Chapter 12 Journey’s End
“I can’t believe it has been almost a year ago when I first saw you, Remi, standing in my room, scaring the bejesus out of me.” laughed A.B.
“You have grown so much since then, I am so proud to call you my friend, more like a sister really. I will miss all of you so much. Please come see me sometimes.” replied Remi.
“I do believe we might come down here on this day, every year, to remember our victory given to us by God. I personally never want to forget that all things are possible through Jesus. My God is bigger, stronger, braver, and can never be defeated.” shouted Colt as he walked through the group as they hugged Remi and said their goodbyes.
As they packed up their stuff and began their journey home, Colt knew it would be a long journey home and there was still a chance of running into small groups of Ragnar’s soldiers along the way. They would be ready. This group of kids...well they really didn’t seem like kids anymore, they had grown up right in front of his eyes, and they can take on anything because they had God on their side.
As the group moved down the path, they decided to follow the same route they took getting here. As they passed through the mountains they stopped at Eris’s grave, paid their respects, and left flowers from Remi. Then just as they joined the group, one pair at a time left the group as they passed through their hometowns.
Colt met with everyone's families as they dropped them off and told their tales from the last year and how they were heroes. They were simply happy to have their kids back and thanked Colt for keeping them safe.
It took them several months to take everyone home and finally to come back to Elberta. A.B.’s mom spotted them coming down the road and began to run to welcome them home. Annabeth couldn’t stop telling her mom everything that had happened over the last year. In fact, she talked so much, and she was so tired from traveling, she fell asleep in the middle of telling her mom about her new sister, Remi.
Colt took Annabeth to her room and put her in her bed.
“Goodnight, I’m so proud of you” whispered Colt, as he closed her door.
A bright light woke Annabeth from a deep sleep. It was Remi again, this time she didn’t scare Annabeth. In fact, Annabeth wanted to go get her mom and introduce them, but Remi stopped her.
“Annabeth, you are all in danger. Ragnar’s brother is looking for him. He has heard from some of his soldiers about you all. He is looking for you.” Remi said solemnly.
“It’s ok, we will be ready. This time we will have our families join us. We will train them, and we will have God marching with us.” exclaimed A.B.
Word was sent out to everyone explaining what was coming and they were told to meet up on what they now call Mount Eris with their families. As they gathered, they knew they could face anything if they stand together and stand for God.
Chapter 11 Heroes are Made
Alioth and Aetos stood at the gates as the others prepared to march towards the battlefield. The two protectors pushed open the gates and marched on opposite sides of the formation. Alioth turned into his tiger form and began to lead the charge, followed by Neferes as she turned into her mustang form. Slowly they all began to charge directly towards Ragnar. Colt flew left on Ranger, followed by Eliza and Emma. As the group made it to the tree line, they understood why Ragnar had not met them on the open field. Ragnar’s army was hiding in the woods, and it was much larger than they had realized, but it was too late to turn back.
As the battle began Kane and Thraxel flew low and blew a fire line to cut off a huge part of Ragnars army. Colt flew high above the tree line to get a better view of how large Ragnars army was.
Colt murmured to himself, “There must be 10,000 warriors. God, please send us help, we are outnumbered!”
As Colt rejoined the group in battle, they were quickly pushed back out of the woods. In fact, they were pushed halfway across the field. Ragnar’s warriors fell back to the wood line and worked to put out the fire line to free the rest of the army.
Ragnar blew his horn signaling to his entire army it was time to decimate this little group, that was just merely an annoyance to him.
As they began to march out from the tree line, a heavy fog rolled in across the field, blocking Ragnar’s view of Colt’s fighters.
“Guy’s, we need to take advantage of this fog. I say we strike fast and retreat into the fog. If we continue to do this, from all different sides, they won’t know where to attack. I think we can take a good chunk out before the fog lifts.” Colt said as he motivated his worn and tired soldiers. As he looked at them, he was sad to think what he was asking them to do.
“God is in control! He has us covered, covered by fog. He will be with us through the end!” exclaimed A.B. and everyone screamed and cheered with their most fierce battle cries.
Colt loved to hear them cheering “God is in control,” but he wondered if Ragnar could hear them. He figured he was laughing at their cries compared to his army.
As Colt led his warriors out of the fog to make their first attack, they stopped just outside of the fog. They never expected to see this. No one spoke for what seemed like an eternity.
As Colt watched, Ragnar’s army began to take a knee and drop their weapons. Ragnar was furious and began to take out his own soldiers around him. Colt could not understand what was happening, they were surrendering. A.B stepped forward to get a better look. As she turned to ask her dad what was happening, she saw the answer to her question. As she looked at her friends standing in front of the fog, she also saw the silhouette of a mighty army in the fog. In fact, it looked like an army of angels, too large to count. They looked like giants standing at least 3 feet taller than any of her friends.
“Guys, God has our backs, look behind you” shouted A.B.
As the group began to shout again, so did the warriors standing behind them and it sounded like a mighty lion roaring and ready to charge.
Ragnar’s army began to flee and after a few minutes all that stood before them was Ragnar. As he realized he was on his own, he dropped his weapon. Dallas cautiously approached with Klaos right behind him. Dallas grabbed Ragnar’s sword and Klaos grabbed his battle axe, as Dallas lifted the sword Ragnar grunted, “go ahead and just finish me off!”
“I am a child of God. I’m not here to needlessly take a life. “Dallas exclaimed proudly.
Remi stepped forward and looked Ragnar in the eyes. She then realized what she would have to do. All this time she has been protecting these swords and believed they were the only way to save the world, but now she realizes everything Colt has told her about God is true. She knows these swords do hold a lot of power and they can’t be left for anyone to use for evil, so she decides to destroy them. As she looks around, she realizes this group of unknown heroes are only heroes because they truly and wholeheartedly trusted in God.
Ragnar was sentenced to life in the castle dungeon. Remi lets him out to guard the castle though and has begun telling him about God. As for the rest of our heroes they still have a long journey home.
Chapter 10 Ragnar Hunting
Colt led four kids, along with two protectors to go hunt down Ragnar. They knew a general area he would be in, but they knew he would never stay in one place for long. Colt knew they would have to be careful, but they would have to get as close as they could to get Ragnar’s attention, they would need him to see a few of their swords.
Zada told Colt it would take them close to six days to get to the area Ragnar was last seen in. That gives Ragnar six days to move around and find a new place to hide.
