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The Guardians of Embrellon – XX

They had been in the cave for six days, and Jazar told the men to get their gear together, they would leave tonight. The plan was to fly five hundred kilometers west, find a hiding place, then go south until they reached the tomb. All the men were a buzz. They knew the importance of where they were headed, the bracelets and the answer to the Marn had been found in a secret room in the tomb. Jazar wondered if there were more secrets to learn from that tomb. Their new weapons were there, what if there were more rooms with even greater wonders in it. Chrylos said he and Catya had found the map to Varna under the statue of Lantana and Braela. Whether he found anything or not, just being inside the place would be an honor. He was glad that they were going to the Tomb.
They arrived three days later. It was one thousand kilometers south of where they stopped the first night, and they had seen evidence of skirmishes along the way, some very recent. There were no signs the last two hundred kilometers, and there were no ships in the area that they could see. They arrived at daybreak and quickly all his men went into the cave, the entrance was well hidden and if Chrylos hadn’t told him what to look for he wouldn’t have found it. They entered the tomb and it was all aglow. All of the tanzite on their weapons, diadems, bracelets and necklaces started glowing and one of the new recruits had one of the new devices the Craft Masters had built, it was a simple Faron alloy rod, with one of the new crystals mounted on top. When one held it up, it would light up, and was like a torch but not heat or flame, just a light, a very, very, bright light.
He explored the cave. They would have time he didn’t plan to leave until the following night, and with some rest, and some time for the men to engage the new men, they would be on the ready. He went to the room where Chrylos and Catya found the bracelets, and after seeing the room, he started going to the back of the hallway, looking for hidden locks along the way. He found one, and inside were items similar to the crystal torch he carried, and there was writing on the wall that said to take the staffs, and use them well. There was a complete diagram and description of how to use them. They would focus the energy beam and allow the holder to maintain his shield, while firing the energy blast. He got excited, he took the diagram, the writing, and handed out to all his men one of the staffs, as well as packing all the rest. He continued looking for more rooms, but didn’t find any. He told Jatar that he was bringing his troops to the Great Temple, they would arrive two nights from now, and he had some exciting news, and something to give him.
He went outside just before dark and practicing what he read, held the rod out in from of him and concentrated on his shield, then, he pointed the rod at a tree one hundred meters away, and fired his energy blast. It cut a hole through the tree about three centimeters across, a perfect hole, and when he checked behind the tree, he found that the beam had cut through trees for another fifty meters. That would make their weapon outdistance the Marn weapon, and made the effort to hold the shield minimal. They mounted up and headed for home. This was a very good day indeed. This could change everything, it didn’t require the level of concentration that it took to use the shield and focus the energy to fire a blast, and it didn’t require focusing on which beam, you just had to think it. He took the staffs with him to show Jatar, what he needed to know was if the average Guardian could use them just as effectively.
They set out for the Great Temple, a two-day journey from the tomb, and the first night passed without incident, but it wasn’t a straight flight across the plains. They had to fly a southerly route to stay off the plains that stretched out between them and the temple. A two-day journey became a week when skirting the plains, and he couldn’t afford to get caught out in the open. When they came to the southern mountains that skirted the coast line, he felt safer, at least they could find shelter as they made their way. As they began to set up camp, they heard the sound of feet, and just as they turned, a squadron of Marn fired, they were caught unaware, and took heavy casualties. They got their shields up, but it didn’t matter, they got caught flat footed and the battle lasted for hours. The Marn were getting better at anticipating what they would do. In his excitement to get the staffs to Jatar, he hadn’t been as wary, the anticipation of a war changing weapon had overshadowed his senses. He paid the price for overconfidence, and it cost him dearly. They turned the battle and wiped out the Marn troops. He took inventory. Twenty-five dead, thirty wounded, his force was smaller now than before he got the reinforcements, and, most of the unwounded were green recruits. He was in a pickle. They needed to go, and he could get the wounded out, but he needed to bury the dead and that would take hours. With a heavy heart, he commanded the men to strip weapons and armor, pile up the bodies and burn them. When they lit the fire, they launched into the air, and flew as hard as the wounded could keep pace with.
He zigzagged across the mountains, adding days to the trip, battle after battle they fought on, repeatedly, burning the dead, stripping and caching armor and weapons, back and forth across the mountains, his force diminishing as they went. He had twenty men left who hadn’t been injured, and the wounded they kept up, and helped in the pitch of battle, but he lost wounded daily, he was desperate, he sent out two of his veteran Rangers, they were to go in different directions and try to get to Jatar and get help. He gave each one a map with locations of where they would head for the next few days, and he prayed that one of them would get to Jatar, and if it looked like they weren’t going to make it, to go to ground, and burn the map.
