The Chronicles of Valana Volume 3: Open Doom

by AB

Chapter 6

Ygramor's Child

"It has been nice, these two weeks." Enthronos commented, mouth half-full of stew. They were seated in the Royal table in the well-lit dining room in Dara's Royal Palace. Enthronos did not miss various nobles' heads rising to the sound of his voice, eyes turning to him. "Any news of my father?"

Next to him on his left sat Stenoros, on his right Lothron. Lothron's father the Daran King sat on the head of the table.

"Dara has changed much from what uncle Aer'andil has described. I mean dragons fit in this chamber…" Lothron's Dragon sat curled behind him, so did the King's and a few others' present who were dragon riders.

The dragons had servants bring them deer, live deer. Dragons do not like their food dead. Below them the floor had grills, for the blood to flow down in pipes to the sea.

"Much has changed in 10.000 years, young Elf." The Daran King replied. "Buildings have had to become Huge to accommodate the Dragons."

"We essentially had to rebuild the whole city from scratch over that period of time." Lothron commented. "The dining room can fit up to 100 dragons at any given time, the Royal Palace ten times that."

Stenoros low whistled.

"Why does everyone seem to eye me and Stenoros?" Asked Enthronos, whispering to Lothron's ear.

Lothron chuckled, barely audible over the grumbling noise of satisfied dragons eating their deer, no longer alive.

"They have never seen Elves before, much less Elven kids."

"We have been here for two weeks." Enthronos stated.

"It'll take more than two weeks for them to get used to this, time I fear you'll have moved on from Dara." Lothron replied, amused.

"Any news of either of our fathers?" Stenoros asked.

Lothron looked left, slowly. Then right. " We should get some rest, we are going hunting on the morrow." Enthronos was about to ask, a third time but Enthronos kicked him under the table. He had not missed Lothron's purposeful emphasis of "we".

Stenoros threw him a "what?" look, which Enthronos rolled his eyes on.

Lothron thanked his father and the cook for the fine meal, giving his father a goodnight hug.

They followed Lothron to his room, he let them in locking the door behind them before Enthronos stuck a rune paper on it, chanting some spells.

"There, that should give us some privacy from unwanted ears." Enthronos grinned.

"Wait…how can you do both Speaker and Magic?" Lothron looked stunned, Stenoros wasn't far behind.

"Dad has had me learn both for years now." Enthronos shrugged. "He's had me learning this shit since before I could speak. I asked him once why both. "Because it's important, son."" Stenoros giggled at his imitation of his father's voice.

Lothron sat on his bed's edge. "The news are no one knows where the High-King is, your older brother Thonril is placed as Regent-Governor. As for your father -he turned his eyes to Stenoros- no one has heard a single word for 10.000 years ago from Udala, even Hunters of Darkness news seem to go from Udala to Gel'anr directly and vice versa. No one knows anything."

"Has he not send anyone after me?" Stenoros looked shocked.

"We wouldn't know, what few Hunters of Darkness are Darans wouldn't have any such information for my father. Your fathers would be the only ones who know, they and the Regent-Governor." Lothron shrugged.

"You're right." Stenoros sat next to Lothron. Enthronos sat on Lothron's other side.

"We are not going hunting tomorrow, are we?" Enthronos asserted.

"No, some of the nobles are pressuring my father to keep you as…guests and demand Dara's re-entry on the Alliance to return you to the Elven isles. -seeing their looks changing he added quickly- don't worry my father has no such intentions. We are going "hunting" tomorrow so that we can all go to the Elven isles, father has made arrangements. Father wants in the Alliance again, no argument but he understands matters better than some nobles."

"I'm not going back to Gel'anr, yet." Enthronos stated matter-of-fact.

"Uh, don't think you…" Stenoros cut Lothron off.

"I wouldn't try to change his mind or force him to come with us to the Elven isles. He wants to go to Varaghia and he will with or without your help." Stenoros laughed. "He managed to escape from the protection of Gel'anr right under his parents' eyes, you think he can't escape Dara?"

"Fine, I'll tell father to make arrangements for a dragon to take you across the sea to the North, have to warn you, though. They really dislike Elves over there, humans find you and they will hurt you or nab you for a slave, prefer death if they do."

"Why would they hate Elves?" Stenoros enquired.

