Chapter 2 First Task Twenty-eight years later, Skaro, in the days of self-progression and actualization which most warriors of Shivanian Tribe were supervised for encouragement, was now in an adult stage that he must have a trustworthy to masters and nobles. His spikes were thrice as long as that he was a child. In a vehement appearance which some of the lizardmen had different breed, he became fiercer than his father. He only mastered his martial art skills and techniques of a warrior from his father and, next, from himself. Zacquaris became the greatest oviraptorid of all raptors because of his psychic powers that were, too, implanted by the Ta’za hunter’s erred magical powers. However, Wystan and Kashaa, having a newly-hatched baby, “Larzuk”, sadly left grown-up Skaro and Zacquaris from their old lizard den. They transferred to Xan’orthras since the bad news said that King Taskhr was murdered by Ta’za assassins. Investigations said that three assassins had climbed up the fortress wall near the front gate, killing the guards walking along the fortifications. The witnessers found that the stained-glass window was broken inside where it was the invaders’ sneaky entrance. Until now, only three out of four assassins were then subjected to execution after they were arrested—one of them was a leader. The fearful evidence said by witnesses—most likely King Taskhr’s son Corus—told about three Ta’za assassins carried their weapons, razor lance, sword and mace. They trespassed through the exposed window in the east room at the third floor. The view of Xan’orthras, as a capital city, was a large, beautiful city. Shivanian Fortress was built at the hilltop beside the bank. It was decorated with small dinosaur sculptures, enormous velociraptor statues, a dragon statue on the rooftop, pointed tower rooms and golden margins and patterns. Dazzling structures surrounding below the fortress were made of concrete, and called the Upper City, the prosperous area. Upper City had an observatory, cathedral, expensive shops, magic guilds, factories and private schools. The fortress wall bordered Middle City where entrepreneurial lizardmen established marketplaces, warehouses, cheap shops, silos, forges and many ordinary houses. Another border separates Lower City, a fairly poor and dirty place in the capital city. Lower City had tattered lizard dens built either on dry ground or on swampy ground. At outermost region was the farm where the farmers who obviously dwelt in Lower City grew wheat, vegetables and other staple crops for the kingdom. All people from every home in Xan’orthras, including Skaro’s parents, gathered in the large plain beyond the Shivanian Fortress where noble kings and queens were buried since they were fighting for centuries. During the royal funeral, villagers of Xan’orthras sorrowfully threw their fresh flowers onto the open coffin of Taskhr’s body carried by morticians and paraded with elite guards. The grand requiem was played by Taskhr’s musicians. The morticians themselves carefully lowered the coffin into the dug out grave. Royal sculptors carved a complete stone sculpture of the king with a tombstone beneath, and planted the tombstone before the grave. Prince Corus, grieved and inexperienced, was sworn to become a new King of Shivanian tribe. He promised to take oath with the achievements of his father King Taskhr. Resting in his own lizard den, Skaro, wearing no loincloth, alone loafed on a stone chair with a fur carpet on it, feeding Zacquaris a dinosaur meat. He already heard the regicide and the new ruler, but he missed his parents living in the Xan’orthras. Finding an amusement around his area of swamplands, he dove down the swamp river, leaving his velociraptor behind. He was a fast swimmer. He passed through the muck where alligators and snakes have settled. He owned the Shivanian Army School after the original owner had suffered a severe stroke two years until now. Many fledgelings and new teachers pledged on him because of his accomplishment of ownership and serious pedagogy. As a wealthy lizardman, he generously renovated training center to add more stages, safety weapons, tapestries of dead heroes, and, interestingly, a mess hall. In the mess hall, many students and newcomers enjoyed eating and drinking their favorite meal. Now all of the lizardmen loved Skaro. Inside his office that was transferred to the second floor below the front entrance, he loafed on his reclined chair, having a light tobacco. Zack napped beside his seat, dreaming about female dinosaurs to court with. After three weeks of his work, a tribal disaster on Shivanian Territory had happened. Rakrov Village, a small, developing town, was grievously invaded by a thousand Ta’za army including treacherous Shivanians and Ka’thosians. Some of the villagers there were killed and many became either hostages or perfidies. As the bad news spread nationwide, Skaro received a royal message from King Corus, delivered by a royal messenger. It said: To whom it may concern We are therefore feared as our enemies, the Ta’za tribe, had invaded Rakrov Village in the valley. Our administrations of war demanded for a major defense against the invaders of the east, to seek the grand victory of our race for the Light. You and/or your fellow citizens shall join the conflict equip your various, significant weapons in which the offence may be casual. You must consent into the conquest for glory and honor. There may be no delays or surrenders. Within our hope to survive our lacertilian race, the righteousness shall follow into our hearts and the wicked shall fall. King Corus Reading the note, he was surprised that people of Rakrov village was in peril. He imagined that many bloody weapons of Ta’za lizardmen tormented and injured the remorseful, hopeless Shivanians. As an elite lizard warrior, he accepted the note to join the war against the merciless invaders. He waked Zacquaris and pulled him out of his office. He warned the drummer on the pedestal to drum loudly to halt the training. When the students and teachers stopped their influence, Skaro growled and announced, “Anyone! We experienced there’s a severe battle on Rakrov Village invaded by Ta’za army!” The saurians gasped nervously. “I received a message from our new King of Shivanian tribe. It is said that I and my fellow citizens shall join the war for him. Whoever will be with me?” Only some of the teachers whose skills and abilities were fully potent, and then the medium ones raised their hands. Twenty-five teachers participated with Skaro, converting themselves into newly recruited troopers. “Well, the one who joins me is honorable to the Corus, but one who cannot join may continue with your lives as cowards.” Skaro tensely walked downstairs with his deinonychus behind, and he stood at gathered “troopers” armed with their weapons—swords, sabers, axes, spears, halberds and backup daggers. Many students and teachers looked upon Skaro depended on King Corus’s wishes. Some were being proud of him. “I am glad that you were brave enough to enter the battle, troops.” Skaro spoke up, climbing on Zacquaris who intellectually knew the incident. “Remember we are Corus’s people. No one will flee from our army unless the Ta’za conquerors shall return to their master.” “As you wish, Skaro sire,” one lizardman pleaded. “Skaro,” another lizardman said, “what are your plans of the King Corus’s quest?” “We must enter the headquarters in Xan’orthras first. We must go there where Corus will give us the plans and secrets to save the people of Rakrov Village and to vanquish.” “Could we walk along?” the third asked. “No, the carriage will shortly arrive. We will be in the headquarters in no time.” Later, three empty carriages, operated by strong velociraptors, approached at the side of the dirt road. Signed troopers went inside the carriages, waving their hands at the children bidding goodbye. Skaro and Zacquaris led the velociraptors to pull their carriages and to chase them down the road. Students and teachers in the school then resumed their training. Several hours after the errand and the assembly at the main gate of Shivanian Fortress, all participated saurian people stood in front of the fortress entrance. After a few grand welcomes, the blacksmith and weaponsmith distributed armor, bracelets, gauntlets and necessary weapons to all the troops. Beastmasters lent some of them speedy dinosaurs. Lizardmen riding on velociraptors and deinonychuses were “lizard riders”. Skaro and Zacquaris had sensed the skills and masterstrokes of his enlisted troops. They were partially disgraced when not all of his troops had gained knowledge on swordsmanship and heraldry. He should permit them since he and his army must approach the Rakrov Village. King Corus had paid for the army service, his tax collectors received from the kingdom. After he dressed himself under thick blue cape and some precious garments, he entered the headquarters with Skaro and other five generals. He provided an old, beige-drawn map of Lizardland and spread it on the round table. Requesting the generals, he located Shivanian territories affected by Ta’za conquerors. Rakrov village was seventeen miles away passing through the jungle without a route. The mission was tough to Skaro, and also to the generals. “Let us discuss our strategy to annihilate those damn Ta’za invaders,” Corus said. “General Khorvis and the backup troops will be at the northern mountains for a surprise attack, and General Skaro and Kravor will confront face-to-face in Rakrov Village.” He told the selected generals, pointing the area on the map “What shall I do in the battlefield, your honor?” General Wyrinor, behind Skaro, asked. “You will be in the southern forest zone where your army will wait for the signal. General Kravor will plant a smoke signal when the assault occurs.” “What about Ka’thnos tribe of the south?” one general asked. “They will take care of themselves.” “So you’ll be one of my backup troops,” Skaro said to whoever were the accumulations, and he overlooked Corus. “But, your honor. Why do you choose me as a great lizard warrior?” Corus replied, “Because you are one of the strongest Shivanian warriors in our tribe, as we know you when you owned your training center. Although you are only a good citizen, you wisely overcome our enemies.” “But I haven’t been victorious.” “So help us for our sake,” Skaro agreed. “It is my first task,” he said. The battle planning was achieved whenever the generals understood the strategy. Walking out of the headquarters, they watched over the throng of brave, fully-armed lizardmen waiting and hissing on the castle lawn. “To make our army fair, why don’t you divide them equally?” King Corus counted three thousand lizardmen and eighty lizard riders from the list of joined lizardmen. He ordered the army to separate for one general. General Skaro obtained five-hundred lizardmen and fourteen lizard riders, and other generals had a same amount. General Kravor, having his army behind him, stood his velociraptor beside Skaro. “Are we ready for the war, Skaro?” “Yes, we are. The courage and might are in our lives.” Skaro and Kravor thundered a war cry, and their raptors stretched themselves upward and roared. Growing nervous, the united forces marched through the city of Xan’orthras wherein the townspeople urged from their houses and on the streets. Signaling farewell, they waved their hands, flew kisses and shouted lamentably. Skaro and Kravor felt amused but depressed because of the war that shook the good tribes. Leaving the capital city with his companions, Skaro checked his map given by Corus. On the map, he found that there was no direct route—or a shortcut—from capital city to Rakrov Village. Traveling to the village directly would cover about twenty miles. They scarcely pass through the steep mountain ranges and huge forest areas. The alternate route was twice as far as a straight ahead route. It would strain the lizardmen and dinosaur’s legs and deplete their energies. “Let’s go along the alternate road,” Skaro said, pausing his driving. “We can’t rush through the very thick jungle and climb up that horrible mountain. So, anyway, there’s no luck to go to the village.” Kravor felt disappointed at this difficult heroic journey. “That’s too bad,” He said, turning his tail over his velociraptor’s tail. Skaro warned all of the followers to march along the trail instead of taking a shortcut. But it insults the companions slightly. At halfway to Rakrov Village, the day grew darker and colder, and a crescent