Demon Unit Ovihile
I could feel a soft warmth around myself. It was calming, and most of all, rather comforting. As I mired in it more and more, I realized that this warmth wasn't natural.
I wasn't in a bed anymore.
I wasn't even in Telarana anymore, either, if I had to guess.
I sat up, looking around the area.
I was floating in a field of random, bright, milky colors that swam in both the distance and right beside me.
"Where am I?" I asked, despite knowing that I wouldn't be answered.
"Glad you asked." Came a voice from the void.
I would have fallen over had I weighed anything in this place.
"Who's there?" I asked.
My voice was trembling with a mixture of fear and shock, but the voice quietly comforted me.
"Easy... easy... I'm Drake... I'm sure that you know who I am since you've been in Telarana." The voice responded happily.
As I listened more closely, the voice started to seem more and more like a type of music than speech itself. I racked my brain trying to figure out why I seemed to know that.
"Miana." I said, remembering the sound of her water magic from previous.
"Little Sis, eh? I'm pretty impressed that you've managed to piece it together already... you have figured it out... right?" He asked.
"You're... talking to me with magic?" I ventured.
"Atta girl! I knew I made a good choice with you... well done!" He said.
Part of me felt an intrinsic pride, having impressed someone who others seemed to openly revere. The other part of me seemed more interested in why he was here, why he was talking to me.
He seemed to be aware of my curiosity, and addressed it without me having to even speak.
"Right! To business then! Kira has been captured, as her and I planned... the only problem is that now I can't find her anywhere! I've used scrying magic for hours and nothing... to that end... when you awaken, do me a favor and tell Miana that I need her to send Aedo and Lyra to Endris at the eastern border." He said.
"You seem... surprisingly calm about this." I noticed.
"Of course. Kira and I planned for this to happen, just not the part about not being able to find her. She'll be fine, she went through a lot of training to resist all kinds of torture and poisons... so I'm not concerned about that... I just... worry about my family... that's all. Oh! Time's up! If you're bored out there, you should go with them to Endris!" He called.
I need to go back to sleep.
I woke slowly, opening my eyes with the hope that, this time, I'd be back in the Judeca. Thankfully, things seemed to be as normal as they could be.
Well... that was everything BUT the loud arguing that was more than audible from my room.
I lumbered out of bed, rubbing sleep from my eyes as I tried to listen to the words from behind my door.
"I'm sick and tired of you bastards here getting in my way! Telara as a whole has far too few military forces, not to mention the pathetic number of reserve troops in Telarana itself! That should be reason enough for us to institute a draft for the adult males of our country!" Came a harsh snarl.
"Rikur, we've been over this many times... you need yours, Drake's, and Queen Mara's approval to institute something as weighty as a draft, and neither of them feel that Telara is in any immediate danger... at least not in a way that requires us to act so rashly." Aedo's voice responded calmly.
I could hear Rikur splutter in frustration.
"That... that... TRICKSTER, knows nothing more than mere parlor tricks... he's no warrior! He wouldn't understand the nuances of building an army!"
The building shook, as though an earthquake had suddenly struck. As quickly as it came, though, it was gone, only leaving the vibrations of my bones to remind me of its existence.
"What MY master teaches are not mere "parlor tricks" Rikur. Master Drake's magic could wipe the entirety of Telarana from existence in a single moment. HE is the reason you can sleep soundly at night, because our enemies fear him so greatly that they wouldn't dare make an attempt to harm us for fear of his wrath."
"Now... unless you have another matter to discuss... I'd suggest you go cool off and remind yourself that while you are this nation's highest ranking military member, you are, in no uncertain terms, a SUBORDINATE to Master Drake and Queen Mara. They have both taken your opinion into account, and have decided that your measures are unnecessary."
"One day... an obstacle will appear that even the Lord Justicor won't be able to blast away with magic!" Rikur growled.
"Maybe... but for now, I will put every ounce of my faith behind his power. I suggest, in order to help you overcome your fear, that you do the same." Aedo said calmly.
More silence, then I heard the door to the Judeca slam shut, making me jump.
"Miss... Diza, was it? You should come down for breakfast. It won't do for you to stay in your room, eavesdropping all day, now would it?" Aedo called.
I leapt backwards, my foot knocking against a chair and sending me sprawling to the ground.
A knock at the door followed by Aedo's voice distracted me from rubbing my sore behind.
"Are you decent? Im coming in." He said.
The door opened, followed by the tall, Elven man entering the room with haste.
"Oh my! Are you alright?" He asked, offering his hand.
I nodded, taking it and letting him pull me up.
"What was that shaking I heard?" I asked.