"I do not know, we've only recently started trading with the northerners, Ygrammor and Iaor. They haven't told us yet and we have not asked, but it has something to do with the Elves building a city near one of their holy sites, I think?"

"What?" Enthronos saw Stenoros staring at him, intensely.

"I know this drive, this stubborn passion. It burns bright in your father, and all of you, his children have it, in varying degree, I think perhaps it burns in you the brightest."

"But I am not a creature of fire, like he is." Enthronos grinned. "I am a creature of water and ice, I must go to Varaghia."

Lothron sighed. "We should get some rest." He did not finish his sentence, as silk, moist lips covered his. His eyes focusing, he realised Enthronos had hugged him close, sealing their lips together in a slow, deliberate kiss.

Lothron smiled, opening his lips, poking his tongue at Enthronos' teeth until they parted.

Enthronos squeaked. "Hey! Who's bum do you think you're pinching there?!" He giggled.

"Yours, it looks so sexy." Lothron surprised him by giving him a playful swat before diving back in for another kiss.

"Fuck, now I'm horny too." Stenoros commented, pressing a hand in each of their trousers.

In a matter of seconds, they lay on the bed, naked as the day they were born.

Lothron and Enthronos alike moaned feeling a warm mouth and a familiar hand around their respective cocks.

"Oh…fuck! The stories of Elven boys' hornyness did not lie."

Enthronos giggled, "the stories do not lie, they vastly understate the truth. Elven boys are constantly horny as all fuck. Girls too for that matter. It is a good thing, girls do not become fertile until much later in their lives, for otherwise we would be having kids from before we reached teenagerhood, officially." Finishing he stood up, 69ying Stenoros, spreading his legs open, burying his face on the boy's crotch. Inhaling Stenoros, familiar scent he started bobbling his head up and down on the growing morsel between his smooth legs.

"Oh, what the hell, won't have another chance like this again, to suckle on Elven dick." Lothron thought to himself before diving on Enthronos' jewels.

Enthronos moaned softly, to Lothron's ministrations to his penis, and the boy's fingers snaking their way down to his most private place, and rubbing it before invading in. Enthronos opened his legs more, giving Lothron more access.

It didn't take long for the sweating, groaning and sucking boys to come, releasing their boy butter in each other's eager mouths.

Grinning goofily and turning round on the bed, the boys hugged each other asleep.

The next morning, pretending they were going on a hunt for deer, they left on dragons, Stenoros and Lothron to Gel'Glidorn, Enthronos to Varaghia.

Two weeks later Stenoros and Lothron landed on Gel'Glidorn. "I wonder if Enthronos has reached Varaghia's shores yet." Stenoros commented, looking to the North.

"Not yet, it takes ships two to three months to get there, I imagine a dragon would take about a month, so he probably has one to two more weeks." Lothron asserted.

"Sir! Ships ahead, they are flying Oghelle's banner." The Orkhavoc atop the main mast yelled. They had been at sea for six weeks.

"How many of them!" The Admiral yelled back. The Orkhavoc fleet apprised of something less than two thousand ships, broken down to two hundred groups of ten ships each, each taking a different route to Valana, with a common landing spot.

"Twenty, sir."

"We must avoid them, our goa…" The admiral was cut off mid-sentence.

"Sir, they are changing course! They've seen us." Came the sailor's yell.

"Battle stations. Wedge formation, signal the rest of the group." The admiral lost no time.

Aboard the same vessel, the High-King, his son and Kermenos readied for battle.

"Men, ready liquid fire, none of them must survive to warn the rest of their fleet and army."

"Liquid fire?" Kermenos frowned.

"Indeed, it's a new weapon the Elves have helped us develop. The humans know nothing of it, in Valana or Elaria." Viskeras told him, unsheathing his bow and arrows.

"Follow me, we must get starboard. Aim for their sails, light them aflame and the ships will follow and hang on to something, we are going to ram them." Kermenos nodded following his friend to the ship's fore.

Kermenos did as Viskeras did, tying his feet on ropes on the deck. "this is it? Liquid fire?" He asked pointing at a barrel full of a black liquid.

"Indeed, made by a substance found in the east of our Confederacy of Kingdoms and various spells. It is highly inflammable so careful with fire around it, dip your arrowhead in it, then point upwards and light it up on the torch there." Viskeras explained to him pointing at a torch a good way away from the barrel.

Kermenos did as instructed, drawing the lit arrow back on the bow string, waiting on the signal to let loose.