moon shone from the horizons. Exhausted on their journey, they settled and camped nearby the timberland, they established a camp made by weaving. Skaro’s hunters grabbed their dinosaur prey from the fields for food supply. When they were thirsty, they drank spring water from a clean, flawless river. For entertainment, Skaro sang them a war song and mild, melodious tribal music. Then they eventually slept in their own camps, but some, not providing camping tools, slept outside, covering themselves from frozen northern night. Before dawn, the night grew colder and windier. The campfire itself was already out. Someone sneaked into the Shivanian camping site. Awakened by dreams of warfare, Skaro heard soft chimes and footsteps rushing through the spaces outside his tent. He grabbed his pair of scimitars, and he tiptoed outside. He could speak none. Suddenly, he heard a loud growl from behind. Checking for a trouble, he noticed a Ta’za scout killing a sleeping Shivanian soldier. “Intruders!!” He yelled to waken his troops. While the soldiers were slowly awakening, he sprang over the pile of food leftovers and, in rage, impaled the Ta’za scout who killed his comrade. Kravor and many of the troopers woke up. Torches lightened to illuminate the camping area. They discovered a dead soldier and Skaro finishing the intruder. “What happened?” Kravor asked, rushing through the watchers hurriedly. “The Ta’za scout killed one soldier.” Turning around, a Shivanian soldier saw many flamed oil bottles thrown from the escarpments. “Ambush!!” He thundered, and the whole Shivanian army panicked. Most of their camps were burned into ashes, and several were flamed and died. “Prepare your weapons!” Skaro yelled angrily. As their true leader commanded, the soldiers grabbed their weapons and used their raptors. They found some Ta’za fire bombers who brought a crate of oil bottles in their carriages, and they slaughtered them in vengeance. All intruders perished, Skaro and Kravor counted the casualties. There were thirty-eight killed in an action, and fifty wounded. Skaro felt depressed that his number of soldiers was diminished. “This is a worst omen I’ve ever seen,” he pleaded. “Do not fear, my friend,” Kravor said, “there is a chance to keep our army well and strong. Even if someone is dead, you must not give up until we succeed. It is certain that we fight for freedom.” Skaro should trust his friends and nobles. But he was so shocked that he first saw one lizardman died with blood. Since the rights and rules were given to a true warrior, he knew that feared by the instincts and opponents were cowardice. He was the professional martial art trainer that was equal to a true warrior. By sunrise, Skaro suited his body armor back. Kravor had bandaged all of wounded soldiers whose burnt scales were extremely sensitive, and had cured with medicinal herbs he packed. Then the soldiers marked him the “healer” in the horde. “By this time, there will be no retreats or surrenders! We shall keep all of our cities clean and secure! For strength and honor, Shivanians and Ka’thnos rule!” Skaro roared, raising his scimitar. Kravor and his entire army emitted beastly war cries of triumph. And, they resumed walking down the road to the captured village nearly less than ten miles away. At a kilometer away, they reached the view of Rakrov Village that had burned down and had destroyed. Enormous black smoke hurled to the skies. What a pity! Many former villagers were departed fearfully, but some became hostages dispiritedly. Skaro, sadly, saw all of the surroundings in the village ruined. It was as King Corus mentioned in the note “We’re too late, General Skaro,” General Kravor said, rubbing his runny nose. “No,” Skaro refused, “the Ta’za army were still in many of those dens. We have to sneak up in the village and search for survivors.” He told the lizardmen to enter the corrupted village. Everything he saw on every house were carbonized wooden walls, winded ashes, cremated corpses of somebody, dead animals, barren trees and often fires. Only few survivors whose scales were bruised and soiled found. “Why were there no adversaries around?” Kravor asked. “Did they escape?” “No,” Skaro said, feeling magically that a strange presence happening to him. “I felt that a small, odd consequence came from one of those dens we see.” Kravor felt nothing in the midst of the atmosphere, “I don’t feel anything.” Suddenly, an arrow was shot from above, but, fortunately, missed Skaro at the front, and pierced only on the ground. This frightened Zaquaris. “Woah, woah, take it easy, Zack, calm down,” Skaro patted Zack’s head. “Just as I thought, Ta’za archers are shooting at us!” He warned, and he saw many fire arrows in the sky, using his draconic vision. “Shields up!” Many troopers shielded themselves with their Shivanian steel shield, but whoever had no shield dodged and sheltered in the burnt dens to avoid being hit by arrows. There were no spaces for the horde to cover them, so only few lizardmen were pierced to death. After all arrows spiked on the clear ground and reflected from the shields, Skaro and Kravor ordered all of his army to charge for the Ta’za forces approaching from the vast plains. The opposing forces were counted three thousand of them, but the Shivanian forces were only nine-hundred fifty. Though a largest number of their diabolic enemies would overthrow them, Skaro should trust that no one could retreat nor surrender. His ultimatum was to die for honor. “We must not give up! We will die for honor!” He put up his scimitars and stood to signal a fiercer war cry. Zaquaris whom he rode lifted upward and roared. Furiously, the Shivanian horde rushed to engage the war, leaving the survivors behind, and the Ta’za horde, readied their bloody weapons, charged forward. Two opposing tribes, with more spaces from each other, impacted together, and commenced a hand-to-hand fighting. Swords, axes, halberds, spears and sabers were clanged, scratched, knifed, deflected and splintered, as soon as they became worthless. Lizard riders, including Skaro and Kravor, fought with their long pikes, their velociraptors and deinonychuses using their large curved claws. Sorcerers in brown robes used their fire, lightning and physical spells. There were so many growls, hisses, grunts and snorts that sounded through the atmosphere. Torrents of blood from cadavers spread the ground. There were nothing to survive in the warfare, no remorse, no mercy, and no compassion. His offence being ceaseless, General Kravor kept on defeating the attackers. He shifted his position as he was strongly catapulted from his velociraptor, equipping his backup sword. He had killed more than fifty Ta’za soldiers until he was newly exhausted. One strongest Ta’za beast plunged him to the left with his iron knuckles. “Kravor!” Skaro yelled, squeezing the one’s neck. But Kravor was already depleted. His arms numbed, he could hardly walk to flee from the cause. He violated the rule stated that a true warrior should not flee cowardly. This caused him a tragedy that the Ta’za beast threw a pointed, thick spear and maimed him down. Watching his friend choking on the ground, Skaro was enraged. He left Zaquaris agitating bravely with his terrible claws and blade knuckles. He took a dreadful revenge by slicing the beast’s head off with a great influence. When the beast was deceased, he headed for Kravor trying to control himself to be alive, but he was in a deep hemorrhage that couldn’t be restored. “I’ll save you, Kravor, my friend,” Skaro said, holding Kravor’s head. “No, there is no…way,” Kravor coughed, taking his smoke signal stick from his leathery inventory bag. “You must take my…smoke signal, light it up and…then the reinforcement will shortly arrive. Please…do it…ugh!” In many sputters, he sadly died. His body parts dropped. Skaro took a smoke signal stick. Because the Shivanian army was diminishing more than Ta’za army, he must call the reinforcements by planting a smoke signal he lightened it from one of the flashing fire arrows which he extremely sharply grabbed from above. Green, noxious smoke thickly emitted from the stick, and polluted the sky with green clouds. Waiting for the signal for seven hours, General Wyrinor at the south of Rakrov Village seven miles away and General Khorvis at the northern mountains detected a thick, green smoke below the moist clouds. They warned their troops to approach the battlefield where Skaro was still attacking. Wyrinor and Khorvis and all their troops marched into the village for an hour, and they spotted Skaro and his remaining troops surrounded by the foes. The Shivanian reinforcements then overran throughout the battlefield, killing their enemies away, and freed Skaro into fight. Because they were foiled, small number of Ta’za army fearfully retreated to the east where they came from.
Chapter 3 Orphanage Victorious, Skaro and his remaining troops grew tired after the wearisome assault in the Great Marsh beyond Rakrov Village. Everywhere was very dirty, internecine and fearsome, except for a desolated area of no affection. Many common animals living around the tormented plains were in a slight of evacuation by transferring from here to new placid environment. Riding on Zacquaris, he walked several miles and retraced the path leading to Xan’orthras, and his lizardmen marched after him. But every step they took made them more tired and hungry. Remembering what King Corus, the new ruler of Shivanian Tribe, instructed him another order for a triumphant celebration, he should rest anywhere as he had saved Rakrov Village from Ta’za invaders. Journeying, he passed through the small Shivanian town where some of the houses were slightly damaged by few Ta’za scouts. Around him and his fellow troops were cheering townsfolk who knew that he became a brave, outstanding hero. He felt proud of himself. Walking towards the Xan’orthras farther was eagerly exhausting also the Velociraptors and Deinonychuses whose mouths were dripping in thirst, so he told his army to remain in the town. Thankful townsfolk led him and his troops to rest in the inn for a grand present. Generously, the innkeeper granted them to stay free in charge, and put their starving dinosaurs in the dinosaur stables. In the evening, Skaro and his lizardmen grabbed their root beer and fruity wine on the table frenziedly and gloriously. They celebrated before the fireplace that warms them up from chilly air. They spent their day eating a large, roasted dinosaur meat and drinking beer from enormous barrels at the counter. “A toast to Shivanian tribe!” Skaro hissed, his arm holding a mug of foamy beer outstretched. All of the happy troops encored and enjoyed their victorious celebration. Hours passed, the servants and maids put them to the bedroom upstairs before midnight after they became drunk and full. There were too much lizardmen to fit in few rooms, so they must cooperate. Their beds that were made of mammoth and leopard fur cherished their selves. Beds fully occupied, some slept on the floor and some on other furniture. Skaro would think the tribal war wasn’t yet concluded. Significantly, they should not forget King Corus’s demands. However, celebrating in the inn or other bars after the triumph was not essential to King Corus. But, nonetheless, it was unfair if they weren’t being rested. On the next morning, Skaro, whenever the arrival to Xan’orthras was insisted, hurriedly ordered all his sleeping troops to wake up from where they napped. Preparing to return to the capital city, he put on his long loincloth, his scimitars holder, and his heavy armor back and he stepped outside the inn, along with his active troops aligned on the unpaved street. Moreover, servants released armed velociraptors and deinonychuses from messy dinosaur stables beside the inn. Skaro, riding on Zacquaris ordered his troops to march into the route to Xan’orthras, after the villagers applauded them for farewell. Skaro, on the first-place position in the parade, entered the main entrance of Xan’orthras, and passed through the Lower Town, then the Middle Town, and then the richer Upper Town—where the crowd of lizardmen and children joyfully cheered after them. Children went for Skaro to hug and to be patted, and the townsfolk were throwing their colorful, newly-bloomed flowers over the regiment. Skaro was happy amongst the throng of saurian people. The parade went straight uphill and entered the royal Fortress of Lizardland, where the heavily armed guards opened the castle gate for them. The elite