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Author's Note:
Part 5 of the Edendorn series featuring the Blind Bowman character created by the artist John Lynch. Comments appreciated regarding content, flow, grammar and punctuation mistakes or anything else you may notice. Thanks in advance. Mick.


Rumble Under Edendorn

The blind bowman scanned the area and located nineteen Wisps as well as the water elemancer Mareena surrounding him. Although the water elementals were transparent in visible light, the bowman's super sense of hearing could profile them in shape and form like a dolphin or bat. They were hominoid forms, but their heads were fishlike with large open holes for mouths and large circular eyes on either side of a bulbous head. They stayed in vapour form until they were ready to strike when they could extend an appendage into solid ice form and use an arm as an extended sword or disengage it as a spear whereupon another arm would regenerate from the water vapour in the surrounding air.

A fury was building within the mass of man-muscle. His hand was stuck to the arrow and it in turn was frozen solid to the stone floor. The behemoth considered pulling his hand free, maybe snapping the arrow and sacrificing the skin of one hand. But though he had the strength, the cold had penetrated below his thick dermis and the bowman knew he would suffer some major structural damage to his prodigious digits. This position of "stalemate" infuriated the bowman to such an extent his bronze skin began to pulse a reddish hue.

Every fibre tensed and muscle bulged upon muscle as his teeth gritted and ground in exasperation. The bowman threw back his head and unleashed a deafening bellow from his mighty throat, which resounded throughout the massive amphitheatre.

"AaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggGGGGGHHHH!"

*

*

*

Marshall Urgan looked out across the golden spires and turrets of the city of tombs as the deep roar rumbled and echoed. The Sofian warlord spied two figures standing between the tombs. He shouted to gain the attention of the Terrikan mercenaries dressed in brown skin hide skirts and metal helmets, and pointed towards the quarry on the cavern floor below. The short stout warriors brandished a range of close range weapons such as swords, axes, mallets and knives, while others had carried lance and spear and some bow and arrow. The tracker Sufu wore a small crossbow slung over his back, but the water bearers were unarmed except for small knives. Marshall himself wore a long sword on his belt and carried thirteen knives and half dozen throwing stars.

Marshall urged them on as they reached the base of the stairs. "Kill the men. Bring the children back alive. Double pay to the man who slays the giant. Go." He said. As the men jogged past he looked up at the fabled City at the Centre of the Sun.

"I'm going to be famous." He said smiling. Then noticing the tracker by his side he turned his attention to the gnarled figure beside him. "What Sufu?"

"The jalugar. I need him alive. " He scraped the ground with his foot as if ready to charge, never once looking at the face of the Marshall.

"That is not part of the Sofian plans Sufu."

"But you promised me my revenge Marshall. The Emperor will never know."

Marshall Urgan turned his steely gaze towards the small tribesman. "It is not the Emperor I'm worried about. Go then. But be quick about it. I will not wait for you Sufu."

*

*

*

Alexia, daughter of Duke Fiorello and Lady Pintine and clutched at the leg of Chi, the tall dark-haired foreigner. First they had lost her brother Hallion, sucked through the earthen walls when a rock creature had grabbed him, then the giant bowman had run off in pursuit. They had lost the jalugar Zurvan as well, who seemed to have just disappeared, somewhere ahead of them. Now they were cut off from the others by an invisible barrier of air, created by one of the elemancers.

Alexia heard shouts behind them and turned to see a large group of warriors descending the long staircase that wound around the walls of the massive circular chamber that contained the tombs of ancient Edendorn, a place known as the City at the Centre of the Sun. Alexia could tell from their raised voices and the glint of metal helmets and gleam of swords that they had been spotted. She was about to warn Chi who was standing at the air barrier pushing and rubbing his hand along it's length and breath, searching like a dog for a way through. Suddenly Chi stopped and pointed.

"Is that Zurvan?" He said pointing upwards between the spires and temples of the underground city of the dead. The prostrate figure of the Bird master floated mid-air. His head and arms and legs dangled loosely as though being carried by unseen arms. He slid upward noiselessly towards the saucer section of the Sola Falray and disappeared through a window.