The two fleets came closer and closer together until they could see each other's sailors on the decks. Kermenos saw corrupted men, made gruesome by the spells, and acts of the Bishops.

"LET LOOSE!" Came the order from the admiral. Kermenos aimed high and let go of the bowstring. He watched the arrows arch upwards before descending on the ship closest to them, on the sails, and deck as well as on the sea around it. Kermenos' arrow lodged itself on the mast, first penetrating the sail. Kermenos yelled at first but then fell silent seeing the wind put the fire out.

"There isn't enough of it." Kermenos thought. "Viskeras, give me that pottery water jar of yours, please."

"It's not empty, if you want to drink some." Viskeras gave it to him.

"No, I have an idea." Kermenos emptied most of the water, before submerging it in the liquid fire barrel. He then tied the small pottery jar in on the side of the arrow head and pressed the arrowhead against the torch.

He let loose.

"What are you doing? That was a perfectly fine water jag, ya twat!" Viskeras wasn't angry.

"There isn't enough liquid fire on the arrows, look the fires are easily put out." Kermenos pointed at the enemy ship, now closer to them. Viskeras saw the enemy soldiers and wind slowly put out the fires from the arrows. Then Kermenos' second arrow descend and lodge itself on the deck after passing through the sail. Upon impact the pottery jar broke to pieces and the liquid fire exploded aflame.

Viskeras grinned, turning to the other archers around. "Do the same! Empty your water jars and fill them with the liquid. Do the same!"

Meanwhile the three ships with onboard catapults started firing large pots of the stuff at the enemy ships.

A few minutes later the ship closest to them was fully ablaze, enemy soldiers screaming as they burned alive, the rigging and sails falling to the sea below.

"RAMMING SPEED!" The admiral yelled.

"The ship is weakened, so now we surrender it to the sea." Viskeras told Kermenos. "Hold on to something!" Kermenos shouldered his bow and held on the wooden balusters.

"Try not to fall over, we have, perhaps, only one more chance to sink a ship like this, then we have to board the rest and sink them. Stay close to me, watch my back and I'll watch yours. Do not feel courageous or you'll end up dead. Hold the line such as it is and stay close to our lads." Kermenos nodded.

The impact came, knocking them off their feet, Kermenos fell back on the deck as around them the Oghellen ship broke apart sinking.

"How does our ship not catch fire?" Asked Kermenos, coming up on his feet.

"Elven tricks." Viskeras winked at him.

A sunken ship and three more boarded ships later they were changing their course to chase another one trying to evade them.

"Sink it! Before it has time to escape us!" The admiral yelled. "Give the signal to our catapult ships to sink it!"

"No! Look those two girls don't seem to be corrupted!" Kermenos yelled back.

"They are going to have to jump, I am not going to have more of my men killed for two human girls." The admiral replied just as three enflamed large hugs hurled up in the air.

Kermenos saw the girls fight to liberate themselves from the enemy soldiers holding them. Then he saw one of them turn his back on him. In one swift movement he took an arrow from his quiver, aimed, and let loose. In agony he saw one of the liquid fire jags land on the enemy's ship bow, setting it aflame, the other two landed on sea near the ship. His arrow hit the enemy soldier holding one of the two girls on his thigh.

Kermenos swore, readied another arrow when he saw the girl, now free, grab the soldier's sword and sever his head with it before turning to aid the other girl.

Seconds later they were overboard, not a moment too soon as a second liquid fire jag impacted the ship splitting the main mast in half. The sails and rigging falling, aflame on the ship.

"Get us near there, we have two stowaways to pick up, it seems." The admiral told his helmsman after getting a nod from the High-King.

Decreasing speed as much as they could they threw nets on the sea for the girls to grab onto.

Once onboard the girls could not understand a word they spoke but Kermenos wrapped them on dry blankets. Making his way below deck to the cabin he and Viskeras shared.

"Kermenos." He told them, pointing at himself, smiling.

He knew he must look scary to them, not due to age or body mass. He was covered in blood, not his, from the naval battle, and charcoal black in places, where the smoke of the burning ships had stuck to the blood, in patches.

He saw them trying to move away from him, and looking around he saw a larger ceramic pot containing water. He grabbed it and cleared as much of the smut from his face as he could.

"Please, I won't hurt you, no one here will. I am Kermenos." He tried to convey it was safe.

