Latest Forum Posts:

Categories

D.T - Volga the Apprentice: Chapter 7

The final chapter of the Devil Tower.

Volga the Apprentice: Chapter 7

With Volga's teleporting magic they managed to shorten their trip to the neighboring kingdom by weeks, but even on horseback the trek into the cold wintery lands took time. Finding warriors of reputable note were much harder than they anticipated, and it wasn't until late in the Fall Season did they catch their big break.

In a windy town far north into Aladorn, Volga met with a small band of large brutish mercenaries. Out of the five of them two were women, who looked just as fierce and burly as their companions, they were almost as tall too. In addition to their intimidating size, they all carried some excessively large weapons that looked impossible to hold, let alone swing.

Sitting down at the round table the mercenary leader, a bald man with dark skin and black eyes, said, "I'm Zaeu, leader of the Dire Bears." His western accent was thick but well refined. "I hear from your friends that you got need of people like us, and is paying a mighty beauty of a price too."

"And just how much have my friends told you about us?" Volga asked.

Zaeu smirked and leaned in closer talking much quieter now, "Say's you know how to get some very special gems."

Volga glared at James and Edmin, who only shrugged their shoulders and nodded their heads to Zaeu. "Alright then, what are your qualifications?"

Zaeu chuckled earnestly and asked, "Boy have you not heard of us? We're rather famous round these parts."

"Incidentally, I have not."

Zaeu stopped chuckling and dropped his smile all together, his tone becoming more serious and almost offended now. "Well then, in three weeks lord Cherg Roff is holding a small tourney to celebrate his first born son. It's a few leagues south to the city but we can make it with time to spare. Two of my warriors will compete in this tourney unarmed. Think that will be enough to prove ourselves; boy?"

Volga was silent in thought for a time, for a long time. He was secretly testing Zaeu's patience but when the man held out for nearly an hour, Volga spoke at last saying, "We'll see you there then."

Zaeu smirked and took his leave in silence, his comrades follow right behind. When they were gone Volga turned his sights back to James and Edmin. Sighing, he shook his head in disappointment. "You know we saw them in some fights before," James said at Volga's scowl.

"Yea and their names have come up a few times while in our search," Edmin added.

"My problem isn't them, it's you! Just how many others have you told about the wish gems?"

"Relax, relax," Edmin said. "We only told them and it was all we could do to gain their interest. They wanted to meet with our leader face to face too, you're lucky the guy likes you. Maybe he has some great senses cause if it were me meeting you for the first time for something like this I would think you're full of shit; part of me still does."

"Well then, let's just wait until we make it to the tower, then you will know that what I say is true."

"So they will join us?" James asked hopefully.

"After I have seen their strength in person."

*

The tourney was a lot bigger spectacle than Zaeu played it out to be. Literally a hundred different warriors came to fight for the grand prize of thirty gold coins. The prize itself seemed rather low to Volga but he had heard the kingdom was in a serious financial crisis for years now, so maybe it was generous.

True enough to Zaeu’s word his two warriors won the whole tourney without a weapon. Their last opponents gave them a few new scars with their blades but they weren't in great peril from the wounds either. When it was all done, Zaeu went to see Volga saying, "What did I say, we're the best."

"Well we won't be fighting just humans inside the tower," Volga said. "There will be inhuman monsters in there with strength neither of us understands. You think you and your people can handle them? After all you will be doing most of the fighting in the tower; probably all of it."

Zaeu smiled and said, "Boy we are mercenaries, fighting is our life! We can handle whatever monsters that grim tower throws at us."

"Good then now all we need is a smuggler to sneak us into Evercain from the sea, know anyone?"

Zaeu thought about it for a moment then said, "I may have a guy yes. But I must warn you sneaking us in will be tricky, and you're going to have to step way out of your comfort zone for a while."

"Whatever it takes," Volga said without hesitation.

Zaeu smiled and grabbed him by his shoulder so hard it left a bruise. "Thata boy! Come let's head to the northern docks!"

Not only did the smuggler want fifty gold coins to take everyone on board, but he also forced them to get into massive fish barrels for half a day when they arrived at the Evercain docks. Kyra was the most eager to bathe off the rancid fish smell when they could.

