as many of you have stated that LOD 1 was like one of the best rpg ever and that you would love to see a 2nd one
well i urge all to sign this petition . in doing so we have a chance of seeing it.
EVEN IF YOU HAVE NEVER PLAYED IT PLEASE SIGN !!
http://www.petitiononline.com/LOD2/ <-- link to sign u can do it public or private. either ways please do
there's alread 11k+ signer .. and we are hoping each vote count. thanks :P
and if anyone wishes to read a fan thingamajiga .. then here you go .. i thought it was alright . could b better. but overall
if you got time.... dont kill urself like i did .. hehe
Legend of the Dragoon 2
Many years ago, a magical race known as the Winglies dominated over the world, enslaving all under the rule of Melbu Frahma. But his reign came to an end, when seven human harnessed the power of dragons and became dragon knights- the Dragoons- that opposed the Winglies’ dominance.
An epic war was waged, the Dragoons against the Winglies, master against slave. The humans were victorious as the floating Wingly capitol of Kadessa fell to the earth, but without casualties. Of the seven dragoons, only one survived- and she alone took up the task to protect the world from a threat even Melbu Frahma feared.
Through the folds of history, the Winglies disappeared and left the humans a reminder of their past- The Moon That Never Set. The surviving dragoon, immortalized, became known as the Black Monster as she viciously hunted down those called the Moon Child- leaving no survivors in her wake- for she, and few others know the secret of the Moon Child.
Then, after 10,000 years, the Dragoons reappeared. Shortly afterward, dragons appeared threatening humanity including the most powerful of them all: the Divine Dragon.
After the defeat of the Divine Dragon, the unthinkable happened; the Moon that Never Set descended upon the world, destroying the cradle of life, The Tree of Soa. Destined to save the world, the seven Dragoons invaded the Moon and stopped Soa’s Will from becoming reality and destroying the ‘god’ that was the Virage Embryo.
With the world safe again, the Dragoons disappeared and life returned to normal.
Until 60 years later…
Rushing through the jungle, a lone explorer ran for the edge. He could have died, but he hoped to find treasure. And did, two gemstones- one ruby, the other onyx; he hoped that these two gems would earn him enough money to support his family- for his wife was expecting their first child. He could have died in the strange jungle, but maybe fate was looking upon him, giving him a fighting chance.
Stumbling out into the light, he heard whatever creature was chasing him stop at the verge. Growling, two red eyes glared at him. Thanking whatever god was looking out for him, he made his long journey home.
“What Byron say about the gems?” asked Claudia, the wife of the treasure hunter.
“They’re not true gems,” repeated Vernon, “not gems, but something different. But he did pay 100 gold pieces for each, out of generosity. And he’ll give us 5% of what they make at auction, out of generosity.”
With her hand on her womb, Claudia looked contemptuously at her husband. “Ever since I held those gems, I felt like things would take a turn for the better, but 200 pieces are better than nothing I suppose.”
Seeing her husband so distraught, she thought to lighten up his mood. “Don’t worry, Vernon, our son will be strong. And I think I have a name for him: Cadmus. Well?”
Looking upon his wife, glowing with maternal warm, Vernon smiled. “A strong name for a strong child. Yes, I like it. Thank you.” Though, in the back of his mind, he hoped the gems would fetch a fortune at auction. Though, he had found another: a smoky quartz-type gem, he had forgotten about, because he knew it wouldn’t be worth much.
But they didn’t. In fact, they wouldn’t be bought for another dozen years, by two wealthy dignitaries.
Chapter 1: Entwining Fates
“What’s he doing now?” asked a weary prince, hearing hammers in the square. Finding his father, the king of Serdio- Tarridon, overseeing the construction of several gallows, Harris only asked to voice his disapproval. “What are you doing now, father?”
“It’s time criminals are shown that we will punish them- live executions, for now just hangings,” replied King Tarridon.
“My great-grandfather abolished executions for several reasons; you’re bringing them back for your own stupid amusement. You know I-…”
“Yes, Harris, I know you can overrule my decision because of your direct blood relation to King Albert, but he was too soft-hearted. With your mother away, I have the power.”
“But not the authority, I have that,” replied Prince Harris, “you may commence with the executions, but they’d better be guilty of more than just a couple of petty thefts.”
As Harris turned to leave, his father sneered. “Don’t forget, my son, you’d best be off to the library. Your lessons start within the hour.”
Harris grimaced as his father grinned; Harris would have the power to become king by the time he turns 24- in a couple of years, taking the throne from his father. But the complete boredom of the etiquette of hierarchical ways of royalty, was enough of a small victory for King Tarridon, he already knew that Harris despised the lessons.
“Too lax, like I said- time for a change.”
Harris shook his head, his father was once a military general in the Kingdom of Fletz; and there’s no changing his mind. Might as well get the lessons over with, Harris thought to himself.
The king laughed to himself as Harris left to study, and looked over the dossier of the first criminal to be executed named Cortez, arrested several months ago after the murder of a dignitary and already wanted in several cities for more crimes he’s committed.
That night, Harris looked out his window overlooking the Serdian capitol city of Bale. In a few short years, Harris would have the power to claim the throne, though his sister, Geneva, was married to the crown prince of Tiberoa- and in the Tiberoan capitol city of Fletz, she has the power to rule Bale as she does in Fletz.
