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D.T - Prince Rugal: Chapter 2

Prince Rugal: Chapter 2

Beholden to their sights, Rugal and Iris found the next floor was a city taken from the pages of time. The buildings and streets were all cleaner than gems. Tall white spires stood out in the distance with large blank holes spinning around them as part of the design. Everything looked like it was made for people nearly twice the size of normal humans, (more around Curth's size in fact.)

Rugal was frozen in place looking at the city before them. "This can't be," he said quietly to himself.

Iris managed to hear him and asked, "What can't be, Rugal?"

"I've seen this place before," He said still staring in awe.

Iris doubled a look around the city and asked, "Where?"

Slowly Rugal walked into the city spinning his head around looking wide-eyed at everything. "In a very, very old history tome in my father's library," He answered. "In it was the legend of the ancient beings which lived in Grimnar long before we sailed over here. This was the last city around when humans came over and it too seemed to vanish one day: as if it was never there."

"Now that you mention it this place does look familiar, it sort of reminds me of Freymere, the capital city of Dorgal. You remember that trip we took there right?"

"I do, and it's rumored this city of the ancients was, in fact, the inspiration builders used in the construction of Freymere."

"We have to move on guys," Veera said from behind them as she briskly walked ahead. "This is the final floor and we're almost there." She hid her sorrow behind a mask of determination.

Rugal and Iris followed her lead, but Rugal started to zone out right away; stuck in his own world of grief. Soon the heart thumping sound of an inhuman growl brought him to the problem at hand. Standing not twenty feet in front of them was a massive hound the size of a bear. Its charred orange colored fur mixed in with yellow stripes, eyes like blood-soaked torches, and snarling black fangs made this demon a bigger nightmare than any they saw before.

Veera and Iris didn't hesitate, soon as the demon hound moved they unleashed a torrent of flames to incinerate it. They kept up the flames for several seconds but grew too tired of it and both stopped. When the flames died out enough for them to see, they spotted the demon hound lying on its side; eyes shut unmoving.

Rugal took one step, its eyes snapped open, it climbed back to its feet and shook off whatever damage the girls inflicted. "Veera can you pull the moisture out of the air and soak this thing down?" Iris asked hastily.

"Yea, but what the hell is that going to do?" Veera asked starting to panic.

"Just do it!" Iris shouted.

Veera moved faster than expected and drenched the beast with water in a few seconds. It snarled and shook violently as the water seemed to irritate it greatly. Not waiting to find out why it hated water so much, Iris thrust out her hand and channeled a stream of lightning at the beast.

When she stopped, she shouted, "Okay run!"

The three of them ran as fast as they could away from the beast and further into the ancient city. The streets quickly widened out and they soon came into an open square. The square was packed with more of the demon hounds and even hideously deformed giants, wearing nothing but rugged charred fur around their waists.

They wasted no time in the sight of it all and turned back to the streets and went into the first open building they could find.

The building they were in resembled the size of a house but was absolutely barren, not even dust lay in there now. Through the open window (or open square area they were sure served as a window space) they could see out into the street, where they saw the hound from earlier briskly walking the street and sniffing the ground for them.

Slowly it made its way to them and the only ways out were the window and the door; neither of which had any doors or frames to help them keep it at bay. Rugal thought about making another break for it, but the girls were already too tired from casting their spells and then running so hard right afterward.

"Alright get to the corner we can't run from this thing," Rugal said quietly.

They went over to the furthest corner from the doorway and Iris said, "We can't fight that thing, we should keep running."

Rugal shook his head, "No it's got our scent. We need to kill it now before it brings its friends over."

"Iris is right we can't fight it. Our magic has had little to no effect on it."

The sounds of beast got much closer now and Rugal turned to the doorway and put himself in front of the girls. He pulled his mithiril sword and said, "Maybe not, but perhaps a good blade will deal it some serious damage. Just stay behind me both of you and if things get ugly, run."

Veera grabbed his shoulder and turned him to face her. She looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Rugal you're the king now, our top priority is your safety."

The beast found them at last and now stood before the open doorway growling at them. Rugal glanced at it then looked back to Veera and Iris and said to them both, "And it's a king's duty to protect his people, above all." He then leaned in and kissed Iris on the lips.

Hearing the beast as it slowly came closer he pulled away and advanced toward it. Both hands were firmly gripping the hilt of his sword, he spread his legs and bent his knees down slightly; ready to face the beast head on. Slowly it came in as if savoring that moment.

