Xerx’ses of the Adraodan

To your holiness Bishop Tutu,

Would you get a load of the painting Father Indaris made of my lovely lifemate from my wedding ceremony he and Brother Jark Stonerush performed. I will explain the context down below when I tell about how she got that surprised look on her face. I am so sad that Kom’var couldn’t be here to see it though, and the remains of my two conjoined tribes joining the Adraodan Minotaur tribe.

Oh my goodness so much has happened in the last three days. I shall start with our arrival here, a rundown of what I could see in the battle with the Blessing, and meeting the enigmatic figure whom goes by the name of the Goblin King! Then I will go on with the talks about the Serinan Tribe joining the Adraodan and how that led to me as a dowry of sorts, its all a jumble of feelings for me right now, though I am trying to be hopeful I will finally get to experience romantic love. I made this missive into a scroll so my wife could send it after she read it because I feel there should be no secrets between a pair of lifemates, or is it a trio? a Quad? Lots to explain.

~ The 9th of GRYPHON ~

We left off by arriving in the Sandy Desert, and I wanted to be more excited about arriving in the location of the Golden City of Baalgor! When I looked around all I saw was blue skies and golden sand finer than I had even seen before and the Blessing on a dune around 1,500 ft away. Prepping some spells we talked about minimum distance needed to engage the Blessing. It was around 1,000 because Khonsu’s Reaper had a spell that could reach that far! Most ship based weapons can only reach out to around 500 feet, so WOW! Now it could only target a single person but talk about distance reaping! When he got into position he began casting, and as fates would have it, Joe, the Blessing’s meat shield was the unlucky target they sent out to test our attacks. I’m sure Joe thought he was going to intimidate us. He was yelling loud enough to hear a 1,000 feat away! Shaking his fists and stuff into the sky, I don’t know whether to be angry for the time he and Malah helped steal the Lawgivers Lung, or pity for being used as bait by his own group.

Master No Name’s, errr… Khonsu’s Reaper bone magic went off and nearly dropped Joe in that one attack! Apparently, Commander Mack had survived after all but now I wished he had just stayed back in Mishala. He began moving forward to engage and to my right the good Father was brought low by Cyclopean Lightning Arrows used by our favorite hate archer, formerly of the dark, Legolimp. While my team suffered their true first moment of fear I quietly tied the thin cloth over my eyes having bolstered my defenses in the glowing, golden, invincible aura. Lowering my helm’s upper half into place and hearing the locking pins click so sand would stay out of my eyes I continued the spell using the hand Magos is on to double the range! While calls for a tactical retreat were being issued by Khonsu’s Revenant and Commander Mack I had to continue casting. I thanked the powers above they had not thought to use this spell yet but couldn’t risk waiting to find out why. When my Anti-Magic Cloud Spell went off Magos helped to make it stretch over 3,500 feet away from me! I was covering just over a mile with the spell! I watched the magical auras on the other team wink out on all of them! None of them had resisted! When I looked at our team the only remaining magical presence was Shaman Grignak. The minimum outcome worked! I yelled for Grignak to go heal Father Indaris and onward I moved. Forward to try and help Mack, whom had engaged Joe in combat!

It was then their hidden psychic made their move, they showed restraint in hind sight choosing not to try and kill me but attack my soul instead. What I mean by that is they held me in place – turned around to face my friends! All I could do was strain to look over my shoulder as Joe and Malah murdered a man that fought his way to get to the front lines of a war between universal forces – Light & Dark. The psychic had won, my soul tore as I watched them and Malah picked up Vereth from his corpse! Yelling never solves anything so I thought hard and decided I could undo Joe the way their hidden psychic had undone my involvement, for the moment anyway. I took off my gauntlets and began taunting Joe about his failures at the Lopanic Games! Particular focus was paid to the Pentathlon I beat him in every event. It worked and he charged me, stupid murderer. I even let him hit once having the golden aura suck up the damage and mention how ineffective he was as a person.

This was personal!

I wanted the psychic to see I could do to him what he had done to me. For he had to focus on me and could not help his friends while my legs were locked in place. I could bend over and Joe was only just over six feet tall, idiot! I drew Callandor in a flash the blade exploded in white hot flame and the blade core melted away as blue flame took over and soon the handle had doubled in length, a chain of ice covered links snaked their way to the dragon-wing shaped blade tip! Then I reminded him that I may be the world’s greatest swordsman but I am the grand master of the chain weapon! A muscle torqued swing of my arm brought it down between my legs to kill Joe behind me. Then another strike to make sure he would never harm anyone EVER AGAIN!

