“Wait!” Cornelious shouted. Flitican drew his axe and a fight broke out. Terenious and Flitican were both red as tomatoes trying to strike each other with their weapons. Flitican was moving at Galendar speed. Terenious would not survive long.
Elderain suddenly had a panic attack and fainted onto the ground.
Asher was jumping about with smoke coming out of his ears, kicking rubble and skulls shouting, “BACON! BACON! BACON!”
“Wait! Stop!” Cornelious shouted. Flitican and Terenious took no notice of him. They were having too much fun finally taking their anger out. Terenious had kicked Flitican knocking him to the ground. Before Terenious could kill him, he rolled away. The blow from Terenious’ pearl sword missed and stuck into the ground. Flitican got up again as Terenious pulled her sword out of the entil. Cornelious then did a very brave thing. Cornelious ran in between the two fighting heroes before they charged at each other again. For a second he was worried about being run through but they stopped with their weapons pointed at him.
“Get out of the way, Canlomban!” Flitican shouted. “I need to teach this pirate some manners.”
“Pirate?!” Terenious asked angrily. “I thought I was one of you now. Maybe I should go back to King Thevian instead of hanging about with idiotic errand runners!”
“Stop it!” Cornelious shouted. Terenious and Flitican stopped and their faces turned back to their normal colors. “You are enchanted!” Cornelious exclaimed sounding relieved. “We need to control our tempers. We will all feel better when we leave the valley. Just trust me on this one!”
It came over them like a thunderclap of why they were so angry because they too had heard the story about The Valley of War.
“I am sorry, Flitican. I didn’t want to hurt you, and I hope I didn’t.”
“I am fine and I forgive you,” Flitican said. “I am sorry about the way I reacted. I should have just tried to calm you down.”
Asher finally stopped shouting bacon over and over again and sat down panting. Elderain got up off the ground looking extremely dizzy and uncomfortable. Then all of them, feeling a little shaky, continued on. Now that they all knew what was going on the heroes didn’t feel as angry at each other.
The headaches they had continued. The heat did not disappear and the sun still stared at them from high above. When it grew dark they had reached the Thevian Mountains on the west side of The Valley of War. Malicina was just beyond this mountain range. What would they find there? As they set up camp they felt that their errand would soon be completed.
The night had ended and the heroes of Gabonland began walking on the mountain path west. Darkness surrounded them like it normally did in the mountain range. The headaches left and the stuffiness disappeared. Great walls of rock rose above them. Thanks to their few hours of sleep the night before the journey was not as tiring. Flitican’s breathing became quieter as they went farther west. That meant the temperature was going down. The others began to notice too that it grew steadily colder.
After a few hours the path ended and they left the mountain range and looked at Malicina. A great cold wind hit them as they left the path. It felt absolutely wonderful but terrible at the same time. It was the saddest looking country you could ever see. No grass could be seen. No water. No trees. No cities could be seen. No people either, just a desolate and empty land of black rock. Thick fog was everywhere. The fog was even thicker than it was at The Eltician River. The Border Mountains of Gabonland, rising above them even higher than the Thevian Mountains did, could now be seen to the south. To the north was an unexpected horror. A great chasm or trench stood there like an enormous black mouth opening to swallow the heroes of Gabonland whole. The size of it took the heroes breath away. It was so wide that it seemed no bridge could ever be built. It was so deep that no living thing could go down into it.
Asher shuddered at the sight of Lord Vallan’s chasm. He felt fear. Was he afraid of heights?
On the rocky land there stood a tower. It was tall but not as tall as Thektow. On its banner was a yellow lightning bolt. It was the only thing on the landscape besides what was behind it. Standing behind the tower, looking more impressive, was a gate. It was made of a yellow material like brass or possibly even gold. The gigantic gate spanned all the way from the Border Mountains to the terrible chasm.
“That must be the gate that Caldortain spoke of,” Elderain said. He sounded very pleased as if the cold and emptiness of Malicina didn’t bother him at all. “The gate to Lord Vallan’s castle.”
