The Tale of Ander Collins--Chapter Thirty

Fiction By LoriAnn // 2/27/2010

 

“Minions!” shrieked Celzara. As the arrows reached her, the grotesque creatures rose up in a fleshy shield around the queen, their flapping wings sending a fetid smell through the air of the throne room.
Ander gagged on the horrible stench, but drew his sword, stuffing the mock-Vial into his pocket. “For the Denwold!” he shouted above the squealing noise of the minions.
“For Denwold!” Dorlan echoed, a commanding light in his eye. The army surged forward, swords glittering in the bright morning light.
Ander caught a glimpse of something behind him, and turned, weapon in hand.
Thraluic was a whirling dervish just a few yards away, fighting off three minions at once. Dorlan had been separated from him by the press of the charge, and the dragon was alone. Ander started to make his way toward him, but one of the few feielves who had kept to Celzara’s side confronted him halfway there.
The man said nothing, only snarled menacingly as he attacked in a full battle rage. He was only a bit taller than Ander but probably a good twenty years older, and had the strong upper body and arms of an archer; for all that he was wielding a sword. He was apparently untrained in the blade—Ander blocked his awkward sword thrusts with ease, though the sheer force behind them sent quivers of strain through his arms.
“You realize,” Ander gasped, deflecting yet another clumsy-but-fierce blow, “That the queen is an evil—“ grunt “—megalomaniac who would sooner—“ thrust, parry, dodge “—kill you than give up her throne?”
The man ignored him. Ander gave a mental shrug—it was too much to hope that he could win over every soldier he fought with.
Over the man’s shoulder, he saw Thraluic still fighting off the minions, who seemed drawn to him, as if they knew that he was a magical creature like themselves. The dragon was holding his own, but there was a strange golden glow around him, and the thought crossed Ander’s mind that the queen might be trying to enspell him.
“I don’t have time for this,” Ander grimaced at the feielve fighter. “Get out of my way!”
With a mighty swing, he slammed his blade down on the other man’s, forcing it from his grasp. Smoothly, in a move Shyllen had often demonstrated, he reversed his blow and struck the man on the side of the head with the flat of his blade.
The feielve’s eyes rolled up into his skull, and he crumpled to the floor, senseless.
Ander leaped over the older man, through a temporary gap in the chaos. His view of Thraluic was now obscured by a flock of minions engaged in fighting with a trio of feielve knights who seemed to be dispatching the creatures with relative ease. Darting around them, Ander again caught sight of Thraluic—just in time to see the golden glow he had noticed flash wildly and fade.
In its place stood an enormous black dragon, with a mound of trampled minions around his feet.
“Thraluic!” the name burst from Ander’s lips in shock. “You—“
The dragon—no longer human in form, but again scaled and horned—grinned toothily at him, a dangerous glint in his golden eye. He stretched, and rattled his wings. “I got mad enough,” he growled in explanation.
Ander laughed, though he hardly knew why, and together they rushed into the fray. Minions darted about over their heads, ripping at exposed faces and upraised arms; but there, they were unprotected from the near-perfect aim of the archers, who still perched above the battle, picking off enemies one at a time. A flash of purple above his head told Ander that Shyllen was also in flight, fighting the misshapen monsters in the air. But he was too busy to take a better look.
In front of him snarled a gargoyle-like creature, with poison-flecked saliva dripping from its broken fangs. Red-rimmed eyes glared hatefully at him.
“Prepare to die, rebel scum,” it hissed. Ander stopped for half of a breath, surprised. Somehow, he hadn’t expected the minions to be able to speak. Taking advantage of his pause, the creature leaped at him; but Ander blocked its attack deftly. The thing’s claws raked the edges of his sword, and one slipped down to nick his hand. Wincing at the sting, Ander took a step back and crouched into combat stance.
“I don’t plan on dying today,” he told the monster in a conversational tone. The lingering ache in his head was completely faded now. “It’s too nice outside.”
Snarling angrily, the minion leaped again. Ander brought his sword around in time to block one outstretched claw, but he was unprepared for the wing that whipped forward and buffeted him in the side of the head. Moving with the direction of the blow, he managed to absorb most of the force and found his balance. He would need to be more cautious now. Sizing up his enemy again, he realized that the creature had far more “weapons” than he did—the claws on all four legs, the teeth, and even the spiked and heavily-muscled tail could all serve as killing machines, whereas he was armed only with his sword and his wits.
The creature giggled, a harsh, sickening sound like gravel over slate. It leaped forward again, stopping just short of Ander’s reach—like a cat, Ander thought in frustration. He swiped out with his blade, but the minion easily evaded the hasty blow. It danced around him with surprising grace, looking for an opening.
Brute force wasn’t going to work on this thing. He would need to outsmart it. Ander took in the thing’s tiny skull and allowed himself a small flicker of amusement. That shouldn’t be too difficult.
Thinking quickly, he lowered the tip of his sword, as if the blade had become too heavy for him. The minion took the bait, lunging forward with claws perfectly aimed to rip through his body—but it never got that far. As soon as the lethal, razor-tipped limbs were up, Ander raised the point of his sword and braced himself. The creature’s own momentum carried it onto the blade.