They found horses as soon as they could and rode south to the tower. Along the way Volga purchased special enchanted nutrition food that wouldn't perish for a year.

During the trip when they couldn't stay at inns they slept outside by the fire. And while the mercenaries and cousins traded battle stories Volga stood far from them, standing in a small hole he quickly dug up, going to his ankles. With his head tilted back and his eyes shut he concentrated in silence.

One of the times while he did it Kyra came up to ask him what he was doing. "Something my master was teaching me about on and off before he dies," Volga said. "It may come in handy once at the bottom of the tower."

Kyra frowned and said, "That doesn't explain a thing."

"I'm practicing the Druids magic. I been doing it for a while now you were just usually asleep when I did."

Kyra smiled and said, "Well whatever you think will help us in there."

When they finally arrived at the tower, they spotted, not too far in the distance, a large group of soldiers marching north. They could see the black smoke behind the march of the soldiers, there was so much it was like a town was burning. Zaeu rode up next to Volga and said, "This isn't good, see those men marching in the distance?"

"Yea..." Volga said.

"They are waving Kantor's flag, I don't know how but they must have gotten past the great elm gate and from that burning smoke behind them they're invading!"

When the soldiers spotted them, they heard shouting, and a considerable force of horsemen rode hastily towards them.

"Yep time to get into the tower, everyone move!" Volga shouted.

They raced their horses to the tower, jumping over the patch of swamp land and onto the wooden docks. As they made it to the tower doors the horses suddenly stopped and whined; rising to their back legs in protest. Volga dropped off his horse soon as he could and ran for the dark veil over the towers entrance, "Ditch the horses, we don't need them!" Volga shouted as he ran.

On the inside of the tower Volga anxiously awaited the others to come inside. When they were all in, he had them lock arms and then teleported everyone to the four sets of stairs at the other end of the tower's first floor. While Volga pulled out his map and poured over the contents carefully, Kyra asked, "Do you think they will follow us in here?"

Her answer came when the sounds of one man shouting commands to others echoed from the other end of the floor. "Shouldn't we get climbing?" Kyra asked sounding anxious.

"We have a great head start already," Volga calmly said still looking over his map. Besides we're about to get an even bigger one, let's ascend the second stairs on the left."

And so they climbed, for what felt like days up those stairs. They had to stop and take a long rest a few times on the climb before eventually coming out to a floor with mossy green grounds that were soft under their feet, almost spongy, and dark violet trees with low hanging fruits on the end of vines.

Volga pulled out his map to look at it and said, "Alright from now on, until we reach the descending stairs, we will be eating these dark fruits." He then walked over to the nearest trees and plucked a fruit. Biting into it and swallowing a chunk after several bites.

"Are you sure that stuff is, well not poisoned?" Zaeu asked skeptically.

"I am, and while they may be an acquired taste for some, where we're going they won't grow and then we'll need the preserved food rations I bought."

Still skeptical of it all, everyone plucked a fruit, sniffed it and took a small bite of it. "Well it tastes alright, but we won't know if it's poisoned until later," Zaeu said.

"If it is then we're all as good as dead now. We'll rest up ahead for now but after that we should keep moving, finding the stairs leading on up to the next floor will be tedious."

Sure enough Volga was right, the floors were all massive and looked almost exactly the same as the others. Finding the stairs was simple but they often had to split up to cover more ground. Now and again the others would hear a scream of pain or terror and when they would rush over to it, fearing it was their comrades, Zaeu and his men would have blood splotches on them somewhere.

They never confessed to killing anyone but didn't wholly deny it either. It was strange how only Zaeu and his group were the ones to find any trouble when they split up, but Volga didn't press the issue so long as they listened to him when he gave them an order.

Eventually they came to a new floor, one with a dark area of howling wolves, and a strange tunnel in the wall ahead. Volga walked forward with no regard to the wolves howling in the dark. "Ignore them," Volga called back, "They're an illusion and part of the misleading path."

The other kept their eyes on the howling darkness but stepped further into the floor following Volga. He stopped at the end wall with the tunnel above and said, "Up there is the path to the basement stairs, wait here while I open it up." He climbed up to the tunnel using the holes in the wall as hand and foot holders. He may be an amazing magister but he had little to no upper body strength and the climb took him longer than it should have: it was embarrassing.