“In order to open it we have to pull a switch inside there,” Flitican said. He pointed at the tower. “It must be the Yellow Tarkan’s tower.” He didn’t have any need to say this out loud. Everybody was thinking it.
“I see it all now,” Asher said, still staring at the terrible chasms. “Those chasms are the reason why there are only three ways into New Malicina’s capital. They prevent any other entry besides the gate.” Asher hated the sight of the chasms. He hated fear and that was the emotion that the chasm’s made him feel.
“I guess we have to go into the tower,” Elderain said. He shivered. It was very cold in that desolate land. It must have been just barely above freezing. They all longed to be back in The Valley of War now even though it was depressing and enchanted. At least it was warm. A sudden feeling of fear came over him, also a feeling that he was being watched. He shook it off realizing that paying attention to such things would not help them complete their task. He began to walk up to the tower. “We can’t just stand here while Lord Vallan gets ready to destroy Gabonland and turn it into a wasteland like this.”
“We can’t enter in a way that is simple,” Cornelious warned Elderain. “There is certain to be guards. Maybe even Visicites. I would prefer to get in without seeing them or being seen by them.”
“But remember, Cornelious,” Elderain said, “Lord Vallan has just begun to build his army with that scepter. He stole it about 2 months ago. There is a possibility that he has not been able to put guards here yet. Building an army, choosing posts and planning battles do take a long time. It might only be The Yellow Tarkan all by himself inside that tower.”
Watching us, he added in his head. He didn’t think it was a good idea to say that aloud. He then continued to walk towards the tower. When they reached it the other heroes saw that Elderain was right. Not a living thing could be seen at the gate. No guards were posted and no Visicites could be seen. A small door was in sight to the left of the tower’s main gate. When Asher tried the door it opened easily. There was no lock.
Cornelious was very nervous. Was it supposed to be this easy? Had their plans been found out? Was the Yellow Tarkan just waiting inside ready to pounce? Then without another word the heroes of Gabonland entered the Yellow Tarkans tower.
Flitican thought he was going to have a heart attack. The room that they had come into was enormous. The beginning of a spiral staircase could be seen right next to the door they had come through. Pillars of stone held up a stone ceiling. In the middle of the large room was a hole in the ceiling. An elevator sat on the ground beneath it attached to pulleys and ropes. Weapons and hay were sitting on top of it. When Flitican got inside he was relieved to see that no Visicites could be seen. No Tarkan either.
The journey through the castle was unnerving. The first thing they did was start climbing the spiral staircase. They felt that at any moment a Visicite guard would come towards them as they went around a corner or up another flight of stairs. If they did they would be the first people to see Visicites since the time of Bach Banderad when he fought the Visicite Chieftain Valenciteila.
Asher looked at his sword, The Anviser, and remembered its story. The tower of the Yellow Tarkan was eerie. Everything was made out of black stone. A deafening silence was the only noise they heard. The Heroes of Gabonland were having trouble finding The Switch Room which undoubtedly was guarded by the Tarkan.
Nobody dared to suggest splitting up. What would happen if one of them ran into the Tarkan by themselves? This may have been the least dangerous of the tarkans, but Caldortain didn’t exactly say the Tarkan wasn’t dangerous at all. Splitting up couldn’t be thought of.
Their footsteps made an echo up the spiral staircase. Many doorways had already been passed. Suddenly, they all jumped when they heard a noise. CLOP! CLOP! CLOP! CLOP! The sound echoed through the castle even louder than their own footsteps did. It sounded like someone was pacing while wearing metal shoes. The one making the sound must have been very large. CLOP! CLOP! CLOP!
The heroes almost ran away from the noise that was coming towards them but Cornelious stopped them, “There is only one other being in this castle.” He said in a whisper that sounded too loud, “The Yellow Tarkan. Those footsteps are almost certainly his. If we follow the sound we will be led to the switch room.”