It was an awkward system set up by King Albert and his queen, Emille, the princess of Fletz. Each generation switches governing privileges, since Albert and Emille ruled over Bale, their daughter ruled in Fletz when she wed the prince of Fletz, and likewise their child- Harris’ mother, governed Bale. This time around, Fletz was the center of the united kingdoms. Harris didn’t understand how such a system could work, but it has; and being born into the royal family, he had to abide by it. Strangely, throughout this cockamamie system, no inbreeding has yet to happen.
The cry of a hawk broke his train of thought, and as he saw it circling above the town, Harris smiled. ‘At least someone is living free. Still, why kind of king should I be? Albert reigned kindly and justly; my father is running this country as an army, how should I rule?’
Because of this question, Harris couldn’t sleep, so he decided to seek inspiration from his great grandfather- King Albert. He remembered the stories before the legendary MoonFall, when Albert and several others possessed the power of dragons and went on a quest to save the world from an ancient Wingly emperor from an age long forgotten- Melbu Frahma and the Dragon Campaign. He has heard various historical interpretations of the MoonFall epic, but none came close as to Albert’s Chronicles of the true story.
Donning a robe, Harris made his way to the treasury where one treasure of that epic remained- the jade stone of King Albert. The chronicles said that the stone held the power and essence of a dragon, but no one ever saw it.
“Maybe I’ll learn from the past,” he soliloquized as he neared the vault. But something was askew as he noticed the door was ajar and there were no guards; as well there was a strange breeze and the windows of the vault are sealed.
Rushing to the vault, grabbing a pair of small hatchets- from the empty guard’s post- and burst through the doors.
In the center of the room, at the shrine that house the treasure of Bale, Harris saw the culprit. The Jadestone in his palm and a steel-grey gem in the other being held above the latter, with an eerie green mist trailing from the Jadestone into the steel-grey.
As the intruder looked up at the sudden commotion, Harris called for the alarm. Their eyes met, and a glimmer on the surface of the Jadestone caught both their attentions. “Damn, not now,” said the intruder.
The intruder looked at Harris and saw him wielding two axes, and without hesitation, dashed for the window- with the Jadestone still in hand. Starting after the culprit, knowing that there was no escape from the tower- and with the guards coming to the prince’s aide, he was trapped. But then, the culprit raised his hand with the grey stone and a strong gust ripped the sealed window from the wall itself and flung it across the room- embedding it on the other side of the room.
As the culprit leapt for the window, Harris threw one of his axes with practiced precision. The handle pinned the intruder’s arm against the sill as the blade bit into the shoulder- loosing the Jadestone. As the Jadestone rolled back to the center of the room, the intruder cursed in a southern dialect as the guards came into the chamber. Cutting his loses, he tore his arm from the wall- and with another mysterious gust, leapt from the window. As Harris and the guards reached the window, the intruder was already a fleeting speck in the night sky.
“See how far you can track him,” commanded the Prince, as more guards and the King entered the room.
“What happened, Harris?”
“Someone broke into the vault.”
“What was stolen?”
“Nothing that I know of, but I saw him with the sacred Jadestone,” said Harris picked up the Jadestone from where it rested, and a familiar glimmer flickered across the faceted surface.
"The trinket has no value, who‘d want to steal something worthless?"
Harris thought about the strange mist trailing from the Jadestone, and found it difficult for his father to understand. "I must have stopped him before he take anything of significant value," was the answer Harris gave to appease his father, who merely nodded and said "You should get back to bed, let the guards do their jobs.”
Harris knew better than arguing and trying to explain what he thought had happened. He always believed that the Jadestone held the power, the very essence of an ancient dragon- or at least that's what Albert's Chronicles about the MoonFall epic kept saying. Though now, nobody knows the true story- especially his father. Harris had always held the Jadestone hoping to witness the dragon, though it never appeared, he always felt a presence from within the stone itself. But now, awkwardly, the presence had faded, dwindled to nigh nothingness.
Placing the Jadestone back upon it's pedestal, Harris let out a sigh and conceded his father's point and made his way to his chambers. He doubted he could get any sleep, he had a lot on his mind.
"Harris," called a voice, faintly. He barely remembered getting into bed, now this. Opening his eyes and saw a strange visage- at the foot of his bed was a woman as transparent as mist. "Am I dreaming?" he asked aloud.
"No, you're not, Harris. The time has come, young prince. Go to the ruins south of your kingdom, all will be explained there. My power is growing weak; bring the spiritstone."
Harris doesn't remember falling back asleep, but he awoke at the light of mid-morning. The ghost seemed real enough and he did need to get out of the confining castle, so maybe the venture wouldn't be a total waste. As he packed for the trip, he noticed a small gathering around the gallows his father had recently built. "He's starting the executions already? Oh, well. It's none of my concern." Surveying the gallows, Harris sees those condemned, on a bench shackled and under heavy guard. One of the prisoners looked in Harris's direction and saw him, and winked with his good eye- his left eye under a patch. Though this prisoner's name escaped him, he was captured a recently after the murder of the dignitary, and earned the death penalty for several other offense ranging from robbery and assault to the recent murder.