Colt took to the skies on Ranger, allowing him to see ahead of their convoy for any dangers that might be ahead. Eliza and Dallas followed on Thraxal, Klaus and Lyndsey followed in Colt’s truck with Alioth and Neferes. The seven began their trip to hunt down Ragnar, as they headed north through the forest, Zada showed them the quickest path out. They knew if they were in the forest, they were safe and their path was clear, making their first few days of traveling easy. Once they reached the edge of the forest though, they knew they would draw attention and if they weren’t careful Ragnar could find them before they could find him.
As the group approached the forest edge, they thanked Zada for helping them and decided to make camp inside the tree line, this would be their last chance to rest safely. Colt and Dallas took the first watch while the others slept for a few hours. In the distance, just as the sun hid behind the horizon, Colt noticed what looked like hundreds of fireflies flickering on a summer night. As he looked closer, he realized that it was hundreds of campfires, it had to be Ragnar’s army. He didn’t realize how large his army would be, but he began to realize that tomorrow they would have thousands chasing them and there would be no room for error.
“God, we are vastly outnumbered, and we need your hand to protect us. Tomorrow we will come face to face with our enemy. I feel like David standing before Goliath, I ask you Lord to give me the same courage to stand in your name. I’m leading these kids into a situation where no kid should ever be, but it is the way it must be. Please protect them and give them the strength they need. Amen.” prayed Colt.
The next morning everyone discussed the plans to draw out Ragnar. Colt took Eliza and her Sword of Sight and began moving straight for Ragnar. Dallas took Lyndsey and the Sword of Fire and circled around to the left and began their approach. Finally, Klaus took his Sword of Speed and the protectors and moved in from the right. The plan was to draw out a small group to see what Colt and Eliza were doing and then flank them from both sides, cutting them off from Ragnar. Hopefully by capturing his soldiers, allowing them to see the swords, and then releasing them, they would take the news to Ragnar himself. Once they released their captives they turned and began retreating to the woods. As Eliza looked back, she saw a man much larger than the others, barking orders at everyone. It must be Ragnar, it worked, he was mad, and he wanted their swords. As he let out a battle cry, Ragnar’s army began advancing slowly at first and then it became a sprint. It seemed like a competition to see who could reach them first.
They made their way back to the tree line as arrows zoomed past them. His army was right behind them now, they would need the woods to help slow them down but remain within sight. Colt began hearing traps snapping and the enemy wailing. He knew it would help but it wasn’t going to be enough, there were too many after them, he knew when he reached the clearing ahead, he would have to send up the signal to the others to come join them.
The moment they were in the clearing Thraxal shot a fire ball into the air for the others to see. The castle wasn’t far away but there was no way they would make it before being overrun. A.B. spotted the fireball and everyone gathered their weapons and moved towards the clearing.
As Colt and the other’s prepared to defend their ground they turned and noticed Ragnar’s army had stopped before coming into the clearing. As the others joined them, they decided if they moved fast, they knew they could make it back to the fortress.
As the group got to the gates of the castle Emmalyn looked back and realized no one was following them. In fact, Ragnar’s army was still on the other side of the clearing.
“Why are they not coming after us?,” questioned Emma.
“I don’t know, but it seems this battle won’t happen like we wanted. We can use the castle as a place to fall back to, but it would seem, we will have to fight out in the open.” Colt said solemnly.
They gathered their weapons and quickly discussed how they trained. They suited up and quickly gathered to pray one last time before marching into the path of their enemy.
Colt began to pray as everyone circled around, “Lord, send down your angels to protect us. Lead us against the evil that stands before us. When we can’t stand any longer push us just a bit farther. If any of us shall fall today, then we will enter your kingdom with honor. Help us face our giants and stand victorious. In your name Lord amen.”
Chapter 9 Rockdale Stronghold
Everything still looked the way it did the day the King fled. As they explored throughout the castle, Colt found the armory which was filled with shields and armor and everything they needed to prepare for battle. In the middle of what Colt is now calling their war room, was a large table with five sides. He figured there was enough room for everyone to sit around the table, but he imagined the five swords on the table pointing towards the middle, much like the knights of the round table. The more Colt looked around, the more he wanted to use this fortress as they battled Ragnar. He knew he would have to talk to Zada first, but this would be their best chance of survival and defense.
The group joined Colt in the armory and began to try on helmets and chain metal. They passed shields around to see which one fitted better to each person. A.B. walked out with a full suit of armor on, it was all black with red trim pieces. It looked like it was made for her, and she looked ready for battle. Klaus on the other hand came out with mix matched armor and some parts seemed tight, while others seemed to want to fall off. A.J. swapped out a few pieces of armor with Klaus and they finally had their armor ready to go. Everyone came out one by one with similar armor and helped check everything was on correctly, but then out came Emmalyn, wearing what must have been the Queens armor. It was made of gold and clearly hand forged and much lighter than everyone else’s. Colt decided he would use the King’s armor, since it was the only armor that would fit him. He was much larger than the rest of the group as was the King’s armor, and it came with a nice battle axe. Colt even used spare pieces of armor to make some armor for Ranger.
As the group took their spots around the table and began discussing what would happen next, Zada came in to check on them, to see if they found what they needed.
“Thank you for everything, this is more than we could have ever asked for, but I fear I have to ask for just a little more. We need a strong and safe place to fight from against Ragnar, and this castle has everything we need. Is there any way we can bring the fight here and make this our stronghold?” pleaded Colt.
After thinking for a few minutes, Zada began speaking, “You all have treated me with kindness and respect, which I am so thankful for. I believe you are the chosen ones that will save our world and if there is anything I can do to help with that, then I am in. If you can draw his army into my woods, I can help take out many of his army, making it a much more even fight. I will also show you the tunnels that lead out from the castle, that will allow you to move around undetected, and allow you to attack from all sides.”
Zada agreed to help them set up defenses around the castle and throughout the woods. They knew that once they left the castle, the next time they would be coming back, they would be coming with an army on their tails.
