Friday, August 14, 2009

Legends of Green Isle: The Enchantress Queen First Chapters

Legends of Green Isle Series
The Enchantress Queen
Chapter One

The sound the boots made on the marble floor was loud, each step determined as the soldier took long strides across the great hall of the Nuada Findi Royal House. Urcias, his hand clasped tightly on the hilt of his sword, marched closer to the Queen’s library. His presence at Royal House was unexpected and she was not going to be pleased. Hoping his message had reached her in time, he tapped lightly on the wood of the door.
“Enter!” a muffled voice called from the other side.
Urcias pushed on the lever and stepped into the room, shutting the door quickly behind him.
“What do I owe this visit to?” a woman asked from behind a book. Lowering the volume slightly, the Nuada Findi Queen gazed at the young Captain over the top of the pages.
Catching his breath as the pale gray eyes studied him, Urcias stood silent for a moment. Queen Adalay, a beautiful fair headed woman held his attention each time she spoke to him and it was not because she was the Administrator of the Laws. Truth be known, Captain Urcias fell in love with Queen Adalay the day she became a widow.
“Did my rider reach you?” he inquired softly.
“Yes, yesterday afternoon. Which means you left post soon after. What happened?” Adalay rose and placed the book back onto one of the shelves lining the wall.
The Captain swallowed hard. “We were attacked! I’ve lost most of my regiment!”
“What? By who?” she demanded, turning quickly in alarm.
“Brollachan! There were three of them. They took the appearance of mist and rip through the upper levels of our defense before we could stop them.”
The Queen’s brow furrowed at the news, deepening lines in the soft beauty of her skin. Urcias blinked rapidly, as he attempted to focus his thoughts, aware he had been staring at her face. Her presence next to him caused muddled emotions to surface, and it was disconcerting. Regaining his stiff composure, his allowed his eyes to briefly follow her as she paced the floor in front of him.
“It is worse than the Senate will allow us to think. Brollachan were banished after the Great War on Earth, when the continent of the Formorians was sunk into the sea by the Dark One and his evil spell. Their presence here suggests there is more brewing within Crag Cairn than what we are allowed to believe.”
“A wizard calling himself Keltrain approached the outpost before the final attack. He had with him an assortment of traveling companions, of which included an ambassador from Queen Onagh’s Fairy Dell and a dragon named DaGon.”
“DaGon was with them?”
“Yes. Do you know of him?”
Adalay nodded. The knowledge of the green and gold dragon flooded quickly into her mind. Raised by her clan many eons ago, DaGon was made Protector of the Nuada Findi House. Discarded by his own kind because he was dwarfed, the dragon found a home with the Nuada Findi. He stayed with them, until the clan split, warring against each other. Unable to bear the discord of the people he loved, he left.
“If it hadn’t been for them, your highness, we wouldn’t have destroyed the Brollachan. The Wizard carried a dagger given to him by the Shadow People of Murias Donn. It was the only weapon able to penetrate their deception.”
“Yes, the dagger Urldrenn, I know the myth of it and how it came into the House of Murias Donn. How did Keltrain obtain it?”
“He didn’t tell me. However, there were four young people with him…about seventeen I would say. He mentioned they were the four from the prophecy, the ones he predicted would come through the mirror from Earth to save our land.”
Quickly, the Queen walked to the bookshelves, her eyes darting as she searched the leather volumes. “Hmmm…the legend of the four…I thought it was just a fairy tale told to keep young children quiet.” Brushing her fingertips across a row of books, she stopped at one of the thicker volumes. “Here it is.” she murmured.
Pulling it from the shelf, she laid it on the desk in front of her. Slowly the Queen flipped page over page, scanning the content, until she came to what she searched for.
“This is it…the text from the wizard's journal three thousand years ago. I don’t know how accurate it is, because our scholars have transcribed it numerous times. I’ll read it to you.”