Taking a side exit from the palace, thus avoiding the gathering around the impending execution site. Harris wove his way through the town towards the entrance, waving at commoners who recognized the young prince, then came a voice he half-expected and half-dreaded. "Hey, Harry!"
Turning around, Harris came face-to-face with an old friend. "Natalie, how many times have I told you to stop calling me that?" he asked, redundantly.
"Only as long as we've known each other. So, where you heading off to?"
"The old ruins."
"I just need to get out of the castle."
""I heard someone broke into the vault, what was stolen?"
"He tried to steal this," replied Harris brandishing the Jadestone.
"Isn't that King Albert's memento?"
"Yeah, I managed to stop him before he could get away with it. I'm going down to the ruins to get some answers."
Natalie gave Harris a quizzical glance and asked, "Answers?"
"It's a long story."
"Okay, whatever. Wait a couple minutes, while I pack some things for our trip." As she left, Harris couldn't help but to laugh at his friend's predictability. When she returned, he had two horses waiting, and then they were on their way. The trip to the ruins would take a few hours and they would be home before dusk, but they weren't in any hurry, so they took their time admiring the scenery. When they arrived at the ruins, a place they frequented as children- though less as they were growing up- they were awestruck: it was more in ruins then they remembered.
"Wow, this place has seen better days," joked Natalie.
"Obviously," muttered Harris.
"So, why are we here?"
As Harris unconsciously withdrew the Jadestone from his pocket, a figure formed in the mist.
"Welcome, young prince," spoke the apparition
“AH! A Ghost! This place is haunted!” screamed Natalie, hiding behind Harris who rolled his eyes.
“Calm yourself, young one. I am powerless to anything.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is Shirley. I’ve been dead for more than ten-thousand years, but now I have again been brought back to this world.”
“Wait, Shirley, as in one of the original Dragoons of the Dragon Campaign?”
“Indeed, but that’s all in the past. It is you, young prince, who is important.”
“Me? How? Why?” stammered Harris.
Shirley approached Harris who backed up beside himself, then Shirley spoke, “The Dragoons are needed once again, a threat has emerged. However, your spirit stone is different- it‘s weak, the essence has been drained. May I?” she asked, holding out her hands.
“So that’s what he did. Wait, drained?” Harris stammered, giving Shirley the Jadestone.
After a once-over, Shirley spoke. “Yes, the essence of the Dragon’s spirit that the stone holds. My friend, Syuveil, witnessed it’s power, as did your great-grandfather, Albert. The stone you hold is missing the dragon, or most of it. As a dragoon, you have the ability to summon and command dragons, though you can’t. Tell me what you saw.”
Harris told her of the thief’s steel-grey gemstone and the green mist of the Jadestone getting absorbed into the other, and everything up to the escape.
“Ah, it was fortunate that you appeared when you did,” said Shirley, after a brief silence, “the dragon recognizes you as the next worthy holder, thus retaining it’s mind and will. You have to get the rest of the dragon essence back, who knows what he plans on using it for, though he will eventually go after the other spiritstones.”
“This is starting to sound like a bad fantasy novel,” joked Natalie.
“Fine, the cliché summary-”
“Too late,” interrupted Natalie.
“I get it. The world is in danger and only the Dragoons can save it from the guy. Just one problem, Albert’s chronicles only tell the location of two other spiritstones, the Violetstone in Rogue and the White Silverstone in Deningrad- I have no idea where the others are,” said Harris, taking back the Jadestone.
“Fear not, Harris, the Dragoons have a habit of meeting by fate; though one might not be able to,” said Shirley, as mist appeared between her hands, “he is to be executed soon and he holds the Onyxstone.”
A face appeared amongst translucent mist, and Harris recognized the image- the prisoner first to be hanged. After moment’s hesitation to reconfirm his suspicions, Harris pulled Natalie after him, calling a thanks to Shirley as they jumped on to their horses.
“What’s the hurry?” asked Natalie.
“We have to get back to Bale now, the executions begin at dusk. Call for aide.”
Whistling shrilly, Harris scribbled a quick note on a scrap of paper as Natalie held out a gloved hand to perch a circling falcon. She tied the note to the falcon’s leg and whispered, “Fly home,” to the bird and tossed it into the wind and soon it was a speck in the sky, as Harris and Natalie raced back to Bale.
Meanwhile, the prisoner waited stoically in the pen next to the newly constructed gallows. His name is Cortez, and he’d been arrested for, most recently the murder of a dignitary, but several other outstanding warrants earned him the death penalty. At first, he was glad to be arrested in this kingdom, for he knew that public executions had been abolished. To his dismay, upon his arrest, the current king revoked the abolishment- and that he would be first to be executed. Though, earlier today he saw the crown prince and an odd sensation emanated from behind his eye patch.
The sun was beginning set, he would be executed soon; he also heard the cries of a hawk and wished he could be free. He didn’t fear death, after getting exiled he was faced with death, but he didn’t want to die now.
As the hangman brought out the ropes, the king emerged on the veranda over looking the courtyard. “Is all ready?” he asked the hangman, who was finishing securing the ropes.
“Good, let the executions begin. Let this be a lesson to you scum, your crimes will not go unpunished any longer; and I’ll start with those who have little respect for the law.” King Tarridon raised a hand and turned the fist, thumbs-down: a signal to the guards.