"Astraid." One of the girls replied. She was still very wet from her swim so her black locks sticking to her head, and she was shivering from the cold waters. "Du veser ehr udal'm emr Sigrilth."

Kermenos looked at her like a fool, having no idea what she said. He shook his head no. "I don't understand you, but you are so beautiful." The words left his mouth before he could stop himself.

"Sigrilth." The other girl said, pointing at herself. Kermenos nodded smiling, they smiled back, sitting close to each other to and wrapping themselves up in one blanket to share the warmth.

"Do you want something to eat or drink?" He asked them while making signs with his hands for eating and drinking.

Both girls nodded emphatically yes. He gave them a sign to wait there and left for the ship's kitchen.

For the next month at sea he tried his best to take care of them, to learn their language and teach them his.

"My father has asked for us." Viskeras woke him up. "He said to bring them." He nodded to the sleeping girls near him.

Astraid slept sound on her back while Sigrilth slept on her stomach, a hand under her face.

Kermenos gazed over the sleeping fourteen-year-old girl, her face lit by sun's rays coming in from outside the cabin, her black hair falling on her shoulder's silky-smooth white skin. He knew amber eyes hid behind the closed eyelids and he longed to kiss those ruby lips.

"Astraid?" He shook her shoulder, gently. Her eyes opened, smiling faintly.

"The Orkhavoc High-King has asked for the three of us." He told her smiling back. "I'll wait outside for you." Kermenos tried to stand when she turned to her side, revealing her left thigh. His eye caught that and was further surprised by her when she placed a hand on his cheek, caressing it for a moment.

"Yes, you wait outside, we come to you." She replied in his language. They had been teaching each other's languages the past month at sea.

"Uh…y-yes, sure. I'll wait outside, like I said." He staggered outside.

"Ah, good you're all here." Said Glogak, he, Viskeras and they three were the only ones present in his cabin. "We'll be landing in Valana soon, when we do we'll hide the army in the forest west of Feran and await…instructions. Kermenos, I'm giving you a battalion of my Orkhavocs, you are to go to Gel'Glidorn with Astraid and Sigrilth. You are to follow a north-eastern route until you reach the Battle thorn Mountains and then north-west through the Kingdom of Qa'ros. When you reach the River Qadath you will turn west until you find the inner sea, a boat will wait for you at the end of the mountains, where the mountains meet the sea. Viskeras will remain here."

"As you command, my Lord. But how do you know this? Have you spoken with the King of the Elves?" Kermenos replied.

""I" do not know." Glogak grinned before leaving his cabin.

"What news, Fauj?" Gundrun walked in the mess hall, where Fauj was finishing his breakfast, sitting next to him.

"I have found the man in-between. I am going to go find him later tonight." Fauj replied, calmly as if speaking of the weather. He took a bite out of a bread with winter berries on.

"In between?"

"Middle man, he made arrangements between whoever funded and ordered you and your family dead and the men who committed the action."

"So, you are sure the Elves were planted there?"

Fauj nodded, looking left and right. "They were too far rotten to have died there and then. Also…if Elves had attacked they would not have chosen melee as their first choice. They would have ambushed the wagon from above the trees, firing arrows and magic spells until they were sure they would not receive casualties. Someone ordered this, and I'm nearing his scent. Are you ready for today's training session?" Fauj changed the subject seeing another soldier approach.

"It should be another two weeks to Elisko pass." Drake commented. "We've only lost one boy in the marches, that's something."

"Still, if it wasn't for the pendants Liandras gave us all these centuries of loss would have taken their toll on us. It's not just one boy." Beck responded.

"True. They do remove the loss or emotion of it allowing the wearer to just remember without pain." Drake recounted one of the pendants' abilities.

"Udala, I wonder what we'll find there." Beck whispered looking to the west of the flat, mostly flooded plains.

"I do not know but I've been thinking…Eri'Adar has changed the last few centuries, perhaps…Elisko is not such a bad place to set up shop, who knows if all goes well we may even have Elves as patrons, it'd be nice to have some people we know not die after a few decades." Drake's voice sounded sad.

"Something to think about. For now…I wonder what our friend in Udala has in mind for us."

"I don't know, we'll find out. The boys need rest, let's make camp here tonight." Drake let the backpack fall from his shoulders, turning to talk to the boys trailing them.

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