The Second War of Formorian Keep. In the Fourth month following the death of the last King, I, Keltrain Annwn, have searched the ancient library crystals for any possible way to defeat the foul creature which has destroyed part of Earth and is now seeking to destroy the wondrous land of Green Isle. I have exhumed an ancient spell which may lead to the discovery of the instrument which can penetrate into the dark heart of the Black Warlock, Uthal. The spell is from the documents of the Druid Murias, a spell of transformation in which the weaver will become a creature able to see into the future. There are some parts of the incantation which are not legible and appear distorted, however in desperation, I will attempt anything.

Adalay turned the page.

The Second War of Formorian Keep. In the sixth month following the death of the last Formorian King. I, Sonya Berthadhiell, apprentice, write this final chapter of Keltrain the Wizard and the first chapter of Keltrain, tht White Salmon of Prophecy. Unable to read parts of the spell, Keltrain in despair, wove the spell of the ancient Druid Murias. Alas, the spell is a gift and a curse. Now a creature of water his sight into this world has been muddied, but his sight into the world of time has become clearer. Unfortunately, Keltrain must remain in this form until what he seeks comes to pass. The quatrains below have been spoken in a deep trance and perhaps will give hope to Green Isle and Earth:

And four shall come
Innocent of magic
One champion of the Sword be
And one takes the darkest seed.

To defeat the spell once forgotten
Traveling first to Fairy Dell
Following the Formorian Road
To step upon the shore of black isle.

The quest for five
Ends with three
Yet the story ends not with these
But takes its turn in generations.

Until the mirror sliver is freed
And time follows the circle
For which the champion’s blood returns
The Sword to Green Isle.

Urcias stepped back as the Queen closed the book. “So do you believe he spoken truthfully and brought with him the four of the legend? The ones spoken of in this text?” The captain inquired, his face puzzled.
Sighing deeply, Adalay sat down in an overstuffed chair by the fireplace. “It appears so, and if this is the case, then they are seeking the Sword of Balorn, the mythical weapon made from a metal which fell from the sky. The Formorian King had it forged just before the Great War on Earth and carried it to battle during the siege of the Black Warlock.”
Urcias paced several steps before stopping. “If the Sword was on Earth, how did it get here?”
“King Balorn's son Finley brought it through the mirrors just before their homeland sank beneath the sea. When Finley was made King here in Green Isle after the death of his father, he hid the Sword so Uthal would find it. Apparently a powerful spell was placed on the Sword, holding it sacred until a chosen champion releases its energy. It is the only thing which can destroy Uthal, and he knows that. I am sure he is aware that the young people are here. The Brollachan were released not against us, but them. Our outpost just happened to be in the way.”
“Keltrain mentioned they were headed to Black Isle to fight Uthal. I volunteered to meet him there on behalf of Royal House. But I need a replacement at the outpost and some of the guard to ride with me to render aid to their cause.”
Adalay stood, her eyes lingering on the Captain's face. Urcias could not be sure, but he thought he saw a spark of something more than just the courtesy friendship she usually offered in their meetings.
“Urcias?” She began, her voice catching suddenly in her throat. “To journey to Black Isle and Crag Cairn is certain death. Why would you go?”
“I am needed, your highness.” He tilted his head, unsure of why she asked the question. “And I must go to represent our city in the fight against this darkness. Keltrain informed me that the Slaugh have been unleashed against the young people from Earth. Queen Onagh placed a protection spell around them before they left the court at Fairy Dell. Her spell was woven into a crystal clover upon their cloaks, but one of the young men cracked his crystal as they were escaping the Elf castle at Ellyllon when the Slaugh attacked them, and he is no longer protected against detection. They are being hunted as we speak. I must, if only for the sake of our city and its occupants assist in the fight.”
The Queen drew a quick breath. Urcias noted tears forming in the corners of her eyes before she turned her head. Speaking in a tone of authority, Adalay crossed to her desk. “Yes, you are right. Our city does need representation in this fight against the growing darkness creeping from Crag Cairn. I will give you authority to gather whatever men you wish to take to assist the wizard. Seek DaGon’s aid, for he will be a greater ally than any of the others.” She quickly wrote out words across a thick piece of parchment. Rolling it up, she sealed the outer edge with wax and the insignia of the Nuada Findi House.
Urcias took the document. “What about the Senate. Won't they be angry that you haven’t approached them for their say in this matter?”
“Their lack of ability to decide to do anything good for this city has earned them nothing as far as I’m concerned. I will take responsibility should they decide to pursue any judgment. I am still Queen, even through I do not have a King to reign by my side, and ultimately, what I command does matter.”
The Captain smiled. He loved the determination she carried. It was part of what drew him to her. “Then I will be your hand, extending across Green Isle, wielding punishment on behalf of Nuada Findi at Crag Cairn.”
Adalay touched his cheek briefly, her eyes concerned as her hand lingered on his face. For whatever reason, the words which hung on her lips were not uttered and instead, she backed away.
Urcias, a true gentleman, bowed and left the room without attempting to draw from her what he longed to hear. And in the quiet after his departure, the Queen broke down and sobbed.

