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HomeFantasy StoriesLowenna and the Secrets of Light and Darkness: chapter 24

Lowenna and the Secrets of Light and Darkness: chapter 24

Lowenna is getting weeker by the second, can she hold on and save not only herself but everyone else

Chapter 24 Passageways and traps

Lowenna had been told that Callan didn't trust her with a weapon. Which annoyed Lowenna, as she needed something to defend herself.

Talia had given her some plain clothes, and Rique had stayed to help her. "I am fine Rique," Lowenna said for the third time.

"No, you not, a lot has happened to you and your magic gets weaker every moment. We have to find this crystal and destroy it."

Lowenna slowly nodded, but a feeling of dread was spreading through her. An image of Darcariel in her mind interrupted her thoughts. Lowenna shook her head again, making the image disappear, but Rique noticed and was looking worried. "Rique, I want you to promise me something," Lowenna said trying to sound calm but severe.

"Anything," Rique replied.

Lowenna suddenly started to cry. She couldn't help it. "Part of me wants to see the queen again. She was so beautiful. I would have done anything for her. I know it's just dark magic, and I don't want to fall under the queen’s control. If that happens..." Lowenna speech trailed off into silence.

Rique looked shocked, and worried "Don’t even go there! Only think about finding the crystal, and destroying it."

Lowenna tried to smile, but couldn't. "You don't know how hard I'm fighting, she is in my head, and it hurts. I can’t fight her forever. I don't want to turn against my friends. I don't want to hurt you or Grilk." 

Lowenna went silent again giving into a small sob.

"We will head into the tunnels beneath the city, and stop Darcariel. I promise Lowenna. I will save you." Rique hugged her friend, holding her tightly. She knew Lowenna would never stop fighting this magic. She was determined to save her, no matter what the cost.

Lowenna paused for a moment, as she composed herself. "You know there are monsters down there. A winged Lion demon, and a tall grey man with fangs." Rique looked serious but didn't respond. "A child of Ebrus?" Lowenna asked hoping Rique would know something.

Rique's eyes opened wider. "The the Children of Ebrus are nine beast-men with the power of Ebrus. One of the Deamon-gods. They were his gift he left on the world when he departed. There is one with a head of a Lion. I believe it's Ebrus's Hunter. A perfect beast for catching prey. And this grey man could be Ebrus's Wrath, a creature that devours its prey, draining its victim's blood while absorbing its life force."

Lowenna stayed silent. That sounded exactly like what she had seen in the vision.

Rique continued after a pause, "there is also Ebrus's Frost, a wolf that roams the snowy areas hunting the souls of those lost in the storms. Ebrus's Tide' made up of several sea beasts taking the souls of anyone lost at sea. 'Ebrus's Darkness' a spider-like demon with nine eyes, hunting and killing in the dead of night..."

Lowenna suddenly interrupted Rique, "I saw that creature, six arms two legs. It attacked Tiffa and me."

Rique looked suddenly more afraid, "What, what happened?"

Lowenna took a deep breath and told Rique the story. How it had attacked, taken her crystal, the moving skull and how she had killed it and got her crystal back. Rique looked in shock, "You... You killed a child of Ebrus?" Lowenna nodded slowly. "By the Angelous, it took an army to kill Ebrus's Plight, a Dragon type monster with two heads. At least that's the story my father told me."

Lowenna nodded "At least we know they can die. So if the others are in the maze under the city, we still have a chance." Rique didn't smile or nod. She was pondering what Lowenna had said and what was to come. It sounded almost impossible, but she knew she had to try. She had to save her friend.

"Are you two coming? The lawmen could be here any moment." A rough voice called from the other chamber.

"Coming now," Rique replied and headed out of the room to join the others followed by Lowenna.

Callan, Talia, and Grilk were the only ones left in the chamber, "Took you long enough," Callan stated, grumpily. "What part of, We have to get out of here now! Did you not understand?"

"It is my fault," Rique said, glancing at Lowenna, "We are ready to go now."

Callan huffed, grabbed his backpack, put it on and then grabbed a hooded cape. "We head to the market. 

