Time Out of Mind

Prologue





The six companions were now deep beneath the earth. Darr took point, flanked by Ni’k and Airc. Janie, Thaler and Elysia followed behind. The six had been following Darr’s brother, Aybas, for nearly a year now, and they would bend heaven and earth to end his scheming today. If they couldn’t stop him, he would likely destroy the world.

The climb up the cliffs had taken a toll on the troupe. Darr had left his leather tunic behind; it had been soaked through by the waterfall hiding the entrance, and was too heavy to fight in. Now he wore only his muslin shirt and blue pants, wide enough for easy movement, tucked into his worn black leather bots. He carried now only his bastard sword and a few throwing knives he had kept from his run in with some brigands three night ago. Airc still wore his red armor which had made him famous across the Grandmont countries. His armor covered his left arm and his upper legs. His huge double bitted axe, his only weapon, besides a wicked knife was in hand. Ni’k had followed Darr’s example and stripped most of his layers of clothing due to moisture. A bard’s doublet and slops over pants were no use in fighting when weighed down by water. This was the first time in well over a year that Ni’k had adventured without his lute, though it would prove useless in a fight against a wizard and his chaotic minion, Ni’k missed its weight on his shoulder already. He would not be able to sing or persuade his way out of this ordeal; the marksman of the group, he would rely on his pistol bows and his rapier if things got too close.

The ladies fared worse than the men. Janie was probably the best off, dressed in a similar way to Ni’k; tight pants, simple shirt and her leather corset would all stay, though she was rather wet. She cinched up her belt to keep her long sword at hand. Thaler was only present because her darling Airc was there. The pirate woman had suffered the most of anyone on the climb up. Despite her piratical appearance, she was terrified of water and scaling a cliff under a waterfall with a huge lake below was not something she would have believed possible. Her love was stronger than her fear however, and she persevered. Elysia came last, the best hope this group had of undoing the magic in this place. Though she had not been using magic long, her contact with the greystone had brought forth great power in her. Months spent in training under Aybas had taught her many things, and her reading when he wasn’t looking had taught her even more.

“The magic that holds Abbadon is not easy to lift. It is not something you can do and then walk away from, like unlatching a gate,” Elysia instructed to the group while they trudged, cold and shivering deeper into the earth. “Aybas’s life force will sustain the severance in magic until the destroyer is strong enough to stave it off on his own.”

“Kill my brother, the world is saved.” Darr wiped more moisture off his head; his short, brown hair did little to keep the water from his eyes.

“I wish you’d reconsider,” Janie whispered to her friend, “he is your brother.”

“My brother died in flames with the rest of my family and our home. The beast responsible for those flames dies today, weather or not it is necessary to save our world.” Darr’s eyes issued a challenge for any to try and stop him. Always a passionate man, the circumstances of this day were only making him more driven.



Aybas stood before a giant in a huge stone chair. The giant’s skin was seemingly made of stone. Even more curious, he had no feet. His legs ended at the ankle, his feet a part of the cavern floor. The caster carried a large stone; though grey on the outside it seemed to emanate a faint blue light. The prisoner of the caverns sat in his chair, overlooking a deep crevice the faint light from the stone illuminated no bottom.

The caster placed the large stone in the lap of the sleeping giant and murmured a few mystic words. Soon the stone melded into the giant and Abbadon, the Destroyer, stood once more. The blue light now shone through his eyes, and from his skin, lighting the cavern. A creature of suffering and chaos, Abbadon, simply watched when a man ran from the shadows created by the destroyers light. His eyes held a curious expression, wondering what would happen to his liberator when the man reached him.

The battle cry on Darr’s lips issued just enough warning for Aybas to turn and see his brother. The next instant several feet of Hibernian steel pushed forward into Aybas’s body. Removing his blade to make a second strike, Darr was blown off his feet by a blast from the sorcerer.

“Fool!” Aybas exclaimed. “If you think you have what it takes to destroy me you are sorely mistaken.” The younger brother looked down on the older while Darr regained his feet. “All my young life, you were stronger, you were more powerful.” Aybas raged, gathering his strength for another blast. “Now you learn what power truly is, today I will put you in the grave you dodged when our house burned!”

A bolt fired from Ni’k’s pistol bow ripped through the shoulder of the enraged caster. The momentary distraction it gave was enough for Darr to devise a new plan. If his steel could not kill his brother, and no mortal hand could slay the Destroyer, perhaps he could buy the world a little time.

Rising fully to his feet, rushing forward at the same time, Darr raced past his brother, and towards the eight foot tall demi-god. He did not raise his sword against the creature, but lowered his head and leveled his shoulders instead.

Striking the giant form, the impact took his breath from his lungs; but it was enough. Stunned from running headlong into living stone, Darr could not move, could not react. Voices echoed in his head, the shouts of his friends realizing what he had done. By the time he regained his senses, he had followed Abbadon into the abyss and was cast into darkness. He had no sense of up or down. He saw a brilliant flash of light far away and hoped it was his friends and companions defeating his brother. He felt more than saw one last bright flash that encompassed his entire field of vision, he felt an impact, and then all was black. He felt nothing more.













































































                                               




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