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The Assassin The Soldier And The Thief
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#35
Chapter 35 - A Long Awaited Reunion
Nelso555
Dec 14, 2017
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15 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!h3Ne6b7i6knDPOXFjIhZposted on PENANA

The tracks that Christel had seen in the sand were as clear as day. He assumed that whoever had left them was smart enough to know that hiding tracks from the djann was pointless. He placed a ready hand over his sword. The people who had gone into the temple hadn’t come out yet.copyright protection31PENANA32RbBEGJhE

Christel’s chance encounter with Sam had appeared to have gone relatively well, however it worried him that the military was so deep within djann territory. Regardless of that, he had a mission now – unite the humans, djann, and orcs – defeat Garn, and earn his freedom. No one was going to stop him now.copyright protection31PENANAAyIoMPAU7G

As he walked up the sandy stone steps that lead into the temple, he wondered about who this person was that he was going to meet. This stranger was supposed to have all the answers – about Garn, his plan, and his mysterious powers.copyright protection31PENANAevk3jhJC01

Inside the temple was the largest room that Christel had ever been in. The stone floor was plain and layered with dust. The far off walls were lined with statues of nameless figures, and above them, a stone stairway trailed up into a higher floor. There’s more to this place?copyright protection31PENANAC33ufE8Woq

Christel took a few cautious steps forward, with Hazel only a few feet behind him. A gap in the wall above the entrance shot a beam of dusty sunlight through the temple, illuminating the far wall. They were both stunned by what they saw.copyright protection31PENANABZZjoM8YGg

Carved into the far wall was the immaculate body of a dragon. Its powerful wings almost stretched from one side of the wall to the other. The dragon had opened its great jaws and sent a terrifying burst of fire into the air, way up into the ceiling. Beneath the dragon’s wings were ten distinct figures, five on the left and five on the right. They were all women of perfect detail, each had a different face and different clothes, and they all held different objects in their hands – a bag of coins, a scythe, a sand timer, a sceptre, a staff, two swords, a candle, a scroll, a mask, and a pile of sand.copyright protection31PENANAFULZY4hIHh

These are the ten divine, Christel realised, and a dragon! All the history and mythology books told of dragons roaming the land ages before their time. How old is this temple? He would have asked Kaizin however he knew that the djann had never dared enter the temple for they believed that the gods rested there. Is that who I am supposed to meet? One of the gods?copyright protection31PENANAJklMOBrXxQ

In front of the dragon and the statues was an altar – a massive stone brick covered with dust. Upon it rested a perfect benezian diamond that was larger than his fist, pulsing rays of shining purple light. It was by far the largest he had ever seen. Did they worship the crystals?copyright protection31PENANAn9Pmsd9BcP

He then heard the feint scrape of a foot across the ground, and before he could think he felt the sting of a blade against his back. Hazel gasped and cried out. A black-gloved hand pressed over Christel’s mouth and it forced him to turn towards Hazel.copyright protection31PENANASRKDRII8rq

“Don’t move,” said the voice behind him, he knew that voice.copyright protection31PENANAqaLMXAnoyV

Hazel recognised the assailant’s face immediately. “Arlandra?” she murmured.copyright protection31PENANAeV44ixhr9u

The blade disappeared immediately. “Hazel,” said the voice, and then he looked at Christel’s face. “Christel! My god, I thought I felt something familiar about you.”copyright protection31PENANAh1l1FcKnlb

Christel was just as shocked. “I never expected to see you again. What are you doing here?”copyright protection31PENANAOMlzyiaWGI

Arlandra slid his knife away. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”35Please respect copyright.PENANAwomRjxUk5S
“Try me,” Christel challenged.copyright protection31PENANARVDWZWuhoD

“Well, I was send here by Ariana, you know, goddess of fate…”copyright protection31PENANALFE6HjjrHE

He was sent here too? It can’t be. Why would she send him as well?copyright protection31PENANACvrX5ZffVW

“I know who she is, Arlandra,” he said sharply.copyright protection31PENANAXNRBKRye8X

“Well she sent me here to find a way to kill Garn Pallerii. Why are you here?”copyright protection31PENANARTDw0kPjLx

Christel smiled as Arlandra walked passed him to examine the dragon. “I’d say it was fate,” Christel exclaimed, “but that’s what she does, isn’t it.”copyright protection31PENANAYn2pk8pAnk

