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Lowenna 2 : the secrets of light and darkness
By
rbo

Lowenna 2 : the secrets of light and darkness

Last time Lowenna was heading for Hymdale city, fleeing the Lawmen

Lowenna book 2 the secrets of light and darkness

Chapter 1 JIBRANZ ZAFA THE THIRD

Jibranz entered the new royal temple. He didn’t understand why they needed a new royal temple in Hymdale. The king, queen and their children lived far away on the mainland. None of the royal household had come to Hymdale city since Jibranz had been born. His father Jibranz Zafar the second had seen the king and the king before him, but only once. “It had been a great honour,” his father had told him many many times. His grandfather, Jibranz Zafar had been in the king's private army and had met the king of the time many times. Even on his death bed Jibranz's grandfather had said serving the king was what he had been born to do and hoped Jibranz would follow in his footsteps.

Jibranz was young and a little overwhelmed. His newly betrothed had told him that being summoned to the new temple was a reward for his promotion, but it all seemed a little confusing to Jibranz. He was a soldier and his job was to follow orders and protect the laws of the king and the city. He had been summoned to the temple, by one of the lords, so this is where he had come.

Jibranz walked up the steps into the main hall, as his father had done only six suns ago. His father, who worked as an instructor in the city keep, had been ordered to the new temple to meet the new ruler of Hymdale's defence force. Upon his return, Jibranz had noticed something was wrong. He had come back slightly different. Jibranz’s mother hadn’t noticed, telling Jibranz he was being stupid, but Jibranz knew something had changed. His father seemed to smile more and was more eager to get out of the house. He walked up to the temple in the evenings rather than walking to the docks like he used to. Just little things, unimportant changes, which made Jibranz wonder what had happened in that meeting.

Jibranz glanced around. The young woman, who had been ordered to escort him, had asked him to wait here. All the guards he had passed seemed to be wearing gold chest plates and golden arm guards. This seemed a little unusual to Jibranz. Gold was heavy and not the strongest metal available to make armour out of. Jibranz looked down at his new chainmail and sword with a smile. He had worked hard to earn these. He was one of the newest elite guards. His father had said one of the youngest ever. He had proven his might against the sporns of Hydra and had killed more of those reptiles than most. He had also saved his commander's life and that is how he found himself here, in the new royal temple.

His escort reemerged from the room she had entered only moments ago, “I have been told to take you to the royal chambers, there you will meet the Queen.”

Jibranz pondered the words carefully for a moment “The Queen is here?” he asked, sounding surprised.

“Oh yes, I see her often. She is so beautiful and an amazing leader, the lords meet with her at least once a sun, and new hopefuls and soldiers like yourself can only dream of meeting her.”

“Well then, we should not keep her majesty waiting,” Jibranz replied, suddenly feeling the nerves of meeting the queen of the land. “Please, lead the way.”

“This way,” the young girl said, as she led Jibranz through the great hall.

Jibranz was impressed. The great hall was extremely large and grand, the ceiling was a large mural, and there were fine tapestries which adorned the walls. Jibranz was trying to take it all in when he saw a large painting of a beautiful woman. She was painted very tall, wearing lavish robes and had long dark hair. Her deep hazel eyes looked deep into his soul. Jibranz may not have met the Queen, but knew this was not her. It was said the Queen had locks of golden hair and eyes of the deepest green. His father had said the same when he had described the King and Queen.

Who was this woman? And where were the pictures of the royal family? “Excuse me, but who is this painting of?” Jibranz asked his young escort.

“That is our Queen,” the young woman replied with a smile on her face. Jibranz had seen this slightly vacant smile before, on his own father. He had seemed very excited when Jibranz had told him the news of his appointment at the royal temple and had told Jibranz to be there early, dress smart and polish every inch of his new armour. Jibranz would have done that anyway, but now he was concerned about what was happening.

Jibranz stopped and narrowed his eyes looking at the female escort, then the two guards in gold armour at the end of the hall. “She is not our Queen!” Jibranz said cooly, “Tell me, what is going on here?”