Chapter Two

The Senate gathered in the meeting room the next morning, demanding judgment for not being advised of the Queen’s decision. A mob of angry men, they blasted her, asking that she relinquish her title for not following proper procedures concerning the information Urcias presented and her order to go to war with Crag Cairn.
Senator Bready, a short fat man with a reddening appearance to his cheeks, huffed as he climbed the steps to the podium in the center of the room. “Fellow Senators, quiet, please!” he called from thick lips which cracked with dryness. “Quiet, please!”
Adalay shook her head at the sight of the pudgy man. Chin raised, she prepared for the battle which was coming. Senator Bready glanced over his shoulder at the Queen and nodded in a strange way. The only ally she had, because the man continually asked for her hand in marriage, grinned slightly in an absurd fashion, and Adalay became aware that behind the smile was something sinister. She was sure she was not going to like what was coming.
Earlier, in the darkness before dawn, a messenger was sent by the Captain. Knocking on the door to her outer rooms, the young fellow had awakened one of her ladies in waiting who took the small note he presented and brought it into the Queen's bed chamber. Urcias wrote that he gathered about fifty men from the inner circle of the elite guard. They were heading by horseback to the harbor city and would set sail in two to three days. He hoped to meet with Keltrain in about two weeks at Lismort, an ancient port on the western part of Black Isle. He requested Adalay buy him some time in order to gain a lead, should the Senate decided to send their own army after them.
“Gentlemen, please, can we have order?” Senator Bready cried, holding his hands up for the third time.
Swallowing hard, the Queen calmed herself and waited as the room hushed. If Urcias needed time, then she would do her best to give him that.
“Now, it was brought to the attention of the Senate that Captain Urcias came yesterday evening with news of an attack at our outpost at the base of ApHar Mountains, and was given permission by the Queen, to take a small regiment with him in order to wage war against Crag Crain. Seeing that no formal sanctions have been authorized, the Queen is now being charged with treason for not following the rules and protocol set by this body of government. Do I understand correctly?” Bready paced the platform area with his hands behind his back, his face serious as he gazed down upon the men sitting around him.
A Senator from one of the outer clans stood up. “Senator Bready, you understand our charge correctly. As voted previously, we claim the right to the Queen’s title and demand she give up her position to this Senate.”
“What say you Queen Adalay to these charges?”
Standing, Adalay made her way up the steps to the platform and stood next to Senator Bready. She grimaced as the pungent smell of his sweat penetrated her nose, but politely curtsied. “Senator Bready, thank you.”
Leaning far too close for her comfort, the Senator whispered in her ear. “Well my dear, after the death of your husband, you need someone to look after you. I hope after today, you will keep in mind that your well-being is always foremost in my agenda.” Backing away, Senator Bready stood a few feet behind her. Adalay marveled at how his agenda always included her throne.
Turning to the Senate floor, she stared at the faces before her. Angry and hungry for her demise, they peered at her with smirks. They had been planning all along for her to be removed from authority since the death of her husband, and now she willingly played into their game.
Crag Cairn’s blackness had been seeping into Green Isle for far too long and needed to be curtailed. She made the necessary decision to take the first step. Their passive response to do nothing would send Nuada Findi into chaos and the destruction of their city would be inevitable, all because nothing could not be done without some puffed up Senator giving an oral presentation for hours on the dangers of war. She vowed to herself that she would not go without a fight.
“Gentleman, I stand before you humbled yet assertive. Your charges of treason are unfounded. As I am Queen by rightful birth and heir to the throne, I have the right to ultimate decisions concerning the well being of our people and our city. War is on the horizon, whether you want to acknowledge it or not. The Black Warlock Uthal and those with him at Crag Cairn have been slowly filtering into Green Isle like a sickness, the attack on our outpost proof that this illness is fast spreading. I gave orders to Captain Urcias to protect us. There was not time to adjourn and listen to each of you and your opinions concerning this problem. I had to act quickly.”
“There was plenty of time to discuss this matter.” A long legged man in back of the room rose slowly from his seat, his eyes like daggers as they fixed themselves on hers. “The people of Nuada Findi have suffered enough from war and to be thrown in it again is an insult.”
“Senator Thorn, if I recall the clan wars were started by your ancestors. You dare to stand here and accuse me of insulting our people when it is because of your clan that many were brutally murdered or unjustly imprisoned.”
The Senator moved from his position and walked towards the Queen. “I joined this Senate in hopes of uniting us, forever erasing the memories of our past brutality, as you so reminded. To go to war over a skirmish that may have been provoked by your beloved Captain is hardly anything I deem an emergency. A fact clearly visible for all to see,” he gestured with his hand to the crowd of men, “is the truth of your power hungry intentions. This war would be a way for you to overcome the policies we have set in motion, the first step in taking away the power of this Senate. You are demanded by all here to give up your crown or chose a husband, so that wisdom may prevail and we can send an army to retrieve Captain Urcias before he provokes the Black Warlock into any further conflict.”
Adalay snorted angrily. “How dare you insinuate that! And just who would you plan for me to marry since it seems all of you have already discussed a new King before I even had a chance to defend myself?”
“Why Senator Bready is a most excellent choice. He has always remained at your side since the passing of your husband. He is head of the Senate and would help rule with the wisdom you seem to lack.”
Swallowing hard, Adalay whipped her head around and glared at the man behind her. Senator Bready bowed slightly, the smile on his face wicked. She should have known he would figure out a way to take the throne and her hand in marriage. Turning back to Senator Thorn, she hesitated, allowing the anger welling in her heart to take over.
“So we can safely assume you will accept the offer Queen Adalay?” Senator Thorn’s lips spread into a tight thin line as he glanced quickly to Senator Bready, an unspoken message passing between the two men.
Without another word she pulled up the front part of her gown and ran down the steps of the platform. As she passed the threshold of the meeting room she pivoted to look at Bready one last time, the hatred for the man flashing in her eyes. Taking the crown from her head she flung it, a metallic ring booming in the quiet as the golden circle landed at his feet.
“I’d rather die!” she spat and stormed out of the room.

