Chapter 21, 1st Book of Serinity

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Chapter 21, 1st Book of Serinity

Post by SerinitysChild »

Three floors above the great hall of Orc’s Home central keep; Shadow gnaws on the hindquarter of a freshly butchered deer. With a delicate tongue, she licks blood drops from her furry lips, and, as she does so, she watches her companion.

“Daddy,” laughs Serinity, “I’ve been too big for you to toss into the air for years and years!” All the while, she’s giggling like a small child in her father’s hands as he tosses her nearly to the ceiling.

“You might think you’re too big, or too old,” grumbles her father, “but I refuse to believe it.” With war-hardened muscles, he tosses her upwards, and then pulls her from the air to set her gently on her feet.

More than slightly out of breath, Serinity pauses a minute to regain her balance, then stumbles into her mother’s arms. Warm, safe, and loved, Serinity would gladly trade all her adventures to again be the little girl who ran wild in her parent’s home. Surprisingly, at least to her, the subtle smell of orchids that surround her mother brings back childhood memories that the sight of the woman who gave birth to her never could.

As she releases her mother from a warm embrace, she sees her grandfather walking into the room. Quickly she curtseys to him, and then runs to hug him. If the guard hadn’t closed the door behind him, she’d have held that curtsey until the king of the Orcs released her from it.

Looking around, Serinity suddenly realizes why she feels like a kid among adults. She stands a head shorter than her mother, and head and shoulders shorter than both her father and her grandfather. Padding quietly to Shadow’s chosen dining spot, she settles tailor fashion beside her friend, and waits for the others to finish their more sedate greetings. Reaching out her right hand, Serinity gently strokes Shadow between her tufted ears, eliciting a rumbling purr from the lynx.

With the arrival of the Dragons the same day Serinity and Shadow, riding Rainbow Wing makes it to Orc’s Home; family gatherings are put on hold until an appropriate time.

Several minutes pass as her elders quickly catch up on current events, then, as one, they turn to her, waiting for her to explain, in detail, just why she ‘cried wolf’. Smiling a little sadly she knows that she must relegate childhood memories to the back of her mind, at least while the current problem remains a problem.

Without bothering to stand, Serinity tells her story. With only a single tear, she tells of her loss, and of her retreat before the Afridale. Just after she ends her tale, there’s a slight pop, and the Wizard Euriptus steps into the room. Before the smoke of his passage from one place to another clears, two veteran Orc warriors draw razor sharp steel and prepare to defend hearth and home.

“Now, now, lads, it’s not polite to threaten a guest.” While Duke and King ponder the quickest way to carve up the interloper, Euriptus slips his left hand into a hidden pocket, quietly palming a small, black sphere. “Gentlemen, please. I’m here to offer my help, not to end the line of Orc succession.”

“Daddy? We might want to listen to him. According to him, he’s the last of the ancient wizards. He missed out on the first battle with the Afridale’s race, and has now offered his help in defeating the last of them.” Serinity is still sitting beside Shadow, her right hand now pressing down on the cat’s back, instead of stroking the cat’s fur.

Shadow, unhappy with the interruption of her meal, growls softly, but heeds her companion’s hand, and relaxes taut muscles. With a final hiss, she returns to her interrupted meal.

Sheathing his sword, Esrailess nods to the little man, “Speak quickly, wizard, or I’ll have fresh meat for supper this night.” The Duke of Riverbend smiles at the smaller man, and saliva drips from his upper tusks.

Clearing his suddenly dry throat, Euriptus pockets the black ball he’s been fiddling with, and lays out his plans for the death of the ancient mammoth. “First off, you’ve already heard how mere physical attack will be so costly that you might as well have your soldiers slit their own throats as go up against an ancient magic user.” Raising his hand to forestall the questions he can see in those before him, he continues. “Secondly, it took more than a thousand Wizards to defeat three dozen Afridale. Even with those numbers, they nearly lost the battle. If not for some quick work on the young lady’s part, we might now be feeding soul stones and not discussing how to feed that monster’s soul to the Hel Hounds.”

Because he has their full attention, Euriptus adds his final point. “I’m the last of the ancient Wizards, but I’m not going to pit myself against that thing without a lot of help.”

Watching the little man, King Ralph rubs his bristly chin and ponders the Wizard’s words. Orcs are already marching to Milesport, leaving only the needed few to protect castles from outsiders. Now he’s being told that his unbeaten forces might as well turn around, return to their homes, and take up knitting. As he ponders the Wizard’s words, his mind latches onto the last words.

“What kind of help do you have in mind?” Unlike his predecessors, King Ralph rules the Orc nation, and all those who ‘bend the knee’ to him, more by force of thought, than by force of arms. If there’s a way to defeat this new foe, and save his warriors, then he’s more than willing to listen to it.

Smiling quietly, Euriptus knows he’s got the backing of the most powerful people this side of the southern lands. “Here’s what I have in mind.”

Night flees Orc’s Home as the morning sun spreads light and warmth across the land. Beads of dew gather on the sleeping dragon’s backs, shimmering in the early morning sun. Inside the central keep, Serinity stands, stretches to fit soul back into weary body, and then nods her head.

“If our plan is to work, I’ll need to lead the Dragon’s attack on the Afridale while carrying Ascension. That may be the only way she’ll be deterred from her attack on Orc’s Home.”

“I wish there was another way dear. It seems the beast is determined to reclaim her place as ruler of all she surveys.” Standing and hugging her daughter, Sinsific adds in a whisper, “Keep safe.”

“I’ll leave tomorrow morning,” Serinity says. “I’d leave today, but after an all night planning session I’m bone tired.”

“We all are,” agrees Euriptus rubbing his weary eyes.

“I’ll inform the Elves and Dragons of the change in plans,” says Esrailess while he works a cramp out of his left leg. Turning his attention to the Wizard, he again asks, “You’re sure this will work?”

Euriptus shakes his head. “No, I’m not certain. However, it’s the only way I can see of finishing a war that should have been ended a very long time ago.”
More rampant silliness.

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