With a deafening scream, it collapsed at his feet, clawing its own chest as if it could tear out the blade and seal up the mortal wound. Caught off balance, Ander fell toward the creature, but steadied himself. He gagged at the stench of the monster, and withdrew his sword from its body.
Just in time too. As he yanked the sword out, another monster separated from a larger group, and was upon him. This one was more patient and clever than the last, and Ander found himself hard pressed to parry all of its blows. One slice from the minion’s left wing cut a deep gash in his sword arm, just above the elbow. Ander backed away, and found that in the process of fighting, he had gotten himself up against one of the throne room walls. He felt a surge of fear, suddenly noticing that the nearest Denwolder was too far away to be of any assistance.
The creature’s bulging eyes were fixed on the wound on Ander’s arm, and it licked a narrow tongue over pointed teeth in anticipation. “We will feast this night,” it hissed, seemingly to itself.
“Oh, no you won’t!” Ander exclaimed, a mixture of fear and anger propelling him forward. Ignoring the blood on his arm, he lunged at the monster and slashed viciously at its head. He didn’t actually expect such an slapdash—though strong—blow to have an affect on the creature, but he hadn’t realized how distracted it was by its greedy contemplation. A second later, the monster was headless, and Ander blinked in astonishment.
“Good blow, lad,” a feielve soldier who had just finished off a monster of his own called over. He backed up to the wall where Ander stood—never taking his eyes off the advancing horde. “A lucky hit, but a good one nonetheless. Next time, try going for the eyes. They’re a million times easier to reach than the body, and the things just crumple if you can get to one of them.”
“Thanks,” Ander said, wiping his sword blade on a handkerchief he pulled out of his pocket. “Ick,” he added, grimacing at the red-brown stain.
The man laughed. “Anything for a Collins,” he said. “I knew your parents—we’ll have to talk sometime.”
Excited, Ander asked, “And who are you?”
“Tamlin Corte,” the feielve said with a small bow. “Your mother and I were friends growing up.” He motioned out at the battle, which was obviously turning in favor of Dorlan’s army. “Shall we?”
Ander nodded. “Let’s.” He looked toward the front of the room, where Celzara still stood in front of her gaudy throne, sending bolts of green lightning into the fray. “Someone needs to stop her,” he muttered, gripping his sword hilt tighter.
Corte nodded toward Dorlan, who was fighting like a fireside-tale champion. “That’s his job, lad. See? He’s moving in on her, ever so slowly.”
Ander studied his cousin, noticing how he was advancing on Celzara without brazenly charging her. Every time he cut down another minion, he would take just a few steps closer to the throne before engaging again. “Clever,” Ander acknowledged. Then his heart sank as he glanced back at Celzara. “Uh-oh,” he said. “She knows.”
Celzara’s burning green eyes were tracking every move that Dorlan made, even as she fired bolts of green fire into the rebel army.
“What?” Corte followed his gaze. “Oh. That’s not good.”
“I’m going to warn him,” Ander said, finally stepping back into the fray.
“Right behind you, Collins,” Corte answered.
It was a nasty, skill-less thing at that point in the battle. Gone was the chance to engage an opponent one on one—the minions knew that they were losing. Abandoning their earlier tactics, they gathered into groups of ten or more to attack in tandem, like a mob of crows. Their horrific screeching ripped at the nerves as well as the ears of the fighters, and they were hard pressed to defend against the swarming flocks. But for every fighter the minions cut down, it seemed that there were five more to take his place—actually, Ander realized as he dodged a savage blow from above, that was exactly what was happening. The doors to the throne room—blocked from his view a moment ago, when he had been against the wall—had been thrown open, and a mass of Denwolders were flooding inside.
Ander jumped over a low slash by one of the queen’s soldiers, and caught a glimpse of Celzara’s face.
She was livid, her green eyes flashing madly in the bright sunlight. Her red hair, usually so coiffed and luxuriant, was tangled and frizzing out from her head in a sort of unholy halo. She was losing, and she knew it.
Of course, that didn’t stop her from making a last-ditch effort to regain control of the situation.
With a shout of effort, she shot out a rock-solid bolt of green fire, blasting a path clear from herself to Dorlan. Minions as well as Denwolders went flying, leaving a wide swath of bare ground—a perfect aisle, leading to the throne.
“I am the rightful queen,” she shouted, all of her honeyed tones gone now. “And I will have that Vial!” Snapping her arm up, she pointed at Dorlan, her entire body taut with rage and effort.
Ander leaped into action without thinking. Even as the green fire appeared at Celzara’s fingertip, he was dodging minions and soldiers and rebels, dropping his sword in order to move more quickly. But he could never have reached his cousin in time.
Nearly faster than the eye could follow, a long, snaking bolt of green energy exploded from Celzara’s hand and slashed through the air with a smell like burning leaves, detonating against Dorlan in a corona of emerald fire.
The force of the attack sent Dorlan spinning to the floor, but the queen’s aim had been off-center. She was tiring, and her rage was affecting her judgment, causing the bolt of energy to strike Dorlan’s left side only.
The Vial flew from his right hand, tumbling end over end through the air.
“Ander!” Dorlan shouted as he fell, but Ander was already there—leaping over a fallen minion with a gasp of pure adrenalin and reaching desperately for the hurtling Vial.
He caught it.