Chapter Three

“Sir, the ship is delayed. It won’t be here for another three days.” The lieutenant leaned over the horn of his saddle, his words low.
Urcias surveyed the harbor and the vessels moored along the wooded piers. His eyes stung from the crisp wind blowing in from the ocean, the salt smell of the water filling his nose. Adalay’s face remained constant in his thoughts as the horsemen journeyed through the night towards the shore. He knew her confrontation with the Senate this morning would be no easy task, and his heart longed to be there with her as she stood in her defiance.
“We will need to be cautious. Make sure non wear their colors and have them go into town in small groups. I don’t want to draw attention. I don’t know if Queen Adalay will be able to sway the Senate about her decision. They may be sending their army after us, and I don’t want to be discovered. With their permission or not, we are going to Black Isle.”
“Yes sir.” Turning his horse the lieutenant made his way back up the hill, disappearing over the top.
Bracus was a good man, the Captain observed to himself as he watched the rider and his horse vanish from view. Both served together in the last campaign against the House of Murias Donn. A heroic man, Bracus took many hits from the shadow people before he fell from his wounds. Urcias managed to drag him from the battlefield just before their retreat, saving his life. Since then Bracus served without question.
Urcias knew he could trust him with the knowledge of where they were headed. He also knew he could trust him to hand pick those still loyal to the Royal House of Nuada Findi and Queen Adalay.
Lifting his head, the Captain allowed the ocean breeze to caress him. He remembered what Keltrain the wizard had said about the four young people with him. Could it really be the time of the prophecy? It seemed to him to be a rag tag bunch, the wizard, dragon, fairy, leprechaun and earthlings. The girl and three boys not much of anything, must less ones able to confront a dark warlock. He felt obligated to help, the warrior in him unable to fathom how four young people could take on the black forces of Crag Cairn by themselves.
Pulling on the reins of his horse, he urged his steed in the direction Bracus had taken. Urcias thought again of Adalay. He hoped she would prevail against the bureaucratic stonewalling of the Senate body not only for the sake of their people, but for Green Isle itself.