Three armed guards approached the holding cell, one opened the gate and Cortez stood and met the other guards half-way; with a guard on each arm, he trudged up the stairs to the waiting hangman. With one final glance, Cortez looked towards the sky and wished he had a god to pray to.
Harris pushed his horse as fast as it would go, leaving Natalie behind hoping that his message got to her father in time, for if the prisoner knew anything, he’s best not be too late to question him before his execution.
Rushing past the guards at the town‘s entrance, leaving Natalie to give an explanation, Harris galloped into the square screaming “Stop the execution!”
All heads turned towards the oncoming Harris, the hangman turned again to the king who once more gave the thumbs-down. With a shrug of the hangman’s shoulders, he pulled the lever that released the trapdoor in which Cortez fell and the noose tightened. The crowded gasped, not once, but twice: as Cortez dropped, he nearly touched the ground-missing by inches; at the same instance, Harris withdrew a small-ax from his belt and threw it with practiced accuracy- severing the rope that was strangling Cortez.
“By my authority, halt this execution,” Harris practically screamed, jumping off his horse amidst the crowd. Harris, as a direct blood descendant of Albert, could overrule his father on matters that didn’t involve governing a kingdom. This was one of them, and King Tarridon knew that- as resignation to this, he stepped into the shadows. “Guards, take this one to the interrogation room. I’ll be there shortly to question him.”
As the guards took away Cortez, Harris looked at his father lurking in the shadows, then turned to the rest of the inmates, then to another guard. “Get another noose, and continue with the executions.” He saw his father grin and step forth from the shadows as the other death-row inmates groaned. “You heard the prince. We have some scum that need to taught a lesson.”
Cortez sat at the table, two guards on the inside watching him and he knew a third to be on the other side of the door. But his most pressing concern was whether or not he could ask for something to eat. He had refused a last meal, but now that his execution was delayed- he was hungry. Cortez’s second pressing concern was about the Prince, why he had spared him so close to his death, and how long he would be able keep away from the gallows.
That would have to wait until the Prince came to interrogate him, and until he got a bite to eat. Standing up, he approached one of the guards, both of whom reached for their weapons. “Easy, fellas, I just to ask for something to eat. Some bread and cheese, perhaps?”
The guards looked at one another as a knock came and the head of a young female poked in. “His highness says to fulfill any reasonable request the prisoner has, I heard him as for some food and the other guard is fetching some. Wait outside, I can watch him.”
“Yes, mi’lady,” replied the guard closest to the door and he stepped outside as Natalie took his place. When his little meal arrived, Cortex ate eyeing the young lady. “You a friend of the prince?” he asked her, through mouthfuls of bread and cheese.
Her only response was a stiff nod.
“Got a name?”
“Yes, but you won’t need to know it,” retorted Natalie.
Harris entered a few minutes later. “Stand guard outside, Natalie and I can handle this thug,” he spoke to the remaining guard.
The guard hesitantly bowed and stepped outside. Cortez eyed Harris and Natalie, and either out of honoring royalty or mocking it, stood and bowed. “How may I be of service, boy?”
Natalie stormed in from the corner and pounded the table, “You will address his as ‘Your Highness,’ you scum.”
“Quiet, Natalie, he’s testing us,” said Harris.
“The boy’s right, girlie.”
“If you call me ‘girlie’ again, I will kill you,” scowled Natalie.
“That would be counter-productive now, wouldn’t it? Why would the boy save me from execution, only to have you kill me? He obviously has some questions he wants me to answer, isn’t that right, boy?”
“Natalie, just ignore him. And you, since you know why you are here, let’s get down to business. Answer some questions, and I’ll have your execution delayed.”
“Why not just give me life in prison, boy? Then I can answer all your questions in due time.” Cortez leaned back in his chair and grinned.
“I might be able to do that, if you answer my question. You were arrested for the murder of a dignitary who owned a rare onyx gemstone.”
“The high-and-might stuffy pants? What of him?”
“The knights who arrested you couldn’t find the gem on the corpse, in his possessions, or on you. So you must of hid it somewhere in the forest; you were dumb enough to follow the main trail out of the forest, where the knights were waiting for you. Where did you hide it?”
“Hide what? The gemstone, I don’t recall what it was, or even where I hid it,” Cortez smiled and stared Harris in the eyes.
“Answer me, or I’ll send you back out to the gallows.”
“Are those my only options? Wow, a well-thought out ultimatum. Yup, kill me unless I answer your questions,” mused Cortez, turning his back to Natalie but still keeping an eye to Harris.
“Fine, I’ll cut to the chase,” said Harris, reaching into his pocket, “Do you remember anything like this on the dignitary?” Harris placed the Jadestone on the table. “Don’t try to steal it,” mocked Harris as Cortez reached for the stone.
“Ah, yes. Now I remember, I asked Mr. Stuffy-pants for anything of value that he wished to part with, voluntarily. I saw he had the gemstone like this one except it was black,” answered Cortez, rolling the stone back to Harris, “and I ‘asked’ for it. He refused, and I asked again more assertively. He refused again, by drawing his sword- I would have asked again, but my sword was already through his gut. Seeing how he was dead and he wouldn’t need anything of value, I took it because it caught my eye.