There will be a lot of people there we can hide in the inn until sundown. Then we meet with the others and head for the palace." He threw Lowenna the cape, "Put that on and keep yourself hidden Lowenna."

Lowenna nodded and put it on pulling the hood over her red hair. She couldn't help but think about the queen, how she wanted to see her again, but she knew that would end in disaster.

Callan led the party out of the room. Grilk headed off to the stables to hide while the others headed into the busy market.

The sun was just starting to set as Erkut broke down another door, but as Jibranz had feared, there was no one here. They had known his mother had been captured and had fled. "We split up search the surrounding areas," the frustrated Jibranz ordered.


You should return to the palace, tell our queen they are not here," Erkut replied.

Jibranz nodded slowly, but the anger on his face was there for all to see. "Our queen put me in charge. I will go to the palace and tell her that they were gone. If I were you, I wouldn't come back until I had found them." Erkut grimly nodded back, before storming out of the inn, followed by Nara and Zenith.

"The queen will not be pleased young Jibranz," A man in a fancy suit said as he entered the room catching Jibranz by surprise. He was dressed very smartly, polished shoes, black trousers, white shirt and short purple and gold trimmed cape. On his head was a large hat with an even larger feather sticking out of it.

"Lord Thomas, I was unaware you were here."

"The queen sent me, I have dealt with a Lowenna in the past, and our queen thought I might be useful. I must say she did expect the girl to be captured by now."

"Of course Lord Thomas. Will you accompany me back to the palace?"

"Our queen wants me to take charge of capturing the Lowenna since elite guards and lawmen seem too inept to do this job."

Jibranz shot him a look of loathing. Before he headed out of the inn, heading back to the palace to give his queen the bad news.

The market was starting to close with the sun disappearing over the mountains. Lowenna had enjoyed seeing some of the different sights and places in the city.

Although Callan didn't say much, what he had, had proved insightful to Lowenna. He had turned out to be Talia’s great uncle, and former magia to one of the great houses. He had also had a role in the war against the black orcs nearly three hundred seasons ago.

The plan they had hastily come up with was to enter the palace through the secret passage, after sundown. Instead of taking the stairs, to try the other passages, hoping one of them had the secreted crystal which was the source of Darcarial’s power.

Lowenna looked at her crystal, "Still pink but fading," she thought to herself as it pulsed again.

"Maybe you should try not to use magic," Rique suggested, “save it for an emergency.” Lowenna stayed quiet, the image of Darcariel, which kept popping into her mind, was getting stronger. Lowenna knew if she ran out of magic she would fall under her control.

The party of four made their way to the tower Lowenna had crashed into. This was the meeting point. Upon entering the clearing, Lowenna saw three men and a straw waggon. She was about to say something when a thunderous sneeze came from the pile of hay. Grilk’s head popped out. "Stupid hide place," Grilk said as he shook his head, the straw falling out of his grey ponytail. His eyes and nose were running from where the hay had irritated them.

"It's amazing we made it here with this lumbering brute. He moans like a child," Nox said, showing his contempt for Grilk with Edge and Sunil laughing to each other.

"I proud orc warrior, not used to hiding in horse food. Doesn't even taste nice." Grilk growled angrily, trying and failing to be quiet. He had found another thing to add to his, ‘Thing I not like list’; running, retreating, green vegetables, fruit, a friend dying and now hiding in hay. He cocked his head to the side as he thought about it, hiding in hay and straw probably wouldn't happen as much as running.

Grilk pushed his way out of the cart and shook his whole body. Lowenna and Rique were trying not to laugh, but couldn't help it. He did look funny with straw and hay sticking out from his armour.

This was the first time, since the river, Lowenna had laughed with her friend. It felt right. She also noticed Callan was smiling. He had found Grilk covered in horse food funny too.

Azmil suddenly dropped from the rooftop, joining the rest of the group. "It will be dark soon. We should head for the palace now."

