Friday, September 19, 2014

Lady Elaryindril & Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback: Book IV, Part 1

the Quarterback

Volume One of the Kingdom of AtoL Serie
by Marty Reeder

Book IV:
Ultimate Heroes

Part 1

The wolves in the circle around Lady Elaryindril and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback began to inch forward, testing their prey. Cyrus and Elaryindril put their backs to each other and began to rotate, trying to keep an eye on the movements of all of their enemies.

“Any ideas, Lady Elaryindril?” Cyrus asked. “Please tell me that something like this happened in your Dudes with Dragons series.”

Elaryindril shook her head, too scared to be annoyed at his blatant ignorance of fantasy literature. “No. Not unless you have a Staff of Fedøûchsett to combat them with--that’s how they got rid of the wärgs in the sixth book of the Sprite Academy series.”

Cyrus raised his eyebrows at a particularly savage snarl from the wolf currently facing him. “Dang. I chose a bad time to lend my Staff of Fido-fetch to my friend to impress a girl.”

Suddenly, Elaryindril stopped circling for a moment. “Wait. Don’t wolves travel in packs and have an alpha male?”

“Wolf go in groups, but they ain’t able to read,” Cyrus said.

“Not alphabet,” Elaryindril responded, “Alpha male. It means a leader.”

“Oh, leader. Um, yeah, probably.”

“Because, in the …” Elaryindril stopped herself. “Because it’s possible that if we take out the leader, the rest will become confused or scared and disperse to the hinterlands.”

Cyrus grinned. “You’ll have to tell me what book that idea comes out of later. As for the leader, that ugly one that you just passed, the one with the super nasty growl, I’m thinking he’s the alfalfa male.”

Elaryindril somehow managed not to correct Cyrus. “I think you’re right.” The wolf seemed to confirm their thoughts by letting off a particularly evil snarl and then leading the others into another step forward. “The question is,” she said, shrinking back, “how do we take out the leader.”

Cyrus circled around to face the brute and contemplated for a second before saying. “I think I got an idea. Toss me that Orb of Pestiness.”

Another correction hovered on her lips before Lady Elaryindril simply handed the football over to Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback. The Tri-Valley Region MVP planted his back foot, cocked back his arm, and--as Elaryindril later put it--faster than a Cliff Dwelling Phœter Harpy, snapped his arm forward, releasing the Orb of Pestilence.

The wolf barely had time to react to the movement before the football crashed into his face at a devastating speed. No reaction was possible. Instead, the leader crumpled to the ground without a second’s hesitation, out cold.

“Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback ...” Lady Elaryindril exclaimed in awe.

The two then gazed around them at the other wärgs. The beasts had witnessed the scene and stood, stunned. “Dude,” Cyrus whispered, “I think they’re kind of freaked out.”

“Once again, I’m impressed by your football skills finally paying off outside of the playing field,” a voice interrupted, “it’s a shame that the one you threw the ball at was not the alpha male.” Mr. Cowles, who had watched the scene with interest, threw in this comment glibly. Then he finished, “That’d be me.”

Then the Wraith Lord gripped his plasma globe and focused. The next thing Elaryindril and Cyrus knew, the wolves surrounding them shook their heads and renewed their hateful din.
“And I think I’ll not have them procrastinate this moment any longer,” Mr. Cowles added. “I never did care much for procrastinators.”
Lady Elaryindril barely had time to nod in confirmation before the wolves around them shot forward. “Come on,” Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback said. He did not give Elaryindril time to figure out what they were doing. Instead, he grabbed her wrist and they charged towards one of the wolves.
Much like the Caped Horned Beasts, the wärg did not expect the prey to be running towards him. He slowed just enough that Cyrus’s foot caught him exactly in the neck, sending him sprawling, with a yelp, to the side. Cyrus then brought Elaryindril past him and managed to say, “That clears the path to an exit, so here’s the play: I’ll hold back the wolves, you get out of here, we’ll meet later at the Lake Dweller Pond.”
Lady Elaryindril did not even have time to protest. Before she could say anything, Cyrus shoved her backward and took another swat with his foot at a diving wärg. The other wärgs began converging on the two and one happened to latch itself successfully to Cyrus’s pant leg, debilitating his kicking foot. As another targeted Cyrus’s torso, it received a stiff arm to the head, driving it down to the ground. At the same time, however, a different wolf flung itself at the quarterback’s writhing side. This one would have succeeded in chomping down on Cyrus’s vulnerable spot, but it suddenly found itself victim to a large, leatherbound book smashing straight into its mouth.