“Then that’s when the knights showed up and chased me into the forest. Something told me to hide the stone, so I did in a place no one would ever think of looking. And I can show you, for a small fee- say my removal from death-row.”
Harris sighed, “It will take a day’s ride to the forest. Once there, you will show me where you hid the stone. Don’t try escape at anytime on our little journey,” he said as he stood to leave.
“Woah, hold it, boy. I said I hid it while I was in the forest, not I hid it in the forest.”
“What are you saying?”
Cortez motioned Harris forward. “I’ll tell only you, boy.”
“Natalie doesn’t leave this room.”
“The girlie doesn’t have to, just come closer so I can tell you,” replied Cortez as he spied Natalie scowling at him and smiled. He still motioned for Harris closer, who reluctantly did.
“Don’t worry, I won’t bite.”
Harris leaned closer to Cortez, until they were nose to nose. “Where did you hide the stone?”
Cortez rested his head in his left hand and smiled, “Why is this trinket so important to you, that you seek it so adamantly?”
“None of your business, where did you hide the stone?”
“Right here.” As he spoke, he lifted his eye patch. Natalie turned to avoid seeing Cortez’s open eye-socket. Harris saw something else- a glimmer.
Natalie saw Cortez reaching into his own socket, she turned to avoid gagging further- Harris was beyond gagging. “I told you I hid it in the forest,” he said placing the stone on the table,” You can have it, as long as you promise to remove me from the death penalty.”
Uneasily, Harris reached for the onyxstone, and what he wished wouldn’t happened did. A light washed over the onyxstone, levitating it as it floated into Cortez’s hands.
“Whoa! It never did that before. What’s it mean?” he asked as the light faded.
Harris only shook his head, and muttered as if automatically, “You have been chosen to wield the power of a Dragon; as a Dragoon, you are destined to save the world along with the other dragoons.”
“What other dragoons?” asked Cortez with a perked eyebrows, then his face lit up. “Hold it- save the world? I think you got the wrong prisoner. You want me to partner up with a bunch of other people to save the world? You gotta be kidding me!”
Harris stood up and headed for the door with Natalie holding it open. “No, I’m not. You were chosen by the dragon within the stone to save to world. As was I,” he said before he left and the guards came in to take Cortez back to his cell.
“I assume you didn’t want that to happen?” Natalie asked, rhetorically.
“What makes you think that? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to prepare for… our… departure,” Harris scowled.
For an unknown reason, Cortez was dragged from his slightly comfortable sleeping bench in his cell, shackled, and escorted to the same room where he met the prince. Forced down into his seat, he saw the prince sitting opposite- though something was amiss, there was a guard in each corner of the room, and the one that brought him was standing with the door open. The girlie was standing behind the kid, looking as splendid as she did yesterday.
“What you want today, kid?” he asked, leaning back in his chair. “What’s with the hardware this time?” motioning to the guards behind him.
“Put your hands on the table, and your head between them,” was Harris’ only response.
Rolling his eyes, Cortez did as he told. Immediately, the two guards behind Harris stepped forward, pulled Cortez’s arms forward and held them down, the two other guards stepped forward from behind and held down his shoulders. “What the hell?” screamed Cortez, struggling under the pressure of the guards holding him down. Under his arm, he saw the guard at the door motion someone forward. The smell of hot metal followed and Cortez only saw a man carrying a hot brand walk in and step towards him. As he felt the heat of the brand hover over his exposed neck and upper back, Cortez saw that the prince’s left wrist was bandages, though it wasn’t yesterday. His train of thought was interrupted as the brand was pressed against his skin. Cortez screamed in pain with such ferocity, that only someone in his position would understand why.
At least Cortez appreciated the cold cloth placed on the burn to soothe it. Cautiously, he sat up as the guards released him and left the room. “Now will you answer my question?”
“A sigil has been burned onto your neck, disguised as a tattoo. I have one just like it,” answered Harris unwrapping his wrist and showing the minimized tattoo on his own wrist. “By my command, that tattoo with dissolve into your skin, releasing a poison that will kill you- slowly, or instantaneously- how I see fit. This will prevent you from killing me, injuring me, and/or abandoning me in times of danger. For you see, I don’t trust you but unfortunately destiny has teamed us up to save the world; so we have to go out into the world to find the other Dragoons. You have an hour to prepare.”
“Prepare, for what?”
“You can’t help me save the world from inside your prison cell, so that tattoo is your ticket out of prison. I know where the some of the other stones are, and I hope we’ll meet some other dragoons along the way. We dragoons are destined to meet, to save the world.”
“Whoa, hold up kiddo. Other dragoons? How many more are there?” asked Cortez.
“At least five others. They will each get their destiny handed to them in the form of the stone you and I hold. Now get ready.”
“Hold up again, kid. I’ll need more than an hour to prepare. Unless you want to go out into the world to save it with a guy who smells like me. Trust me, I reek- so I’d like to bathe, if that’s not a problem.” Cortez couldn’t help but to laugh as Natalie wrinkled her nose and said, “I thought that was the dungeon. Yes, let him.”
“She’s coming to? Is she a dragoon as well?”
“Yes, she’s coming to. No, she’s not a dragoon yet,” Harris said, as he and Natalie left and the guards escorted Cortez to a bathhouse.