Zada was watching the forest edge for any signs of Ragnar or his army, they would need to know where to go soon to find him and come up with a way to get him to chase after them. They took the next week setting up traps and getting everything ready. They would always meet in the War Room at the end of the day, Colt told them the room had two purposes. One purpose was obvious: prepare for a physical battle and plan on how to win the war, and they have gone over every scenario they can think of… they are ready on this front. The other is to meet and prepare spiritually for war. They know that this will not be easy, this war will take prayer and guidance from God. They will be out manned and out matched but God has proven repeatedly, it doesn’t matter the size of your army, as long as God is on your side. They spent more time in the war room in prayer as they got close to time to march towards Ragnar.
Zada, picked up one of Ragnar’s spies lurking around the edge of her forest a few days ago and followed him back to Ragnar’s camp. This was it; they knew it was time to move and to get their plans in motion. They would only send a few out to get his attention. They didn’t want to risk everyone getting caught or worse.
Chapter 8 Under Cover of Forest
Zada has been the guardian of the Pickton Forest ever since she ran off a horrible King that was set on destroying her forest...her home. She couldn’t stand by any longer and one day she lost control and let her anger take over and she wiped out half of the king’s guard. The King ran and told others the forest was haunted, and no one was ever to go back there and left his kingdom to be overrun by the trees and plants.
No one had stepped foot into the fortress since it had been abandoned. Everything had been left behind because they left in such a hurry.
Many have wandered into Zada’s woods, but few have ever made back out. She watches over her forest very carefully, making sure no one ever mistreats it like the king did. She hopes that one day someone will come along that will care as much for her plants as she does.
Being a tree spirit, she can be in many separate places and use the trees to see what is happening in various parts of the forest. Zada noticed a new face close to her forest and as soon as she began to watch her, she left. There was something about her that seemed different, and she hoped to get a chance to see her again.
Days went by and Zada began to wonder if the girl was gone forever, when suddenly, she saw her again, this time with a much larger group of people. Zada didn’t trust large groups like this and so she followed at a distance to see what they were here doing. She looked away for a second and when she looked back, the girl wasn’t with the group anymore. She moved cautiously closer to the group when the girl jumped out in front of her, causing her to stumble back on the ground. Just as she was about to lash out on the group, Emmalyn came over and helped her up, which caught her off guard. She wasn’t used to people being nice to her, they usually tried to take something from her or destroy her forest. Zada decided this girl might be the one she would allow into her forest and even into her kingdom.
As they told her their story and asked to enter the castle, Zada knew she had plenty of supplies for the group and she wanted to help Emmalyn and her friends. She showed them the way to her castle and told them they could take whatever they needed for their journey.
As the group got closer to the castle, they realized just how massive this fortress really was. The walls stood high above the treetops and as they looked around, they couldn’t see an end to the wall in either direction. It took all the Protectors to open the massive gate which was overgrown with vines. As they entered the main hall, they looked around in amazement, the inside of this castle was so well preserved.
Chapter 7 Mountain Training
Along the banks of the Bluff River there was a beautiful clearing that sat tucked inside the edge of a mountain. It had protection on three sides and a small opening on the fourth making it a very safe place to stay for a while and train. Colt had noticed an old farmhouse before, but it looked like no one had been here in many years. They searched the area looking for anyone who might live here but found no traces of anyone living here. Between the house and the barn there was enough room for everyone and every creature to find a place to sleep and eat. They would call this place home for the next few months while they learn more about their swords and each other. Colt and Remi found a nice spot up on a ridge that overlooked the peaceful farm and flowing fields of wheat left unattended, waiting to be harvested.
Colt and Remi kept everyone on a strict schedule. Everyday wake up was at 5:30 a.m., breakfast was done by 7 and training began by 8 and they always ended the day with a bible study around a fire while having dinner. So far, everyone has pulled Colt aside at some point and asked how to get saved. He has prayed with many of them and discussed what it means to be saved and how to ask Jesus into their hearts. They also had a night where they went down to the river and Colt got to Baptize them. There are still a few that have questions and aren’t quite sure what they believe yet, so Colt just continues to answer their questions and show them the love and guidance they need from a father-like figure.
Remi spends everyday teaching a different pair about their sword. Her job is to help them unlock and master all the power within the sword and themselves. They had to know exactly how they connect with their sword and how to let that power flow freely through them.
As the weeks went on and the training grew more intense, so did the questions about their faith. Colt noticed they were beginning to discuss it amongst themselves and walk each other through tough questions without Colt having to be a part of it. They have become disciples to each other and are beginning to reach the others that have been skeptical. Colt was immensely proud to see these kids were growing and maturing. He looked at this group of kids as his own now, they were in his care, and they were fighting side by side with his own daughter.
After a few months of training, Remi decided they were ready for battle. Colt learned to fight with Ranger, Dallas mastered the Sword of Fire while Kane learned to fight with Thraxal, and everyone else took turns learning their sword just in case one falls the other would be ready to take up their sword and continue fighting.
Unfortunately, on the last day of their training Emma took a hard blow to the head from Kay while using the Sword of Power. Colt rushed her into the farmhouse and for the next few days it was very touch and go. They weren’t sure if she would pull through, but for now she was laying there in a coma. Eliza never left her side, in fact she barely even ate or slept. Until she woke up, there was no way they could leave the farm and hunt down Ragnar, but Colt began to send out pairs as scouts.
They would come back with nothing. Occasionally they would find some supplies or hear some stories about where Ragnar might be. On one scouting mission though, A.B. and Kay, decided to go further than usual and pushed on until they came to a forest that seemed to go on forever. The only thing that stopped it out in the distance looked like a massive castle that had been swallowed up by the forest. They knew they couldn’t make it there and back before the others began to worry, so they turned around and headed back to the farm. They noticed someone in the distance was watching them but then just like that, they disappeared.
“We need to move fast and keep an eye out for anyone following us,” A.B. said cautiously, “I think we are being followed and I don’t want to lead them back to the others.”
They took every back road they could think of and every few hours they would duck into a building or behind some rocks and wait for an hour. Surely if anyone was following them, they would get tired of their games and either give up or come try to find them. It took the girls a lot longer to get home than they planned and after a few days they knew the others would be worried. They decided no one was following them at this point and took the quickest route back to the farm, where they found everybody gathering up the supplies and getting ready to come looking for them, even Emma. She finally came out of her coma, she was still weak, but ready to move.
The girls told them about being followed and about the castle they found. They decided that it might have an armory and have shields and helmets for everyone. They figured it was worth exploring to find out, at the very least it might be a good place to make a stand against Ragnar if they need somewhere to fall back to.
