By: Murasaki

Chapter 7

<Body>X was hanging high above the floor now, looking down on Jesture in fear. The

vampire looked him over, seeing the dried blood in his blue hair. “What’s this?” He

pulled on a lock of the hair and looked it over then waved it in front of X’s face. Jesture’s

eyes were glowing ruby red now. “What is this? Blood?” The druid gave a small nod as it

took a hold of Jesture’s hand in protest. Red Leader let go of X and let him fall to the


The druid coughed loudly and clutched his throat, gasping for air.

“Explain,” the Darkon leader barked. “I... Fought Marty.” Jesture saw the drying blood

on X’s arm and could tell how big the injury was. The vampire held back his hunger for

blood and spoke. “The Ford child did that to you?” X responded with a nod, still gasping

for air. “Did you kill him?”

“No,” the druid replied. “Someone else interfered

with the fight. A old man.” Jesture scratched his chin and thought for a moment. He saw

the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. “Eat your dinner then come to the dining

hall for your punishment.” Just as Jesture reached the middle of the staircase he paused

and spoke in a firm tone. “And remember, you are alive because I have foreseen it. That

is the only reason. If you defy me again, death with be your fate.” With that, Red Leader

left the druid to his dinner.

Not too much later, Jesture, or Red Leader as the

Darkons now referred to him, was sitting on his throne in the dining hall. He watched the

night’s entertainment with a small smile on his face. The others has caught a great bear

and caged it. Now they were tormenting it by poking it with sticks and throwing bones at

it. The bear growled

and banged at the cage but didn’t get out. Still, the Darkons teased the bear. Red Leader’s

thoughts were elsewhere, however. The dwelled on his current plan. How he would get

the gem back from Chris Ford and how X would be used to do so.


gently tapped the Darkon leader on the shoulder and he tilted his head ever so slightly

into the shadows behind his throne. A whisper came forth and Jesture nodded. He then

stood up from his throne, his wife at his side still sitting, and spoke in the Darkon tongue.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he began. “Well, those of you who can legitimately be referred

to as Gentlemen.” The others chuckled and there was a snicker about how bad a joke that

was. Jesture let that snicker slide, though, as the bear was carted out in its cage. “I have

something to reveal to you.” Now that he had everyone’s attention, including his wife’s,

Red Leader turned to the side and waved a hand to the shadow behind his


A fair sized figure approached from the shadow, head bowed and

covered by a hood. Hands in the sleeves of the parka it wore. Jesture took a hold of the

figure’s hood and pulled the parka off. There, standing in the light of the torch mounted

on the wall, stood

X, the druid. A few growls were emitted and someone shouted out that Red Leader

should step down as leader for bringing a Coilsteemer into the castle. Although they did

not outwardly fear Coilsteemers, the Darkons knew that the dragon/mortals could very

well get rid of them. “This is not a Coilsteemer,” Jesture told the crowd before him.

“What do you mean he’s not a Coilsteemer? He’s a dragon/mortal,” someone challenged.

“Shut your trap,” another, totally loyal to Red Leader, ordered. “If he’s got a

dragon/mortal here then he obviously has a good reason.”

Jesture, understand

that those who were challenging him were to drunk to know what they were doing,

nodded. “This is X.” A few chatters arose from the crowd. "He is going

to get our gem back." “Ach! To hell with you’re quest!” One of them shouted, slurring

his words. “I say we eats ‘em!” With a swift flick of the wrist and a show of the eye

embedded within his palm, Red Leader loosened a crackle of black lightning that fried

the challenger where he sat.

The other’s watched as the now black, charred, figure’s hand crumbled, dropping the

flask and spilling the ale. “This dragon/mortal is under my protection. If anyone harms

him or challenges his authority, the punishment will be death.” The others, now a lot

more sober than a moment ago, listened.

“In the morning X will take a group of

our best warriors and begin picking off the Coilsteemers one by one. They are usually in

groups of two to a village and they only

protect the land of Mythal.” X, surprised that Red Leader had not issued a beating on

him, glanced up. He heard the words that were being spoken and under stood each and

every one of them. “X will have the same authority as myself while he and the warriors

are in Mythal. To challenge X will be to challenge me, and that challenge will be met

with unmerciful punishment issued by X himself.”

“What does this have to do

with getting our pendent back?” One of the crowd asked. “Chris Ford considers the

Coilsteemers to be his family. If we kill them off one by one he

will give in and return the gem.” A grumble rose up from the back. “That’s what you said

twenty years ago, and we still don’t have it back.” “We didn’t have X twenty years ago,”

Jesture retorted. The others agreed and no more challenges presented themselves. Red

Leader turned to X. “If you do not do get that pendent back, your punishment will be

worse than death.” X gave a slight nod, not wanting to think of what that punishment

could be.</body>

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