Callan stopped smiling and coughed. Reluctantly he was now in charge. "The Lawman is right split up and meet at the palace wall. If anyone gets spotted lure them away and run like your life depended on it, which it probably will." Everyone nodded, before Callan stared at Lowenna, "And if you feel the urge to use your magic, don't!"

"Let's just get this done before I run out of magic," Lowenna replied coolly before she shook her head making sure the queen didn't enter her mind.

"Go with the orc, and keep out of sight, Talia will lead you to the palace.

Lowenna wasn’t liking how Callan was treating her. She knew the way to the palace, but it was possible Grilk didn't so she forced a smile and nodded at Callan. Grilk just grunted before he headed into the alleyways followed by Lowenna and Talia.

"Before I forget," Lowenna said to Grilk, "I wanted to thank you, for coming after me."

Grilk grunted in reply, but a big smile spread across his face.

"I mean it Grilk. You and Rique didn't have to come here. You could have gone back to your lives in Penbirth."

"No," Grilk replied, "My life now yours Wenna, you saved me and Rique. Where you go, we follow."

Lowenna smiled, feeling for the first time she wasn’t alone. She also felt a little guilty, knowing they could get hurt or worse.

Lowenna, Grilk, and Talia finally found the damaged part of the garden wall, Making sure they were alone before, they climbed over. It took Grilk a few moments to get over the wall, and once over he fell and landed on the ground with a thump. Lowenna helped him up before she saw Rique laughing a few steps away. "Orcs not best climbers," Grilk grumbled sounding a little embarrassed, as he looked and Rique.

"It's good Grilk. Hopefully, there will be no more climbing," Lowenna replied giving Rique a look, which made her smile disappear.

Callan and Azmil joined them, "Is everyone here?" He asked, and everyone looked around before Nox confirmed everyone was. "You lead now Lowenna, just know, any tricks, and you die."

Lowenna tried to ignore the fact Callan didn't trust her by telling everyone where the passage was. She asked Rique and Azmil to lead the way, as the sky was turning black and she didn't want to use her seeing spell. Rique could see in the dark and Azmil had incredible reflexes. Even in this poor light, they had the best chance to spot a guard.

Slowly the party made their way to the wall with the secret passage. Lowenna was slightly surprised there were no guards. She wanted to use her magic to see. She could feel something wasn't right.

When the party reached the wall, Lowenna slid her hand in the grove to find the switch and pushed it, nothing happened.

"What’s wrong?" Callan whispered.

"The door isn't opening," Lowenna whispered in reply.

"If this is a trap..." Callan had said before he was interrupted by a bright flash.

An orb of magical light suddenly erupted above Lowenna and the others, causing all of them to shield their eyes with their hands.

"Kill them!" a voice shouted, and two archers let their arrows fly.

Lowenna didn’t hesitate or think about it. She had placed her fingers on her crystal and as the order to kill had been given she had flicked her fingers upwards. Five pale pink sparks flew from her fingers, two intercepting the arrows, as the group turned as one to face their attackers.

A group of guards was charging, two archers were standing on a wall, and a lawman dressed in red stood next to a man in a fancy suit and large hat with a feather sticking out of it.

Jibranz didn't like following Lord Thomas’s orders, but the queen had told him to do so. That was good enough for him. He swung his sword at the stunned orc, but suddenly Lowenna was in his way, blocking his sword with a simple walking stick.

Callan lifted his hands and magic had erupted from both his crystals forcing the guards back. Rique shot both of the archers, one with her crossbolt, the other with her ring before they had even reloaded their bows and Grilk and Azmil were now charging at the lawman in red.

Jibranz jumped back, before readying himself. "Our queen wants you taken alive Lowenna. The others are not of interest, but if you will not be taken you must die." Jibranz charged again swinging his sword. Lowenna dogged left then tried to use the walking stick, to block the sword a second time, but it only deflected the sword a little, scratching her cheek as the walking stick was split in two.

Lowenna didn't even blink going low trying to sweep Jibranz legs, but he jumped over the attack before her other foot kicked him in the gut, while he was still in the air.

Jibranz had his hand over his chest the other still holding his sword. Breathing slightly fast he growled, "You're quick Lowenna and skilled, but you are unarmed and no match for me."