It was settled they would follow A.B. and Kay and go find the Monkey Kingdom, well that’s what Klaus started calling it at least. Everyone was on edge though knowing someone might be watching them, someone connected to Ragnar. Could he really know where they are and have spies following them? They moved quickly, watching everywhere, making sure no one was following them. Again, A.B. noticed someone off in the distance watching them, hiding behind trees, and following behind them as they got close to the forest edge. As the group moved on A.B. let her dad know and she hid in the bushes along the road without being seen. The rest continued moving to keep the mystery person following them, so A.B. could catch them off guard.
As the girl got closer A.B. noticed she wasn’t quite human, in fact she looked a lot like the trees around her. It was a Dryad or a tree fairy, and this must be her forest. A.B. remembers learning in school that you must get their permission to enter their forest or the Dryad’s can become very mean and we were about to cross into her forest, she had to stop everyone.
A.B. jumped out in front of the Dryad which alerted the others. She then bowed before her and asked her for permission to enter the forest. She told her tale of why they needed to enter and what they were looking for and then waited for the Dryad to answer.
“My name is Zada, and this is my forest and all within it belongs to me. The castle in which you speak is mine, but I will let you use it if you are worthy. Only two of you know what it is to lose everything and think all is lost only to find it again and then to selflessly give it all up again to go save people they don’t even know. You, Emmalyn, and you, Lyndsey, are worthy and can take your friends into my forest. You may take whatever you need from my castle, just leave my trees and plants alone. Many who travel through here will cut down my trees for fire or pick my flowers just to smell them and then throw them away.” Reeya told the group.
Zada pointed them down the right path and told them to follow the crimson flowers along the pathway and as she said it, a trail of dark crimson, blood colored, flowers began popping up in a line down the pathway. They thanked her and began on their journey into the forest.
Chapter 6 Sword of Chaos
In the wake of the freak Hurricane that suddenly appeared and destroyed most of the town of Scarbury, Emmalyn was searching for other survivors. It was like the hurricane was summoned to Scarbury, it came and just stayed, then disappeared unlike any hurricane she had ever seen or heard of. Emmalyn and a few other students had been just out of town when the hurricane hit. They were working on an art mural on a rock formation a few miles outside of the city limits. Their art teacher talked the mayor into allowing them to capture Scarbury into a mural to bring a little color and beauty back to their town.
Emmalyn ran into Lyndsey sitting on the curb crying outside what used to be her house.
“Hey Lyndsey, have you found any sign of your family?” Emmalyn asked softly.
“No, it’s like they just disappeared with the hurricane! I don’t know how there is no sign of them anywhere. I don’t know if they are alive or …” Lyndsey was cut off before she could finish her sentence.
“Let’s not think like that yet, we don’t know anything about what happened here. They got to safety, and they just haven’t come back yet. My family is missing too, so for now let’s stick together. Mrs. Fin has opened the art room for us to stay in for now, so let’s head down there and regroup.” Emmalyn said.
As the girls got close to the high school, they noticed it looked untouched, like the hurricane missed it somehow. The high school sat at the center of town and everything around it showed some level of damage, but nothing, not even the trees seemed to be bothered.
Before the girls could think about the implications, they saw a very strange group coming down Main St. It was the Griffin and Dragon flying that really got their attention, neither had seen one in real life. They had drawn pictures and been obsessed with them, but never imagined they would get to see one. It seemed they were coming straight for the school and fast, the girls hid behind the display of the school sword their art teacher made.
“We have to hurry and find someone and see what happened here!” Colt said to the others.
Emmalyn noticed the art teacher Watching from her window, but she looked different. She seemed worried as these newcomers moved closer to the school. In fact, the closer they got the angrier she seemed to get, and just as they reached the parking lot, the sword vanished from above the girls. As quickly as it vanished, it reappeared in Mrs. Fin’s hand, in the parking lot, right in front of the others.
Emmalyn couldn’t believe what was happening and was still trying to process what happened. She felt like this group wasn’t bad and somehow, she was meant to be with them, but she also knew her teacher well and had grown close to her over the last few months. She looked at Lyndsey and then went out and stood between Mrs. Fin and the others. She didn’t know what was about to happen or what she could do but she had to try. Mrs. Fin didn’t even look at her though, she was set on one girl from the other group that had locked eyes with her. They clearly knew each other and had a past, but there had already been enough devastation here and Emmalyn didn’t want to see anymore. As she looked at both, she noticed that her teacher had a look of hatred and anger, but the other girl looked downhearted and sorrowful, like the weight of the world rested on her shoulders. Emmalyn began to understand that her teacher might not be who she thinks she is, and this sword she holds looks much like the swords many of the others carry.
Emmalyn slowly moved out of the way, met with Lyndsey, and told her what she was planning to do… take the sword.
After Lyndsey gave Emmalyn every excuse why they couldn’t do this and every reason they would fail, the girls split up and began to move in on the teacher while she was focused on the others.
“Remi, after all this time you have finally come to visit me. You banished me here to guard your sword and wouldn’t even let me play with it. Well, I have been regaining my magic and I finally have enough to control your sword and use it against you!” Eris erupted as she changed from her form as Mrs. Fin to her goddess form.
“Eris, we were friends, you were good once, what did I miss? Where did I fail you, my friend? I never wanted this; I still want my best friend back! I sent you here to protect you, to hopefully separate you from the bad magic and let you heal!” cried Remi.
When Eris and Remi became friends centuries ago, neither one had magic yet, but soon they would be of age to start practicing. They became best friends fast and were never seen apart. Once they both got their magic and began learning how to use it, they began to have different ideas about how and when they should use their magic. It began to drive a wedge between the two girls, Remi only liked to use her magic when necessary and only for good intentions, but Eris would use magic whenever she wanted to, and she would use it to get whatever she wanted.
As they got older, Eris became increasingly selfish, and she didn’t care who she hurt in the process. Many began to call her evil and feared her, but Remi tried to still hold on to her friend, until one day, Eris used her magic and, in the process, caused a family to get extremely sick and almost die.
Remi knew she couldn’t allow her to continue and if she could get her away from her magic, just maybe, she could finally get her friend back.
When Remi had to find protectors to guard the swords, she knew she would have to send Eris without her magic and use a spell on her to do as Remi wanted her to do. Remi hated doing it this way, but she had to do it quickly and couldn’t think of another way.
