Monday, September 15, 2014

Lady Elaryindril & Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback: Book III, Part 3

the Quarterback

Volume One of the Kingdom of AtoL Serie
by Marty Reeder

Book III:
The Wraith Lord

Part 3

“Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback,” Elaryindril muttered. “What you just accomplished rivals the final battle in the Lörthguarddian series.”

Cyrus sensed, more than understood, the compliment in her statement. He gathered his breath. “Well, you may be interested to know that the Caped Horned Beast thingies are actually buffalo.”

“American bison?” Elaryindril replied.

“Probably not American. I’m guessing AtoLian … but I ain’t no animal scientist.”

“That’s just the name of the species,” Elaryindril could not tell if Cyrus was joking or ignorant, but she gave him a pass since she was still in awe of his incredible feat.

“And the Night Shouters are--”

“Night Shriekers,” Elaryindril corrected.

“Right. Well, they’re bats. Maybe Canadian, or could even be Australian, but they are definitely bats.”

“Huh,” Elaryindril commented. “Interesting.”

Cyrus’s eyes were still adjusting to the darkness in the tall, narrow corridor of the fortress. He squinted as he tried to discern Elaryindril’s face. “You’re not sad? I mean, I know it was hard before when you found out some of these cool things are really just normal things.”

“Naw,” Elaryindril waved her hand, “In fact, I’m finding it fascinating. For instance, this normal football that you let me borrow has an extraordinary effect on that guard crouched over in the corner there.” Elaryindril held up the football and then used it to point to someone huddled in a recess of the hallway. As soon as he saw the ball bend in his direction, he let out a pathetic yelp and whimpered with his head sealed to his arms.

Cyrus’s eyebrows lifted. “Elaryindril, what’d you do? That dude looks like he seen a ghost!”

“Well, as we suspected, there were four guards at the entrance. So as soon as I got there, I told them that I was the great Sorceress Lady Elaryindril of Bæwolf and that I was wielding the Orb of Pestilence from Svåarthgurdg.”

Cyrus could not help but interrupt. “The Door of Pestering wha…?”

“Orb of Pestilence,” Elaryindril emphasized each syllable strong enough that the guard down the hallway heard her and sniveled in fear. Then Elaryindril lowered her voice. “It’s in the Unicorn Hunter series. I heard Mrs. Avalon--er, the Goddess of AtoL--mention it while we were in the place of visions. I assumed that since she had spoken about it, people here would take it quite seriously, even if it never really existed. So I took your ‘orb,’” she held up the football, “and pointed it at the guards and told them that I would touch them with it unless they immediately vacated the premises. Then I told the last one to open the door and go inside so that he could lead us to the Wraith Lord.”

Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback looked at the football, then at the guard, then the football again. “What, exactly, does the football … er … Orb of Pestiness ... do that freaks them out so much?”

Elaryindril shrugged, “It simply infects any who are touched by it with a disease that, within hours of receiving it, opens a person’s capillaries so that they slowly bleed internally and through their pores externally until they are brought to a long and anguished death days later. Of course, by the time the process is complete no one would recognize the person, nor would they want to try, since the disease is highly contagious--even in death--for months afterwards, wiping out whole civilizations.”

Cyrus grimaced. “Ugh. I don’t know if I even want to touch my own football now.”

Elaryindril smiled. “Well, you can’t. At least, not while the guard is nearby. After I’m done using it, though, I’m going to force you to take it back, because it was no picnic running around with it.”

“Don’t get me started on your book,” Cyrus replied, but then he corrected himself. “Though, it did save me from a Night Bat Shrieker. I guess I can’t ever say that books are totally useless anymore.”

Their conversation was cut short by a blubbering noise in the hallway. “P-p-p-please, great sorceress. Please, just let me go.”

Elaryindril turned to the guard, swinging the football in front of her. “Not yet, simpleton! First, you must take us to the Wraith Lord.”

The guard suffered a moment of torment. “The Wraith Lord will not be pleased.”

Elaryindril replied. “Nor will your pain-wracked body in the next couple of hours unless you do as I say.”