They did not want to do this but they would have to if they wanted to save all of Gabonland from becoming desolate like New Malicina. Cornelious led the heroes up the winding stairs. The noise was coming from above. As they got higher the clopping got louder. It sounded much closer. The others envied Cornelious’ bravery as he led them up, knowing full well that if the Yellow Tarkan tried to kill somebody it would be him. The winding stairs stopped at a door. They could have touched the tower’s ceiling if they wanted to. The clopping stopped. The heroes of Gabonland held their breath.
They all stood outside the door. Not even Cornelious reached out to turn the knob. The heroes pondered about what would happen when they got inside. The clopping was definitely coming from the door in front of them. Elderain felt an evil presence. He still felt that he was being watched. Suddenly, before any of them could get the courage to open the door, it opened, and two hands with many gold rings on them grabbed Cornelious and Flitican and pulled them in.
Seeing their friends taken through the door Asher, Elderain, and Terenious rushed after them. Inside the bare and empty room was a tall man holding Cornelious and Flitican. He wore a yellow cloak and silver chainmail. His shoes were made of leather that was dyed yellow. The tips of the shoes were gold and sharp. His breastplate was brass. He wore a silver helmet with yellow swirls on them as decoration. His face was stern and cold. He looked human but had a very interesting characteristic. Instead of having two arms like a normal human, he had four. He let go of Cornelious and Flitican very roughly sending them falling to the ground.
“What are you doing here?!” shrieked the 4-armed man. “What are you doing in my tower?! Who on earth do you think you are?!”
Cornelious and Flitican got up off the ground. All five of the heroes faced the Yellow Tarkan. This was the moment they had been waiting for.
“We,” Asher said as bravely as he could. The cold and stern face of the Tarkan made him very nervous. “We have been sent here by the Bacnaltican King to save his daughter and retrieve the stolen Scepter of the Visicite King.”
“What?!” the Yellow Tarkan shouted so loudly that The Heroes of Gabonland could hear the word vibrate through the ground. The tower seemed to shake. His face darkened and he grew taller.
“I see,” he said. His voice was no longer a shout. He sounded calmer but a strong sense of malice was felt by the heroes. “You are a miniature rebellion trying to stop Lord Vallan and save Gabonland.” He drew his four swords with his four hands. “The rebellion will end now. Resistance to the future king of Gabonland will not be tolerated. King Vallan believes that treason should be punished by death.”
Elderain put an arrow on his ivory bow. Flitican took out the Grimapolian axe. Cornelious raised up Tewarben. Asher drew The Anviser and Terenious drew her pearl sword. The Yellow Tarkan gave a shout and charged towards them. The sound of clashing metal was in the room.
Elderain was knocked to the ground before he could shoot the Yellow Tarkan. As he fell he twisted his wrist. It felt sprained. The pain was so excruciating that he could not get up.
Cornelious was carefully trying to avoid getting hit with the hilt of the Tarkan’s sword. He did not want a repeat of the fight with King Thevian. Tewarben had not yet even touched the Tarkan’s sword.
When Flitican realized that the Yellow Tarkan had no armor on his legs a plan formed in his mind. Asher vaguely saw Terenious fall down beside him but was too busy blocking blows to do anything about it. Elderain crawled to Terenious side, now ignoring the pain in his wrist, and was relieved to see that she was not killed. Only her entil armor had been hit and was not pierced. Flitican cut off one of the Tarkan’s arms after almost being beheaded. The Yellow Tarkans other arms continued moving to kill the others.
“You Fool!” the Yellow Tarkan shreiked. His face twisted with pain. He still fought Cornelious, and Asher. “A Galendar cannot kill a Tarkan!”
Flitican saw his chance and cut the Yellow Tarkan’s legs from under him.
The Yellow Tarkan shrieked in pain and fell forward. He was not dead. “You little rebellion!” He shouted, “You may have beaten me but you have not stopped Lord Vallan! This war between us has only just begun! You will not come out of it alive! I, Pargon, may have been defeated but the others are much more powerful than me! They will find you!” the monsterous villain cackled loudly.
Asher finished him off. The Yellow Tarkan had been beaten.
LORD VALLAN’S ARMIES
Coming May 22nd
Coming May 22nd