Lady Elaryindril filled in the spot where the wärg she just vanquished had dropped, standing next to the beleaguered Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback. “I don’t like your game plan,” she said, swinging her book and striking another approaching wärg.
Cyrus had finally extracted the wolf on his pant leg with a deft strike from his large hand. “You called an audible!” he replied with a respectful zeal.
As much as the two appreciated this moment together, they also realized that their time was limited. For every wärg they struck down, another came ready to attack. And those wolves that had been swatted were already recovering and prepping to finish the job.
“Any book ideas come to mind?” Cyrus asked, just evading some groping teeth while punching away another attack from his blind side.
“Nope,” Elaryindril responded, permanently denting the back cover of her book with a wärg snout. “Any football ideas?”
Cyrus shook his head. “Not without a referee of some sort. You know, someone to stop the game and make it a little more fair.”
As if on cue, the frenzied wärgs halted their culminating attack. They all shook their heads, yipping and reeling. They looked around then one by one shot for the nearest exit, their tales slung under their retreating bodies.
Elaryindril and Cyrus immediately looked over to Mr. Cowles, but the physics and astronomy teacher reflected complete bafflement.
Still breathing hard, Elaryindril whispered, “What was that all about?”
“Too many wärgs on the field of play?” Cyrus answered, though obviously just as confused as Elaryindril and Mr. Cowles.
“Precisely,” a new voice rang out in the chamber.
Everyone looked around, trying to locate the voice’s origin in the echoing room. “Dude, if this is Vice-Principal Miller, I’m going to be really freaked out.”
“Actually,” the voice replied, “it’s the Last Sorcerer of the Order of the Extraction Lode Stones.”
Catching her breath, Lady Elaryindril whispered with fierce excitement, “Dëwht-åh-mæhrø!”
“Impossible,” Mr. Cowles hissed. “Gaytesbuee told me that the buffalo and bats found you.”
“Not to side with Mr. Crazy,” Cyrus added, “but it’s totally true. I saw those bats coming at you like a blitz of the whole opposing team ... plus the marching band.”
Suddenly there was a shimmering in the air next to the one with the Wraith Lord in it. Dëwht-åh-mæhrø appeared, smiling through his beard.
Mr. Cowles’s jaw dropped as he turned to face the vision. “Incredible,” he mumbled. “You manipulated the electromagnetic fields so as to warp the light rays bouncing off of you!”
Cyrus turned to Elaryindril. “What did he say?”
Elaryindril never took her eyes off of Dëwht-åh-mæhrø. “That he used magnetic powers to disappear.”
“Woah,” Cyrus replied.
Dëwht-åh-mæhrø continued, addressing the Wraith Lord. “It’s something I learned when I went into your world. While there, I could still sense our kingdom, hidden from view. I wondered if it would be possible to use my powers to disguise what other people see. With the Night Shriekers bearing down on me, there seemed to be no better time to attempt the magic. At first it did not work. But then I remembered that Night Shriekers fly by sound instead of sight. I adjusted the magic to disguise sound. Thanks to the magic, I became completely invisible to the eyes and ears, as you can see. Or, I suppose I should say, as you cannot see.”
Mr. Cowles ground his teeth in frustration. “It’s not magic. It’s science!”
“As you wish, Wraith Lord. Or do you prefer … what was it? ... Meestœwr Kóawllz?”
Mr. Cowles ignored the jibe and continued, rumbling, “How did you manage to do it? Gaytesbuee told me that you were weak.”
“Disguising myself from view does not require much effort, I’ve found. It is much less taxing than controlling the actions of other beasts.”
Irritated, Mr. Cowles followed up by saying, “But you also drove away my wolves! If you were weak, how could you have done both?”
Dëwht-åh-mæhrø nodded. “Excellent question. Since then, I found some time to get the Chief Lode Stone from the ruins of the Temple of the Goddess of AtoL.” Beneath his layered robes, the ancient sorcerer pulled out a large black rock, a little bigger than Cyrus’s football. “It is also the reason that I am able to do this.”
Dëwht-åh-mæhrø dropped his staff to the ground so that he could grip the rock with two hands. Before Mr. Cowles could even anticipate an action, he saw his plasma globe nudged to the side and then fly off the counter and smash into the ground.
“My globe!” he said in shock. “How did you …?”
Without responding, Dëwht-åh-mæhrø then closed his eyes and tightened his hold on the rock. Lady Elaryindril and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback watched the scene intensely. For a moment, it seemed like nothing happened, but then they saw Mr. Cowles start to look into the different corners of his lab office. “Wait!” the teacher shouted, “Don’t you move them! Leave my conductors alone! It took me forever to figure out their exact placement and I can’t--”
Suddenly Mr. Cowles and his office lab flickered out of existence. The only ones in left in the chamber were Dëwht-åh-mæhrø, Lady Elaryindril, and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback.

It was silent for a long moment, and then finally Cyrus exhaled. “Dude-Tomorrow, I don’t know what you did … but it rocked.”

Elaryindril added, pointing to the black rock. “No pun intended.”
Cyrus nodded. “Right. No punt intended.”

End Part 1 of Book IV: Ultimate Heroes of Lady Elaryindril and Cyrus Knowles the Quarterback: Volume One of the Kingdom of AtoL Serie