The guard popped off the ground, trembling. “This way, your worship!”

The guard kept one eye on the stone walkway in front of him and one on the Orb of Pestilence stalking him from behind. Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback could not help but quip, “Shoot. What I wouldn’t give to see the other team as scared of the football as this dude is …”

The group then fell into silence as the guard shuffled them through the darkness until they approached an entrance that had dark, waving lights reflecting off one end of its frame. The guard pointed that direction then plastered himself to the other side of the corridor and, sniveling, wormed his way past them. Before Elaryindril and Cyrus could inquire into his actions, the guard broke into a run back towards his original post. Cyrus made a move to go get him, but then he and Elaryindril heard voices. Forgetting the guard, they inched up to the edge of the entrance and listened.

“I only tell you what I know, Your Astronomicalness,” a voice protested defensively, “they were already here when I met them.”

In the chamber beyond the entrance the replying voice resonated ominously in a hoarse and clipped manner. “I told you to stop calling me that! Now describe this Chosen One and his companion.”

“The man was a giant, and--”

“Well, most are compared to you,” the voice replied.

“I’m not short, Oh Powerful Wraith Lord, I just have poor posture and tend to hunch over in your dominating presence. Besides, I--”

Cyrus and Elaryindril looked at each other. “Gåtesbuî the Great,” they murmured simultaneously. They scooted to the edge of the entrance and peered into the chamber beyond. They could not see much, only that it was lit by a dull light shimmering from the center of the chamber, which they could not quite view from their angle. They did see, however, Gåtesbuî the Great cowering before the glowing light trying to make his rebuttal.

“Just continue with your description,” the Wraith Lord interrupted him.

“Very good, Your Físicksness,” Gåtesbuî the Great yielded. The Wraith Lord’s voice began a correction, but thought better of it and Gåtesbuî the Great continued, “The girl held a large book, and I assume it holds great spells and secrets that could increase your power immensely.”

“Did you see writing on the book?” the voice asked.

“No, Your Wraith-i-ness. She held it close to her and did not reveal it. She seemed to be at least partially aware of our land and customs, for she knows about our legends of dwarves and she recognized my uniform denoting allegiance to the Kingdom of AtoL.”

“Then they think you are a loyal AtoLian?”

“I believe so, Oh Shimmering Vision in the Darkness.”

“Where did you last see them?”

“I left them at the Temple of the Goddess of AtoL. Before Dëwht-åh-mæhrø met his end outside your fortress, he instructed me to take them there.”

“What for? We completely destroyed the Temple, right?” the voice rattled the room.

“Yes, yes, Your Most Magically-Lensed Eyeness.” This last strangely-formed title caused even the wordy Elaryindril to shake her head. Gåtesbuî the Great, however, continued on regardless. “But Dëwht-åh-mæhrø gave me a pellet and said something about the visions coming before the temple.”

“Then the visions are still happening?!” the voice rose in volume. “The Goddess hasn’t been eliminated?!”

Gåtesbuî the Great trembled. “I could not stay long after she revealed herself, because I feared her great powers would see through my guise and know me to be a traitor to AtoL … but, yes, Oh Wraith of the Stars, I left the Goddess communicating with the woman and the Chosen One.”

There was a pause for a moment and some harsh mumbling coming from the voice. Finally, it said, “I still don’t understand this Chosen One legend. Explain it to me again.”

“I am not a Sorcerer of the Order of the Extraction Lode Stones, Oh Magician of the Dark Skies, so I have never heard the prophecies from the Goddess of AtoL, but from what I have been taught as a child, the legend says that the Chosen One is the ultimate hero who will be recruited when our world is threatened.”

“Humph,” the voice responded. “Well, if you’d taken care of Dëwht-åh-mæhrø when you were supposed to, then we could’ve avoided all this Chosen One nonsense.”

Gåtesbuî the Great bowed his head and replied, “Dëwht-åh-mæhrø is the most powerful of the Sorcerers, Your Floating-in-the-Airness. In the end it took a whole herd of Caped Horned Beasts and a flock of Night Shriekers to do him in.”