“Ariana, you mean?” Arlandra asked.copyright protection31PENANAxl8pWTgv7p

“That’s right, she sent me here to help put an end to Garn’s plans.”copyright protection31PENANAsZi5wjplCa

She told me that I was the only person who could save Noveria, Christel thought, this is a challenge.copyright protection31PENANASByV0T3ptr

“That’s good then,” Arlandra said carefully. “I guess we were both chosen to be her champions.”copyright protection31PENANAK1MTqJMHeU

When Arlandra turned away from the altar he had almost strolled right into the end of Christel’s blade. Christel had drawn his sword and aimed it directly at the assassin. “But the thing about a champion,” Christel continued, “is that there can only be one. My bet is that Ariana wants to see who’s the strongest.”35Please respect copyright.PENANAawzheQpgIo
The assassin smiled, his green eyes flashing. “That’s funny, I was just thinking the exact same thing.”copyright protection31PENANA6HUpMqIcMl

“Christel stop it!” Hazel cried.copyright protection31PENANAnFWVBXOEni

And Juliet uttered out, “Arlandra!”copyright protection31PENANA67jT1KDOrS

The assassin drew his blade faster than Christel could react, and in one swift stroke he battered the thief’s sword and they were locked.copyright protection31PENANAIyzDYm4HyQ

“I think I’m actually looking forward to this.” The assassin smiled.copyright protection31PENANA3Vw0R7XFLk

But then they were interrupted as a silhouette appeared against the light at the entrance. Who else did she send? Christel wondered.copyright protection31PENANAXSshLt1pht

“Arlandra!” The man called out. “Christel! What are you doing here?”copyright protection31PENANAh02QD0dIHL

“Oh great!” Arlandra cried. “She sent us the soldier too.”copyright protection31PENANAyKH4KybIdX

“Wait, what is going on?” Sam questioned as he moved into the room with Ashley beside him.copyright protection31PENANA3bQvsCZu1h

Christel glanced over to Sam, however he kept his blade pointed at Arlandra. “It seems Ariana wants one of us to stop Garn. But that won’t be a problem seeing as I’m the one who’s going to do it.”copyright protection31PENANAXiiZ9W0mEI

Arlandra edged his sword slightly closer to Christel’s throat. “In your dreams, thief.”copyright protection31PENANA8ctPhentWB

And then Sam drew his sword, joining in the conflict. “I don’t think you guys understand,” he replied firmly. “If I don’t capture Garn then I’ll forever be branded as a criminal, and I can’t have that.”copyright protection31PENANArZMhveTvJV

Both Arlandra’s and Christel’s swords swung over to aim at Sam’s head. The soldier’s eyes darted from one to the other. Then he continued, “besides, Christel, what business does a thief have being here?”copyright protection31PENANAMGe5Gn1GKF

“Ariana gave me a chance at freedom,” Christel answered, “and I’m not going to let something like that slip away.”copyright protection31PENANApSRSH965C3

“You want to know an easy way to not be a thief,” Sam quipped, “stop stealing.”copyright protection31PENANAG43slyHf4q

Christel stepped closer to Sam. “It’s not that easy. It’s about my past. Someone like you wouldn’t understand.”copyright protection31PENANAaR7oWOMXvw

“Regardless,” Arlandra butted in, “it looks like we all want something from Garn Pallerii.”copyright protection31PENANACUpuM7DTcg

“And I take it the person one of us is supposed to meet is somewhere up those stairs,” Sam added.copyright protection31PENANAWTlZlGy3WC

“So the first person to make it there gets what they want, right?”copyright protection31PENANAu6uCvqqhoW

Their swords swayed, pointing from one face to the other. It was a three-way duel of epic proportions – the assassin, the soldier, and the thief. Meanwhile the girls stood in a line, unable to help in any way. They were silent for a while, each waiting for the other to make a move.copyright protection31PENANAN0QdvDk9xx

“So it’s a race then,” said Arlandra.copyright protection31PENANAptqLsMr1Pn

Well at least no one has to die, Christel thought.copyright protection31PENANAEku8WZyngW