"A spell... Earthen Wrath." He said. "Come, breakfast is ready, and the other two have already arrived." He told me, quickly changing the subject.
Aedo led me down the stairs and straight back to the door that I had first seen when I had entered the Judeca. Standing at nearly twenty feet, it didn't just look heavy, it looked immovable.
To his credit, though, he moved it with a hint of struggle, and we quickly made our way inside the room.
Well... when he told me that breakfast was ready, I wasn't expecting to be greeted with so much food.
A long, oak table adorned with a light blue tablecloth was situated in the center of the room.
Of course, the ridiculous amount of food resting atop it was the more interesting piece of the picture before me.
Baskets of fruit, an enormous platter of crepes, several dishes holding a number of different types of eggs, and three large platters each with a honey glazed ham resting atop it.
I could feel my stomach protesting the fact that I hadn't already begun eating, and quickly sat down at the table next to Miana after she patted her hand against the empty seat beside her.
"Good morning!" She giggled, setting a crepe down to address me warmly.
Lyra, who was busily stuffing in what Miana explained was her thirteenth plate of food, could only spare a moment to nod in my direction, saying something that was lost in the mouthful of food she had just shoveled in.
My abject terror at the notion that someone could eat so much must have been more than apparent, as both Miana and Aedo laughed at the look on my face.
"For us, a meal like this is more normal than you'd think, we've been trained to go for days, weeks even, without sleep. Eating like this is our only option if we want to stay anywhere near focused on long bouts without any rest." Aedo explained.
"Weeks?" I asked simply, taking two blueberry crepes from the platter before me, as well as a cluster of grapes from the bowl next to it.
All three of them nodded, but Miana was the one to elaborate.
"With there only being the five of us, not counting you now, there's a huge amount of work between us that needs to be done. In order to better serve the people of Telara... we sacrifice our sleep to get the job done not only correctly, but efficiently." She said.
I watched the three of them idly as they consumed nearly a third of the table's contents in less than fifteen minutes.
Thankfully, I didn't need such a copious amount of food, and was satisfied after I had polished off a slice of ham and the two crepes that I had taken previously.
After about an hour, the table was empty, having been picked clean by the ravenous trio. Aedo set about clearing the now barren dishes from the room, promptly refusing when I offered my assistance.
My dream with Drake last night came to mind, so, as he had requested, I informed Miana.
"Really? I swear, it's like he didn't think to use a different type of magic to contact us... he knows that Dream Invasion is basically worthless since we almost never sleep... then again... maybe he used it to get a moment to talk to you." She noted.
"Maybe... but what about Kira? Isn't anyone worried?" I asked, rather concerned about the others' apparent apathy.
"It's as Master Drake said, Kira is a big girl, she's Aedo's equal in magic, my equal in combat prowess, and Master Drake's equal in espionage and stealth... she's easily capable of taking care of herself... that being said... if he thinks we need to be there... I won't question him." Lyra said.
"As for you, Diza... if he thinks it's alright for you to go as well... then I suppose that it won't be any more difficult to work with you there... plus it may give you a better understanding of our duties as Justicors." She added.
"Could my going cause you problems? I asked cautiously.
"Only because you aren't currently capable of fighting on the same level as us... once you've been trained a little bit, I doubt we'll have to be so worried about you." Aedo explained.
A part of me had been wondering about something for a while, and the argument that Aedo had with Rikur only served to make me more curious.
"So... how strong is Master Drake?" I asked.
The dining room went dead silent, only broken a moment later by a light giggle from Miana.
"Oh my, I suppose if we talk him up so greatly, it wouldn't be too surprising that you'd be wondering." She said.
"Well... to be completely honest with you... none of us are perfectly certain of just how powerful Drake actually is... I WILL say that his most impressive showing was far beyond the capabilities of a common person... even beyond that of a Godkind or Dragonkind. But first... I'm curious... are you asking because of my argument with Rikur this morning?" Aedo asked.
"Very well... let me regale you with the short tale of the Battle of Mount Vulltein, or as the five of us refer to it... the Vulltein Massacre. As I'm sure you know, Telara's border and sheer size leave only a single area for non-Telaran convoys to pass through to get to the coast... the only option they have is a small, relatively new nation to the north known as Virun." He began.
"The previous King of Virun knew that should they be attacked by the other nations, they wouldn't last even if they were victorious in battle. So, in order to prevent their destruction, he attempted to befriend Queen Mara's father, our previous King." He continued.
"Surprisingly, the two grew to be quite good friends, and our King agreed to an unofficial alliance with Virun." He paused, looking to me to ensure that I was following, he returned to the tale after a nod.