guards riding on stronger deinonychuses and soldiers bowed before Skaro. In an intensive participation with royalties, Skaro walked into the fortress, entering the enormous, luxurious hallway where the dinosaur and saurian statues and large dragon figurines placed. Inside the throne room, he stopped at the bottommost staircase before the gold, chaotic throne where King Corus sat. Smiling proudly but seriously, King Corus, pulling his royal cape from the dinosaur-molded armrest, stood and looked upon Skaro knelt politely before him. Bishops and noblemen had gathered the throne room and positioned at both sides of the room before Skaro arrived into the fortress. Dragon-stylized trumpets horned all over the crowd. Though he was courage to encounter for a tribal promotion, Skaro grew nervous. “I have observed you accomplished my mission for the blood and honor. Indeed, I am proud of you enforced our enemies away from our borders,” King Corus worded. He had magically sensed upon Skaro’s fighting in the battlefield. In a ritual dubbing, he took his brilliant Dragon Sword—his special weapon—and dubbed Skaro for a promotion. “I shall call you, ‘Skaro the Bravest’, as if you become the general.” “Thank you, your majesty,” Skaro pleaded. His heart burdened in tender, he thought he had to be responsible to save the Shivanian tribe. “Rise, General Skaro.” Skaro rose, feeling glad and taking a deep breath after the awareness. “Today, you can do whatever you want in my domain. My lizardmen will serve you a feast when we are victorious. It is tomorrow.” “Thank you, sire.” King Corus told his maiden to escort Skaro to the guest room on the fifth floor, using grand, carpeted stairs. In the big, deluxe guest room, Skaro jumped on a firm, clean royal bed until its blanket was wrinkled. Being requested, a lizard butler rolled their cart with a covered plate of roasted meat on it into Skaro’s room. That evening, Skaro, naked, was folding himself on the bed, covering himself in the blanket. While he was sleeping soundly, he heard four knocks from the room door. Someone said in low, blocked voice, “Excuse me, Skaro, my son!” Surprised as he heard the voice said “my son”. He jumped from the bed, wakened Zacquaris, and opened the door. His parents, Wystan and Kashaa, were shown. “Skaro, my long lost son!” Kashaa, bursting tears of joy, said. She embraced Skaro in the doorway. “I’m so proud of you!” “Mom!” Skaro pleaded as he was very glad to see his old parents again for many years. Wystan, holding a small sack of magic dust on his back, asked, “How’s your triumph, my boy?” “It’s so tough and bloody,” Skaro replied, releasing himself from Kashaa’s deep embrace. “I thought you heard about my war.” “We heard about it,” Wystan said. “When we’re here, your father brought you a gift.” “What is it?” Wystan demonstrated his sack of magic dust and handed it at Skaro. This magic dust was sorcerized by alchemists in the alchemist lab in Upper Town. Mixture of enthralled powers of nature and silvery dust were a substantial, inseparable compound. “This is a bag of magic dust. You may use one of the elements—fire, water, air, lightning, physic or earth—which reminds from your thoughts to cast the elemental magic whatever you wish. This is a great gift when you saved our tribe for the first time.” “Thank you, father.” Skaro kept the small sack and returned to his bed for a cold rest. Curious, he sprinkled a goldenly glittery magic dust on his palm. However, he couldn’t know how to use this conjuration. “I’m not so sure how to use this dust. I’m a lizard warrior, not a wizard.” “I think you haven’t noticed me as a great sorcerer. I am the master in using such the wizardry wherever I had tutored since your age,” Wystan said, standing in front of Skaro. He was not only the lizard warrior, but also the sorcerer. Historically, he was proudly acknowledged by magic scholars who were thoughtful to elemental spells for many decades. “I didn’t know you’re a sorcerer, too! When I was a little, you trained me with sticks and blades, but you didn’t even show me your wizardry until now.” “I kept my magic a secret away from you, because you could steal it from me, and using the magic dust without an assistance—even I would have taught you—is severely dangerous to you! This magic dust is only for the warriors who have a little amount of enchantment in case of the spell attack.” “Oh, I get it,” Skaro said, stooping his head down when he was startled. “Let me illustrate the use of magic dust.” After his son poured a golden dust on his hand, he worded a tutorial. “When I prepare to engage the cast of elemental magic using the dust, I should be mindful to one of the elements. Focus on this—I am using the fire spell from my mind.” “Ah, that’s free mana.” “Indeed.” Wystan put his hand overhead, and concentrated with the great source of fire element that most elemental sorcery was widely known to conjurers. While thinking of a use of fire skills, he put his hand of magic dust at his face, aiming his snout at the dust. Thought of the “dragon’s fire breath”, he inhaled while using the force of supernatural inside him, and, pulling his hand away from his snout, he burst out a great ball of fire spreading over the bed. To prevent the curtains and tapestries from being burned, he suddenly used his powers to remove the flames away from the air. “Amazing fire control, dad!” Skaro applauded. “Now I have learned to use the elemental spells—in a combinative property of knowledge.” But Wystan breathed hard to regain his stamina that was partly used. “That is a clever idea you found out, but you could waste your own energy to use a magic with the dusts. Remember, do not use any skills you have not experienced, and never cast an irrelevant charm. You should learn more the experience of new acquisitions that is more powerful than the first one you have employed.” “Your father is right, Skaro,” Kashaa said, wrapping herself in a silk scarf with a few jewelry around it. “There is a matter to practice in your own.” “Are you still in my family, mom and dad?” “Sorry, my son,” Wystan said, seriously. “King Corus ordered us to remain here and work for his service of assisting the farmers and collecting many taxes from the whole kingdom. He is vain and tense to let all of us work together to improve our tribe with strong defenses.” “I hope you have a will to live alone in our old den with your deinonychus I gave you. Do you have your work?” “Oh, of course I have. I owned the training grounds in the jungle near our den, as the original owner died of stroke.” “You have your own business, so take care of these mentors and beginners because it is for the Shivanian’s next generation to strengthen our tribe.” Wystan and Kashaa took a second group hug after the practice of such enthrallment. Since they were requested by King Corus for a heavy duty, they departed Skaro’s room. Skaro had his own magic dust, but he shouldn’t waste it, not a single spot. Tightening its knot, he concealed it in his backpack and resumed his slumber when the night slightly freezes the atmosphere over—still naked. On the next morning, Skaro woke up from the bed. His body strained, he stretched greatly while the sunlight shone from glass-stained windows onto his scales, and he ate a ripe apple from a fruit bowl on the cupboard. He wakened Zacquaris, who was gratefully allowed by King Corus to stay his deinonychus in every room. The maids, asked by Skaro, put him in a watered bathtub, and scrubbed him with soapy towel and brush, and they also treat Zack in a different tub. After the bathe, Skaro put his loincloth, his necklace and his gemmed bracelets back. And then he walked through the corridor and then downstairs. On his way to the stairway, he only glanced at lizard heavy body armor holding a lance, hanging candle lamps on the ceiling, red-and-golden carpets and art tapestries, priceless paintings of old kingdom and hardworking pretty maids. In the fourth floor, he moved through the wide, windy corridor and went on the bridge leading to the King’s room in the tower room. Because of his job to train all the children in the Shivanian Training Area in the swamplands, he must talk to King Corus before leaving Xan’orthras since he grew bored staying in the fortress. Balancing extremely—as of all the warriors—to avoid being fallen from the edge, he strolled through the bridge, and he carefully knocked the room door of the King’s room, with a respect to rulers. King Corus’s wife, Raquafa, who didn’t want to be the queen, opened the door for Skaro outside. Beside her was her child, Nakkor, the prince of Shivanian tribe, who was required to be trained only by King Corus. “May I help you, General Skaro?” She asked. “I want to speak with your husband, the king,” Skaro said. “Indeed.” As she was told, Raquafa headed for King Corus sleeping on his bed alone without clothes, too. She waved him to wake up. “Darling, wake up, your visitor is waiting,” she said while disturbing Corus’s slumber. Interrupted, King Corus opened his sharp, horrible eyes, and he lifted himself on the bed. “What is it, dear?” he asked, speaking like a rattlesnake. “Outside our room, General Skaro wants to have a word with you,” Raquafa replied. “Let him in.” Raquafa let Skaro enter the King’s room without serious actions or contradictions. “Your majesty,” Skaro pleaded. “What is it, General Skaro?” King Corus stood before Skaro. His muscular body looked as if he was a standing iguana. He gladly carried his son Nakkor wanting to be handled on his arms. “I would be glad to stay here for the feast, but I need to get home and resume on my training with other children in the swamplands. I will be rebuked if I were not there. Please, your majesty, I wish to depart Xan’orthras. You may spare your great gratitude and concern for me.” King Corus thought he have gifted Skaro a popularity to Shivanian tribe. Knowing that his father, who had been killed by Ta’za assassins, had thought him a kingly knowledge, he made his decision to let him depart. He renounced him, saying, “I am so remorseful you are leaving from royalty. You may sincerely leave because I am giving you a special gift. With independence, you are free to go elsewhere. So go ahead. As you are under your duty, train the young lizardmen for the next generation and for our tribe.” “Thank you, your majesty.” Skaro shook King Corus’s hand, and he skipped downstairs. He grabbed his deinonychus feeding on a meat given by the royal servants. He drove downhill into Xan’orthras downtown, and he left from the kingdom and entered Khartok Swamplands. He took several miles riding Zack who was very brave to gallop until he stopped at Shivanian Training Area. He let his deinonychus to stay in his office while he was writing rules and regulations about doing in the training grounds. A year later, Skaro was still exploiting the skillful teachers in the training area, and some of the children learned from their kind teachers the swordsmanship and martial arts, but most of them were inexperienced. Working in the training was difficult to the owner Skaro because of giving teachers the salaries monthly, and of the younglings who had a rough sledding to be coped up with. The royal messenger riding on the raptor arrived again. Carrying a bundle of newsletters to be sent to all villages and towns exclusively in the Shivanian territory, he sent King Corus’s request letter to Skaro, saying: There is a new incident happened in my fortress. You must return to Xan’orthras and I will show you your new brother. King Corus Skaro pointed out the “brother” on King Corus’s letter. He asked the general manager of Shivanian Training Area to handle with the teachers and students. After the responsible manager agreed, he mounted on Zacquaris and galloped down the route to Xan’orthras. After an hour of errand, he decided to stop at the bar in the Middle Town to regenerate his boredom to active. He ate the meat of a dinosaur from the counter and fed his raptor who was enjoying with him. After the period of relaxation, he continued on Corus’s request to enter Shivanian Fortress. The royal guards allowed Zack to “enter the dragon” politely to see which Skaro read on the letter. Walking leisurely but respectfully, he stopped when King Corus and the elite guards approached from the throne room. Corus was holding heavy, white cloth containing something which Skaro thought it was his new brother. “General Skaro,” King Corus said, “it is good to be back for a year. There is one thing that you should have.” He unwrapped the