Insignia Chapter 9: Amassing an Army Part 1
After that dream the days seemed to fly by and eventually I forgot about it. My life gradually aquired a routine. I would wake up, eat breakfast, practice armor summoning and then spar with Abram. He said I was a natural with any sword and to confirm that he had me spar with many different blade of all shapes and sizes. I found it so easy to adjust my stance to each blade and I quickly figured out the forms in which each sword was best used in. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't match Abram's speed or strength. He has been a ring bearer for fifty years he told me and his body was already adapted to the rings increase in power. He also said that after I adapted he was sure I would out class him in swordsmanship. Then after we sparred I went to the bathing room. I cleaned up and dressed in fresh clothes. Then i went to the same clearing as the one I witnessed Erin doing the Frev'la where she always was waiting for me. There she would teach me Dragon's tongue and often have me attempt to use the words I knew to make a specific action. Such as lighting fire to a single leaf and not the whole tree. Let's just say there are a lot of burnt trees in the woods. Commanding magic was much harder than I had expected. Sometimes you'd say a phrase thinking it would do something certain but then it would do something so odd you wondered how the words you spoke could cause that. There was this time and I was attempting to turn this rock into steel as Erin had instructed. So I thought for a long while and said three words. I said Woh' which meant life. Then I said Vers' which meant change. For the last word I said Tul' which meant metal. As I spoke the phrase the rock began to tremble then it lifted in to the air. And for a moment it just levitated. Then all of the sudden it turned metal and then two beady little eyes opened on the rock, Then it grew little legs and fell to the ground. It gave us a curious look and ran off into the forest. The event was so odd I just sat there dumbstruck. I looked at Erin with a confused look and she just shrugged her shoulders and burst out laughing. I couldn't help but laugh my self.
After we would finish our magic training occasionally we'd lay under the stars together and I'd tell her stories about the constellations as father had once told me. She always listened without interrupting. This went on for six months or so, and in that entire time Delilah never spoke to me or even looked at me. We'd walk past each other in the castle sometimes and it seemed to her I was non existent. I made efforts to attempt to talk to her but any time It would even seem like I was going toward her she'd go out if her way to avoid me. After a while I gave up trying to talk to her and I couldn't help but notice a hole in my heart. Although the hole began to be filled by Erin as we grew closer and closer. Erin and I had started spending any free time we had with each other walking along the beach talking of our lives and beliefs, eating together in the kitchen, and exploring what we found out was the enormous island we came to call home. There were creatures of all sorts among the island. Erin told me the names of all the creatures I didn't know about and said they revealed them selves to us because they saw me as a beacon of hope. Throughout the forest we saw alicorns grazing, a hippogriff nest with two giant eggs and on a rare occasion we through we spotted a griffin in the sky. Through out the six months races of all sorts began to show up to the island. Soon our uninhabited island became a bustling hotspot for magical races and creatures alike. Erin told me that some races had feuds with one another but they had set aside their differences at least for the time being to help us battle Suntoex. There were such a variety of races and creatures that It would've taken hours to name them all. A few races stood out from the others though such as the centaurs who were always rowdy and drinking. Then there were the Aurans who resembled predator birds such as Hawks eagles and even owls. They were the most refined race and fought only with their sharp talons and beaks. They stood on two legs as humans but their knees were angled and faced the opposite direction, and Wings emerged from the back of their feathered bodies, but The most peculiar of the races was definitely the Lorgruns. They resembled humanoid insects. Looking any where from a grasshopper to a beetle. The could speak common but often had trouble chosing the correct words or understanding certain words. They also spoke in odd accents. One of them came up to me whilst I was gathering energy to summon my armor he resembled a mantis. He just sat patiently watching until I was finished. I couldn't help but watch him. He moved off in pulse cleaning his antennas over and over, and looking around moving his heard with quick jerky movements. Then once I had finished he strolled up to me and spoke.
"My name Telsorfrensugothis, you call me Telsor. We haf' come, help you kill evil Sun. I king of Lorgruns swear us, to you. Great Griffin." After that he stuck his spike arm toward me and I shook it. Then he jerked his body around and lept through the air soaring over the trees and out of sight.
Over the six months sustaining my armor became easier and easier. It got to the point once I had it summoned i felt as though I could keep it sustained forever. I even had learned to summon it with out assuming the stance Abram taught me. Then Abram came to me after breakfast one morning.