Comments

AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does Dorlan die!?!?!?!? WHAT HAPPENS!!!! THAT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-O

Clare | Mon, 03/01/2010

OOOOOH MYYYY GOODNESS!! Post

OOOOOH MYYYY GOODNESS!!

Post fast! Post fast! MUST READ MORE!

KatieSara | Mon, 03/01/2010

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

No!

Thulraic is dragon again! Hurrah! But Trav!...You ended it there!

We shall pursue you with overripe apricots and our wits. To quote an earlier post by you...

I'm shaking in my boots here. Who knew homeschoolers were so violent?

Be afraid, authoress.

Be very afraid.

We too have pens to use.

 

Julie | Mon, 03/01/2010

Formerly Kestrel

Indeed.

Beware the angry homeschoolers armed with pens and imaginary fighting skills. o.O

KatieSara | Tue, 03/02/2010

Katie:-)

"Are all humans like this? So much bigger on the inside?"
-Idris/TARDIS

lol

You guys are great! I'll post more soon--only a few chapters left!

LoriAnn | Fri, 03/05/2010

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?! And so

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?! And so glad by the way that Thraluic is back to being a dragon. What bout Ander, and Dorlan and EVERYBODY ELSE?! sorry, little over the top there. Ahem.

One thing. Didnt Ander put the fake Vial in his pocket? so why then, does Celzara have it to throw on the ground?

Kay J Fields | Sat, 03/13/2010

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/

LORIANN!!!!!!!!!!! I'm very

LORIANN!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm very glad that (as of yet) Thraluic is safe and I'm also glad that he's back to dragon form. But HOW COULD YOU STOP THERE! That's not called a cliffhanger, that's called unnecessary cruelty and torture.

Shall I say ditto to Kestrel? :0)

Heather | Mon, 03/15/2010

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Kay--what Vial? I only see

Kay--what Vial? I only see one Vial...I don't know what you're talking about...(Love the edit button...)

LoriAnn | Thu, 03/18/2010

LOL.

LOL.

Kay J Fields | Thu, 03/18/2010

Visit my writing/book review blog at http://transcribingthesedreams.blogspot.com/

I'm....

I'm.... Oh dear!... What to say?.... How to say it?.... ahem.... WONDERFULLLLLLLL!!!!!!! absultly Brillant!! I am on the edge of my seet! oh love all the the other comments you guys made hystarical! LOL

Now lets get to the point...

Good Thraliuc ( did I spell that right?) is not died! Wow great minions! I am so imprised with that work I can't believe that you would stop! Oh no Ander is going to go though the burning thing again! yicksss I hate those creatures good job with them I just wish I could see how they look though your eye's I bet they would be terific just like every thing else in this wonderful story! I Really like Shyllen. And I love the line!  "Shall we?”
Ander nodded. “Let’s.” 
LOVE IT!!!

this book is much better then ' The two princesses of bamar' Witch I would think that is inpossable! good job PLEASE POST MORE!

Kassady | Wed, 03/31/2010

"Here's looking at you, Kid"
---
Write On!