At the top he pulled out the map and took a very nervous step forward. What he didn't tell them is how unsure he was of the way into the basement floor himself. He could sense the trap all around him and all his instincts told him to turn and run but he pressed on anyways, praying the map would do its job.

Once he was far enough inside the map lit up and shined a beam of light into the dark, pointing to an open slot in the tunnel walls. Slowly he edged forward fearful of setting off whatever trap was inside that tunnel. When he was close enough he pushed his hand through the slot and something inside zapped him.

He tried to pull his hand back but his entire arm was unresponsive and he soon started hearing gears moving and grinding around all around him. His heart raced in panic, fearing he messed up, he struggled to move and get out of there but soon his whole body was non-responsive; almost numb.

His heart raced faster and faster as the gears turned and turned, and then the stopped all together, and Volga could move freely again. At the same time the walls and ceiling of the tunnel lit up with a dim blue light and he could see the open path ahead.

He walked to it and found a long spiraling stair case below, the only light was shining in from the path and in order to see further down he conjured his own orb of light and send it down into the dark. It kept falling at his will until it became nothing more than a dim glow in the dark.

Dropping his tether on the light magic Volga turned away and called everyone up to the tunnel. He went ahead of them and descended the wide stairs until he was standing across from the tunnel path. He waited there until everyone caught up to him then they began their long trek down the dark winding stairs.

The only light before them soon became the one Volga conjured to make sure they could see where they stepped next. One slip on these stairs and you might bounce down to your death. After every long rest stop Volga dropped a single coin from his coin purse down into the darkness and listened intently. After dropping over twenty coins he heard a small ping. That subtle and small noise raised their spirits as they were near the bottom floor of the long winding stairs.

At the bottom of the stairs there was nothing around they could see, even with Volga's light. He expanded it but it only showed the black gem floor wand walls around them, there was nothing down there. "So now what hmm boy?" Zaeu asked with hostility in his voice.

Volga looked over the map again, the only thing it said about that area was, "A green light in the dark leads the way ahead to an invisible path above a burning lake."

He read the passage again and again in silence until a thought occurred to him. "Okay everyone get back to back, I'm going to drop my light, and things will go dark. After that look around you for a green light in the darkness."

Zaeu glared down Volga for a long moment then said, "You better be right about this boy,"

"Get into position," Volga commanded.

They did and Volga gradually diminished his light, allowing their eyes to readjust better. It took what felt like a long time before Edmin said, "I think I see it over there, there's a very narrow green light ahead of me." The others turned their heads in the dark and eventually saw it too.

They then fumbled around in the dark heading towards it. Ironically the hidden passage way was just at the foot of the last step on the stairs. The passage itself led them to a long flat lake of glowing green liquid: "Acid," Volga said aloud.

Far on the other side of the acid lake was a large tunnel. "Great now how do we get across?" Edmin asked. "You just going to teleport us?"

"The map say's not to use magic in this spot, chances are if I try something will happen to get us all killed. Still there should be an invisible path just up ahead." He pulled out his coin purse again and began randomly tossing in the remaining gold coins at random spots. Eventually the coin bounced off a spot, landing into the acid lake afterwards, and he found the path. He tossed the few remaining coins at the spot until they stayed and he had found the path.

It lay just out of a steps reach and the only way across was to make a small jump. He stood by the edge, took in a few deep breaths and let them out slowly. Then he bent his knees and leapt forward, he landed on the invisible path safely but his feet half tipped over the edge and he started falling forward. Flailing his arms helplessly to try and regain balance.

Before it was too late he was suddenly pulled back safely by the back of his collar and he wrapped his arms around the person clinging for dear life, until he realized he was fine now. He let go and saw the person who saved him was Kyra. She smiled at him like he was going to disappear at any moment.

His cheeks flustered but he smiled back. Before long he carefully moved around Kyra searching out the path with his foot and then got on his hands and knees and started sweeping one hand over the path to look for it with a larger range of motion. Like most things in the tower it was long and tedious but eventually he made it safely to the other side; the others following shortly behind him.

The next area was a long straight hall of sorts with radiant purple lines racing through the glossy black floor and side walls. By Volga's command Zaeu and his comrades took the lead heading down the hall. Half way in an enormous orange skinned beast with purple veins dropped down before them. It resembled most a salamander with four long horns pointed back on its head, the monster roared and Zaeu and his men turned to flee.