Now staring at Eris and seeing the hatred in her eyes and the chaos she has created; Remi knew it was the wrong choice. She knew now she would have to fight her friend for the sword, and she knew it would be a battle like no other battle the group had fought before. She would have to get everyone ready and hopefully keep everyone alive, including her friend.
Remi noticed the two girls moving in on Eris and realized they were going to try to take the sword. She knew she had to keep her distracted, so she stepped forward and asked Eris, “How have you liked your little vacation here? I see you became an Art Teacher!” She knew it would make her mad and keep her rage focused on Remi.
Emmalyn knew this was her chance and she lunged forward, grabbing the sword from Eris, which caused a horrible storm to] start raging around the team, followed by a freak snowstorm, followed by hail, followed by 70 mph winds and then sunshine. Everyone looked around in shock until Remi spoke up, “The Sword of Chaos can control the weather, I guess when Eris and the other girl touched the sword at the same time, it was confused who to listen to and lost control.”
Emmalyn and Lyndsey joined the group and introduced themselves. They knew now they would have to join them against Eris to save what was left of their town and even bring back those they lost.
Eris didn’t wait around for everyone to get to know each other, she began the attack first. Her magic had grown immensely powerful, and Remi was having a challenging time fighting a fair fight. The others tried to help but they were no match for her magic. Eliza and Emma used their Sword of Sight and laid out a battle plan for the group. They would have to follow it perfectly to win. It was the only way they saw that ended with them winning. First, Emmalyn and Lyndsey used their sword to cause a downpour creating a wall of rain between the two sides. Next, the Ember brothers would use the Sword of Fire to start up enough fire to create a fire tornado to enclose Eris inside. While Eris is trapped inside the Sword of Speed will be used to keep Remi on the move and where Eris cannot attack her. Finally, amongst all the chaos, A.B will begin the attack with the Sword of Power, followed by Emmalyn and the Sword of Chaos, then all together everything will stop, and the Sword of Speed and Sword of Fire will attack followed by the final blow from Remi. Even with everyone attacking with perfect precision the outcome continues to change in their vision. Eris’s will and Remi’s compassion continue to make the outcome dance back and forth and it seems it will be a 50/50 shot for the team to win.
This is their only chance, so the team moves into place and begins the attack. First, they distract her with the rain allowing Remi and the boys to use the Sword of Speed to get on the move. As the Ember brothers spread fire in a circle around Eris, they began spinning it creating a fire tornado which sucked all the air out of the center, causing Eris to not be able to use her magic. Slowly Eris began to lose consciousness, this was the window for A.B. to begin her attack. A.B. used her Sword of Power and summoned all the power of the Sky Tiger as she struck Eris, causing the ground around her to split from the force. Emmalyn followed up and used all the force of a hurricane and struck Eris across the parking lot and against the school, shattering all the windows and doors. Dallas came in next, his sword looked more like a fire whip. With a flick and a crack, he used it just like a whip and cracked it right on Remi, causing an explosion at the school. You could just barely see Eris inside the fire slowly start to stand, but before she could get up Remi came in with the boys and in a unified attack the struck sword and magic, causing Eris to collapse. The magic that Remi hit her with took all her magic away again just in time for the final blow from the Sword of Speed to hit, and in her human form, her body could not withstand the attack.
While everybody cheered and celebrated, Remi went to her old friend, held her, and cried. She wanted so bad to save her, but she knew there was no other way. Remi asked Colt if they could take Eris with them back to the mountains and give her a proper funeral. Colt began to understand that this journey might involve a lot of this, and he knew he needed to begin talking to the others about what comes next, after they die. He figured now that they had everybody for the journey, it would be a suitable time to start training them physically and spiritually.
“Remi, I saw a perfect spot as we were coming through the mountains close to the river that would be perfect for her final resting spot. Plus, I think it would be a good place for us to start training, I mean yes, we won against Eris but from what you say she is nothing compared to Ragnar, and we barely beat her.” stated Colt.
The team filled Emmalyn and Lyndsey in on everything about being the chosen ones and fighting to save the world, which seemed like nothing new after what they just experienced. Emmalyn pulled Remi away from the group and asked her if she knew of a way to get their families back. It would be hard to leave home knowing it had been wiped off the map and there wasn’t anyone left to rebuild it and make it a home worth coming back to.
“I believe she used the hurricane to trap them in another dimension, allowing her to draw her magic and power from them. I believe with your help and the sword; we can bring them back.” Remi said with a soft smile.
Together Remi, Emmalyn, and Lyndsey held the Sword of Chaos and summoned the hurricane that destroyed Scarbury. It brought back everyone it took from them, a little battered and bruised but overall, they were ok.
Emmalyn and Lyndsey found their families and hugged them tight but explained what had happened and what they needed to do now. Their families understood, after what they just went through, and so they helped them pack and meet with everyone that their girls would be traveling with and cook them one last home cooked meal before they headed off into unknown territory. Colt and Lyndsey’s dad built a bon-fire, and everyone gathered around for the night, one last night as kids, one last night of fun, one last night before they marched off to war.
Colt asked everyone to gather around the fire as he bowed his head and began to pray, “Lord, we don’t know what tomorrow brings, but we know you lead us and protect us. God keep us safe on our journey and let us do what we need to as peacemakers for you like it says in Matthew 5:9. Guide us and bring us back home safe. We love you Lord, In your name, Amen.”
The next morning, they loaded up and said goodbye, and drove away, this time not looking for a sword, but to go train and get ready to fight a monster. They headed back towards the mountains and to the opening Colt saw before when they passed through.
Chapter 5 Sword of Fire
It was the first day back to school from Christmas break and Dallas was running late, as usual. His brother Kane was waiting in his Firebird, revving the engine impatiently.
The brothers fought constantly but the moment someone crossed either, they both tag teamed them and never lost a fight. Dallas was 6’7” tall with bright red hair and the temper to go with it, while Kane is only an inch shorter and has much darker red hair. Everyone knows you don’t cross the Ember brothers, but they also know they will stand and fight for those in need. The only thing they can’t stand more than each other is someone being bullied or treated wrong.
When the boys finally made it to school an hour late, Kane came into the parking lot at full speed leaving tire marks as he did a doughnut around the truck and trailer parked in the back of the parking lot. Kane came to a quick stop, slamming Dallas’s head into the dash. The boys ran to the door, but they were locked already. Dallas pushed the speaker button and asked the office if someone could come let them in. while the boys waited outside Dallas was messing around with the sword.
