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Lowenna and the secrets of light and darkness: chapter 28

Lowenna is weakening, but Rique and the others are getting closer, can they save Lowenna?

Chapter 28 the power of Darcariel 

The party had wandered on for a while.  Rique had made a mistake translating one of the symbols, but apart from having to double back once, they seemed to be making real progress.


Everyone was still on edge, Grilk had already drawn his newly acquired sword and had nearly attacked a statue with it.  Talia was staying very close to Rique, giving Rique a boost of confidence.  Talia seemed to trust her and expected her to be brave, much like Rique had done to Lowenna.
 

The mist had thinned, and the strange glowing rocks seemed to be leading them somewhere.
 

Callan was tired.  His legs ached, and he hadn't walked this far in an age.  Not that he was going to grumble about it, but he did miss his walking stick.  
 

Rique stopped and walked over to a wall.   There were no symbols or anything near it.  "What’s wrong Rique?" Talia asked.  Rique squinted at the rocks.  There was something different about them.  
 

She felt the Crystal in her pocket warming.  She slipped it out of her pocket and held her hand out.  The crystal pulsed in her hand before slowly turning till it was pointing at the wall in front of her.  "I think it’s this way?" she said
 

"Through the wall?" Callan asked sounding surprised.  He stood looking around for a symbol.
 

"Yes!" Rique replied with certainty, trusting her eyes and her new crystal.
 

Grilk nodded "Good enough for me." he said as he slammed into the wall hard.  Suddenly he was thrown across the room, landing in a heap.
Callan lifted his hand and magic flowed from it.  The shock wave hit the wall, like before but this time reflected back and knocked everyone back.
 

"What magic is this?" Talia asked as she got back to her feet.
Grilk sniffed, as he rubbed where he had banged his head, "Magic smells old, like dead Elves.  Me no trust Magic.”
 

"It's an Elven shield, the more force you use, the harder it hits you back," Rique said, hoping that her knowledge was useful.  "Callan place your hand’s against it."
 

Callan did what he was told, unsure what Rique was suggesting.
 

"Now start slow," Rique instructed, "Build it up gradually."  Rique then did the same with her ring.  The ring and Callan’s crystals slowly begun to glow, and the wall started to shake.  "Slowly not too much too quickly," Rique added, and Callan nodded in understanding.  
 

The others all watched as cracks began to appear.  Both Rique and Callan were showing signs of discomfort.   Callan growled in pain, and Rique used her other hand to hold her ring against the wall.  "Just a little more." She gasped out, ignoring the pain.

Suddenly there was a loud crack, and the wall flashed and vanished. Both Rique and Callan fell backward, breathing heavily.
 

"There!" Grilk shouted, and everyone looked to where he pointed.  There was an enormous crystal, floating at the end of a path.  Callan and Rique slowly got to their feet, and the group of five slowly walked towards it Ducking under several archways.  
 

The crystal seemed to float, perched high up on a large platform over what appeared to be a bottomless chasm.  Magical energy flowed over its surface and was also connecting the crystal to several other floating platforms at different heights.
 

"By the Angelous!" Sunil stated awestruck, hardly believing his eyes.
Grilk grunted, in agreement.
 

"Alright," Rique said as she regained her composure.  She looked at Callan, "How do we get up there?"
 

"Congratulations," a smug voice came from above.
 

"Don't Look!" Callan shouted as he grabbed Rique's arm forcing her to look at him pulling her back towards the entrance.  Unfortunately, it was too late for the others.  Darcariel came floating down on one of the platforms.  Several lawmen, guards, Rune, Jibranz and Lord Thomas, accompanied her.
 

"Well done for getting this far, you are all resourceful and will be rewarded," Darcariel stated arrogantly.
 

"We have to get out of here," Callan growled as he turned and started to run back the way they had come.
 

"What about the others," Rique whispered, as she looked at Talia and Grilk.  Both were staring upwards, with vacant expressions and smiles on their faces.  Rique turned and ran after Callan, realising they were lost.  Resisting the urge to look herself, while fighting back the tears.
Darcariel’s platform came to rest on the floor just in front of Grilk and the others. 

"Only you three survived?" She asked the lovely young girl who stood in front of her smiling.
 

"My Queen," Talia started, " There are five of us, me, My grandfather, Rique, Grilk the Orc, and Sunil.  
 

The queen’s smile turned to irritation, "Come out where I can see you," she commanded, but no one moved.  The queen walked over to Grilk. "Mr. Orc, who is missing?"
 

Grilk looked around quickly before focusing his gaze back on Darcariel.  He didn’t even mind her calling him Mr, "Callan and Rique not here.  We lost lawman, three more men, and Wenna." He replied woodenly.
 

"Lost?  You mean they were killed?" Darcariel asked walking passed the Orc making him turn.  
 

"Men killed, Lawman burred, Wenna fall.  Me think she survived."  Grilk replied.
 

Darcariel paused thoughtfully for a moment.  Something was confusing her.  "Who is this Wenna you speak of?" 
 

"She is a Lowenna," Talia said quickly trying to gain her queen's favour.  Grilk nodded in agreement.
 

"The Lowenna is here?" Darcariel said.  She wasn't talking to anyone, just out loud, but Grilk and Talia both replied, "Yes my queen."
Darcariel looked at Grilk anger in etched on her face, knowing how dangerous a Lowenna who could resist her magic could be.  "You know this Lowenna?" she asked.
 

"Yes, me owe Wenna life, me do anything for her," Grilk replied.
 

"And this Rique and Callan?" Darcariel asked grimly.
 

"Rique good friend.  Me no know Callan well, but he good man." Grilk answered, still smiling vacantly at his new queen."
 

