The tomb of the dark paladin

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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Map

A Word About Cystic Fibrosis

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter FIve

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thriteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

More From Me

About the Author

Contact

 

 

 

The Chronicles of Llars

Volume Four:

 

 

The Tomb of

the Dark Paladin

 

 

 

By Tom Bielawski

 

 

The Tomb of the Dark Paladin

 

Tom Bielawski

 

Copyright Tom Bielawski 2012

 

Published by Tom Bielawski Publishing

 

Cover art by Ronnel D Porter

 

Editing by RW Jensen

A word about Cystic Fibrosis (CF)

 

 

I am a CF dad; someone I love needs a cure.

 

CF is a genetic, inherited, disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, and 70,000 worldwide. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick and sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections, and obstructs the pancreas stopping the natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

 

This disease used to be a death sentence. Now, more and more people with CF are living into their 30's, 40's and beyond. And that is thanks in large part to organizations like Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) and others who have supported and driven the research community with awesome fundraisers, studies, and media attention.

Please support CFF.org, Cystic Life (cysticlife.org), Boomer Esiason Foundation (esiason.org), or any other great organization that is helping to fight this terrible disease.

Thank you,

Tom Bielawski

 

C H A P T E R

O N E

~

Frigid polar air whipped into a frenzy, blowing snow and chunks of ice through the air as it whistled along the mountain ridges of Erestonin. The skies were dark with the steel gray of snow clouds; even the dark and ominous Northern Borealis was not to be seen that night. The snow was falling nearly horizontally, a condition called a whiteout by most mortals. But the man standing there was not like any mortal who walked on Llars. This man was unaffected by cold or driving wind or obstructions to mortal sight. He stood through it all, rigid as a statute, with naught but his golden eyes taking in the landscape.

Satisfied that no further attacks would come, Prince Mycal finally stepped through the Pathway Arch that he and Crystoph had so recently regenerated. To any mortal daring to walk the pathways where only the immortal Cjii go freely, the sensations of the powers of the Tides and the spirits of the damned as they pulled the mortal mind to its limits, would cause most to become incurably insane. For Prince Mycal, the journey through the pathways between arches, those pathways that connected his world to the world of Llars, was short. In a blink, he found himself stepping through the portal opening and into the realm of Zuhr's Cjii. He turned and harnessed the power of the Tides, then sealed the arch behind him with a spell so powerful even another Cjii would not be able to open it without his consent. The great warrior-prince leaned against a cool marble support pillar gazing at the massive arch, allowing himself a moment to regain his composure. After a moment, he turned away from the arch, ready to trudge up the steps that led from the secret chamber to the realm above where his troops waited.

Crystoph stood at the foot of the stairs, hands on his hips, his chiseled face weary and somber. "The cost of the success of this mission was too high."

Mycal said nothing and Crystoph thought he saw the older Cjii's eyes begin to wrinkle. It was rare for Mycal to show any hint of emotion to anyone. To Crystoph, Mycal's slight loss of control underscored the importance of the situation they found themselves in.

"It was necessary."

"We forced Tartarus and Baelor to show us what they are capable of on Llars, but will that end justify the means?"

"It will," said the Archangel simply. "The diversion worked." They continued discussing a tactic particularly out of character for the prince that the Legion performed under the diversion provided by Mycal's attack. They had infiltrated Hades and kidnapped one of Umber's Dark Disciples.

"What have we set in motion, Mycal?"

The Prince of Angels could not help but notice the tone in his lieutenant's voice. "We have done what was necessary, and nothing more. It is the will of the Great Father and we must obey."

Crystoph nodded in irritation, he already knew that. Mycal was always one to hold his information close. "What is going to become of Llars?"

"I do not know, Crystoph. A great war is inevitable, and it seems that the field of battle will be there."

