Last Victory Old Coy looked down at the wound in his belly... it was very deep, and he knew that he had not much longer. The battle scarred old warrior rested against a blackened stump as he labored with each breath... thinking each might be his last. The battle had moved past him, and his wound was so severe that he was apparently presumed dead. Taser and Coy had battled for months to claim these new lands for King Lucian, and now it would appear as if it were all for naught. Althantos... he who is everywhere, who lives in us all, the darkness that is resurrected over and over from the darkness within us.... had assembled a great army, and now seemed would finally crush The Guardians of Myth. Coy began to chant a prayer from his childhood under his breath; Mother of Earth, Mother of Sky, Preserve my soul, Against evil within, Against evil without. Direct my path In light, and in love Until I am gathered home. Mother of Earth, Mother of Sky, Preserve my... Coy stopped and lifted his gaze, as he heard a galloping horseman riding hard toward him. "This is the end then.... the reaper has come to finish the job..." Coy thought as the rider drew nigh. Coy braced himself for the final blow that would send him to meet his ancestors. He was filled with dread, and with a peace at the same time.... filled with the knowing of who he was but the unknowing of what lay ahead. The rider topped the last ridge that lay between them, and reigned his armored horse to rearing, the powerful beast lightly scraped the ground with one hoof, snorting loudly, sides heaving as if he had been ridden very hard for a long distance. The rider was but a shadow against a blood red sky. Coy knew the rider was looking at him. He could feel the eyes... and he resigned himself to his fate... even welcomed it. Life is precious, but slow death is not the death of an honorable warrior. As he was gazing at the rider, it was as if a dream... a hazy terrible dream.... the rider drew a large sword from his scabbard and then, relief beyond relief, Coy heard familiar words that brought tears to his eyes... "BY THE BLOOD OF KRILL HATCHETT!" And with those words spoken, the great sword glowed amber, and seemed to shimmer. Twas a sight Coy never thought he'd see again. The rider spurred his horse forward and approached Coy with the glowing sword held out in front of him like a battle standard. As the rider came closer, Coy recognized him, and tears began to flow. "Prince Aeric..." Coy stirred, attempting to rise. Young Aeric sheathed the sword and ran to Coy's side. "Do not move Coy! You are hurt very badly!" "I know young sir.... I am dying." Aeric's eyes filled with tears for he knew it was true. Coy had taught him to fight, to respect all things, and live life with honor. And now his old teacher lay broken and dying. "Aeric you should not be here... there is much danger." "The King has sent me with The Sword, and many warriors to reinforce your position. We should have never divided our forces!" Tears streaked the young man's anquished face. "We have vanquished Althantos, and his minions." "Not vanquished Aeric. It never ends.... it never ends..." Coy seemed to be drifting now. Aeric packed Coy's wound with his cloak to stay the bleeding as much as possible. "Coy have you anything I may do for you...?" "Aye lad... raise the Ancient Order of Myth again. Only the Order can defeat Althantos once and for all..." "But... how do I do this without you to teach me the old ways?!" "You must seek the virtues in the new lands... the lands where you and your brother have made your homes. In those lands seek out those who you see the virtues in... learn from them, and let them be your guides. You must first seek Honesty... it is the base of all virtue... and..." Coy drifted. Aeric shook Coy gently "...and?" "You must seek Honesty first Aeric... and I wish you to find a sage named Shad. When I was in your lands, I wronged this wise man. I wish you to seek his council and mend this wrong for me...as we both know I shall never be able to return to those lands to make it right myself..." "Aye, I will do this brave Coy...is there anything else?" "Be proud of who you are, and live a life of honor." Coy placed his gauntlet clad hand on Aeric's forearm. "Thank you for this last victory..." Old Coy's eyes closed, and he was gone... a small satisfied smile upon his lips. Aeric sat quietly with the old warrior until his friends found him. They buried Coy beneath the charred stump, and began the long ride home.