Talking with my teammates, I feel I was helpful, but the one that seized the opportunity and made sure the tide continued to turn in our favor was Khonsu’s Reaper. Ursus, err Khonsu’s Revenant, helped him occupying their I believe, warlock, and heard him called Valkoth. This allowed our Reaper of Light to take out another member referred to as Gromak. I never got a good look at him before his reaping. Valkoth had worn down Ursus – whom can change during the day now into a bear! Still, the Blessing’s warlock knocked him down and out with elemental magics of some sort. I’m told No Name tried to reap his soul but again the warlock resisted and was merely slain. All the while he was getting peppered with lightning arrows, poison arrows, and plain normal arrows! He fought through it all and reaped the longbow woman’s Elf soul! I felt pity that such a noble race could have one with such a dark soul.

Thanks to Shaman Grignak’s “Chants of Healing” he was able to create a small area of sand that would heal Father Indaris and when the good priest was revived by our Troll shaman he returned the favor by healing the wounded Troll. At least before he began to run off and help me with Malah coming to Joe’s aid. I will get back to Shaman Grignak’s aid to me in just a minute. Father Indaris tells me he attempted a prayer that had limited success regarding magic and then went for a greater healing and for a short time his eyes glowed and healed everyone of us he looked at! So great was the power of Isis that even Khonsu’s Revenant would not stay dead, or is it mostly dead, hmmm, anyways YAY!

Now back to Shaman Grignak and his aid to me with Malah. Mind you all of this was happening within just a single minute of combat! Before Malah could hit me with his staff our Troll parried him with his enchanted blades! Yes to any reader of the Books of CrIsis that was the same staff I saw him receive during the Lopanic Games! During his trading of blows he did get hit once by Malah’s runestaff and it tried to drink his soul! Just like with the Anti-Magic Cloud Spell I cast he resisted and thanks to Father Indaris was able to endure the damage with no permanent ill effect! I was able to absorb six of my Talismans and with the renewed energy I dropped five lightning bolts down upon Malah turning him into a grease stain on …
… apparently if you super heat sand it becomes melted and looks like glass. Only this glass had a greasy stain called Malah on it. Now I could be assured he would not lead the Tri-Arcanum Guild to a dark time. He died as Joe, with me casting bent over and looking through my legs to get line of sight because of that damn psychic!

Just then the psychic tossed me to the ground and we never saw him flee. One on six was not good odds and he clearly chose life over death. Well I picked myself up and dusted what I could off. I used my magical spells to pick up Malah’s runestaff and stick it in the bag with the Holy Sword of Anubis. I then picked up Vereth – Mack’s runesword we gave him. Since Mack was beyond bringing back having been hacked to pieces by Joe’s murder lust. I presented the sword to Shaman Grignak whom accepted his new friend. Scanning the horizon under the magical grey-brown cloud I could make out the rest of CrIsis had survived. Even Master Rooster had reappeared and seemed as surprised to see us and he was to be in a desert! Though the magical cloud was keeping the sun at bay for those un-use to it.

About a minute after I canceled the magic we saw some sixty minotaurs come over the dune! All I could think of was how sick of killing I had become and since I didn’t know any of them I put my gauntlets back on in the sweltering sun. There leader was a female and I would describe but to save you some time just look at the picture above and this one here. Chieftain Laval’liere approached telling of how she knew we were of the light because of her wooden crook-staff. When she mentioned getting word from Chieftain Rostam & Chieftain Xixin of the Serinan Tribe to come to my aid I finally relaxed and pointed to the dead and whom they used to be.

It did not take long for the sands to be begin swallowing the dead and we headed off with the Adraodan Minotaurs that had invited us to rest within their caves. Little did I know a great change was upon me in more ways than one. It took two hours to get back to their caverns. I truly appreciated how blessed I was that I grew up in the dwarven fortress city that had been scaled to fit Minotaurs. It seems the only other two cavern networks I had visited showed that while they were clean, lovingly cared for, but their craftsmanship was crude compared to the ancient Dwarves. However, they were about the same size as the cavern network I grew up in with one glaring example. There were well over 2,000 of the minotaurs and Callandor said he looked through my eyes and saw none of them that were evil! I had started to cry with joy and didn’t even hide that when asked. I just had no idea how many good minotaurs really existed! They had been fighting the tribe that Drak’u’san is from, the Kkairojan. Apparently, in the last great battle just over a year ago Laval’iere’s parents had been slain dealing a mortal blow to those DEVOUT worshippers of the Old Ones. We talked and I shared about the demonic incursion some decades back in my cavern network and how my father died. Then how part of my old tribe had been turned evil and I had hunted them down for betraying the tribe.