“Look at me I’m the dragon slayer, no one can stop me…” Dallas was interrupted by the school Principal, “Late again, Mr. Ember and again please leave our sword alone. One of these days you’re going to break it and somehow hurt yourself and somehow it’s going to be my fault, so please just don’t!”
Before he stepped away Kane stood beside him, smarting off to the principal as usual. Colt and his crew were watching from the parking lot and noticed the sword began to smoke a little.
“I think we might have found our next two chosen ones, but they are going to be rough!” said Colt, “Let’s wait and talk to them after school, maybe take some time to rest while we wait.”
It wasn’t even lunch time, and the boys were being escorted out the front door and clearly being sent home for the day. Colt figured it was now or never and they approached the boys cautiously.
“Hey guys, we would like to talk to you…” Colt began to say but the boys went into fight mode seeing a large group of people coming at them. After a few minutes of fighting everyone, Alioth and Aetos changed into their protector forms and detained the boys to give Colt a chance to speak to them.
“Guys, we are not here to fight you. We need your help but if you guys are going to be loose cannons, we will save the world without you. “Colt said straight to their faces.
Kane quickly replied’ “Save the world, wait a minute I want in. I can control myself; I can’t talk for my brother though!”
“I am more in control of myself than my brother ever will be. You can count on us to help anyone. What do you need from us?” asked Dallas.
“Well, you know that sword over there that you got in trouble for messing with. I need you both to go over there and pull it out of the stone, but when you do it is going to wake up that dragon. That dragon is the protector of the sword, and it is going to be mad, and it is going to come after you and us and anyone to get that sword back. We will have to find a way to fight and win against it. So far, all the protectors have surrendered and joined our team and I hope we can do the same here. I am hoping there is some power in the sword that allows you to control the dragon once defeated.” stated Colt.
The boys knew the principal would still be watching and waiting for them to drive off, so they would have to be sneaky. They walked through the cars and around the side of the building and walked along the edge of the building just out of the view of the front door. They reached out and grabbed the sword which ignited destroying the rock it was embedded in. The Ember brothers ran to the others, who were already in fighting positions. As the boys took up their positions, they looked at the school and saw… nothing. The dragon wasn’t there. Suddenly a shadow moved across them, and they looked to the sky where they could see the dragon flying around in the sky. It circled around and then as quickly as it took to the sky, it began to dive, right towards the group. Dallas noticed the dragon’s belly began to glow and yelled at everyone to get out of the way just in time for the dragon to breathe fire where the group had just been standing. Dallas stood and took his sword and began swinging his sword towards the dragon but knew he would never be able to hit it in the air. While he was swinging the sword, Kane noticed the fire on the ground began to dance in a rhythm following the motion of the sword.
Kane shouted at Dallas, “The sword can control the fire, use the fire as a weapon against the dragon!”
The next time the dragon flew low enough, Dallas took the sword and in a deliberate way moved the sword to make the fire move like a fire whip, striking the dragon across the wing. The dragon took a hard plunge into the parking lot landing on a few of the cars. While the dragon was down Dallas passed the sword to Kane who used the sword to make fire chains to hold the dragon down to the ground. They slowly began to approach the dragon and as they got close, they noticed he was about to spit fire right at them. Before they could think, Kane struck the sword down inches from the dragon’s snout, allowing the boys to divide the fire, hide behind the sword, and stay safe. Finally, the dragon spoke, “You truly born of fire, meant to be one with and control the sword and fire within. The sword and I are one and I must go with it. I am Thraxal and I am at your service from now on.”
The convoy now consisted of Colt’s truck and trailer, A.J. ’s Corvette, Kane’s Firebird, Ranger the Griffin, and Thraxal the Dragon, it was a sight to see coming down the road. Even with everyone together the last sword would be the most difficult. Eris was not going to just give it up and she is known for being an expert in chaos, there is no way to be ready for what she might bring. Everyone would have to be at their best and ready for anything. As the group headed south to Scarbury, they knew it was getting close to time to go after Ragnar and none of the battles so far would compare to the one to come. Everyone traveled in silence, Colt on Ranger, A.B. drove the truck, A.J. followed in his car, Kane followed closely behind in his Firebird, and Dallas flew above on Thraxal. It would be the longest part of their journey so far; it would take them 2 weeks to get to Scarbury. After eight days of traveling through the wide-open fields of lower Renanne, they came to a beautiful lake that looked like it went on for miles. As they pulled in, they saw a sign “Bragg Lake.” There was a small town right on the lake and the group went into town to reload on supplies for the rest of their journey. Colt was talking with the town Sheriff about heading down to Scarbury and asked him for the best route. The Sheriff looked at Colt sideways and questioned him why anyone in their right mind would want to go there. After a few minutes of arguing why he should just stay and enjoy Bragg Lake, the Sheriff finally gave him directions down the Bluff River.
As the team loaded supplies and headed out down the trail, they could tell it would not be an easy route. There were no roads from here on, they decided to leave the trailer behind in Bragg City with the Sheriff. The trail went right along the side of Bluff River and when they were at river level, the trail would be washed out and they would have to use Colt’s 4-wheel drive to pull out the other cars, making the trip take forever. When they weren’t at river level, they drove carefully across ridges that were barely wide enough to drive across and a few times the edges gave way almost causing the team to go plummeting to the river below.
As the group passed through the Rockwall Mountain Range Colt noticed a clearing at the base of the mountains close to the river. The clearing had mountain ridges circling it on all sides with a small opening on the riverside. He thought to himself this would be a good place to come back with everyone to train and set up camp before we march off to war.
After three weeks of traveling and almost losing a few team members, they finally made it to the outskirts of Scarbury. Scarbury seemed like a ghost town. It was clear why the Sheriff was concerned about the group coming here. It looked like a hurricane had swept in from the Baldwin Sea and left few survivors, but the weird thing was hurricanes never came from the Baldwin Sea and it only hit this town and nowhere else.
Chapter 4 Canton Mountains
After days of traveling the caravan grew close to the base of the Canton Mountains. They knew this would not be an easy trek, but they were going to try to get through as quickly and safe as possible. Colt felt responsible for everyone with him, and he knew even though they were going into battle at some point, they were still just kids. He knew Annabeth and Kay both were saved because he had been there for both and led them to Christ, but he prayed for the rest for now. He knew at some point along the way he would need to try to show Christ to the others. If anything goes wrong, he will never forgive himself for not at least trying.