Jibranz charged again. Lowenna was backing up and dodging the sword, but he wasn't giving her an opening. She took another step back, her foot slipped. She saw the sword coming down. Just in time, Rique jumped in the way and blocking the sword with her dagger.

Lowenna watched as Jibranz changed opponents. She hadn't seen Rique fight since Zarkar had attacked them and she was incredibly fast, faster than Jibranz, faster than her! She was forcing him back. He spun round his sword going high then low. Rique blocked each one, but as he went high again, he tried to sweep her legs as before. Rique somersaulted backward and landed with her ring pointing at Jibranz. She smiled as a bolt of light shot out of it, striking Jibranz in the chest, knocking him off his feet and he crashed down to the floor.

Lowenna was impressed with how much Rique had improved and her skills. Grilk suddenly cried out. The lawman had wounded his arm. He was on his knees. Azmil was too far away and had been disarmed. The lawman had his sword ready to strike. He was going to kill Grilk.

Lowenna didn't even think about it. She pushed hand towards him, and a ball of pink flames hit the lawman before he could finish Grilk off. The lawman screamed as he dropped the sword, throwing himself to the floor rolling in the dirt putting the fire out. He looked up as he started to rise only to see Grilk's fist coming at him at high speed. Grilk hit him right between his eyes.

Lowenna looked down at her crystal. Her hand clasped around it. She had saved Grilk from the lawman, and the others from the Archers but had used magic, cutting her time down. An image of Darcariel laughing appeared in her mind. Lowenna shook her head, and its image disappeared, but she could still hear the laughter, Darcariel was getting stronger.

Callan was not pleased, not only had the Lowenna used magic, but his walking stick lay broken on the floor. He lifted his hand and pointed at the secret door Lowenna had tried to open. A shockwave erupted from his hand shattering the stone doorway leaving a pile of dusty boulders and rocks on the floor. "We have to hurry the Lord will be back with more soldiers and lawmen. Maven, you see better than most you lead."

Rique nodded as she passed him and entered the passage. Azmil followed rubbing his jaw, from where the lawman had struck him, followed by everyone else. Grilk stopped and looked over at, Callan and Lowenna.

"I told you not to use magic. We have little time," Callan started, looking angry while staring at Lowenna.

Lowenna just stared back, "I saved you and the others from the archers and Grilk from the lawman. I will not let my friends die. As long as I can fight, I will." Lowenna looked over at Grilk, "Are you alright?"

Grilk looked at the wound on his arm, before lifting it to check if it still worked, "Me fine, just scratch."

Callan shook his head "I see there is no reasoning with you Lowenna, so let me say this. As soon as you are out of magic, you will become a slave." Lowenna glared at Callan, not backing down. “You would kill your friends and anyone else Daracrial ordered you to kill. Callan turned and headed into the passage, leaving Grilk alone with Lowenna.

"We go, stop Queen," Grilk said thumping his arm against his chest, proving that it was fine.

"Yes Grilk," Lowenna said smiling at the old orc, "Callan was right, though if I fall under the queen's control..."

"Me save you Wenna, me your friend," Grilk said before patting Lowenna on the head, and the two friends headed in after the others.

The walk through the passage was faster than the last time Lowenna had walked it. Rique lead the way, followed by Azmil who was using his fire magic to light the tunnel. Next were the remaining resistance members, followed by Grilk and Lowenna. Callan brought up the rear, limping without his walking stick.

Lowenna knew he was ready to strike at her if she did something he didn't like, just like Marchel had done before she had earned his trust.

The party entered the clearing with the steps and two dark tunnels. "Still no guards," Lowenna thought as they headed past the steps. Neither of the tunnels looked inviting, Lowenna remembered in her dream when running from the lawman she had taken a path which led outside, but neither of these passages was where that tunnel had been.

"Steps lead up to the palace," Azmil said. "We need to take the tunnels

"Should we split up?" Nox asked.

Rique looked at each passageway in turn "That one," she said pointing to the one on the left.

"Why that one?" Callan asked.