Chapter Four

Determined and angry, Adalay gathered her crossbow and dagger from the cupboard shelf and threw them on the bed. Thrusting her gown from her body, she watched it gather into a silken mass of blue material on the stone floor. As she stood shaking in the chill coming in from the balcony door, she felt oddly light, as if a weight had been pulled from her shoulders along with the dress. It was an unfamiliar feeling and it scared her.
“What are you going to do my Queen?” Carin, her lady in waiting, stood within the door frame holding men’s clothing in her arms.
“I will ride to the harbor and catch up with Captain Urcias. I would rather fight to the death for our city than sit rotting in a tower!”
“My lady, marrying Senator Bready would be far less a demise than death. Won’t you reconsider his offer?”
Adalay grabbed the clothes from Carin, her face contorted in anger. “In whose opinion? Have you no standard of respect? The whole lot of them planned this! In their eyes I am just a trophy, something to stand and look pretty, unable to think or act because I am a woman! I have more sense in my little finger than any of them!”
Her temper flared as she quickly donned the garb of a soldier. See the terrified look in her companion’s stare; she softened, touching the young woman’s arm lightly. “I am sorry Carin. I did not mean to frighten you. I must go, and I apologize that I have to leave you to fend for yourself amidst these wolves in the Senate. Pack and return to your home, for it is not longer safe for you here at Royal House.”
Carin nodded, fear still reflecting in her eyes. “Here, I retrieved the book you asked for and the amulet from your desk.”
Adalay took both, hiding the crystal beneath her shirt and tunic, and the book in a leather pouch. Tying her hair into a long braid she twirled it up and into the hat that came with the clothes.
“Farewell my friend,” she said, hugging Carin tightly.
Passing the darken interior of the outer hall, she heard Bready’s voice at the main doors demanding entrance. Her guards stood their ground refusing to admit the Senator leader or any of the Senate’s army.
As she slipped through a hidden arch, the sounds of metal clashing echoed in the large corridor causing her to quicken her steps. Senator Bready could not legally claim the title of King without a marriage and she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. Leaving Nuada Findi was the only choice. She would ride out to the harbor and join Urcias in secret. If the Captain discovered she was there, his valor would not permit her to travel with them. She had to escape the hell that had taken over her home and fighting beside him made her feel as if she was helping.
Coming out a small door carefully sheltered within the garden, Adalay found her black mare tied to a Willow. As she climbed up, she wrapped her jacket tighter against the cold night air. Urging the mare through the cover of the trees, she found a narrow path which lead to the main road outside the city gates.
Within minutes she emerged from the fruit groves at back of the castle. Hesitating, she took one last look back at the city and the lighted towers, before turning her horse eastward. Tomorrow she would join the Elite Guard and hide within their ranks as they traveled to Black Isle and Crag Cairn. A single tear fell from her eye, coursing its way down the bridge of her nose.
“No tears!” She admonished herself, as she swiped at the salty water.
Kicking her heels to the horse’s sides, she headed at full gallop into the night with only the twin moons above as company. Queen Adalay said farewell in her heart to her grand city and to her birthright, vowing to herself that she would only return when she could find a rightful King to rein by her side and Nuada Findi free from the threat of Uthal.