baby lizardman he was holding. “This is your brother.” “My brother? I do have the second brother, Larzuk, who lives deep in the jungle.” “That is another relationship you had lived. Your young brother must have a childcare in order to boost your family that withstands our enemies. You cannot pose him into danger or he will be kidnapped by a member of Master Grakkon’s assassins to abuse him.” Corus passed the baby lizardman to Skaro. “There you go, make him fulfilled like your father fulfilled you.” “My parents!” Skaro shouted. He was fearfully astonished about his parents’ endangerment. “Where are Wystan and Kashaa?!” “They were killed to save me.” “How?!” “That is a very painful experience I and you have.” King Corus sadly narrated him a story what Skaro’s parents did to save him heroically. “When I was sleeping in my bed, I heard the shattering glasses from outside my room. I came out from my room, leaving my wife slumbering, to check for something that went wrong. Suddenly, I was strangled by a Ta’za assassin who is stronger than I am. Another one was preparing his dagger to stab me, and the third one was guarding to defy my soldiers who were sleeping. “Your parents bravely prepared their weapons and charged one assassin who strangled me to release me. I unleashed my Dragon Sword to eliminate the one of the assassins. But two of them caught Wystan and Kashaa. The assassin sliced your mother’s neck, bleeding greatly and died shortly—how drastic is this action! Outraged, your father came out to kill an assassin who slew his wife, but the last assassin stabbed him behind with his razor-edged sword. “The last assassin grabbed two swords and walked towards me. I tried to attack him by reflecting its blades, dodging, forcing and kicking, but he scratched my face twice, without hitting my eyes and underneath my scales. I could not bear my arms, so I knocked out easily. The assassin was charging up, capable to put me into death. Miraculously, your father threw a spear and jabbed my foe’s head, because he had his own will to save me. “Now everything was clear, I checked your parents’ life. Kashaa seemed dead, but Wystan was still struggling while his belly was leeching. I docked down on your father whose mouth was drawing blood and spittle. He said to me in his dying voice, ‘my child is in our room. Cough! Please…give him to my…Cough, son Skaro!’ and then he died, so I took your brother still sleeping in his comfy bed. That is all.” Skaro began to shed tears when his heart was broken for the death of his parents. “I’m now an orphan—I mean I and my brothers are orphans. No, I cannot live without my mother and my father. I’m still an amateur in learning many things about martial arts and knowledge of Shivanian Tribe. They gave me magic dust a year ago.” “Do not fear, my friend,” King Corus said. “I am always being with you. If you need me, I shall teach you everything. Your parents are heroes because they saved my life. To give you a reward as a will from your parents, I shall give you a thousand gold pieces.” King Corus ordered his men behind him to fetch ten thousand gold pieces from his counting room. “I want to see where you buried my parents.” Skaro said. “I must mourn.” “We buried them in the graveyard of royalty beside my father’s mausoleum.” Skaro, holding his baby brother, and King Corus walked outside behind the Shivanian Fortress and entered the graveyard where the old kings and queens and nobles were entombed in generic order. King Corus was carrying two bunch of juicy, pollinated flowers obtained from his garden. They stood in front of Wystan’s and Kashaa’s mausoleums emplaced beside King Taskhr’s golden tomb adorned with Corus’s flowers and red candles. He passed his baby brother to Corus and knelt down between his parents’ graves, mourning with words: “Mother, father, I came here to bid you farewell after you had saved King Corus who risked his life to save you, too. As you are no longer live with me, I have burdened your new son with me, whom I should raise until he is strong. Father, when my young brother is eight years old, I shall train him like what you did to me. And, mother, as you cared me in my entire life; I shall feed him, play with him, nourish him, bathe him and teach him the knowledge of our tribe. I will never forget you. I promise.” He put his bouquet of flowers on each of the graves. “Wow,” King Corus was amazed, returning the baby to Skaro sniffing. “What a touching speech you recounted. So, you should promise your parents to raise your baby brother, and train him. You must have a knowledge, skills, attitudes and successions which you have learned decades ago. You must trust your brother’s deals and opinions.” “I can do this for my family, my ancestors, and our tribe, your majesty,” Skaro said, giggling to play with his brother on his arms. “I should buy the baby things from the city. My deinonychus will be his benefactor.” “I see. Continue your own journey. There will be a serious time when the Ta’za tribe will encounter beyond their boundaries again.” King Corus said, moving “We shall meet again, your majesty.” Skaro carefully strolled through the fortress until he stopped at the front gate. Carrying babies was a big problem that if he could accidentally drop him, the baby would die by an impact. He hadn’t learned parenting which the fathers had their finest hours to become a good fatherhood. Now, he became the brotherhood connecting to his baby brother. He showed the baby to Zacquaris who was often cleaned and fed by King Corus’s servants. Zack was shocked and emitting a laughing sniffling because Skaro, his old master, had already a baby. “This is not funny, this is my brother. Our parents were murdered last night!” Skaro warned. Zack stopped sniffling since his master became an orphan. Learning to appreciate which Skaro presented, he smelled the scales of the baby to check its relationship. As the kinship verification was completed, he licked the baby happily with his long, gooey tongue. “I know you also love him, Zack,” Skaro said, putting his head on Zack’s snout, and patting on Zack’s face. “Now let’s go.” He sat on Zack’s saddle, putting his sack of ten thousand gold pieces on far end of the saddle and letting his brother lie on his right arm, and drove off into the middle town, using his other arm to control the whip. He bought more fruits, vegetables, meat and toys. After he spent many hours of gathering food supply, he departed from Xan’orthras. He then returned to his lizard den deep in the swampy jungle. When the rain seasonally fell, he left Zack climbing up the ledge of his house because he shouldn’t disturb his baby brother sleeping soundly and quietly. As Zack entered the raptor room, he saved his gold pieces in his bedroom. In the bedroom, Skaro, simply aroused, looked below his brother resting between his bare thighs. The baby brother was surprised because he realized that a lizardman was not his real father, but a stranger, so he turned his head down. “Do not fear, my beloved, lonesome baby. Our mom and dad are gone forever, and I will be the one to raise you. We are closed together as eternal brothers without separating.” Skaro said to the baby lizardman. “From now on, I shall call you, Hotara.” The baby brother heard that his said name was “Hotara”, so he giggled proudly and warmly. Sooner and later, both Hotara and Skaro lived together in the swamplands.
Chapter 4 Young Hotara Skaro and Hotara, as distressed orphans, became good brothers when they were looking at each other. They were supposed to be trained completely by professional mentors but it was too late when they were unsatisfied. Everyday, they felt they had not fed by their parents who were murdered by brutal assassins of Ta’za Tribe, so reluctant Skaro should nourish and raise his poor brother. His raptor Zacquaris, who attracts baby lizardmen, should boldly guard him if he was out for an animal hunting. Eight years had passed when Ta’za Tribe was still working on for their new weapons and recruitment, the Shivanian and Ka’thnos Tribes were cooperating as if the dreadful events would supervene to their territories. The committed warmongers were in a prediction whence the fortunetellers rumored the consequence. It was endless. The scouts of the Shivanian Tribe told King Corus that Ta’za armies were colonizing scorching glorious, placid forestlands and swamplands near the borders. This angered King Corus who was concerning about natural environment and tranquil community because he knew the colonized forestlands would be slapdash denuded. He felt meritless to the evil, unmerciful tribe like demons who were ravaging the world into ashes, and he planned for the retribution since his father was killed. Hotara became eight years old. His relevant, expected age evoked Skaro to train him at once. But Hotara was still studying mathematics, science, language, history and culture in the schoolhouse outside The Great Swamp. During the burdened school life, his favorite subjects were mathematics and cultural studies. He was a bookworm, and he still had to finalize the fighting skills which Skaro provided to relate it to his knowledge which he was accumulating. He could be docile as long as he lived with his kind elder brother. When he went home by driving Zacquaris who was timely requested by Skaro, he strongly reviewed for his final examinations. He sat on Skaro’s string-tied but nailed wooden chair at the front door and wrote up his homework about grammar and language with the use of a quill dipped from an ink bottle. Skaro heard Zacquaris’s scream. He turned out from his room where he listed and assured paychecks and assignments which the martial art teachers and the students were informed from the Shivanian Army School. “Welcome home, Hotara, my dear brother,” he greeted, giving him a plate of last piece of apple pie from the dining room hospitably. He stood himself behind Hotara and asked, “How’s the school?” “Fine,” Hotara replied, unloading his remaining rolled scrolls of mathematics and other subjects and disjoined empty sheets of papyrus paper. “My friends, including my best friend, Agamid, were joining in the club for dinosaur racing. Zack was still my good raptor. He’s a good, caring dinosaur, too.” Zacquaris outside the lizard den was happily surprised for Hotara’s kindness. Grinning, he roared an acceptance. “Looks like, Zack is so happy for your gratefulness, Hotara,” Skaro said, looking at his newly sharpened scimitar on his hand. “You have one month left before your final exam. I hope you have a good time before I should teach you in my training grounds.” He pierced his scimitar on a thick table and left it standing. “Training? On your grounds?” Hotara asked, writing his assigned mathematics homework. “Well, I’m not quite sure if it’s easy or hard.” He found a set of math problems which he barely answered. “Uh…can you help me answer my math problems, Skaro?” He pointed the difficult multiplication problems on unrolled scroll for Skaro. “Why sure,” Skaro replied generously, “a good brother assists a trouble and treats.” Skaro did as his brother asked. Thinking about math in his combinative mind quickly which he studied, he let Hotara sat on his thighs and at his abdomen so both of the brothers could see the scroll. Answering cleverly with an inked feather, he guided him how to solve all the problems carefully and superficially. He was tenacious for this. While answering toughest math problems, he told Hotara, “Listen to me, Hotara, my training grounds is my personal ground where I am the one to teach a special child. You are a special kid. You have many talents in your school, and you show respect to them faculty members, and the elders. So you and I are in my course. When you were here, I taught Agamid, your closest friend. Once in his first training he inflicted accidents and impacts when I was trying to hit him so that he could learn the blocking techniques, but he still was failed to compete me. His father, named General Kravor, was a good citizen, but a strict disciplinarian. He was once my friend, but he died when our enemies stabbed him down. So his wife would be the one to raise Agamid.” “How sad is your story, Skaro,” Hotara said, shedding a drop of tear from his left eyelid. After they accomplished whole math homework, Skaro stood up and stretched his body hard until his back was “crunched”. He planned to do a short walk around heavily moist jungle to see exotic, colorful lizards, birds and insects. “We’ll have a short walk this afternoon, Hotara,” he