"You've mastered sustaining your armor for long periods of time and you've even mastered summoning without using the stance. Now we're done with that part of training. From here on out you'll have more free time and we'll only spar, but our sparring will be different, and once we get out there I'll show you how." So we made our way out the patch of ground that used to be green with grass but had been stamped down to dirt from sparring everyday. Then suddenly in a flash of light Abram summoned his armor. This was odd because he had never done do before. His armor was white as snow except for the streaks of gray that cut down his armor. His head was that of a tiger and his shoulders resembled the paws. The from inside his helm he spoke.
"Now summon your armor." I did as he said and in a flash similar to the one I had just witnessed my armor appeared. When you wore the Armor it felt weight less but you could still feel it on your skin, it felt warm and gave you a sense of security. Abram drew his weapon and as I drew mine in response as had become our tradition, but he put up his hand and shook his head.
"Put your blade away for now. I want you to see something." I did as he said and then he continued. " I'm going to swing my blade at your chest. Do not move or block." A sense of alarm rang out in my head. What? Why on Salaria would I just let him hit me full force with his sword. He'll kill me.
"Are you crazy? You'll-" before I could finish his sword slice across my chest with insane force, but it didn't knock me down or cut me. It didn't even scratch my armor. All that happened was a slid back about ten feet. Then suddenly I felt a drop in my strength.
"I can tell you feel it. That's what is known as rebound. It's what happens when your armor is struck directly draining your strength. To many hits to your armor and it'll drain all your strength and your armor will fade. From now on when we're sparing it'll be full force and we'll be trying to deplete each other's strength. You may have mastered sustaining your armor but even those who could truly sustain their armor forever had trouble keeping their armor up after taking direct hits."
"How man hits does it take to drain your strength?"
"That depends on two things. How strong the blow delivered was and how strong the soul fighter is. An attack from the average man against even the weakest of soul fighters could take well over a hundred direct hits, but say if I were to hit another soul fighter of equal skill. I'd say it'd take about five to six hits. Anyhow this is how we will train from now on. We'll spar until mine or your strength is depleted."
I nodded my head then drew my blade. We clashed for hours. I never seemed to land any hits on Abram but every so often he would strike my armor and with every hit I could feel my strength waning. Until finally we were starring at each other circling mimicking each other's every move. Then I tensed and charged for an attack. Abram was ready and when I brought my blade down in it's diagonal slice he dodged the swing completely forcing me to fall forward from the momentum. Then from behind he attacked so fast and powerful when he hit my back my breathe left me lungs, my armor faded and I went from standing to laying face first in the dirt so fast I had no idea which direction was up.
"Very good for the first day." He said allowing his armor to fade. We'll continue on with this training until you defeat me." Then he left me to lay in the dirt. I coughed and sat up right. I could feel where he struck me on my back already beginning to bruise and I could feel all my muscles crying out from the exhaustion. After resting for a minute I began to make my way through the many camps that had been erected since everyone had begun to show up. As I walked up the winding marble stair pathway I saw Erin sitting on the top step in front of the castle. Today she wore an elegant green dress that matched the grass and trees. Once she saw me coming she stood and began to smile as I did. Once I reached her she smiled her perfect smile and said.
"We won't be learning Dragon's tongue today. I have something else in mind. After you get washed up meet me in the clearing."
"Ok, what's going on?" I asked.
"You'll see." She said with a smile and walked off. How odd even though I knew so much about the Dragon's tongue I still had so much to learn. What could it be that she was calling off the lesson today? The urge to want to know gave my body knew strength and drove me forward. I quickly made my way to the bathing room and washed as quickly as I could. I redressed and made my way outside. It was dark already by the time I made it outside the castle. I guess I spent longer sparring than I had thought. It was hard to see around behind the castle because of the dark but I knew the way by heart, and Erin and I had walked a trail into the ground leading to the clearing. So I made my way to the clearing and I got there and couldn't see anything.
"Erin?" I called into the darkness. Then suddenly orbs of light hovered above clearing revealing Erin. She stood in the center of the clearing eyes closed looking toward the moon. Arms shaped in a V across her body and she was standing on her tip toes of one leg with the other out stretched, and she wore a long dark crimson dress I had never seen before. It was so elegant and beautiful and complimented her features so well. She didn't where shoes I could tell because the tips of her outstretched toes peeked from the bottom of the dress. As I stood there admiring her figure her eyes popped open and she began to perform Frev'la but unlike anything I had ever seen her dance before, and I had seen her dance many times. She moved so beautifully with such fluent motions. By the time she had finished tears were rolling from my eyes. She looked at me and cocked her head to the side.
"Did you not enjoy my dance?" She asked.
"I did." I answered.
"Then why do you cry?"
"That was so beautiful Erin, I couldn't help but cry."
She gave me a smile and for the second time since I've known her she blushed.
"I'm glad you liked it... I made the dance for you.."
