Monsters and Miracles [Book Two of a Very Heavy Fairytale]
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by James Pittaro
Category: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Description: The world is under siege from the merciless Dark Master. Evil has a plan to corrupt the very nature of man and reality itself. The Dark Knight must complete his quest for the Doom Blade and perhaps even brave the terrors of Hell to defeat the Demonic Army. Set in a fast moving world of constant action, that builds wonderfully on the characters and setting of Book One; Trouble & Trolls. The story continues from here into the unknown. The Dark Wizard and the Troll, Ooldridge the Sneak and many other characters all have a part to play in this dark and funny story.
eBook Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing/Double Dragon Publishing, 2010 Double Dragon eBooks
eBookwise Release Date: February 2010
4 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [203 KB]
Reading time: 128-180 min.
Chapter 1: Utter Darkness
Things were going well for the Dark Master. The God Stone gave him the power to change reality itself. Utter darkness crept across the land, and the Kingdom would never be the same again. He opened a rift in space and time and created a Black Fortress, then sent it through. This was a doorway through which the hoards of Hell would pour. A black portal between the realms of darkness and light opened and it settled on the ground like the rumbling of an earthquake. The great door immediately opened and a dark army of lost souls marched endlessly from within.
The Dark Master turned his attention to the land. The world was not to his liking, it was too bright and filled with life. Now the smothering shadow of uncaring evil enveloped the land. The trees and plants around the Black Fortress began to die. The weather about the place was ugly and the very ground itself began to crack and crumble. The river was becoming poisoned and dying fish flapped onto the banks.
The Demon Army was assembling on the plain; a force that never tired or required food and water, and was without fear.
The King trembled in his Castle along with a few loyal men. They were woefully outnumbered, and it would not be a battle so much as a massacre. The women wept and children said goodbye to their fathers. A steady stream of people from the town of Nurns by the Weir fled East away from the approaching hoards. The land was empty of heroes and the King kicked himself for sending the Dark Knight to his doom. Ooldridge Purse Snagger, the master thief was also involved in the plot, and went with the Knight to spy for the King and see the job done. The thief had not yet returned as these terrible events unfolded.
The King was sitting in the throne room, as the First Official arrived.
"May I talk with you, Sire?"
The King was disturbed.
"Ah, First Official is there any good news?"
"No, Sire, I'm afraid not. The scouts have confirmed that it is a Demon Army, you're Majesty. The Black Fortress is a gateway to Hell it seems, Sire."
"I feared as much. Then we are all doomed."
"We must retreat because it is pointless to resist such a powerful force, Sire. The men must not be asked to throw their lives away for nothing."
The King thought about the Official's words.
"You are right, we must retreat - but to where?"
"This is a threat for the entire world, Sire, we must ask for the help of the Black King in the East."
"How can I do that when I have murdered his son the Dark Knight?"
"He does not know it, and I for one would not be the fool to tell him, Sire."
"Good council, Official, I will take your advice on this occasion."
"Yes, Sire, or we will have another enemy to contend with."
"Quite. Now to the present; the Castle is to be emptied and gather such provisions and treasures as you can to take with us."
"Yes, Sire. What about the artifacts - who will keep them safe?"
"I will do it myself, Official. Send the Captain of the Guard to me in the dungeon and we will take them away from the enemy, in case they should be captured."
"Yes, Sire." The Official left the throne room.
The King went to get the key for the secure room under the Castle, where the relics were kept. He took a burning torch from the wall and went into the dungeon under the Castle. He unlocked the door to the secure room and went inside. The King was surprised to see that the room was missing one of the relics. The Doom Blade was still there and the Dark Tome as well, but where was the God Stone? It was gone. The King was worried and pondered on the answer to this question. Suddenly he was aware of someone behind him and the King turned to see the White Angel.
"Hello, you're Majesty, please don't be alarmed."
"You have surprised me, Angel, what do you want?"
"I want to discuss something very important with you."
"Then say what you've got to say as there isn't much time."
The Angel smiled.
"I suppose you have to be concerned with time when you have only so much of it?"
The King looked impatiently at the White Angel.
"The Dark Master has taken the God Stone, you're Majesty. The Black Fortress has connected Hell and Earth, and now it is a nexus between the two. The Master intends to corrupt this world completely."
"Now I see what has happened here, ultimate power has been put into the hands of ultimate evil. God help us all."
"Well, now you come to mention it, that's why I'm here."
The King looked a bit relieved.
"What can you do, White Angel?"
"I was considering that, Sire, and I think the one thing to do would be to break the sacred rule."
"I don't understand."
"Well, Sire, I can only intervene once in the mortality of a soul. I cannot do it twice."
"I still don't understand."
"You sent the Dark Knight to his doom, did you not?"
The King looked ashamed.
"Yes I have to admit that I did and for selfish gain. I wanted to rid the Kingdom of its troubles and the Knight had become such a monster!" The King lifted the Doom Blade and held it out. The Angel stepped back from it.
"It is pure evil, Sire, take it away from me."
"Yes, Angel, it is the Doom Blade, the Dark Knight's ancestral weapon. I sent him on a hopeless quest without it to the lair of the Troll. I struck a deal with the creature to destroy the Dark Knight. I sent Ooldridge as well to make sure the evil deed was done. I'm afraid it's too late."
The Angel laughed.
"Yes, you are right to be concerned with time, Sire. The Angel closed his eyes for a moment and seemed to be concentrating, and then he opened them and looked at the King.
"There is still some time left before the Dark Knight is most likely killed by the Troll. I could still save him."
"Then do it!" the King insisted.
"I saved him once before from the Troll at the Tower of Doom and I am forbidden to do it twice."
"You must do it! He is the only one who can save my Kingdom."
"I was sent here to retrieve the God Stone as mortals should never be in the possession of such a thing. Now the Master has it I must return to Heaven."
"Then why did you come here?"
"This is the last place the God Stone was located in space-time and the trail leads into the Dark Tome. Clearly the Master used the book as a portal to reach out for the relic. Now the trail goes cold and I would be forced to step into Hell itself to get it back."
"Then why not do that, Angel? Do what must be done! Shake off these rules and do what is right. Step into the very fires of Hell if that's where the task leads you."
"You understand so little about the true nature of the very reality you live in. For a King so powerful, you know less than a child."
"I know that sending the Dark Knight to his death was wrong and I beg you, Angel, please reconsider."
The White Angel considered his words for a moment.
"Maybe I will see what can be done."
The White Angel vanished.
The Captain of the Guard appeared and looked puzzled.
"I heard voices, Sire, is everything alright?"
"I was just venting, Captain. Here, take this sword and keep it wrapped in cloth, it has the power to possess your soul. I will take the Dark Tome from this place."
The Captain took the sword, handled it with great care and wrapped it in a black cloth. The King took the book; it was heavy and took most of his strength to carry. They went out of the dungeon to the courtyard, where a troop of men waited to escort the King to safety. They went from the Castle and headed to the East.
Behind the King and his party, a swollen mass of evil and turbulent skies hung over them like the breath of Hell itself.