But then Sam pulled out his pistol and aimed it at Christel’s head. “I don’t have time to play by those rules.” There was contempt in his eyes. “Christel Saan, one and a half years you damn near ruined my reputation, and you deserve to pay for what you did… but I can’t kill you.” He moved his pistol and aimed it now at Arlandra. “This man however is a murderer…”35Please respect copyright.PENANArIzRfp3GoG
“I prefer the term ‘assassin’.”copyright protection31PENANAk4XaisOCBl

“… And I will not think twice before shooting him. However, I’d like to avoid killing anyone if I don’t have to. Christel, help me bring Arlandra down and then leave Garn to me, and I promise I will get you your freedom.”copyright protection31PENANA91PAMimejc

“Sam you son of a bitch!” Arlandra yelled. “Fight fair, you bastard!”copyright protection31PENANACXw66t6ERn

Christel pondered this for a moment. “No. I don’t trust the military and I certainly don’t trust you.”copyright protection31PENANABbszmK1bmD

Sam looked at him for a while. “Very well,” he said, and then Christel saw the hammer of his revolver cock back.copyright protection31PENANAwwFl6sEsGX

“Stop!” Christel shouted as he dashed forward and knocked the gun out of Sam’s hand. He could have sworn the gun should have fired, but somehow he hit it before it did. And then, as the revolver scattered along the sandy floor, Sam punched Christel in the face and Arlandra started running. “Thanks,” he said as he hopped up the stairs, “I’ll see you at the top.”copyright protection31PENANAFiVcp1FwGx

Christel wiped the blood from his nose. “You asshole. I just saved your life.”copyright protection31PENANATiIlR55Tgs

“I know,” he responded, “so we’re square now, right?”copyright protection31PENANAxMYc85EMyl

You can forget about that three percent!copyright protection31PENANAKdEGp3H5An

Sam left Christel and chased after Arlandra who was now darting up the stairs. “Arlandra, get back here!”copyright protection31PENANACtGlPxqUrG

“No way man,” he replied. “Garn is mine.”copyright protection31PENANAnYtmbCrPp0

Christel was fast enough to catch up, but Arlandra and Sam were already well ahead. He grunted as he bolted up the stairs, hoping he wouldn’t trip. When he reached the ceiling he arrived at a room just as large as the last one. It was dimly lit – save for the strokes of sunlight that flowed through the widows, and beside the staircase that continued to stretch even higher was a maze of scaffolding and ropes.copyright protection31PENANAbaePQETyJt

With his sword ready Christel tried to slash at Sam’s back, just as Sam had caught the clothes around Arlandra’s shoulder. The assassin stumbled and the soldier had to turn around in order to parry Christel’s blow. With Sam currently occupied, Arlandra saw the chance to bring him down, however the soldier was ready and Arlandra received a heavy kick to the abdomen, after which he stumbled back and fell onto the scaffolding.copyright protection31PENANAVmWCIL98GB

As Christel fought with Sam in a tinging series of strokes, parries and blows, he noticed Arlandra tampering with the ropes that suspended the bell at the top of the tower. The assassin swung his sword and hacked at the rope beneath him, whilst holding on tightly to the rope above.copyright protection31PENANAP3AjpLWRBm

“Oh no you don’t!” Christel shouted as he ducked past Sam and charged after Arlandra, however he feared that he might have been too late. The rope snapped and Christel saw as the assassin was propelled up into the air, but not after he had kicked off from a pole and leaped up to catch Arlandra’s foot.copyright protection31PENANARMw5BnJuVt

He could feel himself soaring higher and higher as Arlandra’s leather boot gradually slipped under his fingers, and the bell that had been suspended flew past them as they were launched higher and higher. I have to hold on for just a little longer.copyright protection31PENANAYRPUtxGDGn

Then he heard the bell crash into the ground below him and smash into the level beneath that, and suddenly he was falling. I’m falling! He panicked.copyright protection31PENANAewqOQQANHc

He hit the ground sooner than he thought he would, in fact, he had only fallen no more than a meter. He sat up, sore and dazed as he glanced around the third level of the temple, peeking down to where the bell had fallen. This room was almost the same as the others, dusty stone and dimly lit.copyright protection31PENANA9yYGEA3o5Z