"Chi!" Alexia said tugging on his shirtsleeves and looking back over her shoulder. The group had disappeared below the tombs and mausoleums that were spread in concentric circles across the floor of the cavern. She could hear their feet drumming on the stone floor. "They are coming." Alexia whispered her eyes wide and white with fear, expecting at any moment for the short squat warriors to round the corner.

*

*

*

"My. My. We are a noisy beast aren't we?" Mareena stepped forward and waved a finger calling a Wisp warrior forward. An ice sword formed with a steaming hiss across Bowman's throat.

"You have taken too many of my Wisps, bowhunter." Mareena fixed him with an icy glare and flicked a water droplet from her fingertip at the half-crouched figure. It froze mid-air into a little dart and hit the bowman in the vacant eye socket, piercing the thin veil of his purple bandana. His body rumbled in a low growl in response as a bubble of blood welled out and slid down the hood. Suddenly he stopped. The bowman had picked up three nimble moving bodies closing in on their position fast.

"A major inconvenience let me tell you." Mareena flicked her blue hair back and stood with one hand on her hip, "Why did Naas give you that flame spell for your bow, hey? Tell me that and I might go easy on you big fella?" Mareena let another droplet form and was about to send it across the few feet between them when a figure darted across her peripheral vision.

For a moment the water mancer turned her attention towards the Spark which had stopped to regard them from atop one of the stone warriors guarding one of the royal tombs. The dark red body steamed and hissed. In that moment the bowman chose to act, flexing his throat muscles and pushing against the rapier edge ice-sword with great concentration and force until it snapped and exploded into smithereens.

Two wisps transformed to solid form and grabbed the archer's bow which he let go and in the same moment slammed his left fist into the stone floor with a tremendous blow which crunched the stone under his fist to dust and sent cracks throughout the stone tile. Now he was able to raise his right hand still stuck to the arrow and part of the stone floor, which came away with it. But at least he was free to move. He lifted the arrow and stone tile as an ice spear came sailing towards him and it shattered on impact. The bowman swung around aiming the stone chunk at the heads of the two wisps holding his bow and then jumped back. The wisp's fishlike heads shattered into fragments but then instantly reformed. A moment later they transformed to gas and the bow fell to the ground and the wisp pair charged on the bowman, each with dual ice sword arms windmilling the air.

Mareena flicked the water droplet in anger at the Spark who skipped away nimbly and then sped down to jump and cling to the stone tile affixed to the end of the bowman's arrow and arm. The Spark exhaled his hot breath on the arrow and in moments the bowman felt his fingers warming again and the arrow began to slide free, just as another dart from Mareena hit the Spark. It fell to the floor spinning and fizzling like a sparkler before bursting apart into a chunk of hot lava. Behind him the two wisps advanced steadily swinging their razor sharp ice sword arms around in rapid rotations.

*

*

*

Zurvan awoke in a round room awash with a blue light. He lay on a circular sheet that seemed to be floating on a cushioned mattress of air. The jalugar tried to slide to the edge of the bed but the sheet slid with him so no matter which way he went he always remained in the centre. Blue drapes were on the walls and a breeze seemed to keep them astir. Zurvan heard a woman's laughter, carried on the air as if from a great distance.

There was a window, through which Zurvan could see the outside chamber but whenever he tried to move towards it the sheet began to spin him the other way. The laughing got louder and Zurvan became disoriented and fell backwards onto the sheet.

As he did, the blue bodied Air-mancer appeared above him floating suspended above his body. He was about to speak when her long tongue flicked out and licked the side of his cheek. The elemancerís hair seemed to act like extra appendages. The snow white locks flickered and flew at Zurvanís face and body, caressing it and the strange orange eyes of Valeris flashed with mischievous delight as she laughed again and blinked out of sight again.

*

*

*

The windmilling wisps were almost upon the bowman who faced the water mancer who seemed to be looking past and all around the massive figure as though expecting someone to step out from behind him. Suddenly the two wisps burst apart just as they were upon the bowman and the shattered into transparent fragments which rained upon the broad bronzed back of the bowman. Two piles of lava hissed and gurgled on the ground where the two sparks had sacrificed themselves by attacking the wisps and the union of fire and water elementals had ended their brief existences upon contact.

Mareena clutched at her hair and shrieked wildly "NAAS! You two-faced scum. Come out and face me." She momentarily forgot about the bowman who turned and collected his bow and loaded the arrow as another ice spear sliced his shoulder in a glancing blow.