She had seemed to really believe me when I showed her the sets of horns I had. She invited me to dine with her that night when made it to the caves. Father Indaris said I should go ahead as he wanted to experience Minotaur culture and began to wander off. During the dinner I believe I unknowingly endeared myself to her by playing with her younger brother, Lazal’dan. He threw a fit at dinner and I talked him down explaining why yelling doesn’t solve things. I think she felt horrible I became his babysitter in a fashion. I stayed and help put him to sleep. Then she saw me to the room offered to me as the visiting son of a chieftain. Father Indaris stopped by to ask about the “Summons” we had received. I told him about feeling as though this may be a test of the gods if I would choose “friendship” over “leadership” but more likely is very bad timing! He asked if I would run for the position and I simply said “yes.”

Then he began laughing, yeah laughing.

Giving him a quizzical look he said, “Sorry, but the gods are so crazy!” An eyebrow arched further thinking he had some alcohol somewhere, “Xerx’ses you and I are the most unlikely pair of friends that ever were. Chasing down parts of a God, meeting celestial beings and angering several of them! Wandering across the world seeing countries, races, wars, celebrations. We have lived several lifetimes in a few short years.” I nodded and put my fist up and he slammed his into it.I started laughing and thinking how weird it sound to try and convince someone of our adventures if the Books of CrIsis didn’t exist. I began to giggle and he joined in as well. Soon he left and I prayed Master Kel-Ed was in whatever realm he considered the heavens. I have gargantuan boots to try an fill!

I remember thinking about how pretty Laval’liere was, and how lucky to have a brother. I was a little jealous having lost mine. I also felt we had some stuff in common. Was it wrong that I felt a flash of anger and regret knowing the trip here would not be long enough to try and build a connection? However, was I ever so wrong!!! Let me explain the Trial of the Labyrinth, and the Goblin King.

During the night a guard comes in and begs me to come quietly to aid him. When I asked his name as I was sitting up, Callandor, reminding me that he was not evil. I told him I’d come and asked his name. Hook Savageblade, was his reply and he told about small, green skinned creatures had just stolen Lazal’dan and Laval’lier had rushed off after them in hide garments only. Hook admired the fine look of Callandor as we met up with others he had summoned to help. ”He better be worth the hype, Hook! I can cast spells you know,” mentioned another pale-grey Minotaur I came to know as, X’zandria. She’s a Half-Wizard like Master Rooster and has become a skill scout and infiltration specialist. The last wizard the tribe had died leaving her training unfinished. I made a mental note I would fix that after the quest to rebuild Osiris was over.

“You didn’t see the mile wide magic cloud he cast, X’zandria, he needs to be here,” replied Hook. The look of amazement was forced away when she caught my gaze. To my lifemate, she would be one I would consider, but the final final decision is if you like her for we would all be lifemates to one another. Two others joined in as we were making our way down the tunnel, again Callandor said they are not evil. Jark Stonerush is a Priest of Horus, and one of among twenty clergy within the tribe. Soon you’ll see how he got his name, let us just say I don’t want him to charge at me! Er’ma Ger’d is a Mind Mage like others that have been in CrIsis. Now until my former tribe’s joining everyone in the tribe was a psychic of some repute. The Internalists among the Tri-Arcanum Guild would call them “major class psychics.” She is one of three Mind Mages in the whole tribe! Then she completely caught guard, “Master Xerx’ses would you like some sweet flatbread? It was supposed to be for my son Oh’Der Ger’d, its really perfect only when warm and you should try the agave jelly I made with bits of cactus, so its really more of a jam…” Let me tell you that kings and queens should try this flat bread, and she had various dried fruits she had tricked into growing below ground using luminescent moss and other sources of light.

The group of us found the portal in the tunnel used for storage among the caves belonging to Laval’liere and her family. Brother Jark cocked his head to the side because it was glowing brightly once more since he last saw it. The last time he was here in these caves was just after Laval’iere had come home and he had been watching her younger cousin complete her practice on her newly acquired psychic powers. When he expressed concern about where the cousin was Mistress Er’ma was so kind to take his hand telling him, “If she is here then she is safe. If she went over there then we will find them all.” This helped him to focus and he asked me to check it out. After a few spells I guaranteed him it was a portal like ones I had used to reach another world before, only this appears stable for the time being. Then I looked at them all, “They might save themselves but probably will need a hand.” I stepped through the portal without waiting to see if they would follow.