As they wove their way out of the castle dungeon, Natalie spoke a concern. “You do remember I have a wedding to plan, right? I’ve postponed it once, and I can’t do it again. Tell you what, I’ll come with you as far as I can.”
“Thanks. I don’t know when or where we’ll meet another Dragoon, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to trust Cortez.”
“It’s strange, though he is an odd character, I actually don’t feel threatened by him- at all. He might be a nice guy who took the wrong path in life.’
“Still, I’d rather have you at my side than a thug, Natalie.”
Natalie chuckled, “You’ll just have to deal with him.”
A few hours later, after they finished packing for their little adventure, they met up with Cortez and his guards at the interrogation room. “It’s an odd feeling. Having several armed, armor clad men watch you as you bathe.” As Natalie shuddered at the thought of seeing Cortez naked, he couldn’t help but to smile.
“Guard, remove the shackles, I doubt he’ll give me trouble,” said Harris and the guards complied. “Good, let’s go. First stop is a little town called Seles.”
“Um, kid, are you failing to notice something?”
“We got all the supplies we’ll need, so tell me- what are we missing?” asked Natalie.
“Weapons, I don’t have any. You don’t trust me yet, I know that, but you’ll have to trust me with a sword. I’m better with a sword than with my bare hands. May I ask for a weapon?”
Harris nodded at one of the guards who handed Cortez his short sword.
“Um, I don’t fight with silverware. Can I have something longer?”
Harris rolled his eyes, and sent in a guard to retrieve a long sword for Cortez. After several minutes, the guard returned with a sword to Cortez’s enjoyment. Taking the sword by the hilt and swinging it around.
“Thanks, can I ask for some armor? Nothing too extravagant, some leather armor would work.”
“I anticipated that, Your Highness,” said the guard that fetched Cortez a sword. He reached behind the door and pulled out a leathern chest plate. “It’s been sitting in storage for a few years. Nobody’s big enough to wear it. He may fit it.”
Cortez was satisfied, Harris trusted him with a weapon and some armor. Putting on his newly acquired, he smiled broadly and said, “Alright, happy campers, let’s go!”
Hoping on their horses- Cortez fussed about the one chosen for him, and chose a different one whom he said had spunk- they headed east from Bale to Seles.
“Hay, kiddo, I have a couple of questions,” asked Cortez, after passing through the gate.
“Stop calling me kid, and maybe I’ll answer them,” answered Harris, without a glance back.
The remark Cortez ignores, and asks anyway. “What does the guy who broke into the vault have anything to do with saving the world?”
“I told you each spiritstone contains the power of Dragon; well, the guy who broke into the vaults tampered with my Jadestone. The Dragon within my stone is gone, only it’s mind and will remain. Since no one knows where you hid your Onyxstone, I can assume it still holds a complete Dragon. There are seven known spiritstones, including yours and mine. If he gathers the power of all eight dragons, then who knows what he can do. And to answer your other questions, I know you’re going to ask…
“We are going to Seles to see if we can acquire the eighth spiritstone that contains the essence of the King of Dragons- the Divine Dragon, which attacked a kingdom to the far north. If we can secure that one, then we might stand a chance if he gets the other essences, including yours.”
“And if we don’t secure the Divine stone, then what?”
“Pray we find the other Dragoons and the Divine stone doesn’t awaken. Else we’ll be in serious danger, as would be the world.”
An uneasy silence befell Cortez and the little trio continued on it’s way.
“One more question-do you expect me to do all the fighting? I’m the only one with a weapon.”
Harris and Natalie turned around and gave Cortez a nasty look. Natalie patted at the coil of braided rope on her hip and brandished a couple of daggers.
“She’s deadly accurate with those things,” replied Harris, as he brushed aside his cloak and reveal a pair of small-axes on his hips.
“He’s very efficiently proficient with his silverware. He knows how to use a sword and lance, but Harry has always preferred those two,” finished Natalie.
Cortez smiled as he saw Harris blush, “Harry, eh?”
“Natalie, you best not get him started calling me that,” Harris said as Natalie chuckled.
“Don’t worry, kid. One more thing- what’s with the glove?”
“I’m also a falconer. Espin comes with me whenever I leave the city. To answer your question, Espin is my falcon that I’ve trained and raised since it hatched,” replied Natalie, putting on the glove and giving a shrill whistle. A replying shriek came and a falcon swooped down and landing on the glove and ate some scraps of meat Natalie offered it.
“Any more questions, Cortez?” asked Harris.
“Nope, not at the moment. Just getting my facts straight. Let’s go, kids.”
The ride for Seles was uneventful, Cortez rode point contemplated his freedom, while Harris and Natalie talked as friends talked. They reached Seles as dusk fell, so they decided to continue in the morning to search for the Divine Stone.
As Natalie and Harris turned in, Cortez decided to save them the trouble, and headed for the local pub.
“What can I do you for, stranger?” asked the bartender as he heard the door open. He gasped when he looked up and saw Cortez heading his way.
Cortez smiled inwardly, “Not you too.”
The bartender glanced at Cortez, “You mean, you’re not-?”
“Cortez? Nope, and you’re the third person to assume that I am. Obviously, the news of his arrest hasn’t made it past Bale. It’s probably why he hired me as a bodyguard and escort. Resemblance is uncanny, isn’t it?”