"Eventually, however, our King passed away, and shortly thereafter, their King did as well. Tensions were high as citizens of both nations wondered whether the new Monarchs would enforce the alliance despite it not being a written agreement." He said.
"They didn't have to wait long, though." Miana said.
"Indeed they didn't... about a month after Queen Mara took the throne, an army from Endris was spotted marching towards Virun... without much hesitation, Queen Mara decided to send us, with Drake being the only one of us allowed to actually engage with the Endrisaran forces." He said.
"When we arrived... Queen Narea of Virun was horrified that we were there to tell her that Queen Mara wouldn't honor the alliance... and when we told her that Drake was there to protect her nation... well, I'm sure at first she wasn't very hopeful." He laughed.
"Well, her doubts didn't last long... but I'll admit that even the rest of us were a little concerned with the Queen's decision to only send Drake as military power." Lyra said.
"Right, we had seen Drake in battle before, and he was incredibly proficient when it came to combat... but at that point he had largely used melee weapons, so none of us expected him to have a chance against an entire army." He said.
"How many of them were there?" I asked.
"Oh... well the army itself was formed during peacetime... so at the size it had been, it was rather large... around ten thousand men... seventy-five hundred infantry, two thousand cavalry, and five hundred Wyvern Knights." He recounted.
"It didn't matter though. I doubt that they would have survived even if they had double that number." Lyra said grimly.
Taking the four of us, along with Queen Narea, to the top of a nearby mountain, Mount Vulltein, he waited until the advancing army was on the horizon, then did something none of us had ever anticipated." Aedo said.
"Now, as I said, up until that point, Drake had been using melee combat during battles, and any magic he HAD been using was smaller scale and essentially worthless against more than one person." Aedo paused again, looking to the others as though he was questioning whether telling me this was okay.
Both Miana and Lyra nodded silently.
"It's a difficult thing to explain... our bodies have senses that allow us to take in information about the world around us... so when something occurs that shouldn't happen... sometimes we can't really fight the urge to convince ourselves that it DIDN'T happen at all." He said.
"As we watched the army slowly advance, Drake lifted his hands into the air, and cast a spell... do you two remember what it was called?" He asked.
"Lightless Abyss." Miana said.
"Right... a forbidden spell... not forbidden because of fear of its use... but because using it is so taxing on the body, that it usually kills the one who uses it. Still, THAT was the spell that he cast... and..." Aedo's speech trailed off.
I was more than excited to hear the end, and, fortunately, Aedo finished the story.
"Lightless Abyss is an Ice School spell, meant to turn an area into pure ice... and that is exactly what it did... in the blink of an eye, we watched mile after mile of lush green grasslands turn pure white with freezing winds and ice." He said.
"Only one man had survived, and only because Drake wanted one of them to run back and tell their leader what had happened. The others had frozen so thoroughly that the Wyverns that fell from the sky shattered into dust as they hit the ground." Miana said. "The field of ice was rather pretty though!" She added with a giggle.
"We were all dumbfounded when we realized what Drake had done, even more so when he didn't even show signs of fatigue, let alone being close to death." Aedo remarked.
"Ever since then, Master Drake has been quite a bit more liberal with magic, using it for most things that he does." Lyra said.
I tried to imagine an entire prairie or grasslands being wiped away with a sheet of thick ice...
I shivered just thinking about it.
"So... do you think that there's any problem that Drake CAN'T blow away with magic?" I asked.
"If there is, it better not think that it can win just because his magic won't work... Drake is just as good a fighter as he is a mage." Miana laughed.
She stood to her feet and clapped her hands together.
"Alright you three! Stand so that I can give you your orders!" She commanded.
I stood up without thinking, keeping my eyes locked onto her.
"We're ready for our orders, General." Lyra said.
It took me a moment to register what she had said, but I couldn't help but exclaim when I did.
"You're a General?!" I said, dumbstruck.
"I am, subordinate only to the Lord Justicor himself, I am the Judeca's commanding officer in his absence." She said, and, with a wink, added: "I look forward to having you fulfill ALL of my commands, beautiful."
Before I could react to that, she snapped back into her commanding tone.
"Lyra, Aedo, Diza, correspondence with the Lord Justicor indicates thus: Our Sister-at-Arms, Kira has been captured, and although that was the intention, out ability to locate her has either been inhibited or current proves insufficient with a single person performing the reconnaissance." She said.
"As such, your orders are simple, go to Endris, locate and rendezvous with Drake, once you've done that, you will be under his command as per usual." She said.
I could feel my blood begin to boil with excitement. I was finally going to get to meet him.
A man who could destroy an army with a single spell.
The Lord Justicor of Telara, Drake Amorta.