He noticed Arlandra try to stand up but was too shaken from the fall, while he on the other hand had dropped his sword when he had decided to come along. When the assassin was on his feet again and moving, Christel didn’t think, he simply acted by leaping and tackling the assassin around the legs. Arlandra fell to the ground again, kicking Christel and shouting. “Let go of my boots! What are you, twelve? Let go!”copyright protection31PENANAR3QHYkfFXW

“I will be Ariana’s champion!” Christel yelled out.copyright protection31PENANA2cst1jjB60

“No, I’m going to be the one to bring down Garn!”copyright protection31PENANANfzMWemZCs

And then a terrible and overwhelmingly loud voice thundered through the temple floor in a way that shook the walls. “Silence!”copyright protection31PENANAZuwPbu9qa7

Both Arlandra and Christel stopped and didn’t move, and not a sound was heard until the clatter of Sam’s footsteps rang up the stairway and he appeared at the entrance to the room.copyright protection31PENANAncjPGk9ZVf

In the corner of the room where no sunlight could reach there was shuffle and a scraping sound, and then two burning yellow eyes opened and stared right through Christel. They appeared like snake eyes and they shimmered as if they were flames. And then the beast stepped out from the shadow and Christel’s heart went cold.copyright protection31PENANA0JvAvrPSrr

He saw brown leathery scales, yellow fangs and claws, spikes as sharp as spears, and wings that spread out like sails.copyright protection31PENANAkqWQg7lqyv

Christel tried to speak, but stuttered. “You… you’re a… a…”copyright protection31PENANAxVIQLoaUo6

copyright protection31PENANAapPFZl7Ody

“A dragon?” said the seductive voice of a woman behind them. It unmistakably belonged to Ariana, and the goddess of fate strolled behind them as she appeared from the nothingness.copyright protection31PENANAgxZcofkJFT

The dragon towered above everyone in the room, stamping its massive meaty talons and digging its claws into the stone. Its scales were the murky brown colour of tree bark and its eyes were so bright that Christel could not look away. And then it opened it mouth and words began to come out. Its speech was loud and deep and slow. Each steamy breath that the dragon took could be heard between each phrase. “You… bicker and fight like children… yes… just like little… children.”copyright protection31PENANAfcOX3AmdvK

Ariana smiled, almost childlike as she glanced from the dragon to the three men in the room. “I’d like to introduce you to Korasuun. And yes, he’s a dragon.”copyright protection31PENANAkFaal9vsYI

“I thought dragons were extinct?” Sam stuttered.35Please respect copyright.PENANAEV41MozHIE
“They seem surprised… to see me…” said Korasuun, the dragon. “I thought you had… told them.”copyright protection31PENANA0fg0sFfMpV

“Well, I didn’t want to scare them away now.” Ariana told the dragon.copyright protection31PENANAFE8uCb4Ypz

Korasuun stood up high on his hind legs and looked down on the puny humans beneath him. “Yes, I am… a dragon… that is what your kind call me. And yes… I have not left this mountain… for a long… long… time. I have been waiting… yes… my brothers fled this land a thousand years ago… but I stayed… yes… I stayed and watched.”copyright protection31PENANAJKfTUA3p22

Arlandra turned to Ariana. “You already knew what Garn had in mind, didn’t you?”copyright protection31PENANA83hp3J4jwu

“Yes,” she said, “well, kind of. It all goes back to an ancient battle. Seeing as that was a very long time ago, I wanted you to hear it from him first.” She gestured towards Korasuun.copyright protection31PENANAfb8nGLzKKZ

Christel butted in. “But why? I mean you were there weren’t you.”copyright protection31PENANAktJznD9r3c

“Actually I wasn’t even born yet.” She shot them a cheeky smile and flicked at a strand of crimson black hair.copyright protection31PENANAtcfLBjvGD1

Everyone save for Korasuun was shocked by that.copyright protection31PENANAaSdjgT4PEP

“If there is something that you should learn about in this world,” Ariana continued, “it is that nothing lives forever, not even the gods. I am considered quite young for my age, and although I may live for another thousand years or so, I too will die eventually. It was the same for the goddess of fate before me. So you see, Korasuun here is the only creature that was actually alive when the war of the shemn occurred.”35Please respect copyright.PENANAASb9ap0zFI
Wars, goddesses and dragons… Christel couldn’t believe what his life had come to. “What was the war of the shemn?” he asked.copyright protection31PENANAOYiyyGcI7f