told kindly, “and let’s take Zack with us.” Packing his school things in his leather bag, Hotara cheered for his big brother’s generosity and friendliness. “Wow! Thanks for that, Skaro. I love walking with you in the jungle.” He jogged around the porch and waked Zacquaris. Zack yawned and stretched his legs backward to strengthen his joint flexibility. “Stay close to me. I sense of hazards that are still exist in our forest,” Skaro warned, carrying Hotara on his right muscular arm. He put his young brother on Zacquaris who suited no dinosaur seat, stirrups and whip. He should provide a pair of scimitars as he had perceived the risks whenever they were embarking. Beginning their afternoon promenade, he and his deinonychus jumped down the mucky swamp with soggy river bed underneath, and ventured through the jungle. They passed through leafy coverings, thorny shrubs, hanging vines and gross puddles, and they frightened herbivorous dinosaurs and raptors away from their trail— Zaquaris was such a fearsome raptor. “Isn’t this place beautiful, Hotara?” Skaro asked, watching tar pits at the side of his trail, squawking pterosaurs and birds flying above from tree to tree, and crawling and climbing lizards on mossy branches and moldy logs. Searching adequately for his warm kinships, Zacquaris saw another pack of raptors on the open space outside the jungle area, consuming dinosaur remains. “Yeah, so beautiful.” Hotara found a brontosaurus and her hatchlings on the nesting area. Some Shivanian lizardmen ahead were watching the apatosaurs, keeping their distances away from the family. Moreover, he found other colorful birds displaying in the paradise. Cautiously, he and Skaro found a group of Ka’thosians feeding their friendly wyverns which were loyal to Ka’thnos Tribe. Astounded, Skaro realized that the Ka’thosians were already in his territory. As a different tribe to Shivanians, the Ka’thnosians were supposed to work heavily only in their territory at the southern part of Lizardland because the Ta’za tribe were eagerly preparing for the next invasion. The yellow-and-green scaled saurians built their shacks on the trees—became their traditional tree houses—for a week, and they chained their fully-grown, fierce wyverns to huge, rigid branches. They were wearing colorfully quilted long loincloth—red, yellow, black, orange and gold which were common to their tribe—a lace of fangs and sea shells, and iron bracelets. If the wyverns wouldn’t have been chained, they could fly and get lost. They had four horns, gray-and-green scales and muscular body, but no long spikes, and they prudently took care of their wyvern hatchlings sleeping on their twig nests. Skaro, pulling his raptor, reached the Ka’thnosian lizardmen. As he entered their area, the neighboring tribesmen approached and admired him because they knew he was the great general of Shivanian army. “What are you doing in the Shivanian territory, neighbors?” “Greetings, General Skaro,” the Tarthalas, the Ka’thnosian group leader, greeted. “We have heard of your heroic assumption. But, never mind. We’re here just to share the homes around your homeland and raise our wyverns to be sold to King Corus.” Skaro looked at the wyverns playing with their children on the nesting ground. “Your wyverns seem to be good to you, right?” He asked. “Yeah, really good, and they, of course, know about the ancient wars.” Hotara looked upon the wyverns screaming and snarling its jaws with delight. “Can I ride with that, Skaro?” “Of course not,” Skaro warned, halting his brother by grabbing the shoulders. “It seems to be dangerous to children.” “Ah, that’s all right,” the Tarthalas said, putting his palm forward to stop Skaro. “Don’t be hesitant to your brother. He wants anything he likes.” “Are you sure about my brother? How do you know this child is my brother?” “We all notified by King Corus about the young brother of the hero whose parents were murdered by Ta’za assassins. Now, let your brother ride on one of my wyverns.” Skaro did as Tarthalas said to satisfy Hotara’s hobby, but, to him, it was a waste of allocated time. As a true warrior of Shivanian Tribe, he shouldn’t be extravagant to which he had many urgent tasks to be quenched for an extra income. His brother was a greenhorn that many other children were so rough in discipline. He thought remorsefully that the discipline was a disappointment to young lizardmen. Unlike Ta’za Tribe, nonetheless, the opposing forces were an abusive society. Tarthalas handled Hotara who was giggled and titillated, and put him on the wyvern’s head. When Hotara slid himself down the neck onto the shoulder wings and chest, the wyvern seemed to be tickled, too, because of youngster’s pleasure to robust adults, similar to Skaro’s warm embracement. “I want to meet my two sons,” the leader squawked both of his sons in his treehouse, “Come out there, Voy and Krator!” On his treehouse, Voy—the four feet young Ka’thnosian—and Krator—the eldest and adult-sized—dashed out from the entrance door, used a ladder stepping nailed to the tree branch to descend, and reached their father. “What is it, dad?” Voy asked, giggling as he had played with Krator. “Is there something we can do, father?” Krator asked. “Meet the Shivanians, Skaro, the noble hero of the Shivanian Tribe, and Hotara, his brother. Their deinonychus named Zacquaris, or you can saw ‘Zack’ which is his nickname.” “Hi,” Voy greeted. “Greetings,” Krator bowed. “Hello there,” Hotara said. Krator saw a quetzal pecking and eating his sack of peanuts which it was his favorite food. He took his dagger from its holder tied on his loincloth and precisely darted it at the tree branch to scare the bird away. He took a handful of peanuts and ate them up. But a mother wyvern ate the quetzal suddenly—a good mother nature does. “Your son has a potent skill, hasn’t he?” Skaro asked. “I trained him for twenty years, and he became greater and mightier until now. He is a serious, cunning warrior. He likes eating peanuts and hogs. He slew thirty Ta’za spies and soldiers, and King Torok awarded him with a wreath of courage and a golden pendant. I am proud of my son.” “Do you have a point to tell someone my information, father? I don’t like it!” Krator said. He did not like secret gossips because it was his rudeness to his feelings. However, he was also as kind as Skaro who was carefree and pertaining to Hotara and Zacquaris. “He’s kind, but he’s short tempered,” the leader gossiped again. Before long, Skaro, Zacquaris and Hotara continued through their jungle after they bid farewell to the Ka’thonians and the wyverns. They skipped through boulders, met friendly Shivanian raptors which Zacquaris saw before, ate citrus fruits from where they proceeded through the colorful, fruity forest, and uprooted weeds to feed their pet iguanas. The buzzing and shrilling of tiny insects were Hotara’s frightful sounds every night, so he should stick together with Skaro. Many mosquitoes annoyed Zack’s face, so he tried to strike them with his both hands. The afternoon grew darker a little quickly. Many forest birds returned to their tree hollows, steep caves, nests and crowns. Crickets, hoppers and other nocturnal insects loudly noised and shrilled in the deep, cold jungle. Frogs and toads croaked with short echoes within Skaro’s side. The sun slowly settled down the horizon and illuminated the sky from sky blue into golden red. The background dimmed with a little sunlight from heavens. At a period of resting, they stopped at a large, deep lake. Overhead they saw a golden sky where many birds. “Let’s take a rest here before going home, Hotara,” Skaro told, sitting beside Zack and hugging him. Feeling passionate to his master, Zack curled his neck around Skaro’s body and snorted handsomely. Hotara agreed. He put his head on Skaro’s front torso and rested his arms around the body. Skaro felt shivered and aroused by his brother’s lonesomeness as a mere child and passion as a swan. “I love you, Skaro,” young Hotara said with his sad face. “I trust you in my life. I’m the only kid in our family.” “I love you, too, dear brother, and I trust you, too,” Skaro said, licking Hotara’s face. He was conscientious to his brother. After the embrace, Skaro stood up, wiping grains of dried grass and sandy soil from his scales. “I’ll fetch you berries and meat from the jungle, Hotara. We’ll have a picnic in this area.” Doing as he should, he walked into the dark, naturally noisy forest where he located the food. Feeling bored while sitting against Zacquaris lying on the back, Hotara looked at the wavy lake wherein edible fishes splashing out of the surface. Smelling his smelly body, he wished to take a bath for a while. “I’m going to swim on the lake, Zack, huh?” He asked Zack. Zack nodded whenever his personality was like Skaro. Excited, Hotara sprinted from the hill and jumped onto the lake beyond the water lilies, water grasses and mangrove roots. As he knew that Skaro was worried about his staking without an official request, he became more cautious of quicksands, snakes and other reptilian beasts wherever in the water or on land. Swimming like a duck, he solely floated at the middle of the lake. He felt the water was still flowing smoothly along the oxbow creek from Xan’orthras straight to the delta and to the ocean. His tail couldn’t feel the lake bottom since it was as deep as it would be a watered chasm. But the problem was what happens when he sinks down the deep lake. He hadn’t gone swimming in the distance and diving underneath before, but he could attempt what his elder brother did into the rapid river to nab salmon and trout. So he endeavored to learn swimming lessons by dashing his arms and legs and waving his tail like a fish. Moderate water waves disturbed light rocks at the shallowest part of the lake and rolled down the abyss. It fell down very deeply until it collided a sleeping water creature. The collision awakened the creature and the creature tracked the disturbance came from the surface. Hotara heard a loud underwater humming sounded like a crying dragon. He saw something that was occurring around the lake where it was not very safe to swim. Zacquaris, having extreme sense of hearing and perception, screamed Hotara when he realized huge water monsters squirming and lurking under the lake. The translation of a raptor language—roaring and hissing—which some of the young lizardmen couldn’t understand, said, Get away from there, Hotara! But Hotara hadn’t learned a raptor language from the school because it was a lesson only for smart teenagers. Skaro was a master of translating it. He heard another same but louder voice echoing the area, waking up jungle birds and frogs everywhere. Gathering fruits from very high citrus trees and strawberry bushes, Skaro heard a beastly hums echoing throughout the jungle in a kilometer. He directly tracked its direction where it was produced. Surprised, he realized it was from the lake where he left Hotara and Zacquaris in the rest, so he ran after them, dropping his gathered fruits behind, to save his brother’s life. “Hotara!” He hissed, dashing long his way he had passed. Abruptly, a crocodilian monster surfaced from the abysm. It was related to crocodiles and alligators, but it was as large as great Ka’thnosian wyverns. It had many small and big spikes that harmonically grow from its back, long canines which were most fearful sight of a grotesque being, and three-fingered, short black claws and red glowing eyes. The monster was almost like a prehistoric crocodile. It roared like a lion. Its open jaws followed Hotara to consume him. Hotara was scared, and he tried to crawl into the land, but it was too late because the crocodile monster grabbed his tail and he was hanged onto the air. The monster was about to eat him. “Skaro, help me! The monster’s eating me!” Hotara cried. When Skaro was still far away from him and he was running for Hotara, Zacquaris bravely tried to attack the monster to release Hotara from the monster’s grip. He sprinted from one place, and then firmly leaped from the rocky edge of a lake steep, and he pinched with his sharp, dreadful hand claws through the monster’s scale, and he used his “terrible claws” to rip the skin through. Shrieked by an extremely painful sensation, the monster then released Hotara and it turned to Zack whom he was predominantly attacked. Zack was unable to swim gradually on a deep lake because he hadn’t taken swimming skills yet. He was seized in the monster’s direful hand and was expansively ailed by a slight compression