There were two paths before them. One went through the mountain and seemed to be straight through, and the other went up and over but seemed to be very windy. As the group approached the beginning of both roads, they saw warning signs.
In lies a beast that moves in the shadows. His touch burns and his breath can kill. Only those that are worthy can face him and live.
Going over will surely put any that are worthy in the ground. Those that travel with them are the only ones who will be spared.
They argued for a while but finally decided the only choice they had would be to split up and meet back on the other side. Those that were chosen went together into the tunnel and faded into the darkness. Colt, Remi, and the three protectors all set out across the mountain in hopes to meet the others on the other side. As A.B. and the others descended into the mountain it got darker and darker, they could tell someone was watching them but could never quite see anyone. Sometimes in the corner of their eyes they would see some movement but just as quick as they would see it, it would be gone. This route was proving to be a lot longer and more rugged than they expected. It was getting late, so they found an area that tucked back into the wall giving them three walls of protection and they set up camp for the night. A.J. and Klaus volunteered to take first watch and let the girls get some sleep.
“You know it’s kind of funny how life can throw you a curve ball sometimes. I mean we have been enemies for as long as I can remember but now, we must rely on each other to fight. Honestly, I’m tired of fighting with you anyways. We used to be friends until a girl came between us. I don’t even think she cares for either of us anyways. Can we start over and do this right, fight together not against each other?” Klaus said as he stared into the fire.
“Man, I know what you mean. I felt like we had to fight because everyone expected it after a while. I think we can be unstoppable as friends. I mean we did kick that giant horse’s butt right?” laughed A.J.
Meanwhile, back up on the mountain, Colt was taking the group through very rough, slippery, and dangerous terrain. The roads were iced over and winding all over the place with steep drop offs. Colt felt like someone was watching them from the ridges above, but he never could spot anyone. It would be tough though to see anyone in all this snow, so he just continued pushing forward looking for a place to set up camp for the night.
Up ahead they saw a cave just big enough to pull the truck into and to camp inside. Colt and Alioth built a fire and took the first watch. The air outside the cave was whipping by like a freight train, making a howling sound that sent shivers down Colt’s spine. It made it hard to see anything outside the cave with the snow blowing around making a wall of white shielding anything on the outside from being seen. Colt couldn’t shake the feeling again that someone or something was watching them again, but there was no way he could see anything out there.
Back inside the mountain the boys were just waking up the girls to switch shifts and try to get a few hours of sleep. Just as they were laying down, they heard someone scream. They jumped up just in time to see A.B. and Kay fighting, but they couldn’t see who they were fighting. Every time they would strike it though, you could see a fiery glow where they hit.
Klaus quickly shouted at A.J., “It glows when we hit it, if we hit it quickly, we can see more of him. Let’s work together and strike it rapidly!”
The boys rush the beast and land not one, not two, not three, not even four, but fifteen hits: lighting the beast up like a firework show. Now they could see who they were fighting; they all grabbed their swords and formed a circle around the beast, taking turns attacking him until it ran away. They decided it was time to pack up and keep moving to get out of this mountain before the beast came back with friends.
Meanwhile on top of the mountain, the Protectors have been woken up because a giant figure was approaching the entrance to the cave. Colt was not going to wait and see what it was before waking them, this creature looked to be at least 8 feet tall and seemed to have a tail that was swishing back and forth. Alioth, Neferes, Aetos, and Remi stood on either side of the opening of the cave wall while Colt stood in the opening for the beast to be focused on. As it got closer Colt noticed it also had wings and walked more like a horse. As it finally walked into the opening Colt realized he was looking at a real live Griffin. He had only heard stories before about them, but everyone thought they were extinct now. The stories say Griffins are extremely aggressive and destructive creatures unless they find someone they want as a rider. The problem is they are very picky which is why they were thought to be extinct. Colt froze, he thought to himself that he would die right here and never get to see A.B. again. The griffin moved closer and let out a blood curdling screech, but then lowered its head and moved slowly towards Colt and began walking around him. It smelled him and nudged him, it even licked him, which was extremely disgusting, but Colt was not going to move or say a thing. Finally, after the longest ten minutes of Colt’s life the griffin came face to face with Colt and stared into his eyes and then gently kneeled before him. From everything Colt had read this meant he was to be the Griffin’s new rider. As he began to move towards the griffin, so did the other which frightened him. He began to attack the others, wounding Remi and knocking Alioth against the truck. He seemed ok with Aetos and Neferes because of their similarities. Before the griffin could attack Remi again, Colt stepped forward and raised his hands which stopped him in his tracks. The griffin responded to Colt’s commands. He truly was the griffin’s rider.
“I think I will call you Ranger since you’re fierce like an Airborne Ranger.” Colt said as everyone watched with amazement.
They gathered their things and got in the truck; Colt told Ranger to follow them down the mountain. As they drove down the trail Colt could see Ranger flying behind them, watching closely making sure not to lose them.
Both groups reached the other side of the mountains and regrouped. After a quick standoff with Ranger and the Chosen, Colt calmed Ranger down and filled the others in on what was going on.
“I can’t even get a dog Dad, but you get to have a Griffin, seriously come on!” said A.B. oozing sarcasm.
They gathered around the hood of Colt’s truck and looked at the map, they weren’t far from Odsdale now. Next stop would be to find the Sword of Fire which meant finding a big mean dragon also. I guess having a Griffin to help with the fight might come in handy since they both can fly, it’s the fire part that has everyone worried.
They drove for a few hours and finally saw a sign for Odsdale, Remi then directed them to the Odsdale High School. As they pulled into the parking lot it wasn’t hard to see where the next sword would be. On top of the school sat a giant dragon that looked like it was wrapped around the school and at the base of the dragon, right next to his tail was a sword stuck in a rock. It reminded Colt of a story of Merlin and the Sword in the Stone, and he could tell Remi was thinking the same thing.