The bowman turned and aimed at the wisp who disappeared from all but the Bowman's radar and then burst into glassy fragments as the flaming arrow caught him in the temple and stuck momentarily before extinguishing the flame and the wisp's life and falling free to the floor. The bowman turned on Mareena but she cast an ice shield around herself and ducked away behind the silent stone figures on death-watch around the glimmering buildings.

The bowman took aim at another wisp trying to move up on him but then something else on his radar distracted him and turning he shot an arrow up into the air that arced over the buildings to be lost from sight. The wisp seized the opportunity to advance but as the bowman raised and reloaded another arrow, the wisp exploded of it's own accord before he could shoot. Naas stepped out from behind the wisp. He nodded at the bowman and then set off after the water elemancer as the Bowman headed back towards the other members of the party.

*

*

*

Elsewhere under the foundations of the city of tombs in the earth-elemancer's den, Elrok watched as the effects of the elixir began to show on Hallion, nephew of the king of New Edendorn. The rectangular shaped chamber was lit with a reddish illumination and maroon drapes lined the room. Large wooden tables and benches lined the walls. Elrok and Hallion were seated in plush armchairs next to the table, the grand dimensions of the red leather chair dwarfing the young boy.

Elrok held up a clay goblet containing the elixir and regarded it thoughtfully with an incline of his head. He spun it one way and then the other.

"You know there is something you might be able to help me with my little lord."

Elrok noticed the dilation in the young boy's eyes and his dark skin had paled.

"I understand from my sources that you were held hostage by the Sofian Emperor Kiata. More-so that the emperor is a feeble old man and it is his new wife the Empress Artaga who pulls the strings now. She wanted to exchange you for a certain Sofian diplomat who has been imprisoned by the house of Edendorn, awaiting trial for spying, no?"

Elrok seemed more interested in his own cup as he continued speaking and Hallion relaxed back into the luxurious chair, feeling very loose and distant from the world as if in a lucid dream.

"I know that the bowman and a jalugar are helping you." The elemancer was continuing. He seemed a friendly fellow, Hallion thought to himself.

"The jalugar are a caste who are known to help strangers, but be warned my young friend, this blind bowman you have befriended never acts unless there is some benefit to himself."

Elrok leant over and grabbed the arms of the other armchair and pulled it closer to his own. Hallion smiled back at the gentle face of the elemancer as the dark haired figure stared directly into his eyes. The earth mancer dropped an octave in tone and there was a menacing edge to his voice.

"Now my young lord, the thing I am wondering about and thinking you can help me with is this other character, this foreigner in your party? I have a... a source who believes he holds some secret knowledge. Tell me everything about this fellow who wears this strange grey uniform of a soldier. "

The elemancer's brows knitted together and Hallion could feel a compulsion pulling him towards the mancer, as though some unseen force was drawing every part of his body forward. Indeed Hallion would have sworn the walls were getting closer and this was further reinforced when he heard the scraping of the table legs as the walls pushed them across the floor.

The young boy fought determinedly not to speak gritting his teeth but he could feel his will slipping and the elemancer's compulsion rumbling through his body. He tried to think of something else but he couldn't help but utter out Chi's name and then bit down on his tongue drawing blood. Remembering the song he had been singing earlier Hallion began humming.

*

*

*

Chi was still looking at the Sola Falray where Zurvan had disappeared and leaning against the air barrier when it suddenly vanished and he and Alexia gripping his shirtsleeve stumbled forward. Looking back over his shoulder, Chi saw the band of warriors round the corner and then spying them they set off towards them at a sprint.

"Come on." Chi said setting off up the steps of the Temple of Kiami, half dragging the young girl up the steps of white half-pyramid. They had only gone a short distance when the first of the warriors was upon them brandishing his axe.

Chi saw a small window in the temple and quickly pushed Alexis through and then realising it was too small for him he drew his knife, itself looking tiny against the henchman's double handled axe. The broad-faced warrior snarled and swung the axe, but Chi jumped and using the advantage of being on the higher step landed on the axe handle pinning it beneath him. He kicked out catching the warrior under the jaw as the warrior groaned and his helmet flew off and he tumbled backwards knocking another of the advancing warriors back down the stairs of the temple with him.