Chapter Five

Urcias steadied his legs as the ship pitched in the wind and waves. The delay was not what they expected; in fact the ship arrived two days early. Chaos ensued as their plans rapidly changed and the men were forced to rush and collect necessary items needed aboard the sailing vessel. Not having the time to adequately secure the provisions for the two weeks journey put the Captain in a foul mood.
“Bracus, make sure all animals have been secured below the deck,” he bellowed loudly. “I want several men on detail counting and making a list of what’s below. I need to know if we’ve got enough to last us until we get to Lismort.”
“Sir, it has been rumored that the Nimyshor Sea is stricken with ice and a curse. Traveling within its water is dangerous.”
Urcias scowled at the Lieutenant. “When did you hear such rubbish? That sea has always been warm, its waters clear and easy sailing!”
“The Captain of the ship, sir! He tried to get to the harbor city of Partholon on the west side of Green Isle and was ravaged by a terrible storm. He had to turn back, which is why he arrived early. According to the sailors, the sea was black and dark, as if cursed. Chunks of ice floated like islands within the waves.”
Nodding, the Captain scratched his chin in thought. “Then what the wizard said is true. Uthal has found a way out of his prison and is coming for Green Isle.”
Backing towards the hold, Urcias bumped into one of the men carrying a basket of fruit. The top tipped and several pieces fell to the deck. Reacting quickly, he caught the three apples rolling away and dropped them back into the basket. “Be more careful soldier!” He demanded in irritation.
Strolling away with Bracus, Captain Urcias did not see the pale gray eyes lift to look at him briefly before disappearing back under the cover of the brim of a black hat.

Chapter Six

Holding the crystal above the book, Adalay blew a small breath of warmth to its surface. Glowing, it lit the pages of her book in the darkness. She huddled against the side of the ship trying to remain out of sight as she searched her notes. The past week had been difficult. Keeping to herself, she avoided Urcias as much as possible. She managed to have the crew address her as a messenger for the soldiers and the soldiers called to her as the cabin boy. Her deception held as they continued their course towards Lismort.
An ancient port from the old ages, Lismort nestled within a hidden cove opposite Crag Cairn. No one traveled to the city anymore, its grandeur erased by the wars and the scars of the demon soul imprisoned in the towers of Crag Cairn. Tales circulated of the cursed ground and death which followed any unlucky adventurer who stepped upon its shores.
“It’s been a week now,” she muttered to herself, “not much longer.”
The sea was morphing, it color once blue and beautiful shifted to a dark emerald. The sailors were frightened as they realized the direction the ship was heading and tensions ran high as small icebergs could be seen in the distance.
Adalay turned a couple of pages, seeking the spell she knew would help. No one was aware she was an enchantress except for her husband and the secret passed with him as they enclosed his body into the tombs of the Nuada Kings. By the light of the twin moons, she came the day after his funeral and called forth his spirit saying goodbye in her fashion, for his death had been sudden and he left the living before either could hold the other in farewell.
Her soul felt empty. It helped in a small way, she thought to herself, seeing his face and hearing his voice. As least she had the memory before he faded. She placed it within the crystal, keeping it alive.
A step on the deck behind her made her jump. “What are you doing on deck cabin boy?” boomed the voice of Bracus. “Did you not listen to your ship’s captain when he ordered all unnecessary hands below?”
Before Adalay could collect her wits and move away, the lieutenant’s large hand came down on her shoulders, clasping her roughly around the upper arm. Bracus brought her to her feet swiftly.
“Get below before the sea turns rough and you are lost overboard!”
As he pushed her towards the hold, Adalay’s foot caught a piece of rigging, and she fell to her knees. The wide brimmed hat she so carefully kept hidden behind tumbled from her head, spilling her long braid around her neck.
“What the…?” Bracus leaned forward, catching Adalay by the shoulders and spun her around. Seeing her face, he quickly kneeled before her. “My Queen, I didn’t know it was you!” he whispered in respect.
Collecting the hat from the deck, she quickly donned her disguise once more. Scanning those who stood on duty, she made sure her secret was not exposed to anyone else. When she was confident none of the other soldiers had witnessed the exchange, she bent to where Bracus still knelt.
“You must not tell anyone, including Urcias. No one must know I am here!” she commanded softly.
Adalay frowned. “The meeting with the Senate did not go well. I had to relinquish my crown to them.”
“You will always be Queen to Nuada Findi by your birthright. They cannot take that away from you,” Bracus asserted calmly.
Nodding, Adalay smiled. “Can you keep my secret for now?”
“Yes my Lady and I will protect you as well. But if Urcias should ask I am obligated to tell him the truth.”
“I understand. I would never expect you to lie.”
Seeing her book splayed on the deck, the pages fluttering in the wind, Bracus picked it up. His eyes caught a glimpse of the words before his closed the binding. He looked at Adalay questioning what he saw. Shaking her head, she took it from his outstretched hand, a silent understanding passing between the two as he helped her to her feet.
“No one must know,” she affirmed softly referring to the book and herself.
“Yes my Lady.”