The young woman, while still smiling, looked at Jibranz, “She is our Queen. She is beautiful and loving and will soon replace the old King. She wants to meet you; it’s an honour.”

Jibranz took a step back and both the guards at the end of the room looked over at him, “I will not meet a pretender to the throne of Orkenza. This is madness, who is this woman?”

“I must insist,” the young woman said, drawing a curved knife from under her cape. “My Queen ordered me to bring you to her, and I always follow my Queen's orders.” Jibranz went to draw his sword as the young woman launched herself at him.

Jibranz was shocked an almost defenceless young girl attacking an elite swordsman. He grabbed the girl's wrist, and pushed her into the wall, not wanting to hurt her, but she fell down screaming, “My Queen will be angry. My Queen will be angry.” Jibranz didn’t watch her for long as the two guards were now charging at him, both with swords drawn.

Jibranz parried the guard's attacks with ease. He was an elite guard after all and had trained against two, sometimes three men at once. He ducked under a wild swing while blocking the other guard's sword with his own. He dodged sideways positioning the two guards behind each other before slamming into the front guard, sending him and his partner to the floor.

“Stay down!” Jibranz shouted, but the closest of the guards got up and attacked again, He was trying to kill Jibranz! This had gone on long enough.

The guard lunged, but Jibranz blocked the sword before swinging his own upwards severing the guard's hand. The second guard now was charging at him again, but Jibranz pushed the first guard into him, impaling the first guard on the second guard's sword, before with a quick swipe he killed the second guard by stabbing him in the neck.

Blood had splattered over the great hall and all over Jibranz's polished armour. He had to get out of here the commotion would have been heard and he would not win against all the guards he had seen this sun.

Suddenly Jibranz felt a pain in his back. He spun quickly swinging his sword as he cut the young woman almost in two, the knife in her hand with Jibranz’s blood on it.

Jibranz had not meant to kill the girl, but she had attacked him, stuck her knife in his back, and now she was as dead as the guards. Jibranz grimaced in pain. He heard more of the guards coming so headed down a corridor as quickly as he could and entered a room and closed the door behind him.

He was breathing heavily. He heard several people pass the room quickly, no doubt in his mind that they were more guards trying to catch him. The small wound in his back was deep, but nothing vital had been hurt. If he could get out of the temple, he knew he would be alright. Getting out of the temple, however, was not going to be easy.

He glanced around the room. There were several more pictures of the, “Would be Queen,” some grand furniture and a large window and another door. Jibranz went over to the window, but it was too high for him to jump and nothing to hold onto, so he went through the second door into the next room.

Jibranz froze. He could not believe his eyes. A man dressed in royal lords clothes lay dead on the ground and another man was kneeling on the floor, his eyes closed praying over the dead body. Jibranz recognised both of them instantly; the dead man was Lord Aidan one of the kingly appointed lords of Hymdale. The other man was wearing a dark red robe; the hood pulled down. He was Hymdale's holy leader of the white light and head of the church of the Angelus.

There was a bloodstained dagger on the floor, lying by the lord’s dead body. “My Grace, what happened here,” Jibranz stated, not wanting to believe what his eyes were telling him.

The holy man opened his eyes and looked at Jibranz with a slightly vacant smile, “He displeased our Queen,” he explained calmly.

“By the Angelus! You did this?” Jibranz asked, in horror of what was happening.

“Yes,” the holy man said smiling, "anything for my Queen."

At that moment, Jibranz’s mind was made up, this so-called Queen had to die, and he would kill her. “Can you tell me where the Queen is?" He asked. "She is expecting me.”

“She should be in her chambers," The holy man replied, still smiling, talking calmly. "End of the corridor, take a right through the archway it’s the large door at the end of the long hall.”

“By your leave, my grace,” Jibranz said, bowing at the holy man as he had done before, though never with a dead body in his presence.

“Go, my child, may the light shine over you,” the holy man replied before refocusing on his prayers and Jibranz left the room.

Jibranz made his way along the corridor. He was surprised there weren't more guards after what had happened in the great hall. Jibranz did not care how many there were. He was determined to kill this pretender to the throne or die trying. He saw a single guard in gold standing outside of the large door. Jibranz drew his sword and ran at him, killing him quickly without too much noise, then dragged the body into an open room, before readying himself.