Summoning all his power at hand Volga raised the beast off the ground with an unseen force and hurled it straight at the wall behind them. Now it blocked their escape. Zaeu shouted at Volga, "Are you, mad boy?!"

The same unseen force then lifted Zaeu and his comrades helplessly off the ground as he said, "Yes, I am." He then tossed them behind him as well towards the giant beast. Before he vanished with Kyra, Edmin, and James he shouted back to the mercenaries, "Fight for your lives, there is no running now!"

Then using his magic he transported them to the end of the hall where down below sat a gigantic violet crystal, radiating like a star. There were no stairs so Volga was forced to float them down to the ground below with the crystal, "Here it is," Volga said, "The Raydox Crystal."

As they reached the ground floor, Edmin asked, "What about Zaeu and his people?"

"They will buy us some time," Volga said looking around the Raydox crystal for something. But it's not much, so we have to hurry." When he found what he was looking for he shouted, "Over here come quick!"

On the other side of the crystal was a large cracked spot. "James, Edmin blast that weak spot with all you got. Do not let up until the Crystal is shattered got it?"

The two were hesitant at first until hearing the blood-curdling screams of Zaeu and the other mercenaries. After that, they held nothing back and shot forth a brilliant combined beam of raw white energy at the crystal.

The cracks quickly began racing all around the crystal from their great power and Kyra asked, "What about me what do I do?"

Volga pulled her in for an embracing hug and whispered in her ear, "You my beautiful friend, survive."

She didn't even get enough time to wonder what he was talking about when the Crystal shattered and the last thing she saw was a blinding purple light and an explosion of sound that made her ears ring. When she could see again, she discovered she was outside of the tower, staring at it far off in the distance.

Around her was a field of corpses, both human and horses. The grassy fields were a red tinge and a small river of blood flowed further down the field. She knew she was standing in the aftermath of an enormous battle where no one seemed to survive. She started to walk out of that field when the ground beneath her feet rumbled violently and almost brought her to her knees.

Off in the distance at the tower she saw large dark chunks of the tower fall out of the black stormy clouds. Before long the tower itself began to tilt and then fell, aimed towards the volcano in the south. The Devil Tower was gone, and with it, the one true friend she ever had in her life.

*

Epilogue

Seven years after the tower collapsed Kyra found herself returning to the lands of where it raised up. The marsh lands around it had changed so much since she last saw them. They had dried out and became this greyish dirt land among a luscious field of tiger lilies. Even stranger though was the large oak like tree in the center of the grey dirt land, this unnamed tree almost towered in height and had a soft green glow to it.

She stood next to the tree staring at it for a time until eventually shaking her head and turning away. "Come now some magic is actually more subtle than that, you ought to know that much Thief," a familiar voice said behind her.

She turned suddenly to see Volga standing right before her. He looked as old as her, maybe older now, with green hair, and much more handsome features. Her jaw practically dropped and Volga pulled her closer to him and pressed his lips against hers. She didn't fight or struggle, and even kissed him back.

When they broke off, she slapped him so hard across the face his cheek turned red. He smiled and opened his mouth to speak but she slapped him on the other side of his face now. He chuckled a little and waited for the next slap, it didn't come. Instead Kyra rested her head on his broad shoulder and said quietly, "I thought you were dead..."

Gently he stroked her hair and said, "Volga the apprentice is dead. But from death new life is born, and the arch druid Volga lives."

"Seven years, you left me for seven years to mourn you and move on, but here you are."

"To be fair, I did only come back to full life a few months ago."

Kyra pulled back from him a few steps and demanded he explain himself.

"My body was obliterated in the blast with James and Edmin, but my soul merged with nature. And after a while I was reborn into a more mature body. I don't know what great plans the very forces of nature have for me, but today I'm alive. And if you will, I'd like to take you on an adventure."

He offered his hand, and Kyra took it.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

To link to this story from your site - please use the following code:

<a href="https://www.storiesspace.com/stories/fantasy/dt-volga-the-apprentice-chapter-7.aspx">D.T - Volga the Apprentice: Chapter 7</a>

Comments (1)

Tell us why

Please tell us why you think this story should be removed.

Reason