The days dragged on, they had been fighting and moving for months, his troops had recovered for the most part, he hadn’t sustained any casualties in several days, and they had been on the move now for six weeks. He didn’t know why he hadn’t received any help, but he didn’t have time to worry about it. They had gone to silence, no one on the link. Even his trusted Zavan couldn’t feel anyone but them on the link. To Jazar, hope was failing, they needed help, they needed fresh troops, and they needed word. The look of hopelessness on the faces of the men was plainly evident, the Skree seemed unaffected, but the men were suffering. He was suffering, what started out as a means of proving himself to his father, now became a failure to him. He had lost men, too many men, he had lost reinforcements, and now they were running through the mountains, barely ahead of the Marn pursuers, and he wondered what was going to happen to him and his men. Then with the breaking of morning, he looked up, and hope was renewed. Far off to the north, he saw Skree, he asked Zavan to look and see if it was Rangers, and Zavan shook his great head, and with what could only be called a smile, he simply said Tambar. He was shocked, he had seen Tambar, but never spoke to him, and why would the leader of the Free be coming to aid him when he had sent for Rangers. Tambar landed and walked up to him and said “Get your men mounted up, your close enough to get into the Homeland in an hour, and we are protected there. You and your men need to heal and regroup, we are here to take you there.” No Ranger had ever entered the Homeland in broad daylight, it was the greatest secret on Embrellon. They mounted up, and expecting to fly somewhere and wait until dark, he was shocked to find that he and his men had taken refuge in a cave just below the tunnel. They were there, and totally by accident.
They went through the tunnel and when they exited they were shocked by the beauty of what they beheld, it was an amazing place, and just as Chrylos and Catya had wanted to stay on here, so did he and his men. The place was beyond beauty, it had the herds of the newer beasts they had seen, the forests were incredible, huge waterways, rivers, streams, and lakes dotted the landscape, and they were safe for now. He felt odd, the Marn had never found the homeland, and no one knew why, and when he asked Tambar, he said some things need to remain a secret, and that was all he said.
Jazar was still worried about the war and Tambar told him that a message had been sent to his father, and they were waiting for an answer, but not to worry, the Marn hadn’t found any of the bases so far, and after the previous war, the Great Council had moved the location of the Great Temple in case the Marn returned. So for now, all were safe.
As they sojourned in the Homeland, he wanted his men to heal, to get rested and to prepare to rejoin the battle as soon as they could. Every time he asked Tambar about any word from his father, Tambar said to be patient, sometimes it takes a while, especially since receiving word from Jatar that no one was to send messages by the link any longer, that he felt the Marn had learned how to listen on the link. The prospect of the once protected link being vulnerable now made him queasy. That was why no one was on the link, somehow, the Marn had broken the link and could listen. This was a dark day for him. What kind of machine had they built to open the link, and if not a machine, then a joined Brellon and a Skree had turned traitor, a word they hardly used because no one would betray their world in that way? He started having dark thoughts and they turned to Catya, the only non-Brellon who was joined, and she was Marn, was she the one who leaked the information? Tambar and Zavan both heard his thoughts, and it was Tambar who spoke first. “Jazar, your thoughts that Catya has betrayed us is unfounded. Not only did your Seers look into her mind and find no malice, but while here, she became a true Brellon, she is no longer Marn, except in looks, this place, our homeland, has a way of exposing the heart of an individual in a way that exists in no other place. If she were capable of the great harm your thinking of, this place would have shown it. This cave, is known as the well of truth, it brings out the deepest of secrets in one’s heart. Skree and Brellon alike. We always bring strangers here, to find their true purpose. You are safe, your heart is good.
*He learned that there had been times in the past that Skree had turned against their own, betrayed them to others, and those had died. It was rare, but it had happened and when a Skree was bound to a Brellon, it was harder for them because they would follow the Brellon even when they turned to evil, because part of being bound meant they would sacrifice themselves to protect them, even if it meant the Brellon had turned to evil, or in this case, become a traitor. That didn’t sooth his feelings much, other than to turn his thoughts away from Catya. If it wasn’t her, then who had turned against their own people, and what would motivate a Guardian to betray his oath, and turn against those he was sworn to protect? Then he heard a voice in his head, it was Tambar, and the voice said “Fear”, and Jazar realized that he was right, someone who was afraid of losing against the Marn, is a person who would turn traitor and let his people become slaves rather than see them all killed.
What was he to do. He needed to stay where he was, his men were haggard and exhausted. They couldn’t fight another running fight with the Marn, his men were done in, without rest and time, they would be fodder in a fight. He himself was as exhausted as they were, command was a great burden and he could see the face of every man he had lost, his only relief was the men who had made it to Varna. They were almost ready to return to the fight. They had spent three months on Varna and Catya and the Guardians and healers had performed what he thought was a miracle, they had all not only survived their injuries, but had made a remarkable recovery.
Tambar came into the cave and asked Jazar to accompany him, he wanted to show him something special. Jazar was confused, he knew the cave would show the Skree one’s true heart, but could there actually be something even more astounding to see? He was no longer skeptical, the cave was a remarkable place, so he went without question, and followed Tambar. As they walked along with Tambar, he glanced over to Zavan to see if he knew what was up, he was keenly aware of a feeling of awe coming from his bond mate, that was the correct term, according to Tambar. They walked for a good hour, up into the hills surrounding the valley they were in and at the top of the hill, was a cave. It was just tall enough for him to walk in, Tambar and Zavan had to fold their wings tight and lower their heads to enter. Jazar stood their staring, he didn’t know if he was dreaming or if what he was seeing was real. In front of him was the largest crystal he had ever seen, it was at least five meters high, and the top was at least five meters across, and tapered down to the bottom, which was firmly fixed in Faron and the snail shell.

3 thoughts on “The Guardians of Embrellon – XX”

    1. The Guardians of Embrellon, The Twins of Embrellon, The Captive of Embrellon, and the Companions of Embrellon are the first series I wrote. It is set in Space, several hundred years in the future, on a planet beyond the Orion Constellation. I created this world and all the Creatures in it with the idea that you could write a good book that wasn’t based on sex, or any of the other “drawing cards” being used by today’s authors.

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