Before coming further in, though, its ears perked up and it stopped. It then turned around to run away, the moment it came completely out the door a massive foot slammed down on top of it. And in a spray of blood, that covered Rugal from his waist below, it was crushed.

The girls let out a small shriek of instant horror. Rugal recovered quickly enough from the shock to sheath his blade and grab the girls by their hands. "Come on we need to get out of here right now," He said leading them to the window. They hopped out easily enough and crouched low once in the street.

Poking their heads just over the window sill they saw the giant, which stomped the beast with its foot, kneel down and peer an eye into the vacant house. Quickly they ducked their heads and Rugal instructed them to start silently crawling away from there.

When they were far enough away from the house, they got up and ran quietly as they could down the street and turned the first corner they could make. Once around that corner Rugal stopped and poked his head over into the street. He saw the hideous giant coming towards them slowly.

It was stark naked with the crushed hound slung over its shoulder; from the look of its genitals it was a he too.

"Alright it's coming this way but it doesn't know we're here yet so let's make for the next house, or whatever the fuck will give us cover, quietly."

Finding another open building was easy enough but they wanted a small one and found their way toward a narrower street until they found the smallest building around to hide in. Even there, where the deformed giant couldn't fit its fat hand into, they quivered a little when it strolled around down that street.

Rugal waited very patiently until he could no longer hear its steps off in the distance before daring to peek his head outside. When he discovered there was nothing around, all of them relaxed a little more; still they sat close to each other in a corner area with their backs to the wall and eyes to the door.

Deciding to rest in that small building the three of them ate what was left of the dark fruits they had and tossed their useless bags aside. "Rugal that was a very noble gesture you did back there," Veera said, "But I don't think we can fight off anything on this floor."

"Veera," Rugal said lingering on that start of the sentence. "That was really grand magister Cambren back there wasn't it? Not some trick of the tower or a demon in disguise but really him."

Veera looked down, struggling to answer him. "Yea," she said quietly, "it was him."

"Then if everything he said is true we have failed already."

Iris grabbed Rugal's hand to comfort him, but he pulled away. "I'm sorry Rugal," she said.

He didn't respond and they sat in silence for a time; mourning the news.

Finally, Veera spoke up breaking the silence, "There's something else Cambren had told me before he died. I didn't have the chance to say it before but he said Thrain, Adelin and Garren were alive. However, when he gave Thrain the news about the kingdom's downfall and the death of his family, Thrain finally snapped into madness and attacked him. Those wounds Cambren suffered were all from Thrain; he said that Thrain had somehow obtained some sort of insane power and that makes him impossible to stop.

"He said Garren stepped in to save him, but he doesn't know if Garren is alive, or what happened to Adelin. He just knows if Thrain sees's us now he may cut us down without hesitation if we get in his way."

"Any news on Curth or Lessa?" Iris asked hopefully.

"None I'm afraid."

After several more minutes of sorrowful silence, Veera got up and said, "Alright screw this. The only way we're going to make things better for anyone is if we get to that temple and get that wish. So let's go." She then started walking for the door when Rugal suddenly grabbed her and pulled her to the side.

She tried to speak but he clasped his hand around her mouth to silence her then put his back to the wall as well; looking sideways out the door. It took a moment, but Veera soon saw what he was looking for, a small pack of those demon hounds came walking through the street passing by the house.

One of them stopped by the front door and they all held their breath. After what seemed like an eternity it moved on and they cautiously exhaled. Rugal whispered quietly to them, "Alright, you're right we do need to keep moving. But we must move with stealth; give me a minute to strip away my armor, so I don't clank around while going through the streets."

Before doing anything, Rugal poked his head out the door to see if the demon hounds were gone. When he saw that they were, he quickly removed his armor and left it sitting in the middle of the house; he kept his gauntlets on, though.

Advancing through the more narrow streets Rugal led them around the city in the most indirect path towards the center. He did this to avoid the hounds and giants best as possible, but the monsters were almost everywhere and not even the narrow streets were always safe.

Whenever they heard or saw a hound or giant coming, they would either jump into the nearest building and hide or flee to another street. It was daunting and tedious, but they knew it was better than trying to fight: they wouldn't win.

Going down a wide street they found themselves at a forked junction with both streets leading ahead filled with the demon hounds. They turned around to backtrack until seeing a giant turn down the street they were on and walked their way. "Shit we got nowhere to run; we need to hide right now!" Rugal said panicking.