"The Queen has to have guards or magic. Something to defend herself," Jibranz thought, as he readied himself before charging through the door.

The room was large and highly decorated, with a throne made of pure gold but no one was here. Jibranz cursed to himself before seeing another doorway carved out of a wall in a corner. A screen which was obviously there to cover it pushed to one side, only covering half of the opening.

Jibranz carefully went through the doorway and again was a little taken aback. He was in another corridor, or a tunnel made of black stones, lit by magical glowing rocks which made the dark walls have a slight blueish tint. The tunnel had no windows and at the end, there were two more doors. Jibranz breathed heavily before entering through the first door.

Jibranz froze for the second time, not believing his eyes. In front of him was some kind of monster. A living terror, that would haunt his dreams until the end of his suns. It was sitting in the middle of the room, facing away from Jibranz, secured by long chains.

The monster raised its head and sniffed the air. Jibranz could see there was a pile of human bones stacked in the corner, and blood splatters covered almost all the walls. The beast looked scaley. It turned its head, revealing an almost perfectly white, glowing, single eye, in the middle of its forehead. It screeched at Jibranz as it stood, its crab-like claws dripping with blood. Jibranz felt the fear spread through his body like never before. He turned and ran from the room, closing and securing the door behind him, hoping the horror would not try and follow.

“What was that thing?” Jibranz asked himself. He had battled hydras, ogres, orcs and dragons, but none had filled him with fear like that. Jibranz looked at the other door. Did he dare open it? Or did he just run, get away from the temple, the would be Queen and that monster? His heartbeat slowly returned to normal. He was an elite soldier, it was his duty to defend his king and his city, but Jibranz no longer was fearless. He had to go through the door; he had to see what horrors awaited him.

Slowly Jibranz opened the second door to see a very large almost empty room. He had been ready to see another monster or beast, so this room seemed quite out of place. It had a high ceiling and from it, there were two suspended hanging empty cages. Some chains were connected to the wall and there was another stone doorway. There was also a large image of the beautiful woman painted on the wall, and a mural which showed someone standing in front of a large blue crystal, which had lightning erupting from it.

At the end of the room, nine small statues stood on a table, Jibranz walked over and started looking at each on in turn. The first was the monster he had just seen in the other room. Next was a large winged lion with horns. Another one was a half spider creature, and the fourth was a large Wolfman, “the children of Ebrus,” Jibranz said out loud, lifting the man wolf statue and staring at it.

Jibranz remembered the legends; Ebrus was one of the nine Demon-Gods. He had created nine children, which his power flowed through. His way to continue having an influence on the world, without breaking the pact between the Demon-Gods and the Angelus. Each of Ebrus’s children was a collection of several beasts or one beast merged with man and magic. He remembered the legend of the white wolf, "Ebrus's Frost." That legend had been the one which scared him the most as a child. A powerful half man, half wolf with glowing blue eyes, which lived the snowy area surrounding the white peaks of Riner island far to the north, it was said to feed on the souls of the disbelievers, and hunt down anyone who disrespected its master.

Jibranz put down the wolf statue and picked up the statue of the beast in the next room “Ebrus’s Tide.” This creature was more powerful than any dragon or sea Kraken. This beast lived only to feed on the life force of people lost at sea, and could create storms, not unlike the one which happened not too many moons ago, but what was it doing here, in Hymdale. Jibranz put the statue back and picked up the statue of the Lion beast.

“Magnificent, aren't they,” a female voice came from behind Jibranz. He dropped the statue and drew his sword, looking directly at the beautiful woman who stood before him. “The children of Ebrus, but you knew that, didn’t you. Did you meet my new pet?”

Jibranz did not say a word he was just staring at the woman who stood before him.

“You must be the new elite swordsman, I've been expecting you, but you have caused me a little trouble this sun haven’t you?”

Jibranz still said nothing, and nothing mattered not even the monster in the next room, nothing except the woman in front of him.