"I want you to kill them for me, Callan, Rique and the Lowenna.  Kill them and earn your queen favour."
 

The smile faded from Grilk’s face, as he thought about what Darcariel was asking.  He turned and drew his axe.  "Yes, my Queen," he shouted, as he stormed after Rique and Callan.  Knowing this would be dangerous, but for his queen, he would kill his friends.
 

Talia didn't look happy, "My queen, may I go and try and kill my grandfather and the others for your pleasure."
 

"No girl you will return to the palace, and stay there until I get back.  Then we will have a private chat, maybe some fun.  I will want to know everything that has happened here." Darcariel replied, with a haughty look on her beautiful face.
 

With a bow Jibranz, walked forward, stopping in front of Darcariel.  "My queen, this is my betrothed, Talia," he stated, smiling at the young woman.
 

Darcariel’s eyes narrowed.  "Not anymore.  You are both mine to do with, as I please," she stated in satisfaction, as she walked around her beautiful young new pet.
 

"As you wish my queen," Jibranz said, with a bow.
 

"And what do you say, young girl?" Darcariel asked Talia.
 

"Whatever makes you happy my queen," She replied.
 

Rune now joined the conversation.  "My queen I don't think the Orc will be able to kill the Lowenna, and the Maven and the old mage would also be a challenge."
 

"You question me?" Darcariel asked looking most displeased.
 

Rune tilted her head and smiled. "No, my queen, just telling you the truth.  The Orc will fail unless the Lowenna feelings get in her way, or she is severely injured."
 

Darcariel lifted her eyebrow, "That’s why I like you.  You always tell the truth.  And I know the Orc can't beat a Lowenna, but I do believe it will be fun to watch."
 

Rune didn't respond.  She loved the queen and would do anything the queen asked of her.  She was her loyal slave, but deep down she had decided, that she didn't like the queen.  
 

She hoped someone could stop her.  Could Lowenna do it?  It was possible.  Alas, Rune knew it only took a glance, and you became a slave.  No one else seemed to mind once they were enthralled by Darcariel, but Rune was a sprite.  Like the others, she couldn’t disobey, but she didn’t have to like it.
 

Darcariel walked to the edge of the platform. "Jibranz with me."
"Yes, my queen!" Jibranz answered, as he swiftly walked to his queen’s side.
 

"You,” she pointed at a guard, who drew up in attention.  “Take the girl back to the palace, guard her with your life.”  The guard nodded before grabbing Talia’s arm and escorting her to the back of the chamber, through an archway, heading towards some tunnels and steps that lead back to the palace.
 

“The rest of you stay here and guard the crystal.  If anything happens to it, you will all suffer." 
 

"Yes my queen," everyone else said, except Rune who managed to stay quiet while her lips made the appropriate movements.
 

Darcariel and Jibranz started walking after Grilk.  Rune knew she wanted Lowenna under her spell, and if she got her, that could be the end of all hope.

Lowenna was wandering down another passage.  Her head hurt, she was almost out of magic, and she knew that Erbrus's hunter was still out there.  "At least I survived," she whispered to her crystal, thinking about how many times she had seen the Lion beast-man in her dreams. She hadn't escaped but had just woken up.  Her magic hadn't saved her, though when she had first dreamed it, she didn't know much about her magic or herself.  She still didn't know much, but she knew she was a fighter and had powerful magic, and until now that had been almost enough.
 

She was terrified of losing her mind to this evil queen, knowing she only wanted her as a weapon.  
 

Lowenna turned a corner and kept going.  She had been following the symbols that had a star.  That was the only logic she was using.  If there were two symbols of stars, she would go to the left.  If she met a dead end, she would go back and try the next opening.  She knew this was unlikely to get her to the crystal in time, but she had to keep going.  She couldn’t give up.
 

As she walked on, she came to another large room.  There was a pillar in the middle, which was holding the ceiling up, and had two dishes attached to the sides both alight with blue flames.  The mist was thick in this room, hiding the entire floor, and the sulphur smell was stronger than ever.  There was only one other way out of the chamber, but there was something in the corner.  A helmet was sticking out of the mist.
Lowenna carefully walked towards it, curiosity getting the better of her.  She could feel small stones or bits of wood hidden by the mist.  Lowenna took another step and something cracked under her foot.  She took another step, but something was in the way of her foot, a large rock?  
 

She picked it up and almost instantly dropped it.  It wasn’t a rock.  It was a skull!  She had been walking on bones of the dead.  Lowenna headed quickly towards the exit, but she tripped over something in the mist.
 

The mist parted as Lowenna fell.  She found herself face to face with another dead man.  She let out a short scream.  It was like the dead were clambering out of the mist to get her.  She pulled herself up and started to run again, trying to ignore the sounds of the old bones breaking under her feet.  She didn't stop until she was out of the room.  
Lowenna took a moment for her heart to slow.  She picked the bits of bone and whatever it was out of her long red hair, flicking them across the room in disgust. 
 

"Someone, help me?" she begged as Darcariel appeared in her mind again.  Lowenna couldn't fight it much longer.  She was so strong, powerful and beautiful.  "My queen," Lowenna whispered before she shook her head, and the image faded again.  "No!" Lowenna cried out.  She wasn't going to give in to Darcariel’s magic.  She was a proud warrior, a powerful mage, A Lowenna!  Darcariel was NOT going to win.
Lowenna advanced down the next corridor, resolve on her face, She was not going to fall, not easily.  She owed it to her friends and herself to fight Darcariel’s power until the very end.
 

She walked around a corner, but a door blocked her path.

 

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Copyright © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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