The Callindra Chronicles Book 2: The Rise of Evil – Chapter 37

Callindra drew upon the strength of the Weave carefully, making sure not to force too much through Brightfang’s blade and summoned a steady wind that sent the Longboat surging forward.  Her brothers all stood ready to do their part as they swept forward with speed that would have been impossible without the winds obeying her commands.

As they reached the stone spires shifted, groans of protest sounding as the rocks moved against each other.  Cronos threw a spell in front of them and the movements of the towers seemed to slow, the sounds of their motion drawing out as though it was being heard from a distance.  Vilhylm reached his hand into the water and thick ropes of seaweed writhed up the stones, wrapping around them and holding them in place.  The Longboat shot through the space like a rock from a sling and the stone ceased its grumbling.

A small island was directly in front of them, a small fire somewhere near its center sending up a ribbon of bluish white smoke into the sky.  The Hand pointed directly at it.  Tryst looked at his companions and smiled.

“A mysterious island hidden behind a deadly trap.  Looks like what we’re after wouldn’t you say?”

“Oh wonderful.”  Cronos grumbled, “That’s not ominous or anything.”

Callindra sat down with a tired sigh and took out her pipe.  “As long as the heavy lifting is over, I can deal with a mystery.”

They landed the boat and carefully tied it up to a heavy stone on the shoreline.  As they made their way inland, gradually they began to feel a sense of wellbeing.  In a place like this, opposition must be easily overcome.  After all, nothing could be dangerous in such a setting of peace and tranquility.   By the time the attack came, not one of them was prepared for it.

A dozen monstrous forms erupted from the sand, indistinguishable in form except for their glowing green eyes.  They ignored Tryst who was in the lead and laid into Cronos instead, tearing his armor open with a spray of blood.

“DOWN!” Yelled Callindra and her brothers all dove for the sand.  The creatures turned to look at her as she wove Brightfang in a complex series of arcs, dancing in tiny circles on the sand as the winds gathered around her.  The blast she unleashed tore half of the creatures into bloody shreds but if it wasn’t for Vilhylm and Tryst leaping to her defense the remaining monsters would have eviscerated her easily.

Tryst mashed one into a pile of bloody sand and Vilhylm picked one up by its neck and slammed it into another.  Cronos incanted a spell from where he lay prone and bleeding and the last three were incinerated by a blast of intense fire.

“I feel insulted.”  Cronos panted, getting to his feet with a helping hand from Vilhylm.  “They seem to be taking us lightly.”

“Don’t say that.”  Callindra muttered as she inspected Brightfang, frowning over new stress cracks.  “You’re just inviting disaster.”

Despite her dire predictions, no further monsters appeared.  They cautiously made their way toward the center of the island.  When they found the source of the smoke it was a small well-built cottage with a fire in front.  An ancient woman sat on a stool beside the fire, stirring a pot of something that was boiling over it.

“So.  You have beaten my sand warriors.”  She said in a surprisingly strong voice.  “You are the first to have bypassed the wards I set, let alone my physical guardians.  Well done.  What can I do for you then my dear mortals?”  Her words struck like hammers, their psychic force driving Callindra and Cronos to their knees.  Vilhylm leaned on his staff, but kept his feet and gave the old woman an uncertain stare.

“We have come for a divine artifact.”  Tryst said, his voice ringing out clear and strong.  “You will give it to us or we will take it.”

“Ahhh…”  She stirred her stew.  “So, you’ve finally come to take this burden from my shoulders.  About bleeding time.”  Leaning forward, she withdrew a leather pouch from around her neck and offered it to Tryst.

He reached for it without hesitation and a flash of light momentarily blinded them.  When they could see again, they floated in open ocean without any land in sight.

“Wind and Wave what in the hells was that?”  Callindra said, “How are we going to get out of here?”

“Amazing.”  Cronos breathed in awe, “It was just an illusion.  An illusion so perfect that we could actually touch it.  If I hadn’t just seen it I would never have believed it.”

“Great.  How does that get us out of the water you idiot?”  Callindra shouted, her exclamation spoiled by a wave splashing playfully in her face.

“I think the sun is setting.”  Tryst said, worry tinging his voice.  “This could be very bad.  Very, very bad.”

As though summoned by his words, the sun fell behind the horizon and a huge ship crested the horizon all in the same moment, crashing across the modified Longboat that had been moored to the island and breaking it into kindling.  It was so massive that it filled their vision and swept them apart.  Callindra grabbed Cronos’s wrist as she watched Vilhylm and Tryst disappearing on the other side of the bow wave.

“Damn!”  She shouted, “We’ve lost them!”

“They aren’t stupid, they’ll get on the ship.”  Cronos growled, “Stop whining and help me climb!”

She looked over and saw that he had grabbed the anchor chain.  As the ship swept forward, she held on tightly and allowed herself to be pulled to the side of the ship.  Once she had grabbed onto the ancient barnacle encrusted planks, Cronos let her go and they clambered up the sides of the ship together.

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