“Ah, the couple you rode in with. I see now, mind if I ask?”
Cortez cocked an eyebrow at the bartender as he drank, “Oh, her father is a merchant far north, he wasn’t able to make their wedding. So, this little trip is to get his approval of their wedding with her father’s blessing. So why not hire a guy who resembles the viscous Cortez to ward off highwaymen?”
“I understand, sorry about the misunderstanding.”
“No problem,” replied Cortez finishing his drink and asking for another. “Now, if I may ask- on our way in, I noticed several of your tombstones were down. What happened?”
“A group of vandals ran through a week ago, they caused some trouble- knocking over some tombstones, breaking some windows, that type of stuff. If you’re traveling north, you might want to steer clear of them.”
“Thanks,” said Cortez as his paid for his drinks and left.
The next morning, Harris awoke to Cortez packing.
“We’re a week late, someone got to the stone before us,” said Cortez.
“Last night I got some answers. Vandals ran through the town a week ago and tore up the town. I’m thinking it was just a cover so they could get hold of the Divine stone. I looked and found a hole in one of the tombstones that could fit- and probably did- a spiritstone. Belonged to a guy named Dart.”
“I see. Yes, Dart was Albert’s companion that possessed the Divine stone at the end of the MoonFall epic. Since we’re late, we might as well continue to the next town- Valresh, where the dignitary who owns the Rubystone lives. Don’t kill him.”
After a quick breakfast, the trio left for the village of Valresh.
“I have a question,” said Cortez.
“You and your questions, what is it?”
“If the dignitary we’re going to meet still has the stone, how will we be able to convince him to give it to us?”
This question left Harris stunningly quiet, as Natalie looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
“You have no idea, do you Harris?” she asked.
“Oh, alright. I’m making this up as I go! Are you gonna criticize everything I do?”
“Nope, just making sure you have a game plan. Evidently, they do.”
“You’re wasting daylight, boys, let’s get to the next village to assess the damage,” said Natalie as she urged her horse to a gallop. With a quick glance to one another. Harris and Cortez took after Natalie.
“Has your opinion changed since the last time?”
Harris looked at Natalie, then at Cortez who was, he hoped, out of earshot, “Not entirely.”
“He did get us answers so we didn’t waste anytime trying to find them ourselves. You have to give him credit there.”
“Albert’s chronicles of the MoonFall epic said that Dart trusted Lavitz blindly, as they did Rose. Though neither were criminals with a rap sheet a mile long. I’ll take me a while to fully trust Cortez with my life.”
“You forget, I also read the Chronicles. Wasn’t Rose also the Black Monster that Dart was hunting? Didn’t he continue to trust her even after he learned the truth? Rose had a secret, and still Dart trusted her. You know Cortez’s past, so why can’t you trust him?”
“Like I said, it will take me a while. A prince traveling with a convicted criminal, seems awkward. Albert traveled with Dart to continue the journey that Lavitz started.”
“Harris! I’ve read the Chronicles, I know what happened during the MoonFall. I’m just saying, I don’t feel threatened around Cortez- I didn’t feel scared when we first met him. If I had to, I’d trust him. He doesn’t seem the type to go berserk when you turn your back on him, and he doesn’t seem the type to turn his back on you. I wonder what kind of life he could have lead if he hadn’t of resorted to a life as a highwayman.”
Harris looked at Natalie who smiled her ‘I know what I’m talking about’ smile, and he shook his head in his ‘She’s got a point’ fashion. “I’ll try to trust him a little more, but I can’t guarantee anything.”
Natalie leaned over and kissed Harris’s cheek, “I trust him to keep alive until my wedding, more so I trust him to protect me until my wedding.”
Cortez looked back at the two, and smiled. He didn’t tell them that he had excellent hearing. “You can trust me, Harris, you saved my life so I could redeem myself and have one more adventure. And don’t worry Natalie, you can count on me to protect you.”
Dusk was setting it as the trio saw the outline of Valresh, but Harris noticed something amiss. There was too much smoke coming from a small village and it was glowing ominously red this early for dusk.
“The town’s on fire!” screamed Cortez, urging his tired horse to a gallop with Natalie and Harris on his heels. In fact, the town wasn’t on fire- just a big mansion on the edge of the village.
As they stopped, an armor clad knight emerged from the flaming building- with the Rubystone in his hand. Harris leapt from his horse and charged the knight with Cortez and Natalie in toe.
The unknown knight blocked Harris attack when Cortez jumped into the fray. The knight defended himself with great skill, while Natalie struck at the adversary’s hand that held the Rubystone. Then from inside the house came a scream.
“Go!” cried Harris as another one of his attacks was deflected.
Giving a stiff nod, Natalie ran towards the door, but was cut off by another stranger with silver hair. A few seconds later, the new guy burst through a window on the second story with an elderly gentleman under arm.
The knight turning at the sound of the crashing glass turned and Cortez saw an opportunity and struck at the hand that held the Rubystone. His blade dug into the joint at the wrist and successfully loosed the stone from the adversary’s hand and sent it hurling
Natalie and the stranger both emerged with more survivors as Harris and Cortez redoubled their efforts. When Natalie emerged with the last- a child- the newcomer spoke, “Tend to their wounds. I’m going to help subdue the culprit.” Drawing his blade, he joined with Harris and Cortez.