“Fine,” the voice replied, annoyed. “Well, describe this precious Chosen One some more. Where does he come from? What does he look like?”

“His place of origin is a mystery to me. Before Dëwht-åh-mæhrø disappeared, I overheard him speaking to Län Gstøn the Huge and saying something about how he had been following the threads of Lode Stone power and that he thought he might be able to locate the hidden world where the Chosen One could be drawn from his reluctant state to become the great hero of the Kingdom of AtoL--according to the prophecy.”

“Right, right. Great hero, prophecy, blah blah. I kind of doubt he can get rid of me so easily. Tell me more about this ‘great’ warrior.”

“Well, over his tunic he wore a coat with both bright and dark colors that had emblems and writing covering it. He also held with him some strange, oblong object that seemed to be of leather, with a lacing holding it together. I know not what was inside of it, but it may be the key to his undoing.”

“Hmmm. What writing was on the coat?”

Gåtesbuî the Great tapped his chin thoughtfully. “His clothing was bent most of the time so I could not discern perfectly all of the emblems. One of them said ‘Crater’ and there was another one that had a strange word I did not recognize. It said ‘football.’”

“Football?” the voice suddenly perked up.

“Yes. Is it a hex word you are familiar with?”

The voice ignored the question. “What color was the coat?”

“Black sleeves with a bright scarlet color for the center. The emblems were mixtures of scarlet and black.”

“Now, Gaytesbuee, this is important. The word ‘Crater,’ was it followed by the word ‘High’?”

Gåtesbuî the Great thought a moment. “You know, I think it was some kind of word with an ‘h’ and ‘i’ in it.”

The voice now seemed to breath deeply. “A letterman’s jacket.”

As soon as the voice rasped out this revelation, Lady Elaryindril and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback stared at each other. “How does the Wraith dude know about letterman jackets?” Cyrus asked, his own letterman jacket shuffling as he turned to look at Elaryindril.

Back in the chamber, Gåtesbuî the Great responded, slightly confused. “The girl seemed to be more intelligent in her speaking, so I would maybe say she was the Letter Woman.” Elaryindril resisted the urge to smirk. Gåtsebuî continued. “But it is true, Oh Master of the Darkness, that the Chosen One did have the emblems of many letters on his coat.”

“Then it’s possible!”

“To have emblems on coats?” Gåtesbuî the Great replied, his confusion deepening. “It is. I’ve had this emblem of an ‘A’ on my tunic for as long as I’ve owned it.”

“No, you moron! To switch worlds. The Chosen One comes from my world. Until now I wasn’t sure how far my power could reach into the Kingdom of AtoL, but now that I know that I could switch worlds, the possibilities are endless!”

“You mean, you would no longer be a wraith?” Gåtesbuî the Great asked.

“No! I would enter your world in flesh and bones and rule as your Emperor,” the voice gathered excitement. “Perhaps if I readjusted my calculations, or maybe if I searched for a stronger electromagnetic field than where I am now and simply refocused the energy …” At that point the voice was talking to itself.

“Not to interrupt Your White-Robed Glory, but aren’t you forgetting one thing still?” Gåtesbuî the Great slavered.

The voice stopped, irritated. “What?”

Gåtesbuî the Great lifted his head up to respond, but he was interrupted.


Lady Elaryindril gasped at the headstrong bravery of her companion. Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback had stepped into the chamber of the Wraith Lord.

For a brief moment there was a pause and then, simultaneously, Elaryindril heard two voices speak out in complete befuddlement.

“Cyrus Knowles?”

“Mr. Cowles?”

Elaryindril started. “Mr. Cowles?” she said to herself. Then Elaryindril stepped through the entrance and saw, hovering above the ground in the center of the chamber, the image of Crater High School’s physics and astronomy teacher, Mr. Cowles.

End Part 3 of Book III: The Wraith Lord of Lady Elaryindril and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback: Volume One of the Kingdom of AtoL Serie