even bursts on a good hit, he couldn’t generate his own lighting. He could only attract and capture other lightning sources, to expel when necessary. Ruka kept him constantly charged to full, but he had given almost all the lightning charge he had at the cove. As it was, he had no more left in him than a shocker lizard.
There was little to do, but force the boy to run. And as he was just about to do that, the statue itself caught his attention. He had seen that man before.
On the plains of Malgar, when the demon princes stepped upon the field in second stage aspects, and even the older dragons were flung about like toys, all seemed lost. The armies of Man stepped forward. They were individually weak and frail, and although they numbered in legions, it would still be as nothing to the demon lords. Even their allies would have laughed as the demons did, if their plight were not so dire. And then mankind revealed its true power, faith.
In each of the ages, one of the greater metallic dragon families had brought into the world allies to help champion the endless battle with the demons. The Gold Dragons chose the Titans, hugely powerful lords of elemental forces, but they were too chaotic, and the inevitable dragon-titan war shook the world to its foundation ending the Age of Titans. The Silver Dragons chose the Elves, masters of arcane lore who created great seals of magic to bind the demons; but eventually they were corrupted and the seals were shattered ending the Age of Fey. The Bronze Dragons chose Man, and a new type of magic was brought into the world; the power of the divine.
From the ranks of mankind, great heroes stepped forth, wielding the full power of the faith of their comrades and kin. Towards the end of the battle, Inazuma met this one, Alaric, already named the Lord or Storms. At that time, Inazuma was wielded by General Bykarvo, commander of the fifth brigade of the Lightning Legion. Alaric, wielding his greatsword, Blitzkrieg, had already risen to command the entire legion.
A millennium later, he had first seen that statue in this hall. Alaric had long since ascended through whatever mysterious power of faith Man uses to create their gods. Even at that time, mankind had already forgotten why there was a dragon bowing to Lord Alaric at the other end of the hall. But one important thing struck him from that faint memory; both ends of the hall were lit then. The east was lit during the day with water-filtered sunlight; but the west was lit at all times back then by constant electrical storms generated in the dome above the statue of Lord Alaric.
Inazuma had a plan, or at least a faint hope.
“Charge!” He spoke to the boys mind.
“Wait!” Meriwynn cried from behind them, but it was too late.
He searched for the inevitable fear that all must feel when facing a dragon, and was ready to push the boy if necessary. But there was no need; for there was not a trace of fear in the lad, only a wild joy as he surged forward. This was truly one of the descendants of the race of Man that had produced Alaric. And inspired, Inazuma summoned an illusion.
As the black dragon turned, he saw not a skinny lad improbably waving a short sword at him, but Lord Alaric himself in his full glory, shouting his battle cry and brandishing the mighty Blitzkrieg.
Inazuma had always admired that sword.