Three more warriors soon surrounded Chi as he picked up the double-handed battle- axe and swung it around him keeping them momentarily at bay. Then he buckled and grimaced as a spear was loosed from below and pierced his right thigh. Flesh and muscle shredded and the tip broke free out through his hamstrung bringing him to his knees with a groan. Alexia screamed as one of the warriors raised his sword and was about to bring it down on the neck of Chi as he fell forward.

With a thud the bowman's arrow landed in the man's spine and he stood wide-eyed and frozen before he toppled and tumbled locked in his raised arm state breaking bones with each landing on the rough stones steps. He landed on the floor at the base of the temple and was still. The two warriors close to Chi looked in the direction the arrow had been delivered, but no-one was there. In fact it seemed to have come down from a great height. They turned their attention back to the foreigner Chi just as he pulled the spear free from his thigh spurting blood from the huge wound and drove it straight through the heart of the warrior on the left. The other man, also caught by surprise was struck under the ribs by the heavy battleaxe as Chi drew upon inner reserves of strength to backhand the axe in the same movement while driving the spear through the other man. Both men swung feebly as they fell backwards.

Chi doubled over in pain and looked down as the majority of the party arrived at the base of the temple and began to ascend towards him. There were at least thirty of them. Chi leant back against the step and dragged himself onto the next level. Alexia called out to him and he could see her extended arms, but he could not fit through the small opening and neither could the warriors so he felt she would be safe.

Chi rolled over and hoisted himself up onto his good leg. He gripped the battle-axe in one hand and then fell forward to lean upon it as a wave of pain and nausea overwhelmed him. He blinked and in a moment they were upon him and Chi felt the cold steel blade slice into his stomach and he fell forward into a pool of red clutching his open wound. The blood stained the white stairs of the temple as it rolled smoothly to the edge of the stone and oozed down to the next level.


------
Like the grasses showing tender faces to each other, thus should we do, for this was the wish of the Grandfathers of the World.

Black Elk




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Comments

The following comments are for "Rumble Under Edendorn"
by smithy

Okay Mick
You can count on me with regards to spellings and punctuations (including apostrophes and esses) but not when it comes to grammar. I am reading this now. Comments should come tomorrow.

Cheers and well done for creating the series up to this part! *Peter*

( Posted by: PETERPAULINO [Member] On: October 23, 2004 )

thanx peter
Thanks Peter,
I can already see some missing words but I'll wait a while to edit it so anything you notice is appreciated. Cheers mick

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: October 23, 2004 )

MIck
Oh, just a few it's that are ought to be its, I'm sure you already noticed. I complain that the part of Valeris is very short here, I am becoming more interested in her character. Well of course Elrok is becoming my favorite, you described him here in a manner that you seemed to know I will enjoy. Still his mystery and his probably becoming a villain keeps me at bay, praying for poor Hallion. I loved how you thought about the 'wisps' creatures and made them invisible by turning themselves into vapor, very intelligent, I'll be damned if any other writer has already thought of this one. So far, none yet in my fantasy reading experience.

Oh wait, one redundancy though: Elsewhere under the foundations of the city of tombs in the *earth-elemancer's* den/ I don't really know but you usually refer to Elrok as the earth mancer or the elemancer, never as earth-elemancer, correct me if I'm wrong. And for me, I wouldn't use name Mareena for the water mancer, because although there's a variation in the spelling, the name had been frequently used for a sea/water related character. I liked Valeris' name and the names of all the rest.

Goodness, how can you get better feedback from me if I am already a fan?

( Posted by: PETERPAULINO [Member] On: October 25, 2004 )

thanks peter
For your time and attention. I agree Mareena doesn't seem too far from Marina and I'm thinking maybe Orianda. I tend to consider the four elemental magicians are elemancers or mancers who use the elementals. I'll have to define it clearer. The name mancer will mean a sorcerer and elemancer will be those sorcerers who use the elementals - earth, air, fire and water. Yes, Valeris's part was short and I was hoping to fit in a bit more but I didn't want to make the chapter too long. Maybe little snippets are tantalising too. What is she up to? ;) Thanks peter. I'll probably give it a revamp in the next couple of weeks and if I make any major changes I'll let you know. Maybe I should write a blog asking for water elemancer names? Cheers thanks peter.
smithy

( Posted by: smithy [Member] On: October 25, 2004 )





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