"Where? There were no open buildings down this street." Veera said.

"I see an open building on the right street if we run we can make in before they spot us," Iris said.

She didn't wait more than a split second before running for the building she spotted. Rugal and Veera followed right behind her and soon saw she was right; there was an open doorway in the fifth building down that street. Blindly running into the building, the three of them bumped into a mysterious figure and they all fell to the ground.

Quickly Rugal got to his feet and pulled his blade; pointing it down at the stranger they bumped into. The person lying on the ground was wearing armor that had numerous slashes all over it and several chunks missing. He was soaked with blood and oozing more out from nearly everywhere.

Soon enough realizing who it was Rugal sheathed his blade. "Garren, what happened to you?"

"Three idiots ran into me," was his answer as he chuckled. He stopped when it hurt and said, "I can't believe you're alive, after the tidal wave, well we all got separated and everything fell apart."

The girls too were rejoiced to see Garren, but Veera took immediate notice of his dire wounds and focused on that. "How much of that blood is yours?" She asked.

Garren sat up slowly with a grimacing face and after a couple deep breath he said, "About half. I ran into one of those, demon bear-hound things and it sure as hell gave me more trouble than I'd like to admit."

"Yea we ran into one ourselves, how did you escape?" Iris asked.

"Escape?" Garren asked puzzled. "I didn't escape I killed that tough bastard." Before the girls could ask him how he pulled out his blade and they saw it still glistening with a deep orange blood. "The real trouble came when it pounced on me, tore through my armor pretty well. By then though I had sliced him up pretty good, even chopped an ear off. It bled to death soon enough."

"We need to get that armor off so I can start healing those wounds you have," Veera said.

Garren simply put his blade down on the floor and while they removed his armor and Veera healed him, he told them his tale since waking up after the tidal wave.

When Garren finished his tale he turned to Rugal and asked, "So what do we do now?"

Rugal had to think about the answer for a time. He poked his head out the door and saw that there were still a couple hounds around in the street. "Well, first we have to wait for those hounds to move on before we can continue," He said. "Then we need to wait for you to heal up." He glanced over at Veera, who was just now finished healing Garren up.

"Depending on how long the hounds take to move, you should be fit for sneaking around with us," Veera said to Garren. "But if it comes to a fight you will have to step back because you will re-open those wounds I shut and you can't lose any more blood."

"If it comes to a fight we're all going to be in trouble," Iris said. "What should we do if we run into Thrain though? You said it yourself he killed Adelin and probably would kill us too if we get in his way."

"We outnumber him four to one I say we exact justice on him," Veera said scathingly.

"I know you're mad about Adelin, and Cambren," Rugal said. "But Thrain took down Cambren one on one and kept moving on like he was un-phased. Thrain is strong but even on the best of day's he couldn't beat Cambren alone, whatever dark power he has gained in here it's obviously something we can't compete with."

Something blurring past the door followed after the loud yelping of the demon hounds nearby stopped their conversation. Cautiously Rugal peered his head out the door; his hand firmly gripping the hilt of his sword. "Rugal what is it?" Garren asked anxiously.

Rugal didn't answer and instead walked out the door to stand in the open street. "You guys have to see this," He said unbelievingly.

Now throwing caution to the wind they all walked out into the street with Rugal. At the end of the street, they saw three of the demon hounds lying on their sides in a pool of dark orange blood. Curious as to what happened they advanced towards the dead bodies and started feeling light, erratic tremors in the ground.

Close up the hounds bodies revealed deep gash wounds inflicted by a sword. "What the hell did this?" Iris asked.

"I think I know," Rugal said trailing off at the end. Before elaborating further, he suddenly started running down the street moving ahead. The others followed after him immediately.

Rugal jogged on despite the dangers. He followed the trail of dead hounds and even a few dead giants: all slain with a blade. The path led through the streets always went forward never backtracking and only turning when needed; like a straight shot to somewhere important.

When he finally made it out into the open clearing, he found a score giants sprawled around the ground, their blood becoming like a small red lake just before the massive temple at the center of the city. The others caught up to Rugal by then and they were stunned at the sight before them.

"Sweet god of light what could have done this?" Garren asked unbelievingly.

"Thrain," Rugal said, "He's already here and heading for the temple."

Off in the distance ascending the steps to the great temple was in fact Thrain. If they didn't do something he would get that wish before them. They all ran ahead at full speed to stop him.

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Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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