I found myself standing in front of a great wall made of bricks of stone. I saw a statue some 30 feet tall of a great Elven wizard of some sort. This was probably the infamous Goblin King and it was then I noticed a younger Minotaur about 6 feet in height. She was sobbing and clearly not done growing so I began walking over and calling out, “Ahoy there! Whom might you be?”

Turning and startled she replied her name was Adio’Nisia and then stated, “I’m going to be a Crusader of Light, but my cousin is lost and I don’t know how to find my way in!”

“My name is Xerx’ses and if the others follow me through we will be here to save Laval’liere and Lazal’dan,” I held out my hand, “now if your a Crusader of Light then maybe you could help me?”

“How,”

“Well I am a wizard and I could use a strong and brave squire to help protect me as I travel through here to save everyone.”

“You, want my help?”

“If you are offering then I would be very grateful, m’lady.”

“I shall be your squire, so let’s save my cousins,” she exclaimed standing up! Then she turned and waved! When I looked back the other’s had come through and X’zandria reluctantly was looking at Jark, “Fine, he might not be useless after all.” Jark winked at me.

Just then the statue came alive and the formerly bronze skinned master of the Labyrinth – The Goblin King – was addressing us all.

“Welcome! I am Jar’eth and this is my labyrinth. Now, now, before you think of me cruel I only respond to wishes fervently given to take the children in question. What none of you know until now was that a small group of the Kkairojan Minotaurs had snuck in and were about to rob me of my prize! Not one to be outdone I took them as well, poor sportsmanship to steal another’s prize.”

I smirked at that.

The Goblin King continued, “They will be your first challenge then you have the same 13 hours,” a floating clock with thirteen numbers appears in the air, “to complete my labyrinth, make your way through my city and storm the castle. Should you make it and then beat me the child is yours. If you fail all of you will become my goblins forever!”

Adio’Nisia stepped forward full of vim and vigor, “I bet no one has ever made it through, this is all a trap!”

“Not so little Bull girl, one group has made it through so it can be done,” mockingly replied the Goblin King, “Good Luck!”

With that the statue returns to normal and the floating clock is showing we only have just under 12 hours left. Looking with eye that could see the invisible I noticed the doorway behind the statue on the large wall, I pat Adio’Nisia on the shoulder, “Good job squire now follow me and let’s begin the adventure.” Turning to everyone I told her to hold my spell book as I finished putting my armor on. I told everyone to follow where I got to get through the door Mistress Er’ma squinted and then nodded which seem to set everyone else at ease that I was correct. Holding my new squire’s hand and spellbook in the other I walked forward and disappeared into the wall! A few moments later everyone else appeared behind us.

Turning to X’zandria I asked if she was good with spears, to which she replied the affirmative. I mentioned we are all upon a Nexus point and my energy was somehow completely restored upon arriving here. I held my hand out in front of her and made three lightning bolts appear in my hand. Everyone else got ready to attack something and I told X’andria, “If we are indeed about to fight dark Minotaurs then use these as we are all resistant to fire and cold.” When she took them from my hand I drew Callandor and then flicked my hand up as she became covered in an Armor of Ithan Spell that looked like glowing, translucent, golden dragon scale armor upon her. Catching her glance I just remarked to everyone, “Make sure to give them hell, but subdue only, in other worlds there can be penalties for killing. I get the impression how we achieve our goals will be a deciding factor as much as success.”

Everyone nodded and the six Minotaurs moved into the the Labyrinth of the Goblin King.

~ The 10th of GRYPHON ~

Perplexed X’zandria asked “Not that I’m not grateful for the magical weapons and armor, but how am I supposed to be sneaking around lit up like the sun?”

“Apologies my dear lady,” I replied to the valid question, “here you go.” I touched her forehead and imbued her with amazing speed and prowess.

“How do you cast magic without words of power and hand mantras?”

X’zandria was perceptive, “I’m not sure how to say it nicely, here goes, in the quest to rebuild the God, Osiris, I’ve gotten so good at magic that the words are in my head and the hand gestures are a mental focus I no longer require.”

“Wait! You’re an Arch-Mage!!??”

I nodded as her jaw slacked, Er’ma and Jark calmed her down while she kept exclaiming she had been snarky with an Arch-Mage!! There was a few minutes she started begging me not to change her into lizard and eat her. I told her the thought never crossed my mind but if we succeed I would be willing to change her into a Gryphon and fly with her should she choose to want to fly. I opted at this point to shut up because this only started her on looking at the magic I gave her and she began breathing rapidly. Hook and I took point with Adio’Nisia behind us. Apparently hearing something in the distance snapped X’zandria out of her shock and off she ran ahead of us. Touching my eyes I could now see the spell’s aura so we wouldn’t lose track of her.