Cortez noticed the newcomer’s oddly silver hair and finely crafted sword and he literally flew into battle. His blade struck with uncanny speed and pushed back the assailant
With the continuous onslaught of the three warriors, the assailant had no choice but to flee. With a swipe of his sword, that knocked Cortez and the newcomer back while Harris kept his footing. As the assailant ran, anger seethed from him and he charged.
Natalie and Cortez watched in amazement as a green light enveloped Harris and when it faded he had donned an impressive suit of armor that no one had ever imagined- mainly because it had wings- and Harris was flying at the unknown knight. The knight struggled to deflect Harris’s attacks, then he was knocked off balance as Harris threw himself into the air.
The knight was able to barely dodge Harris’s overhead attack, as he slammed his axes into the ground. The knight stood, and grinned at Harris; Harris thought he looked truly demonic as the flames behind them reflected off the assailant‘s armor. “Fate has made itself apparent. We will meet again, it is inevitable. But I’ll toy with fate on your behalf.” Raising his hand to his mouth, he loosed a shrill whistle.
Before Harris could reach the knight, three large cougars jumped out from the forest and cut off Harris. A fourth one jumped out and the knight jumped on it’s back as Cortez and the newcomer joined Harris.
“What of the Rubystone?” asked Harris, as Cortez got closer.
“Natalie has it. What’s your name, stranger? So I might know it before we die.”
“Badrim,” replied the silver-haired warrior, “it was fortunate that I showed up when I did. So, what’s the plan on fighting the cats?”
“Divide and conquer,” replied Cortez, “when they’re in a pack, they can be a handful; but separate- we stand a greater chance, probably.”
Harris shot a questioning glance at Cortez, as if to ask ‘are you sure?’ before the three broke formation and attacked the cougars. The cougars themselves proved stronger than originally thought and proved more intelligent as well, as they seemed to try to corner the heroes. When Cortez and Harris neared they had a small conversation.
“So, buddy-boy, how’d you get such snazzy armor?” asked Cortez.
“I don’t know. When I charged that guy, it appeared. I’m not complaining, I feel great power wearing this.” This spoken in a rushed sentence as they were still in the heat of battle; the cats charged separating them, but driving Cortez close enough the Badrim for a quick chat.
“Nice sword,” commented Cortez upon seeing Badrim fending of a strike, “where’d you get it?”
“I took it when I left home. Yours… doesn’t seem functional,” commented Badrim.
“Truth be told, I’m a berserker,” said Cortez, “my body is my weapon. This sword is just a tool.”
It never occurred to them that maybe the cougars had a plan as Cortez and Badrim were distracted, the cougars bluffed a charge and wheeled about and turned on a unaware Harris.
“Watch out!” screamed Cortez, and Harris turned his head and saw the two in-coming cats. Leaping into the air, he avoided getting raked by their claws. In the air, well above the cats’ reach, he pondered his next strike, a voice spoke in his head “Use the power of your dragon.” A new sensation coursed through Harris’s body, he pushed it outwards into his armor and the power enveloped him and extended out through his wings. Now it was his turn to bluff, he spiraled high into the air and nose-dove.
As Harris neared at mach speed, he screamed “Wing Blaster!“ and stopped dead in his flight, but his aura continued and took on a bird-like shape as it slammed into the trio of cougars, who clawed futilely in the ensuing whirlwind. As the winds subsided, the cats were obviously dazed- hissing at Harris as he landed and at the approaching Cortez and Badrim, they turned tail and ran.
“Wow, where’d that guy get the ability to command cougars?” asked Cortez, “or a more important question- why was he after the Rubystone?”
They were questions to be answered at a later date, because Harris swooned, his armor evaporated and he fell to his knees, but Cortez and Badrim caught him.
“Is he alright?” asked Natalie as they dragged Harris back to the village.
“He’s fine, just exhausted. The fight took a lot out of him, he’ll be fine by morning.” answered Cortez.
In his dream, Harris encountered a being covered in light. “Now that you know of the power that I wield, young prince, with your help, I’ll regain my full power as you realize your full potential.”
“You’re the dragon of my Jadestone?”
The entity didn’t respond as it dissipated into the darkness, and Harris woke up with Natalie at his bedside.
“Good morning, Harry. The mayor would like to thank you for your bravery, he should be downstairs,” said Natalie, smiling motherly.
“How long have I been out?”
“Since you passed out? At least half a day. Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah. You‘ve always been like a sister to me, Nat.”
“That’s because Jeneva is spoiled and the queen of another country. Just to let you know, the mayor owns the Rubystone. Badrim’s with him now, explaining what happened.”
Natalie lead the way through the cottage, and at the table near the kitchen, sat Badrim and an elderly gentleman.
“Ah, you’re the young hero who helped defend my village. You have my utmost gratitude,” he said as he bowed and Harris returned the gesture. “Your companion said you were searching for my little trinket and you stopped the villain that set my house afire from taking, such heroism shouldn’t go unrewarded.” Harris smiled, but struggled from smiling too broadly. “Alas, this young man, helped to save me and my family- no disrespect young lady, he said you helped rescue my family as well- call me self-centered if you will, but this hero deserves my treasure. Worry not, you both shall be rewarded.”