Chapter 3 Sword of Speed
Klaus arrived early to school for cross country practice. He knew it would be crazy to be out running in this weather, but he needed to get faster to beat A.J. at the next meet. Klaus and A.J. have been rivals for as long as they can remember. Like many rivalries this one started over a girl. Both boys have been showing off for June ever since they were in first grade. She never really paid either much attention, but it never stopped them from trying. While Klaus was changing in the locker room, he noticed a brick behind the edge of the lockers. He couldn’t see enough to read, so he tried to push the lockers away just enough to read it. As he struggled for several minutes, A.J. walked in and looked bewildered at Klaus.
“Is this some weird workout that you think is going to make you better than me?” A.J. said sarcastically.
“No, I don’t need anything to make me better than you, I was born that way!” exploded Klaus. “If you must know I found some writing on the wall over here and I’m trying to figure out what it says.”
“It would help if you knew how to read, do you want me to sound it out for you?” jabbed A.J.
“It is hidden behind these lockers, can you just shut your pie hole for a second and help me move them?” pleaded Klaus.
The two boys worked together to move the lockers. They struggled for a few minutes but managed to move them enough to see the whole brick.
When two worlds collide, they shall learn to move as fluid as the tide.
Klaus thought to himself, “Talking about two worlds colliding, A.J.’s parents are big donors to the school, and he can choose whatever team he wants to be on. Meanwhile I come from nothing, and I have been fighting tooth and nail to get on this team and earn my spot.”
A.J., talking a little softer, “Any idea what this is? I mean why would this be in our locker room and hidden behind the lockers?”
“Well, Coach was here when they remodeled the locker room, I’m sure he saw it when they repainted it. Maybe he looked into it already.” answered Klaus.
The boys decided to work together, at least for the moment. They both were very curious about the engraving, plus they can go back to hating each other tomorrow.
They head to the coach’s office and find Coach Evan on the phone, trying to help get students home since school got canceled too late. It seems Coach was one of the few teachers that made it before getting the message.
After he got off the phone, the boys asked Coach Evan about the engraving. When Coach didn’t know what they were talking about they took Coach into the locker room to show him.
” Fellas, I don’t know what you’re getting at but if you don’t get my lockers back where they go in the next two minutes, you will be owing me an extra hour of workout time. Then again maybe I’m working you too hard, I’ve got you seeing words that aren’t there...how about you boys take this morning off. Do you guys have a way to get home?”
A.J. quickly answered, “I have my Corvette out front!” just to rub it in Klaus’s face.
It backfired on A.J. when Coach asked him to give Klaus a ride home. The boys get changed and head out to the parking lot arguing the whole time about what the stone might mean. They were so engrossed in their argument they didn’t even notice the group standing by the truck a few parking spots away.
Mr. Lee approached the boys and asked, “Hey, sorry to bother you, but we overheard you talking about some writing on the wall. We actually have similar moments; do you mind talking with us all for a minute?”
They all went inside the camper and sat to talk. A.B. told about her experience first and then Eliza talked about hers next. Both Alioth and Aetos changed into their protector forms to help convince the boys.
“Wait, so we get to use a sword, fight bad guys, and hang out with some pretty awesome girls… where do I sign up!?” exclaimed A.J. with a little too much eagerness.
“Wow, classy as usual, but I will help too. I always wanted to join the army and fight for my country. This sounds about on par for that.” stated Klaus as he looked at Kay then looked away quickly.
Kay blushed and quickly looked at Annabeth, who smiled and made kissy faces at her. Kay’s face went from pink to red as she pushed A.B. away before anyone could see.
Remi began telling everyone, “The sword of speed will not be an easy one to bear. The goddess Nefere is quick and fierce. She will not hesitate to do what she needs to protect the Sword of Speed.”
As the others talked about their swords coming from a statue of their school mascots, the boys began to fear theirs might too. The only statue they can think of is out by the track and football field. It must stand 10 feet tall with the body of a horse and the torso of a beautiful lady holding a giant sword with a blade that looks almost Persian with its curves. The sword itself looked to be 3 feet long, it was more proportioned to the woman than to the mustang. Regardless she looked like she was ready to stampede and battle.
“How exactly do we get up there and get the sword and then get down before she bucks us off?” asked A.J.
Klaus was already climbing up the statue. All he could figure is grab it, jump, and try to roll down the hill with as little hurting as possible. A.J. immediately ran up and started climbing too not to be out done by Klaus. They both made it to the top and reached the sword at the same time, releasing it from Nefere’s grip. Moving quickly caused them both to lose their footing and they fell off the side of the statue. Somehow, they both began to move quickly enough to run down the side and across the football field in a blink of an eye.
Confused Klaus exclaimed, “What just happened? How did we go from there to here?”
Before anyone could even process what happened, Nefere ran down and kicked both boys 5 yards back. They laid there looking at each other trying to figure out what kind of a truck just hit them. Nefere moved like lightning, she would be attacking before anyone saw her move. The boys were flying all over the place and they were looking to be in bad shape. Neither of them would help the other, they tried to attack on their own but could never land a single attack. The boys finally regroup and decide they need to work together again. As they begin to attack, one moves in from the front, while the other comes in from the side. “Crack.” They landed their first hit. And then another. Finally, they were getting into a groove and Nefere could not keep up with both boys. She finally collapsed on the 50-yard line. She tried to stand but her front legs wobbled, and she fell again.
Weakly, Nefere admitted, “You are too quick even for me. I am no match for you. The sword belongs to you if you work together. It only works when you put your differences aside and work as one. I would be honored if you would allow me to join you on your journey.”
As the group gathered by the flagpole, they knew things were only going to get tougher and even more dangerous from here. Mr. Lee and A.B. held hands and began to pray, slowly everyone else joined in as they circled the flag. Mr. Lee started the prayer, and everyone took turns praying to help get them through what was coming their way. They knew it was going to take more than these swords to save everyone.
Mr. Lee pulled out his map of Renanne Providence and the group decided to head towards the Sword of Fire next. These last two swords will prove to be the most dangerous to take possession of. Remi informed everyone the Sword of Fire would be protected by a Dragon and the Sword of Chaos would be protected by the goddess of chaos Eris. Remi is still trying to figure out how to get Eris on their side once she is defeated… if she is defeated.
Mr. Lee mapped out their route and decided going through the Canton Mountains would be the quickest way to get to Odsdale, the home of the next sword. It might be the quickest, but it would not be easy. The Canton Mountains are known to be very perilous to those not familiar with navigating through them. There are creatures many talk about seeing when passing through, but most think they are just a legend. One way or another they were about to find out what lies ahead.