between pointed scales of a hand. Skaro exploded through the bushes, unleashing his pair of scimitars to assail the monster on the lake. Hotara safely landed on a secure place away from the danger zone. Remembering his ultimate qualifications and attacks, Skaro sliced the monster’s finger through, spraying amount of blood from a maimed finger. This awesome attack freed Zacquaris whose central body was wounded with small but awful cuts. While Zack was crawling away, Skaro continued to slash the body of a monster until it died by supreme bleeding and by piercing critically. The crocodilian monster became a living “statue” and it was cumbersome to remove it from the lake polluted with red blood flowing in every direction. “It died,” Hotara said, Hearing the death of a first monster, another crocodilian beast, which was a related one, blasted out of the same lake and charged at Skaro, roaring thunderously. It was stronger than the first one, but shorter. But Skaro’s energy was already depleted because of his wild movements and a rapid onslaught against huge beasts. His yellow loincloth left on the lake floated when it was too heavy to be tied on. “Skaro, watch out!” Hotara yelled. Zack hissed to ease Skaro out. Skaro dodged from the monster’s jaw striking towards him and he sprinted in circular motion until he plunged into the reddish lake and dove down the lake. His significant pair of scimitars was left along the lake because he tried to escape from fatal jaw striking. He was chased by a terrible monster swimming like a high-ranked submarine, and he potentially swam away from charging sharp jaws and claws. There were so many bubbles everywhere which he couldn’t see through water, so ventured rapidly to escape from the monster. But the monster pursued to ravage. Hotara recovered his brother’s scimitars and a loincloth left at the mouth of the lake. Hurriedly, he mounted Zacquaris and drove along the river where violent water waves were emitted. Zack sped up his galloping to reach Skaro’s fateful endangerment. When they reached Skaro’s position, Hotara cried to elicit Skaro to pass his scimitar. He threw it overhead without traversing over the incident. Skaro, with sharp “eagle’s” eyes which he improved it before, grabbed the handle of his scimitar. He dove upward and jumped over the rippled surface and landed on the monster’s spiky back. He balanced himself with his tail and head so that he could not be capsized over the river. When the monster was struggling itself, he pierced with his saber through its back, removing the blood and flesh out. The monster used its massive tail to whip Skaro away. Now they reached through the mouth of the river that met the open vast ocean. Many schools of fish were frightened away and seagulls flew to depart from disturbances. Skaro landed on a rock where crispy barnacles and slimy seaweeds grow. The monster then reached its peak to eat the attack up, and it roaming towards exhausted Skaro. Suddenly a new kind of sea monster arrived. It was a water dragon, same size as an elephant. It had a lizard-like face, long neck, very muscular body, tail and fins grown from elbows, but had no horns and pectoral fins on its back. The muscular body of a water dragon was a male, but females had less muscular. He was wearing leathery loincloth. The water dragon opened his lipless jaws and seized the crocodilian monster’s head, snapping its vertebrate off and killed it. Skaro felt that the water dragon would eat him also, who moving and swimming towards him slowly. With no instincts which to eat lizardmen, the water dragon reached his hand over him, patting him on his back. “Do not be afraid, lizardman, I’m a friend of Shivanian Tribe,” the water dragon said. Alas, Skaro found out that the reptilian sea monster was very compliant and friendly. He felt welcomed when he was undesirably spared. “You saved me from that terrible monster?” Skaro asked, crawling upon the rock and sat on it. “Who are you? Uh, what were you?” “I am Wraginor, the water dragon, and the son of the King of the Seven Seas. I swim around the ocean to seek the occurrences which I should spare for safety and security.” “So you are the Prince of the Seven Seas.” “Right,” Wraginor said in hissed voice. “I heard of you that you had saved the village and defeated invading Ta’za bastards. Your name is General Skaro.” “How do you know me?” “King Corus, your honorable ruler of Shivanian Tribe, told me about your excellence. We, the water dragon race, are in your alliance, and you should know that I came from Dragonia to seek King Razkhor, the Black Dragon King. But I cannot tell what he is because his personalities are hidden and yet unperceived.” Wraginor was used to be a “Guardian of the Seven Seas” which his kind called. He had been on Dragonia where he shouldn’t have to be captured nor subjected to the dragon race. The land of fire dragons, Dragonia, was a largest homeland where there were higher civilizations, technologies, democracies, productions and educations, but only very few magic and incantation because of the industrial revolution. The Shivanian and Ka’thnosian Lizardmen were supposed to immigrate to that new land, but the recolonization to foreign lands was forbidden unless they should defeat the Ta’za Tribe and annihilate their negative customs, disastrous possessions and diabolic sovereignty once and for all. Slavery was what the good tribes hated and refused. “I heard of Dragonia. It’s the land of the fire dragon race, but why they were forbidden to depart from their land?” “Because, according to King Razkhor’s rule: ‘one shall not depart from the motherland where we have lived for long time’. I learned it from my father.” “Are you and your kind the part of their race?” “No, we’re not their kind.” “We would like to go there, but we were forbidden, too, because we must first defeat the Ta’za tribe before the expansion of lizardman race to the new world. This is what King Taskhr stated.” “King Taskhr was the father of King Corus, but he was murdered by Ta’za marauders.” “Indeed.” As they finished chatting about the difference of reptilian race and the customs, Skaro jumped and dove down the sea, swimming towards the beach to meet Hotara and Zack again. Wraginor submerged and firmly moved below Skaro’s swimming. He rose himself up to the surface, letting Skaro lie on his strong back while flowing himself to the beach. Having shocked by new evidence, Hotara and Zacquaris had seen Wraginor’s deliverance which Skaro would have been eaten conclusively without him. They became thankful to the water dragon. Hotara jumped down from Zack’s seat and step in front of Wraginor beaching steadily. As the water dragon dropped his body onto the sandy area, Skaro bounded before Hotara, and he put him on his arms. He was still naked but not so embarrassing to Hotara and Zack. “This is my young brother, Hotara,” he introduced. “He is smart in school, and he will become a brave fighter just like me. When our parents died, I am the one to raise him, feed him and train him as my apprentice. My deinonychus beside me, named Zacquaris. He is a skillful battle raptor.” He turned to his brother who clasped his neck. “His name is Wraginor, the water dragon of the Seven Seas.” “Hi,” Hotara greeted, reaching his hand at Wraginor. Feeling what he should properly do for a friendship, Wraginor carefully placed his fierce head at Hotara so that Hotara could touch him like he touched his iguana in the lizard den. Hotara rubbed his hand against blue coarse scales which resembles to shark’s skin, and then he rubbed again his hand to the eyes to where the water dragon’s face was moving around. To show fondness, Wraginor licked Hotara with his long, gooey tongue, covering the head with saliva. “Yuck!” Hotara shouted, shoving away his hand. “Disgusting!” Spitefully, he was throwing the saliva away from his body whenever Skaro laughed. “No, just a friendly lick that of my brothers and sisters and my neighbors. It’s only common to all dragons. Uh, so you don’t like my saliva? Sorry for that.” “Nah, it’s all right, I understand.” Hotara said. “See? He’s very kind to anyone,” Skaro said, wiggling his brother on his arm. On second thought, he planned to go home because it was already night. To avoid leaving his new gigantic friend, the water dragon, like they were being separated, he could show Wraginor the lizard den. “So, would you like to see my home in The Great Swamp?” “Where is it?” “I’ll show you.” “Please,” Hotara pleaded, “let me ride with Wraginor.” “Go ahead, Hotara,” Wraginor said kindly. Hotara returned Skaro the yellow loincloth and a pair of scimitars, and he asked his brother to put him on Wraginor’s lower neck over the muscular back. He adjusted his logs over the water dragon’s shoulders so that he could not be slipped and fallen. Wraginor felt agitated and tittered when a young lizardman was on his back. After the preparation, Skaro mounted Zacquaris and sauntered home. Wraginor crawled through the mouth of a river, leaving a decaying and bleeding monster on the sea behind. He swam through the creek while he followed Skaro leaving home. He felt from his backbone that Hotara was lying on his back and pillowing upon his hands and watching the shining half moon. He was so glad for this attraction. When Skaro pointed to the next route which the river couldn’t follow, he crawled on the muddy land and he passed through very thick, mossy bushes, hanging mosses and lichens. On their way to their lizard den in the Great Swamp, Skaro and Zack climbed onto the porch. Wraginor stopped before Skaro and let Hotara step off. Glittering fireflies lightened the pond and many insects croaked everywhere. “This is my home,” Skaro told. “However, this is too small for giant creatures. Why don’t you stay here in the pond and take a rest?” “Certainly, Skaro, my friend,” Wraginor said from the window. “Perhaps you and I will have fun around your territory tomorrow when Hotara is playing with me either on the land or on water.” “But I recommend you to stay only in this area because Ta’za scouts are straying around to spy a new kind of beast which they wish. Suppose you are going to meet my teachers and my pupils in the Shivanian Army School. They will be surprised to discover you.” “Well, I’ll do it. Goodnight, Skaro.” “Goodnight, Wraginor.” Wraginor felt that his father the King of the Seven Seas would be angry if he was lost in the world, but he was agreed to swim all over the ocean as an adventurer. He had met sea serpents in remote seas, located leviathan nagas on atolls, explored colorful coral reefs and entered many sunken ships of ancient Shivanians and Ka’thnosians. He thought these sunken ships were destroyed by vain sea serpents, which closely determined that Shivanians would never sail across the ocean forevermore because of a perilous expedition. Halting his experiences in the Reef Kingdom—his homeland—laid himself between the mangrove and other trees on the land, furling sideways to find a comfy sleeping position. He closed his eyes in the dark, and snoozed. Skaro and Hotara finished bathing themselves at the waterfall. After they dried their green and blue scales with a bath towel made of wool, Skaro, handling a lighted candle, entered the basement, passing through the trapdoor under Skaro’s chair, which was their master’s bedroom. It was bedtime; he placed the candle on a wall ledge, scratching his waist horizontally. He took off his loincloth and hung it on a hook against the hay-built wall. Now he was naked again, he stretched his body straightly and jumped onto a bulky floor—the floor bed—his spikes folded. Searching for a comfiest resting place, Hotara himself climbed onto his brother’s muscular torso, embracing the hard scales with his limbs and tail, and softly breathed before sleeping. In a complete lying position on his belly, he caressed his young, flabby scales on Skaro’s abdomen. “Are you feeling very cozy, my young dearest brother?” Skaro said, putting his hand on Hotara’s body. He slightly moaned when Hotara endearingly put his muzzle under his chin and above his neck. Of which Wraginor showed a licking on the beach, he lapped his young brother’s face with his slimy tongue. “Yeah sure,” Hotara replied. Feeling aroused by a touching sensation of his body, Skaro extinguished the candlelight until the bedroom was covered in total darkness. He closed his eyes and slept with young Hotara fondly lying on his warm body. This action was only for most lonesome lizardmen when they have nostalgic ideas and experiences.