"Erin.. that's.. thank you.."
"I call it The Griffin's Flight." She saying walking up to me.
"That's a wonderful name for it I think you sho-" she cut me off.
"Gael, when I told your fortune so many months ago. I was very vague about what I saw, and not entirely truthful either."
"How's that?" I asked.
"You're future was not what I had expected.. it contains much conflict and it will try you to your limit, and not only that.. your heart will be attacked as well. Something I've grown to dread happening Gael." Then unexpectedly she grabbed my hand and laced her fingers through mine. "I don't want anything to happen to you Gael.. that's why I brought you here tonight. I l-" Suddenly a female screamed out and then the alarm horns blew signaling an attack. I turned away from Erin towards the sounds.
"I'll have to go help Erin. We'll talk more la-" she grabbed my face and pressed her lips against mine. Then she put her forehead to mine.
"Be careful Gael. Please." She released me and in a bright flash I summoned my armor and took off towards the noise. I arrive at the castle and saw that a battle was taking place amongst the camps. Metal clashed and war cries rang out into the night. I couldn't quite tell the difference between friend and foe. Each combatant look as odd as the next and mythical creatures were thrown into the mix it was all just to hard to tell what was going on in the darkness.
"ILL' TERA" Light the earth. I bellowed out. Then a massive ball of light appeared above the battlefield illuminating the faces of those in mortal combat. Just then everyone stopped for a moment confused by what lit up the sky. Then I could tell who the enemies were. Minotaurs, orcs, ogres, and many more monsters attacked our camp. I drew Chang'e and charged the nearest minotaur who was fighting an elf man. I ran my sword through it's back and then kicked it off my blade. As it fell dead to the ground the elf man nodded at me and then charged towards another monster. I felt something strike my shoulder and my strength drained slightly. I looked to see what had hit me. An intact arrow lay on the ground. I looked around and spotted the Archer. It was a female orc in one of the guard towers that had been built, you could tell it was female because they were skinnier and had breasted armor. She looked at me in confusion. Then she knocked another arrow. I put my hand up and thought Dro' or shield. The orc seemed to laugh then she fired the arrow and it stopped in mid air inches from my hand. The orc woman's eyes widened in surprise and her jaw dropped. Cul' I thought and the arrow turned and faster than any bow could fire, the arrow shot straight through the orc woman flying far past her body. She looked down were the arrow had pierced her skin and the she fell from the tower she sat in. I reached down and grabbed the other arrow that lay at my feet. That could come in handy so I placed in behind my back in my pants line. Just then a roar emanated from the sky and Eldran landed with such force the island shook. Dritre hopped off his head attacking the nearest creature with his sword and shield as Eldran began to tear through the enemies forces. At the sight of Eldran the most of the monsters began to run back to their ships. All except for the ogres and the bravest of orcs kept fighting. Right then I saw Telsor leap from the trees and to the back of an ogre. With three quick stabs of his spike like appendages the ogre fell and with lightning speed he ran from enemy to enemy killing one after another. All while uncontrollably washing his antennas.
"GAEL! HELP!" I turned to see the woman from the library holding Delilah with her blade to Delilah's throat. Tears were rolling down her cheeks. She mouthed help me. Then the woman spoke.
"Come with me Gael. Set down your sword and release your amor."
Delilah... I did as she said dropping my sword and letting my armor faded.
"Good.. now follow me." She said as she started to walk around the side of the castle. No one else must've noticed what was going on because no one seemed to notice this woman walking with Delilah. I followed her to the side of the castle where the light didn't shine and it was pitch black. From the darkness a voice came.
"Put her down Falko." It was Abram. The woman made a hand gestures and a tiny ball of light floated in front of her revealing Abram in his armor. He had claws extended from his paw like gauntlets.
"Ah, Abram. I thought you were still alive. Now why would I give up the one thing that can control the boy?"
"Do it Falko. Or else." A growl coming from Abram.
"I think I choose or else." Falko said.
Then there was some scratching coming from the bushes to our left. We all looked over to see what is was when a shiny object flew from the bushes jumping on Falko's face giving Delilah enough time to escape. Abram ran forward and grabbed her pulling her to safety. Finally Falko grabbed what was attacking her face and threw it against the wall so hard the bricks cracked. Then she turned toward me.
"He didn't want you dead but it won't matter now." She reared her sword back then right before she swung a hawk shriek pierced the air and a blur of brownish-gold smashed into Falko with such force her armor faded all at once revealing a dark skinned woman with a mohawk and a scar that ran from temple to her collar bone. She stared in fright and screamed as the creature pecked it's beak into her face.