"Footprints" Rique answered, as she walked over and pointed to the floor. Azmil got closer illumining the tunnel with his fire magic. "She is right there are footprints. I have no idea from how long ago."

Rique entered the passage, glancing back at Azmil for his lack of faith in her vision, flowed by Grilk.

Lowenna was about to follow, when a sharp pain, in her head forced her to grab the wall. The image of Darcariel forced its way into focus. Lowenna shook her head, and the image faded again.

Callan noticed the shake and lifted his hands. "I’ve noticed you do that a few times Lowenna, what’s wrong?"

"It nothing, just a headache." Lowenna lied. She didn't want Callan to know she was seeing the queen.

"Really?" Callan replied not believing her. "You sure it's not the queen getting stronger as your magic is getting weaker?"

Lowenna threw him a glance. "I am fine. Thank you for the concern," she replied, before heading into the passage following her friends.

The passage descended and was long with many turns. No one was talking. Even Grilk was quiet. Azmil had been able to save his magic, as strange glowing rocks had lit the passage. Lowenna hoped she didn't recognise them but knew she did.

After a while, the passage opened up into a small room, with two exits. "Look at the ceiling," Rique said, and everyone looked up. There were ancient carvings and symbols etched in front of the two doors. Lowenna thought they looked a little familiar but had no clue what they meant.

"That’s an elfish design," Rique added, it continues through here she said, as she walked into one of the adjoining rooms. Callan huffed, showing he wasn't interested, but Talia followed, asking about the symbols.

"This isn't getting us to the crystal is it?" Nox asked Callan, sounding angry.

"Don't think so," Callan replied.

Before anyone else said anything, they heard Rique shout, "Don't move!"

Lowenna cautiously entered the room. Both Talia and Rique were standing very still, and some of the symbols were now glowing. "What's wrong Rique?" Lowenna asked.

"I stepped on something, and the pictographs started to glow. I heard a click, but I don’t know where it came from."

Grilk popped his head in the room but didn't enter, "Me no like magic," he said, looking at the glowing images.

"Don't get any closer Grilk!" Rique shouted. She sounded scared.

Lowenna walked back to the old Orc, "You have a rope?" she asked him but he shook his head. "Has anyone got a rope?" she called out to the group behind Grilk. Edge took a long rope out of his bag and passed it to Grilk. "Alright here is the plan. You hold one end Grilk, and I will take the line to the others. You pull us to safety when we shout. We will all jump towards you and hopefully you will pull us out of trouble."

Grilk nodded and passed one end to Lowenna and while holding the middle and passed the other end to Callan and the others. Callan wanted to protest, but couldn’t think of a better idea.

Lowenna cautiously went over to Rique, avoiding all the symbols on the floor. She tied the rope around Rique's waist before going over to Talia. "Did you step on anything?" She asked her.

"I don't think so," Talia replied, as she took hold of the rope.

"Alright take the line and slowly walk back to the others." Lowenna passed her the end of the line and turned back to Rique but as Talia lifted her foot the room started to shake violently. "Run!" Lowenna shouted, and the woman ran, Grilk could see they were in trouble and pulled as hard as he could, yanking Rique off her feet.

Talia kept hold of the rope but fell as the floor gave way. Lowenna only had it in one hand, and the image of Darcarial laughing entered her head at just the wrong moment. She had lost her grip.

She made a desperate grab at the rope but it was just out of reach, and Lowenna fell into the darkness.

"Wennaaaa!" Rique shouted as she saw her friend disappear into the darkness as Grilk pulled Talia and Rique up to safety.

Lowenna knew she didn't have much magic left, but if she didn't survive this fall, it didn't matter. She went to touch her fingers to the crystal, but it wasn’t where it should have been. It flashed just in front of her.

Lowenna suddenly cried out in pain, as Darcarial exploded in her mind burning her will away. She stretched out her hand in desperation, and the crystal seemed to drift closer. Lowenna clenched it in her fist before she hit the ground and the world went black. Stones and rubble came crashing down, burying the young woman as quiet screams from far above shouted her name.

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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