We followed behind staying about eighty feet back weaving through the hedges and odd looking statues that remind me of the Obelisk of Osiris. I whisper to Hook to let me have Adio’Nisia help X’zandria when she finds the enemy. He mentions that Arch-Mage or no it is great trust he is putting on faith to let me do this. No permanent harm may come to her, or there’ll be Hades to pay. I nod and tell him I’ll die before she does. Hook tells the others that they are to try and flank and make sure they can’t get away.

Just then my aura sight picks up the enemies! I start motioning and making hand gestures. I drop down and touch Adio’Nisia, giving her the golden aura of invincible armor. I whisper to her that while glowing nothing and hurt her and she needs to follow my path as I take her to the fight. ZZZZRRT!! One javelin used for certain and I remind Adio’Nisia this mission is to free her cousin not become a murder. We take a separate path into the clearing from the others as we run across four Minotaurs of dark gray to black skin and hair. She asks if she can have a weapon and I put Callandor in her hand and draw a knife from my belt! She points and I look seeing Laval’liere hurt and tied up! I can feel the magic beginning to surge again within me and now have a basis for time from what Master Grignak taught me. As Laval’liere sees her golden, glowing cousin leap into the fray wielding my runesword fending off one of the 10 foot Minotaurs she screams against the bonds. Adio’Nisia misses a parry and a battle axe made by Earth Giants cracks into her head and shoulder crumpling her to the ground. The dark Minotaur steps over her and as I ready a Paralysis Bolt Spell, but no need. From the glowing lump at his feet a glowing, golden arm holding Callandor and followed by the young female Minotaur shoot straight up into the “crotch of evil” to coin a phrase! Callandor burning white hot in flame and that foul beast goes down. I am cutting Laval’liere free as my “squire” protects me and her cousin, not a bruise or scratch upon her.

X’zandria and Hook finish off the rest and Brother Jark makes sure they are alive. I ask Mistress Er’ma to make sure they stay asleep and I remove ALL of their horns!!! Because it is well known that you never get an afterlife without your horns. I dip my finger in their blood and write a “G” on each of their faces as Brother Jark helps Laval’liere get her gear on. Then more blood and I write “Property of the Goblins & Jareth” next to them on the column we lean them up against. Mistress Er’ma assures me they will wake up in a few hours have she heals the wounds of the missing horns. I check on the Chieftain of the Adraodan and get punched in the chest plate. “How dare you put a youngling in the front line!”

“Stop. What are you more upset about? Your brother being taken, your cousin being armed with invulnerable magic protection and a runesword for her first battle to save you. Or the fact you charged in here unprepared and failed in your mission?”

The color paled from the skin in her face so I continued, “Chieftain, I respect your courage but it will do you and the tribe no good if you die. I had to watch a friend I thought was dead come back and rejoin the fight against evil, then get murdered as a psychic like Er’ma held me prone to watch, helpless to stop it. Learn from my error because they hacked him to pieces. Unless you want to join him him and fail your brother and let the tribe go without your leadership. Channel your anger and make it drive you forward, just not recklessly.”

She tried to apologize but I put a finger to her lips, “I have been where you are and felt your anger and helplessness. I am not offended and still think we can win. Now, you are welcome to join this Hexataur and tag along if you wish or go home and be safe, what say you?”

Once I removed my finger she nodded and pointed to the Goblin King’s castle in the distance. So now we are a hexataur + one. Brother Jark nodded his approval of how I handled the Chieftain and we continued on. Callandor asked me in my head what my plans were with the youngling, Adio’Nisia? I “thought” to him that she should earn her name on this trials and when we were done I would reclaim him. He “nodded” in my mind and began speaking to her. I know this because of the look of sheer glee in her eyes as she was being told what his powers were. She told everyone about Callandor and walked so straight you would have thought Sir Quixis taught her himself!

Soon the green hedges of the maze gave way to stone ones as we pressed forward. It felt good to hold my second father’s daggers he made me in my hands for an adventure once more. About one and a half turns of the hour glass, five puzzles including one Er’ma solved when the matronly, Minotaur fed a scholar sitting on a stone chair with a bird on its head some sweet flat bread!

