Worried I looked around at the empty Council chamber. Only Governor Garion and myself had responded to the King's summons's. Where could the rest be?
"Good evening, Governor Garion and Governor Tamais." King Blackthorn greeted us with a slight frown.
"Your Majesty, have you had word from the other Governors?" I asked.
"No, but I'm sure the others are looking to their cities after the attack on Yew." He replied. "But I've heard rumors of some insidious unknown, both from Dahlia and Corian."
"Such as?" Governor Garion questioned?
"Oddities in Papua." King Blackthorn looked down at the report. "And dark spots in Britain in the wee hours of the night. One of the guards reported it to Corian, saying he saw his reflection and then... something else in it.
"Hum," Governor Garion said thoughtfully, "Like a dark mirror?"
"No, more like a puddle of water, he thought it had rained at first." The King replied, " The puddle seemed to disappear after a few minutes."
"Very strange," I said curious. "Did he drop something in the puddle to see what happen?"
The King nodded, "Yes it vanished. Captain Corian had to report to the healers to have his eyes checked."
Just then Governor Jahaj Jov rushed in. "Forgive me sire, I was detained."
"Ah, good evening Governor Jov," King Blackthorn smiled at him. "We were discussing the strange puddles that have been sighted."
"Puddles?" Puzzled Governor Jov looked to us.
"Yes, Captain Corian have been investigating strange puddles that have been found." I explained.
"Ah, I've not seen any in Trinsic." Governor Jov sighed in relief. "What are they?"
"We don't know yet." I told him.
"The investigation is on going, Governor Jov." King Blackthorn told him. "One has been found in Castle British by a mage. He said it seemed to call to him."
"You mentioned a strange happenings in Papua...more puddles?" I asked.
"No, people say they hear voices in the early morning as the sun rises. " King Blackthorn paused. "Several workers claim they felt compelled to work together... which is not odd except they don't care for the company of the others."
We were quiet thinking about the information. "Some sort of evil magic. " I muttered aloud.
"Well, it could be another way to spy...similar to the dark mirrors." Governor Garion suggested.
"That is possible. It is affecting the Ambassadors. They are demanding to shelter their people in the cities." King Blackthorn scowled. They seem frightened of something, but they won't say what. Only that things didn't feel right and the cities feel safer.
"There are empty dwellings in Yew, that they can use." I offered.
"Governor Bree of Skara Brae has sent some of her rangers to patrol the forest."
King Blackthorn smiled, "Thank you Governor Tamais. If they are in danger, we can hardly turn them away." The King rose. "I have to see what can be done about the Ambassadors requests. We can discuss your kind offer after that." We stood as King Blackthorn walked toward the door.
I returned to Yew to see about dwellings that could be use. While checking the winery, a messenger bird flew in. Quickly scanning the note, I hurried to Britain.
The hall was already filled...people discussing recent events. When I heard a commotion outside. Citizens calling for help. Running outside I found we were under attack by strange Greylings. Others who had followed rushed to join the battle.
While healing I noticed that Lady Thalia was studying something on the ground. "Tamias, come look at this."
I hurried over and saw that she had found one of the strange puddles the King had mentioned.
Moving back, Lady Thaila shivered. "I feel like someone watching me. "
While we watched it changed into a dark portal. Lady Thalia looked closely at it trying to see what was in it.
"Where did that portal come from?" Dahlia asked as she walked up to greet us."
"I don't know, but I swear something is looking at me." Lady Thalia replied.
"Hmm...guards have been reporting the puddles." Lady Dahlia watched it change form back to a puddle. "One guard mentioned seeing something inside a puddle last evening."
Shaking her head, Dahlia moved away from it. "I just came from a meeting with the King. You may want to steer clear of Papua. He showed me reports he had...enemies waking in early morning."
"Strange way to get people to work together." I said puzzled. "Why and who could do that?"
"I don't know Tamais, "Dahlia frowned. "they said they felt compelled to work together...or unity.."
"Like ants or insects?" Lady Thalia suggested.