Chapter 7 Brothers in Arms Training young Hotara by himself was very hard. However, he thought his parents were neglectful and careless to his little brother. Feeling passionate, he always hugged Hotara everyday around his arms, his torso, his legs and his tail. He had tried to teach him using sabers and shields, and, mostly, bow and arrow. Hotara liked bow and arrow more than any other weapons, but Skaro wanted him to be like himself the lizard warrior with a pair of scimitars. Even if Hotara was too young, and older than other boys in his training area, he should wait for his growth. Otherwise, shooting distant objects with a small, flexible bow and arrow was a good influence. Twenty-five years passed. Hotara, as a youngest in Agamidae family, became fully-grown lizardman, surpassing mature years, and mighty Skaro was now fifty-four years old. Skaro’s body was still strong and yet powerful. Hotara’s muscular body could maintain his skills and martial art techniques. During his hardened, atrocious life, he should be responsible and as potential as his eldest brother. To test his abilities, Hotara was placed on open fields by Skaro carrying two hard-wooden sticks which could be safety weapons. Being aware to his skills, Skaro allowed him to stay calmly on a circular sandy soil ground. “Stand here, dear brother,” he said, adjusting Hotara on a center circle, and he passed him a bamboo stick. “We’re here to test your skills which you have learned from me. Remember, this is not just a game. It widely assumes that a great warrior has to have a great effort, courageousness and self-awareness.” “Well,” Hotara said, “this is more terrible than I’ve been in a crocodile river where you rescued me from the jaws. Is it only the beginning?” Skaro replied, “Yes, it is only the beginning. That’s more than the greenhorn. So, let’s begin your test.” He walked away into one of the big boulders. “Search and feel whoever or whatever you are targeted from the distance.” He concealed behind any of the boulders, but his tail was exposed at the edge to Hotara. Looked at Skaro’s tail moving upwards, Hotara barely used his insights to perceive. After many seconds when the wind softly rushed through the fields from gloomy storm clouds, Skaro suddenly leaped from wherever he climbed in stealth, rotating his bamboo stick rapidly around his right hand, and hissing aloud. As Skaro was falling and reaching onto him, Hotara shielded himself under the stick which he grasped strongly. Two sticks impacted, with extreme tensions between two brothers. Hotara’s feet carved out the soil because the physical effect of a great wedge forced him down. The practical fight began. Skaro and Hotara exceedingly used all their martial art mastery which a skillful warrior requires. Dodges, blocks, crouches, collisions and leaps were in the combination in order to increase the expertise. After they took two and a half hours of contending, they halted and stooped over, breathing hard. Together they drank a large flask of clean water accumulated from mountain springs. “You have done well, Hotara, my brother,” Skaro said, embracing him at the side. “Now you’re now the skillful warrior, as long as you’re my lifelong apprentice. Worry not. You’ll encounter many great challenges which you must face with or without me. I haven’t told you that Ta’za Tribe had ravaged our lands and kidnap our people. Remember your training, and try to stay calm when you’re ready to fight like whatever I did during the tribal wars.” “Thank you, Skaro.” Hotara rubbed his face under Skaro’s chin. When the test was accomplished, two brothers mounted Zacquaris, and packed up their sticks and bottles in Zack’s bag. Zack, as a very strong and muscular Deinonychus, could confidently manage the weight that pushed him down. They rode away into Xan’orthras at the front gate to Middle Town one day to find a job for Hotara. After they tightly tied Zack on dinosaur parking fence, they passed through many buyers who were purchasing meats, fruits, utensils, garments and home decorations. Hotara found an abandoned forge as an old, paint-lettered sign said, “For sale”. Inside the forge, ironing tools, metal scraps, stack of firewood, anvils and pieces of furniture were covered under opaque cobwebs and webs. This excited him. “Brother,” he pleaded Skaro buying four oranges and a beer bottle, “there’s a shop we’re looking for. That suits me.” “What kind of shop?” “It’s a forge. I’m going to make my own weapon, and repair someone’s damaged weapons to have me paid. Agamid will be my good employee.” “So, how much is that shop? Who’s the owner?” “I am,” a lizardman under the leather coat and with jewelries said. “This forge seems to be useless because my competitor on the other side have accumulated more customers than I. So I cancelled my business. Oh, you want to by my shop? It costs five-hundred gold and sixty silvers.” “We can afford it, sir,” Skaro said. “Let’s take a deal.” The forge owner exchanged a right value to Skaro. When the forge was brought, Hotara entered the forge, smelling a dust that caused him to sneeze. “Achoo! Wow, nice area and room for customers. Achoo!” The old forge was suitably big wherein the spaces could probably fit them and the clients. “I’m now the blacksmith, and weapon trader!” He declared. “That’s good,” Skaro said, entering Hotara’s new forge. Happily, he wrapped his arms, speaking the truth about a skillful smith. “But practice makes everything perfect. Being a blacksmith as you repair flawed weapons from anyone is hard, long work. Do you know what a blacksmith does?” “Sure, um I think they just hammer the heated piece of metal and turn it into a weapon.” “It’s only a synopsis. A weapon trader requires profitable dealing and fair costing. As a blacksmith, you can create any weapon you like, and sell it to whoever enters here. You should buy iron from the miners who brought iron for the kingdom.” “Can you share me your gold because I’m a new blacksmith in town?” “I certainly do because you are my good, responsible young brother, the apprentice, and the provider. On the other hand, you still have to practice with me more about martial arts. Schedule your business, and create your time.” Skaro looked around the forge filled with grime and dust. “Your forge is not very neat. Let us clean this area to attract your customers.” “Are you going to work with me here?” “No, I already have my own business—training children and supporting the center. Henceforth, you become the metalworker.” “So I’ll hire Agamid and be a good laborer.” And so, Both Hotara and Skaro had their own business while there were no tribal incidents around Lizardland. In the mid-afternoon, they cleaned up the entire forge, dusted cobwebs, wiped out grime and soil on ceilings and a fireplace, mopped the floor and opened all windows to blow away dust particles from the room. Hotara gathered his oiled ironing tools hidden inside the closet in the staff room, and arranged them on the table. “You must first practice your ironing skills, like you’ve been practiced with me on combat and martial art skills,” Skaro reminded, his arms wrapped together. “Keep this in your mind: ‘practice makes perfect’. Whenever you are learning in your job, I can help you.” He picked a long piece of iron from the cement floor, and, to illustrate intelligibly, showed him a tip for shaping and firing metals. “Do you know everything?” Hotara asked. “I know much about the heraldry and the manufacture. You may not deny me as most of my explanations are considerable.” The ironing business commenced, Hotara cleaned old pieces of used iron from the storage chest nearby briskly, and he fired it in the furnace-like fireplace, holding it with a pair of tongs. When the iron became red until yellowish-orange, he placed it on the steel anvil. He thought he could make a sword, a dagger, an arrowhead or a bolo. Minding his own business, Skaro, while Hotara was shaping an iron, said, “I need to go back to the training center, brother. I’m still busy filing the list of neophytes and their achievements. I hope you have confidence on your metalwork, and deal with your customers.” “I’ll see you after my work are done, brother,” Hotara said. Skaro left the forge, and rode on Zack to drive back to the forest. Hotara chose to produce an arrowhead, knowing the pointed, crossed metal head of an arrow. He formed a small soft, malleable hot iron into a cone by hammering and tweezing, strongly pushed it into crisscross shape, and hollowed it for an attachment with arrow stick. Few hours passed, he made thirty new arrowheads. However, he required two more parts of an arrow—a wooden stick and a feather vane. Until he grew exhausted in his individual proprietorship, he gathered piles of strong, durable wood from the lumber mill in the Lower Town. Alone he split one wood into thin but rigid sticks, and trimmed them to form a round, clean arrow stick. He required feather vanes for the arrow parts, so he collected leftover feathers from poultry market where hens and roosters were sold to hungry lizardmen. He attached a sliced feather vane and an arrowhead to the sides of a stick and he created the completed arrow. Then, he repeated the same process until the production was done. That night, some of the shops and markets were closed of their schedule. Few buyers and pedestrians, still in their busy job, appeared on cold streets and dark alleys constantly whenever the rain would be come. One by one, raindrops of drizzle splashed on roofs lightly until the downpour covered the far-off atmosphere. The night weather became bad, many fearful lizardmen in the marketplace, of course, urged to close their shops when their few of their products were spitefully soaked. They ran away to their homes whether in Middle Town or Lower Town. Inside the forge, torches and table candles were lit to illuminate and to warm the room. Because of his overworking, Hotara grew sick of being a lonesome blacksmith. He could have hired furious Agamid who was unemployed and still in his training with Skaro. He, after he extinguished the lights, closed the forge, locking its front and back doors. Walking along the intemperately rainy street, his tail and his muscular body shivered under runny rain water and chilly winds. He heard beastly hisses echoed from the alley between his forge and a leather shop where he could buy leather for armor. Nervously, as if there were grotesque monsters born in dark alleys and sewers, he checked the alley and followed the noises that lead in the crates. Suddenly, a fierce, mighty velociraptor screamed and jumped moved about around Hotara whose legs were trembled and whose heart beat harder. He learned from Skaro that he could attack with dexterity whenever there was a minor assault. The velociraptor, covered in rain water, walked nearly at Hotara’s head, and it opened its mouth to show fearfulness. Until then, it dropped down with frown, and expressed a deplorable growl which meant it was homeless. “Are you alone?” Hotara asked, stooped before the velociraptor lying on flooded alley. The velociraptor replied, saying a beastly grumble which it should be cared. Its stomach rumbled in hunger, and its mouth drooled in thirst. It cannot survive without food and clean water and without an adopter. If a dinosaur would stay in the alley for a very long time, it could savage any of its prey—a lizardman or another dinosaur. Hotara admitted he should adopt a very lonely dinosaur staying in the alley. As of dinosaurs’ intelligence and behavior, he knew that the raptor was urgently loyal to its masters. “Are you coming with me?” He asked the velociraptor. The dinosaur grumbled as it accepted, and it was patted by Hotara’s scaly hands and tail. Hotara grabbed its claws and led it to outside the Xan’orthras. Throughout the cold, horrible jungle where it routed straight to Skaro’s lizard den in the deep swamplands, the velociraptor found an herbivorous dinosaur vagabond and snatched it to eat. When the journey continued, Hotara felt tired of walking long distances since Skaro had his own dinosaur to ride which he could be joined. Fortunately, he already had his own dinosaur, so he asked it to ride on. The velociraptor nodded, so Hotara climbed on its back, and controlled it without reins and stirrups by holding its neck. It galloped along