We managed to sneak up on a trio of the dark Minotaurs in a bog that reeked of the most foul smell I have ever had the horror of inflicting on my snout! They were dipping Goblins in it if they didn’t give up there way to the castle! Their cries of fear because the smell never leaves you! Horrible, where was the honor in cheating! I turned to everyone and told them to be ready in case my plan failed. Brother Jark did a massive blessing of Horus before I began. I felt the Strength of my spells get a little stronger! Then I dropped the Cloud of Slumber Spell upon all of them. Out like a candle they went Goblin and Minotaur alike. First, we secure the trio of dark Minotaurs, second remove the horns and add them to the collection. Wrapped up in a different cloth to distinguish them. Then I remove the spell and wait, touching my throat to give me the ability to speak any tongue. When I attempted to introduce myself, an elderly looking Goblin stabbed me in the leg.

“WAIT!!!,” I shouted to pause everyone and pointed to the ones that had been torturing them, “we are not evil and stopped them.”

Looking at me with distrustful eyes, “Why should I?”

Still bleeding down my leg – oh jeez where has this happened before – I tried to keep everything civil, “Look some of us Minotaurs are indeed bad people,” gesturing at the tied-up and de-horned group still in slumber being tended to by Mistress Er’ma, “The small number of us that are good are trying to rid the world of the bad ones that won’t change. Give us a chance to help, please?”

Slightly softening eyes, “Sorry I stabbed you, thought you was one of ’em.”

“It’s okay…?”

A little unsure looking, “Names, Hoggle.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Hoggle, I am Xerx’ses and this is my squire Adio’Nisia Trueheart,” the collective looks when I inadvertently bestowed her surname upon her I thought I was about to get punched again! A few seconds passed and I was hugged by some fairly strong arms, “I LOVE IT! Do you really think of my heart as true?”

I knelt down and everyone watched the wound get bigger in my thigh, “You remind me of who I want to be in my heart of hearts. I hope you never change as you get older. You inspire me youngling.” More hugging ensued as I made a pleading look to Brother Jark and Mistress Er’ma with a finger pointing at my leg.

Still looking unsure, “Not sure it’d do any good anyways but my city is just up that way and the last twenty of those evil you’s ‘ave gone off to sack it so they can get to Jar’Eth.” Well we can’t have that but I have idea seeing how divine gifts work when magic won’t. Everyone looked at me and I asked the “bog-dipped” goblins to gather around me. They did at Hoggle’s encouragement and I told I had the power to rid the smell with help from Horus. Brother Jark perked up and X’zandria and Laval’liere took a step back where Mistress Er’ma handed them sweetened flat bread. I had been slowly filling up Magos as a talisman storage of mystical energy. From it I cast Anti-Magic Cloud Spell and the gray-brown cloud re-appeared. I then asked Brother Jark to kindly seek the grace of Horus to Avenge these goblins that we may gain their trust.

Then I dropped the bomshell everyone seemed to have forgotten, “Ask the Avenger above to remember that this stench was done to children that were abandoned and turned into goblins. We seek his aid for these children to not be abandon by the heavens.” Laval’liere and Adio’Nisia Trueheart began to shed tears because they were worried about Lazal’dan. When light came out of the sky to touch each goblin and give them a slight sun burn the smell was indeed gone!! I canceled the cloud and turned to Hoggle, “Take us to your city and with Hook Savageblade’s knowledge of city fighting,” we had been having small conversations about the battle he survived and won against this foe so I felt it was time to showcase his talents, “together, we shall stop these foul creatures never letting them harm you again. What say you?”

Nodding with a smidge of hope, “Your sure a lot like Sara, okay lets do it!”

Not sure whom this Sara was but took it for the compliment it appeared to be and that’s how we got to the Goblin City. Master Hook took control of the bird riding Knights as Adio’Nisia Trueheart and I would pick off anyone that tried to get away from the group so I could back up “my protector” in her golden aura with white flaming blade! When the battle had been won thanks in large part to Master Hook and Mistress Er’ma physical and psychic prowess! X’zandria and Laval’liere backed each other up while Brother Jark had prayed and healed to keep as many of us and the Goblins in the fight. I had the group go through the de-horning ritual and leave them in the custody of the Goblins. A floating clock was spotted above another obelisk and we had only two-thirds of an hour to spare!

With haste we bid the Goblins and their first major victory goodbye, rushing to the castle on the hill. The doors are open and we make it to the throne room of the Goblin King. The Elven arch-mage, Jar’Eth the Goblin King, is standing there clapping as Lazal’dan floats over head drifting through and archway into another portion of the castle.

“Well done there is still 30 minutes on the clock! Now,” the same floating clock appears as he speeds it up to 6 minutes, “let’s make it a real challenge shall we because if you win now I will give you something special for your actions to my Goblins.”