“It all happened…” Korasuun started, “over a thousand years ago. Yes… before your kind roamed these lands there was… another… hmm… just like you. Yes… they were a simple folk… but foolish… yes… most of whom spent their entire lives in worship to what you call benezia… the source to all power.”copyright protection31PENANAUAsam3uRK7

Korasuun slowly let his eyelids fall and he seemed to have finished. Christel thought he might have fallen asleep.copyright protection31PENANASVZ6ffZk5D

“Well,” Sam said, “what happened to them? Where did they go?”copyright protection31PENANA9UCssa8ESf

“Oh… well yes… of course…” The dragon muttered as he sat up again. “Well they went to war with themselves… yes they did… and like all species that I’ve watched over the years they were the same… Something to do with… yes… not wanting to use the benezian for fear of its ultimate… power… yes… and, in the end one side lost… hmm… as with all wars… one always loses. They were driven deep into the mountains… they were… yes… and they believed that they could use the power of benezia to fight back… and win the war…”copyright protection31PENANAUMQmXcqr4b

Sam whispered something that Christen could just hear. “They fused it…”copyright protection31PENANAyX6y3mN3GT

“Why… yes…” Korasuun remarked slowly. “They were the only ones that I have seen… who were able to fuse their bodies with the power of benezia… Hmm… yes… but power corrupts… and from power… comes evil.”copyright protection31PENANAGPNjhftqUl

“So what happened?” Christel asked.copyright protection31PENANAGO8wb6JCxO

“Why… they fought… against an enemy who was once their friends… but no more… they were no longer the creatures that they used to be… their bodies were… twisted… mutant and… vile… but formidable… yes… fearless… terrible… mindless…”copyright protection31PENANAN6LUEOhsRX

“But you defeated them, right?” asked Arlandra. “You did it before. You know how to stop them so we can do it again.”copyright protection31PENANAlyN8R5okvi

“That is a question… I am afraid… I do not know the answer to,” replied Korasuun.copyright protection31PENANAGb7PIjVsVs

Christel stepped forward. “What do you mean you don’t know the answer to?”copyright protection31PENANAgJy1EdQVFI

“He means,” said Ariana, “that he was there when the shemn were defeated but he doesn’t know how it was done.”copyright protection31PENANAS0gF98Kxtg

“Hmm… yes… I remember it very well… the shemn fell back into the mountains… as if they had lost the will to fight… I don’t know what they did that day… but it worked… yes… yes it did…”copyright protection31PENANAQ9rYZ9hVCc

“But Garn hasn’t awakened them yet,” Christel started. “All we have to do is stop him before he does and we can avoid this war entirely.”copyright protection31PENANAnSWWTAaKvP

“Yeah, that’s easier said than done,” Sam remarked. “I don’t know if you’ve seen how he is lately, but he’s not exactly human anymore.”copyright protection31PENANAsoQI30QOyk

Christel noticed a strange expression from Arlandra as Sam spoke those words, as if he had become quietly overwhelmed by fear.copyright protection31PENANA5ouwmtGDoi

“I am afraid…” said Korasuun, “that you are already… too late.”copyright protection31PENANAQMbMJ4nTPS

So it’s started then, thought Christel, this war is really happening.copyright protection31PENANAJhgA0kAR98

“I can… feel it… the shemn… have already been awakened… you’d best… prepare yourselves… for war…”copyright protection31PENANAbexFLT9rxx

Ariana then caught their attention as if she were about to give them commands, which she practically did. “Over the next few days the shemn will probably be spreading out from the mountains and then after that, well, all hell is going to break loose through Noveria. I called each of you here intentionally because I know that you have what it takes to protect this land. Christel, you are the only person who can convince the djann, humans, and orcs to fight as one against the shemn. If they don’t then the shemn will simply take them out on by one. Sam, you can lead, and I know that you have what it takes to command an army against the shemn.” She turned finally to Arlandra. “And Arlandra, you are the only assassin in all of Noveria who can take Garn down for good.”copyright protection31PENANAKokVb30yXP

They looked at each other, three strangers now bonded through their will to protect.copyright protection31PENANAqH7Hh71RZb

“The fate of Noveria now rests in your hands, boys. Don’t let us down.”copyright protection31PENANA0aqxQbqZDY

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