Chapter Seven

“Land Ho!”
The cry was relief to those on the ship. For two days the crew and soldiers battled dark storms, their tired bodies taking turns on deck to keep the sails intact. The closer they got to Lismort the blacker the water became and the wilder the winds. Many collapsed from exhaustion as they struggled to keep the vessel afloat. Land was a blessing and a sign they would make it.
“Lieutenant!” Captain Urcias yelled above the howling winds. “Ready the men and animals! The port is not much further ahead!”
Angry black clouds swirled above as lightening flashed and thunder rumbled. The forward rocking of the ship sent many scrambling for a hold to keep balanced as it pitched upwards cresting a large swell. The violent turbulence of the waves beat against the hull with never ending force, tearing bit by bit at the wood which seemed to be held together by an invisible hand.
“Sir, the ship is coming apart under this constant pounding. The crew doesn’t think we’re going to make it to the port!” Bracus advised the Captain.
“It will get us there!” Urcias replied quickly, as he eyes scanned the mass of dark clouds above.
Screaming from the port side suddenly heralded something unusual at the side of the ship. The two men turned in surprised to see a massive creature rising from beneath the waves. Dripping sea water upon the deck as it hovered over the railings; glowing red eyes peered down from a horned dragon’s head. Shiny black scales, slick and wet, covered its long snake like body and its mouth gaped open, baring double rows of pointed teeth.
“A Wurm…it’s a Wurm!” one of the men screamed. Running back towards the helm in an attempt to flee, his steps were few before the razor sharp teeth of the dragon Wurm took him from his place on the deck.
Throwing the lifeless body up into the air, the giant Wurm swallowed his meal in one gulp and turned searching for more. Teeth gnashing, it hissed loudly as it caught another sailor in between its jaws.
“Get weapons into the hands of the men!” Urcias commanded as he drew his sword. “This must be our welcome from Uthal! If we do not kill it, the monster will take eat every one of us!”
No sooner did the words pass from his lips, but a horrendous cracking sound fill the air, as the side rail splintered under the weight of the Wurm. Fearing for their lives, Urcias and his men sliced and hacked at the head of the beast, dodging cleverly as the monster snapped and lunged at each of them. As cuts oozed under the slick scales, the dragon Wurm’s blood splattered on the deck. Burning the wood as acid, the boards began to wither.
“Stop!” The cry came as they saw what was transpiring.
“What wicked trap is this?” The Captain exclaimed in disbelief.
“How will we kill it?” Bracus stood next to Urcias, panting and exhausted from the battle with the Wurm.
Before an answer could be given, the creature wrapped itself around the vessel, shattering parts of the upper deck and mast. Its barbed tail crashed through the steering, sweeping men and supplies in the swells. The ship now listed heavily to one side, as it maintain a course directly for jagged cliffs and a rocky shore, not their intended destination, but soon to be their landing spot.
“The horses and men below…what are we going to do?” Bracus cried above the screams of the injured.
Urcias paused, his face contorted in compassion as he gazed upon the dismal scene in front of him. “Open the hold! Get as many out as possible! Give the orders to abandon ship!”

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