I turned to everyone, “Squire Adio’Nisia,” kneeling to her, “take your cousin and my dear comrades in this Hexatuar. Go and free Lazal’dan I shall keep the Goblin King occupied, one Arch-Wizard to another!”

Looking at everyone I did something I rarely do, my right hand shot out and the three lightning bolts appeared, I touch my enchanted Pentahalon Ring and began moving quickly. My left hand shot out and the fist crackled in lightning! My golden aura appeared and I turned to face my opponent Everyone saw fire bolts shoot from my eyes and scorch a line in the floor between us.

“I see, well then Xerx’ses Goldenhorn I challenge thee to the Duel Arcane my one rule is no killing.”

“I accept Goblin King, my rule is no Anti-magic, shall we begin?”

“Yes, let’s begin.”

His staff flared to blue-white fire as I recognize the spell, half-cocking my face I yelled for them all to run and save the boy. The battle was nigh all-consuming and I only caught glimpses of the bizare maze they raced back and forth in while spells, fire, lighting, staff, and knife lit our room up as though the sun was shining through the stain glass of a church! In the last minute I saw them all leap into the air to grab Lazal’dan and as they begin to fall they vanished in mid air! Faith, a leap of faith was the final test. Jar’Eth stopped his assault and nodded as I realized it. He looked at me as I lowered my arms and granted me wisdom of a long life.

“Congratulations on your prize. Here is the extra gift I promised you. Let it be known that only Jark can open the box,” he paused for a moment as I accepted the gift and dismissed my magic, “Time is a strange and wonderful thing: Civilizations rise; empires fall. From the primordial, everything appears like ashes to ashes, dust to dust, they return. It is time for my story to start a new chapter. The Labyrinth may be no more, but know this: The Goblin King lives and we shall meet again Xerx’ses Goldenhorn.”

As orange stardust began to fall my vision faded, and when it came clear I was standing in the storage tunnel. The straps on my armor needed to heal as it fell off of me! I clearly did not realize how much damage I was absorbing because there were cuts and bruises everywhere! I mean everywhere! Just then I was grappled and dropped the box which broken open and the contents rolled toward Brother Jark as I was hugged and tackled to the ground, huggled – is that a thing?

Jark picked up the huge crystal orb that had markings upon it. He exclaimed to me he had heard stories about this from ancient times. Sometimes it was as though Horus lost an eye or in other stories it was as though the “Eye of Horus” was a separate object a Crystal Ball. He bowed and ran off to find Father Indaris to confirm this. My face had been gripped and I wince then was starring into Laval’liere’s eyes, “Thank you for helping me stay on task and save my little brother!” Then I was kissed, a lot! I started blushing but was interrupted by my squire returning my sword, and I hugged her and took a hold of my friend once again.

My tribe showed up and I finally got to just sit in the council room listening to them discuss what had just happened from Chieftain Laval’liere, then Chieftain Xixin told everyone about the time CrIsis and I defeated the other dark tribe of Minotaurs and I used his special spear to kill its Chieftain. My second-father Chieftain Rostam stood and read the papers of my times at the Lopanic Games so they would know how the world saw me and how I got the name, Goldenhorn. No matter how hard I was just trying to sit in the back and enjoy the company of my people I realized I did not match anyone’s skin tone. It was closer by far to the Adraodan if it was close to anything. Once in passing to Laval’liere I mentioned our tribes should join forces and she just mentioned complete welcoming into her tribe for everyone of the Serinan! More talking, and then it was decided a member of each tribe would get married and she volunteered to go first. However, due to the fact women actually outnumber men (60% to 40%) all men are required to take two or three brides until the birth rates change. Women are only allowed to belong to two separate male pairing groups. I started thinking she might marry my dad until my name was mentioned as whom she chose. I so stunned I smacked my head in the wall! I was dizzy

Knowing what this means for the tribe I agreed and wondered why she chose me? I am not the brightest wizard, I am on a quest that could kill me, there are dark gods that hate me, and the last minotaur girl I had a crush on. Well, she turned on the tribe, became an evil priestess of demons, and the goddess wife of my god murdered her. So far my track record is not looking so great if you ask me. Brother Jark asked Father Indaris to help with the ceremony and I needed a second, Ursus! I had to find him. Before I could do that the gathering asked about my second wife choice. I thought for a bit, and said, “I agree to be lifemates with Chieftain Laval’liere now and I promise within the next 17 years from this day to take another Minotaur wife. My third choice may not be Minotaur but will earn the right to be called a member of the tribe via trial. If those terms are acceptable then we can proceed.”