“Master Zafar, you’re a fine, good looking man. If I had known you were this good looking, I would have requested your presence sooner.”

The woman was so beautiful in Jibranz's eyes. A small smile spread on his lips.

“You can stay with me if you like, you can be my favourite, would you like that?”

“Yes, my queen,” Jibranz Zafar the third replied.

*******

Lowenna had been riding for several suns and moons. She had reached the river and was now following it to its source, as she had been instructed to reach the city. When she had first got to the river Nort, which Lowenna still thought of as a muddy stream, she had ridden through the water to try and mask which way she had gone. Just in case she was being followed. She had looked at her crystal every so often and its magic now seemed to have fully recovered. The crystal now looked a rich dark pink, almost red in colour, as it had when she had first seen it.

There had been five lawmen waiting for her as she had returned to Penbirth, which was where she had been staying, since arriving there after waking on a beach, with no memory or even a name. She had taken the name Lowenna, as it was the first name she had seen, not knowing that the Lowenna were a dangerous almost extinct race who used to rule over the land long, long ago.

Almost everyone hated and feared the Lowenna. She had tried to keep the name secret, but it had come out, and now she was being hunted by the lords and lawmen of Penbirth. She had considered changing the name, more than once, as it wasn’t really hers, but although she couldn’t prove it, she just had a feeling she might be a descendant of the Lowenna race. The name had also proved very useful in combat, making her opponents hesitate or even adding a little doubt in their minds. She had shortened her name to Wenna, so she could talk to people and introduce herself without filling them with dread and distrust, but it still was an unusual name.

It also seemed to her like she had two people or two personalities trapped inside her; Lowenna was a powerful warrior, someone who could kill and fought with skill and sorcery and Wenna was a normal young woman. That’s how she thought of herself, and some of the actions Lowenna had taken had shocked her, and even scared her. The Lowenna side of her had shown her things which she never thought was possible, and had kept her alive by instinct, magic and any other means which had been necessary.

The lawmen also believed she was a member of the Lowenna and if they were still after her, she knew she was in trouble. Even though she was a skilled fighter and now knew several magical attacks, fighting five lawmen might be insurmountable. She had only been able to hold her own against one Lawman before, and Marchel had not been trying to kill her, just gauge her abilities.

It was the end of another long sun. She was so tired and the light was starting to fade again. Even Lowenna's large black horse was starting to show signs of tiredness. The first moon time she hadn't stopped. She had used her spell to see in the dark, but at first light, she had needed a rest. When she had dismounted she had found her friend's bag still attached to the horse, which used to be his. She liked the old Orc and was going to miss Grilk. Lowenna had taken this particular horse because it was the biggest, strongest and fastest, as it had needed to be, to carry Grilk's heavy frame. In his bag, she had found some cured meat, five copper coins, a soft bristled brush, a pair of Orc sized gloves a used damp towel, and a flask. Lowenna had looked at it for a few moments, she knew what was it, "The Orc elixir of war." It was supposed to give you energy and was made by an Orc shaman, but it smelled really bad and tasted worse. Lowenna had thought about trying some, then she remembered how bad it had been the first time, and knew it wasn’t going to be any better. She had washed her face in the river water and then rode for a while before giving in and grabbing the elixir.

The elixir was green and lumpy, and it smelled of rotting meat. Lowenna had managed to force down a mouthful, and then had drunk half of a water pouch, trying unsuccessfully to remove the vile taste. She spat on the floor, not believing she had even tried it again. The dry mouth and lingering aftertaste were also not pleasant side effects, but it did seem to work. It allowed Lowenna to ride through the beautiful green hills and the dark, damp forest, but now it had worn off and Lowenna was completely spent. She had thought about having some more but had decided against it. If the lawmen were following her they couldn't be that close; even they need to sleep a little.

Lowenna came to the top of another hill. At the bottom, there was an old inn with a water wheel, which turned by the flowing river, which had been increasing in strength as she had followed it.

She was tired. The sight of the inn had to be a good sign. “I must be close to Hymdale,” she thought as she trotted down the hill.

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 © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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