And Then There Were Two
May 2, 2016
After Stalker killed Shadowknife and then flew off to attempt to enlist the Lava Dragons for The Darken instead of fighting against him, Jack slumped against the wall and just struggled to breath and take in how screwed over they were. Tynilia’s still form still breathed from under his cloak. The wound on the top of her head had closed, but the severe swelling remained visible in the muted light created by the river of lava rushing below the ledge.
Jack paced the narrow ledge for a moment just trying to think. He strained his mind searching for an answer. Focusing on himself, he attempted to ascertain how much of his mystic strength remained. He’d become a snake twice and had healed Tynilia as well. Healing her further would leave him dangerously low in Ki, but also every moment they wasted gave Stalker a greater chance of completing the mission they had all came to accomplish.
Who knew if the Lava Dragons could be convinced to do anything or if they were even real, but with their help, the forces of humanity might have at least stood a chance against the Armies of Darken. If they joined with Darken, there would be no remaining hope. This world Jack found himself on would fall and become another planet held within the grips of Vile Darken.
Making up his mind, he crouched next to Tynilia. Despite the possible risks of depleting his Ki, only Tynilia had the ability to fly and he would also need her help. She was the only ally he had left.
Deep green lights flowed from his fingers and seeped into his lover. She woke with a gasp and regarded him with wide brown eyes.
“Jack, by the Mirror, what happened?” She looked around. “Thanks for saving me. You did save me didn’t you?” After his nod, she sat up with his help. “Where are the others?”
After he filled her in on Stalker’s murder and then ultimate betrayal, she got to her feet as a stream of curses burned his ears. “That worthless fungus slime. My village wouldn’t agree to his betrayal, Jack I swear it.”
“They won’t have to make that choice when my axe splits his skull. But we need to get moving. We have no idea about these Lava Dragons, but if he gains their alliance before we reach them…”
Tynilia set her jaw and he’d never seen her look more determined. They spent a minute gathering their gear, but then, without a word, she wrapped her arms around him and they flew up to the tunnel Stalker had so recently entered.
The tunnel became a mix of ice and stone, but once might have been created by some life form. In places the ice had grown to almost cut off the corridor, but in others, huge jets of lava had pushed through creating giant open areas. The journey proved to be a strange mix of light and darkness. They would travel in darkness for hundreds of yards through the warm and humid passages, but then have their way illuminated by jets or rivers of lava passing under the tunnel.
After traveling for half an hour, they heard a roaring sound as the tunnel shook under their feet. Jack grabbed Tynilia’s slight form as icy skull sized rocks tumbled into the corridor. Jack winced as one smashed him in the left shoulder. He felt the warmth of his own blood trickling down his chest as he clung to Tynilia until the shaking ceased.
“I’m not sure if that might be a good or bad sign,” he said.
She remained silent as her frozen face looked up at him.
He held her hand and led her forward. “Might as well get this over with.” She nodded and followed him into another stretch of darkness.
Twenty more minutes passed before a dull glow began to be seen before them. It increased in brightness quickly and before long they determined that the tunnel opened into a large cavern ahead.
“This could be it,” he whispered.
They hadn’t made it much further when they saw a shape centered in the middle of the passage. It appeared to be smoking.
“Stay here,” Jack said, as he crept toward the shape. She ignored him and stayed on his heels.
Wisps of smoke still lifted away from it and a growing heat reached Jack. The cavern itself had raised the ambient temperature of the tunnel to easily over a hundred degrees.
The shape had been revenged by an incredible heat or fire, but Jack recognized some of the obsidian jewelry. There remained little doubt the shape was Stalker and he was quite dead.
Tynilia gave a little gasp, but before she had finished she drew back in a scream as a shadow fell across the tunnel.
Jack looked up to see a titanic creature larger than a skyscraper looming over them. The Lava dragon radiated heat like a furnace and glared down at them with eyes the size of the house Jack grew up in.
He stumbled a step back into Tynilia as it opened its mouth and they both looked on in horror as a colossal fire grew there as it sucked in a huge lungful of air.
Come back next Monday to see if Jack and his allies can somehow survive.