My father I think is the only one that truly expected such an answer from me. Everyone else seemed shocked but Laval’liere simply nodded her head and replied, “The heart is strange and bewildering. We have much to learn about each other, dearest Xerx’ses. This is acceptable to me.”

The cheer reminded me again of the Lopanic Games.

~ The 11th of GRYPHON ~


Now I finally get to explain the shocked look on Laval’liere’s face at the beginning of this missive. I interrupted both priests and asked for one small adjustment. I took off both of my Lopanic Golden Rings and presented Father Indaris the Pentathlon Ring and Brother Jark the Dueling Ring. I asked Father Indaris to put his ring on my bride when the time came and if Brother Jark’s would put the Dueling Ring on me when appropriate. Then if we I could add two final things, first I had her take Father Indaris’ hands and swear to forever devote herself to Isis as my lifemate and I was dedicated to Osiris. She did so without hesitation which told me this next judgment call was right. From one of my wizard pouches I drew forth, Saraph and had both priests hold it as I knelt and placed my hands upon it, nodding for her to do the same.

I bid them both to continue as we get married upon the runestaff my parents both wielded. When if came time for vows she honored me with such loving words I felt small and unworthy, but I could try and live up to the look of devotion in her eyes toward me. Sadly, the quest would come first but a time would draw nigh where she came first, and I smiled back because I had something to live for now. Then it came time for my vows and I realized I never prepared any! I did my best to speak from my heart and I am writing it down so I can look back on them if we ever get in a fight.

I, Xerx’ses Goldenhorn, do hereby take Laval’liere Lightbringer
as my lifemate from this day until death permanently separates us for all time.
I promise to communicate and listen,
I promise to help you grow and be happy with such growth,
as a person and a living soul.
I promise to forgive your faults
as I hope you forgive mine.
I hope I challenge you as you do the same to me,
I promise to never stop trying to make you happy,
so that on hard days you will know that spark in my heart making me move is you and those we choose to bring together with us as lifemates.

Then as they each held up a ring asking if there were any that were against this union to speak now or forever hold their tongues. A lone Minotaur approaches calling himself, Val’dus Wingslayer, and a quick glance at his aura told me what I needed to know. I would win the fight but he would likely die should I cast a single spell upon him. Master Ursus had his deputies form a circle around himself and the challenger, and I made him swear on his heart’s blood he would not kill someone that is merely heartbroken. He at least had the courage to try, when that happened to me I just left home. The duel was over so fast because no one thought Master Ursus might be psychic like them. His deputies took him away and tended to his wounds as the rings were placed on our fingers. When we were pronounced lifemates she kissed me again and just wow it was everything I hoped it would be! When we hugged I whispered to her about the Fleet Feet Spell enchantment upon the ring and how to use it. I got hugged so hard I think I am still bruised, hahahahaha!!

Then I stopped everything and asked for Saraph. When Father Indaris and Brother Jark placed the eight foot staff in my hands I turned and handed it my lifemate and pronounced her its new wielder! I explained all the wielders took the surname Lightbringer from Saraph because a priest of Isis and a Seraph angel are the twin souls represented by the rubies and blue crystal wings.

That night as the celebration dinner was winding down it was announced that the three chieftains would form a triumvirate council to be the new ruling body. Cheers were had by all and Chieftain Xixin provided my lifemate with his copy of EVERY book written about me. I recognized the Books of Crisis in classic red, but the pink and green ones were new to me. She asked me for a few minutes and then began to speed read them! I am told this is a psychic power! I wish I knew what was in the pink and greenish books because she often would look at me after every other page saying, “OH!” or “I UNDERSTAND NOW.” or “REALLY!?!”

I will leave everyone with my last surprise. I am in bed on our wedding night and when she appears in soft purple leather “nighttime garments” is what I think Master Grignak might say. She tossed the two books in front of me and said, “Make me feel like one of those elf girls in those books.”

Fade to black.

Yours In service,

Xerx’ses Goldenhorn,
Immortal War Wizard of CrIsis,
aka: Captain Osric Orghallar of Rogtilda


>> Written by Xerx’ses Goldenhorn, sent in the morning by Chieftain Laval’liere Lightbringer upon the 12th of Gryphon, 4th year of King Guy the First of the Timiro Kingdom, 72nd Year of the Wolfen Empire, 345th year of the Dominion of Man, and 25th Year of the Western Emperor Voelkian Itomas II. <<


Art by AZ_Rune.
Labyrinth hedge and Escher Maze made of screen caps from the Movie: Labyrinth.


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