I started looking in my rune book for Papua. "Should we go and investigate?"
Dahlia walked back to the strange portal. "I'll ask the Fiery Lady to investigate. She has a knack of seeing magic." Dahlia walked around the portal careful to not touch it. "Now...what did you say you saw, Lady Thalia?"
"It looked like a pair of eyes." She paused, "Reminds me of the dark mirrors Evidias used."
"Hum," reaching out to touch it, Dahlia stepped in it. "Ick, what's this gunk..."
"That is interesting." I said.
" A doorbell?" Suggested Lady Thalia.
Reaching out Dahlia touched the portal again, but nothing happened. "Hmm...I wonder..." She looked around. "Some one hand me one of those creatures legs."
I carefully cut one off the nearest bug and handed it to her. When Dahlia touched the portal with the leg it shimmed for a moment. I moved to the body. If the leg did that what would the whole bug do. Before I reached Dahlia, she had reached out to touch the portal again.
Jahajx Jov watched as she disappeared, "Well that can't be good. We should probably follow her."
Stepping through, we found ourselves afloat in the ocean. "Not what I expected." I said in amazement. "Anyone see Lady Dahlia?"
Turning I found her. "Very strange. Back to hall...I'll meet you there."
Laughing we recalled back and returned to the strange portal. I noticed that it had changed colors.
Dahlia bravely stepped through. Looking at each other, we followed. This time we arrived in a forested valley.
Dahlia joined us after looking around. "So this is where it lead...careful there is something else...here. She pointed to a strange shimmer in the air. Before we had time to prepare, Greylings rushed us.
Hurrying to group, I almost missed seeing the arrival of a strange simmering creature, Traccor the Chained.
It looked around in confusion.
I approached it, "We would like to know that also. Who are you?"
Looked at me in shock, it faded away."
Interesting creature I thought as I returned to healing. I wondered if it would return. I didn't have to wait long. I saw it reappear by Lady Thalia.
"The master will be angry."
"Who is the master?" Lady Thalia asked.
"What was that?" Puzzled Lady Thalia looked over at me.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know, but I bet it returns again. Lady Thalia and I rejoined the battle. Between casting heals, I watched for the creature.
Governor Jov was first to see it return. Quickly we surrounded it hoping to find who the master was.
Frantically the creature tried to fade away. " The magic is not working right...I must return to the master..." Looking around it ran trying to hid in the trees.
Finally it opened a portal and fled through it. We followed close behind.
Traccor looked at us in horror, "The master well be angry."
"Why will he be angry?" I questioned. "Angry at who?"
The creature looked at me "Don't you hear him...he calls for you?"
I listened carefully. Looking around I saw the others shaking their heads. "No, we don't hear him."
Beside himself, the creature began talking to himself. " He tried to save Umbra...but they resisted, and now they are doomed.
"Umbra?" I asked puzzled. Could the creature be talking about the recent attack on Umbra?
"No, no, the master wants you to coexist, all to coexist,to be together." Traccor tried to explain. "Coexist like they were...the flying ones...the winged ones..."
Frowning I glanced over at Thalia. I could see she had the same thought. Flying ones...the Weld?"
Seeing our confusion, Traccor continued. "They left him, for the sun in the sky... and then they warred. And then they died... and then they suffered. And the master was sad." Traccor voice filled with sadness. "So he went below the earth...And the others too left, driven to the surface."
"Do you mean the Weld?" I interrupted? "And the others, the strange bugs?"
Traccor the Chained nodded, "Yes the others, their minds a hive, but not the same. Their minds not together like he showed them.
Frowning I thought about what he was saying. "So he is also from the other side...where Skybark is."
The creature became agitated, "The master waits. I cannot fail the master." He began to whistle an odd tune. "No! No more time to talk." He whistled again "Come Servant of Traccor...take my place...buy me time."
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Strange Portals Pt. 1
Disturbed by what I had learned while meeting with the King, I sat silently in the Hall. My thoughts were soon interrupted by the sound of battle...