"There has not been a war between the Cjii in millennia; and the last time we fought our brethren--"

"It cannot be helped!" barked the elder Cjii. "Zuhr has spoken. The First Six will not be allowed to continue to misrepresent themselves as gods. The mortals will be drawn into this fight."

"There is another way, Mycal."

Mycal met the gaze of his subordinate with a steely gaze of his own. He knew what Crystoph was suggesting. "Even that great hope is beyond us, brother. If the mortal in fact accomplishes that highly improbable feat, I fear it would only postpone the inevitable chaos to come. Our best remedy, however undesirable, must be acted upon at once."

"The stones have been found, Mycal," said Crystoph urgently. "There is a chance!"

Mycal placed his hand on Crystoph's shoulder and the two began to walk up the elegant marble stairs together. "If the mortal somehow learns what it is that he holds, and if he does not break under the constant strain of the Shadow, perhaps then we may hope. Until then, Crystoph, we prepare for war."

The two immortals reached the top of the stairs and emerged into the realm that was their home. They basked in the golden warmth that came from everywhere at once, and inhaled deeply of the smells of the forest and the mountains in the warm spring-like air. They were standing in a door situated at the foot of a mountain, a great lake of azure glistened before them. At the edges of this great lake the City of Angels, the home of Zuhr's own Cjii, rose up in golden splendor.

"But we must do something to help him, Mycal!" Crystoph's voice was strained; he desperately wanted to avoid a war that could devastate the home of their beloved mortal races.

"Perhaps," said Mycal, thoughtful. The two Cjii watched as the last of the injured angel soldiers were taken inside the gleaming gates of the City of Angels.

"The covenant has already been broken, Mycal," urged Crystoph. "None of the Cjii are bound by its code anymore."

"I know," replied the elder Cjii with a great sigh. Mycal paused a long moment, his perfect features troubled as he turned to face his trusted lieutenant. "That course of action carries its own risks, brother."

"I am prepared to accept those risks. It is my choice to make and I believe Zuhr would want it to be so."

"It is your choice to make," Mycal agreed somberly. "You have my leave to use the arches; I only hope it is not already too late. Zuhr's blessing upon you, Crystoph."

"And you Mycal," repeated the other as the two embraced.

Mycal turned, walked down the gentle slope toward the city, leaving Crystoph behind to ponder the wisdom his choice. Crystoph did not ponder long, however. He felt strongly about what he could do to save Llars. Mycal was a general, a true leader who took his role with grave solemnity. Crystoph did not truly think of himself as either. He was a master of the Tides and of the Cjii magic that fed from the Tides, and had taught many Cjii how to use them. He was a scholar, familiar with nearly every second of the history of Llars, and had shared that knowledge with his fellow Cjii. But perhaps more than any of Zuhr's angels, Crystoph felt a special love and responsibility for those who dwelt upon Llars, particularly the Crimson Elves. Over the millennia, when Crystoph felt the need to take mortal form he always chose that of Morgon Fyr, the greatest Fyrbold to walk Llars; a Crimson Elf.

In the span of an eye blink, Crystoph willed the Tides to do his bidding and his appearance changed. Now he stood overlooking his home, the City of Angels, for perhaps the last time, through the dark red eyes of a Crimson Elf. With the flick of a finger, a doorway of pure fire appeared before him, blocking his view of the city below. He stepped into the flames, reveling in the way the Tides flowed through him and luxuriating in the heat of the magical flames. And then he and the flames were gone.

 

 

General Medov closed the door to his office and breathed a sigh of relief. What he had done had been terribly dangerous and terribly foolish. A more horrible end than he was capable of imagining would be the consequence of failure; Umber didn't suffer traitors lightly. Medov whispered a word and a tiny ball of flame appeared above his index finger. Then he flicked his finger and the tiny flame darted across the room to the oil lamp on his desk. When the oil lamp was lit, the fireball darted to the hearth and exploded, sending tiny balls of flames racing across the pile of logs like ants until the wood erupted in a great conflagration.

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