the right path until they entered Skaro’s territory. They stopped at the river, watching the lizard den glowing with indoor torches. Hotara let his raptor to venture through mucky, soggy river instead of swimming through. “I’m home, Skaro,” he growled. Skaro, with curious Zacquaris behind, came out from the front entrance. Gradually, they both surprised when they gazed Hotara riding on velociraptor proudly. “Where did that dinosaur come from?” Skaro asked, pulling Hotara’s hand up. “I found the raptor in the alley alone, so I adopt him as my new dinosaur,” Hotara said, letting the velociraptor climb above the ledge. “So you will have your own dinosaur. Allow me to examine your dinosaur.” Skaro stood in front of the velociraptor. He checked its snout, scales and genitals. He discovered the raptor was female. “This is female, yet mine is male. This means we will have multiple raptors in our home—maybe,” he said. “She’s strong yet thin, so what can you name her?” “I name him, Viator,” Hotara identified. “Welcome to our family, Viator!” Skaro greeted the velociraptor hopping gleefully and snorting joyfully. “You are now the dinosaur rider of Hotara, but you should be trained as my deinonychus is fully trained—ranked into Master Dinosaur. You are only the beginner because you haven’t know the techniques of a raptor. Unfortunately, you are too old to be trained.” “Why is she too old, brother?” Hotara asked. “Because she hadn’t experienced all of the masteries of a raptor. But it’s all right, we can train her as possible. We must let her in since the night is still raining cats and dogs.” Smiled as his brother accepted the adaptation, Hotara led Viator to enter the den, despite Zacquaris who stared at her. Starving, he asked Skaro to prepare a meat dish for a supper while the storm was continuing that night. As a custodian of his young brother, Skaro burnt firewood on the cooking area in the kitchen. He had brought a dead wild boar from the jungle, whenever the dinnertime should be satisfied. Using a sharp army knife, he scraped off the pig fur which he could reuse it for a home décor and for Hotara’s new loincloth. He roasted the whole meat for an hour until it became golden brown. During the cooking time, Viator curiously explored the interior of the lizard den. She saw Skaro’s paintings, potteries, weapons, war necklaces, charms, book of spells and mirror which she could see her snout—looking eligible and beautiful as of dinosaurs’ saurian appearances. Finishing her glance, she was surprised to see Zack faced at her, seeming enamored at the first sight. Zack tried to reach her face with his handsome-looking but, usually, ferocious face, but she stepped away slightly, giggling. Zack hissed with a good facial expression, and Viator was impressed. Finally, they wrapped their head and neck together, fell in love slenderly. After they roasted their whole, crispy and scrumptious meat, Hotara and Skaro checked their raptors in what they were acting so quietly. They greatly astonished as they saw them hugging and holding necks. “What are they doing in our house?” Hotara asked, his eyes widened in apprehension. “They loved to each other,” Skaro said, felt aroused and wondered passionately. Being interrupted, Zack and Viator, separating from hugging, stepped near the witnessing Shivanians. Hotara looked down from the raptors, and found holding hands. “They’re really fallen in love, Skaro!” Hotara exploded. “There’s no such thing as dinosaur love. But, our raptors were as smart as we, so I eventually proved that all raptors have their intelligence.” Skaro explained since he doubted that raptors weren’t as smart as lizardmen yet lacking a proper language. “Let us be calm and ignore their date, Hotara. Our food is waiting on the table.” Feeling excited in dinner, they shared their food from a whole roasted pig. As they were satisfied, they grew sleepy. Skaro put the raptors inside the raptor room which was belonged to Zack. Extinguishing lights around the hallway, they entered the basement bedroom underneath, crawling and fitting themselves in a small room. After they blew their candles, they slumbered together by the exposed window with which the heavy rain sprayed towards them. Also, Zacquaris and Viator stuck together and slept comfortably and soundly on a pile of soft hay and furry blankets.
BIRTH OF THE SHIVANIAN HEROES
Kevin B. Gener
Chapter 1: A Decision to Recruitment (uncompleted)
Chapter 2: First Task
Chapter 3: Orphanage
Chapter 4: Young Hotara
Chapter 5: The Training (uncompleted)
Chapter 6: The Crystal Isle (uncompleted)
Chapter 7: Brothers in Arms
Chapter 8 Rescuing Ganth The forge schedule was made as Hotara would resume his weapon shifting, repairing damaged blades and forging new axes every afternoon. Every morning on the open training field but not in Skaro’s training center, he was urged by furious Skaro who wanted him to be trained hard until he became a professional ninja. After such days of his deep practice, he familiarized the uses of his weapons like a dagger, a sword, a pair of sabers, a spear, and a combat stick. Luckily, he made his training and self-training to develop his acquired abilities and perceptions. Keeping Skaro’s formative teachings demandingly, he tried to be aware in the great future battles around Lizardland. After training with Skaro, he could return to his business in Xan’orthras to sell armor, weapons and other equipment for the soldiers. To raptors’ participation which should be included in the war, Zacquaris tutored Viator fairly and significantly on the same field while his master Skaro was still testing Hotara. To start the raptor training by a skilled raptor, he used his dinosaurian raptor “language”—roaring, for example—to express his beloved velociraptor a bellicose movement using “terrible claws.” The “terrible claw” skill involved kickboxing, mild karate and locomotive attacks. A name velociraptor comes from two words, “speedy thief”, which obvious namesakes were a special to warriors. Viator tried to fulfill her skill with Zack who was a strict mentor. Returning to their lizard den when Hotara happily had a day off, the two brothers were walking through the Ja’zek passage that routed strait to Xan’orthras from Sytra Myatra town. Both Hotara and Skaro walked on barefoot since their active raptors were moderately exhausted from their own duty. They courteously passed through some of the farmers, busy pedestrians and travelers with their dinosaur pulling carriages. “Wow, my young brother,” Skaro said, wrapping his arm around Hotara’s neck and quivering him congenially, “you are really a grown-up lizard just like me. You are strong, flexible and fulfilled warrior as I trained you in your life. You reached your body height two inches lower than my head. As you have the fighting skills you can make your senses be alarmed for any differences. Be ready for the expecting combats.” “Thank you for your kind amusement, Skaro,” Hotara said. “And thank you for teaching and partaking me all of your relative skills. Perhaps now I fully—but at least—learn which you granted.” He looked at Viator and Zacquaris chatting, chuckling and contacting their heads to each other to enjoy their leisure. “I don’t think that all raptors have their own rights to train their own races. Do they have?” he asked, carrying his rough, dampened wooden pole which he recently used to test his martial art skills. “They do have their own rights, brother,” Skaro replied, pulling Zack’s reins. “Sometimes Zack can have his novice Viator instead of us.” “Raptors can’t do that. They’re just dinosaurs!” “It’s different now. We know most of the raptors are clever.” “So, let’s discuss about ra…” Abruptly, the royal messenger, whom King Corus commanded, driving the raptor rushed in front of them whose heart was hardened by a bad news. He dismounted the raptor and gazed in front of Skaro. “General Skaro, there is another invasion deep in the jungle!” He said, adjusting his leather shirt, belt and gemmed bracelets. “What is it?” Skaro asked, initially growing intense because of the second brutal battle that he experienced and fought victoriously. “I have a bad news that spread all over our tribe. I don’t have a royal letter to give you like an invitation, but King Corus ordered me to warn you about disastrous happening in Kantor Jungle. Here is the reliable message from the king: Witnesses who survived from the invasion reported that the gang of Ta’za army had invaded a small village in the jungle and burned the dens into smithereens. This is a serious outcome. So you are chosen by King Corus to rescue the village!” “For goodness’ sake,” Skaro surprised, “those bastards are trying to annihilate our tribe! Hotara, will you join me in the battle?” He could need his well-trained apprentice like Hotara for the assistance of a master was necessary. Choosing his risky decision, he thought of dying for honor and surviving for cowardice. He hated cowardice like a chicken, so he obediently chose to participate on the proved warfare. “Certainly,” Hotara responded courageously and uprightly, “Seemingly, as I’m your apprentice, I must join you whatever you and King Corus want, but I don’t have weapons to provide.” “The Shivanian army will give you any of your weapons.” Hotara realized that most deadly weapons weren’t interesting to him because he obsessed for using ordinary arms and he was sick of it. Wherever he supposed to require weapons, he grabbed his own attention to create a special weapon as he was a blacksmith. “I object it,” he told. “I need to make my own,” “But there is no time!” Skaro warned. “The Ta’za army had kidnapped our children!” “I can make it quick.” “Well…” Skaro was thinking for a decision which Hotara should create a new one. As a good brother when he thought of the promise from his mother to be kind and truthful to young siblings, he liberally agreed to leave Hotara what he applied. “Take your time while I’m recruiting my army in the fortress.” “It’s a deal! Thanks.” And so, they rode on their raptors to gallop hurriedly into Xan’orthras. In the Middle Town of the capital city, some of the lizardmen were horrified and they panicked as terrible news shrouded the whole Shivanian Tribe. Many talk to each other about the invasion. Tragically, few of them who had their relatives lived in the village where Ta’za army had occupied sorrowed. Some, horribly, littered their junky things on their streets during a moderate panic. In Middle Town and Upper Town, many lizardmen tried to invocate what the society had happened after the serious news reported. While Skaro was passing through the mob, Hotara stopped his velociraptor Viator at the entrance door of his forge, telling her to wait and guard his shop. After he wore his blacksmith armor and leather gloves, he grabbed a thick, long strip of steel from storage room, held it with tongs, and heated it in the super-heated fireplace. Several minutes passed, he removed the flame-orange glowing steel from the fire and placed it on the anvil. Thinking about the “Saberbow” which was a combination of a double sword and bow, he pounded it into a bow-like shape and formed sharp edges except its middle part—handle. When the crafted bow was accomplished, he cooled it in a barrel of used water, dried it with a towel, and then sandpapered its surfaces to remove moisture, to polish, and to prevent rusting. To make it very incisive and very dreadful, he used a sharpening machine, applying the force of a wheel-shaped sharpener by pushing the machine pedal, to sharpen the blades, but leaving both crooked ends dull which was to attach a bowstring. To add its decorative, heroic style, he put an oval ruby jewelry on the middle of unsharpened part, and covered its handle with a long piece of leather strip for a good handling. The Saberbow was all finished. Hurrying up his attention which his brother declared, he grabbed a bag of medical equipment, life potions and small sacks of different magic dust which Skaro bought from alchemists, and departed the forge, locking its entrance. He mounted Viator looking at the people and the dinosaurs and controlled her to gallop into the Shivanian Fortress. He entered late into the entrance gate of the fortress where a small group of Shivanian army mounted their raptors were led by General Skaro whose deinonychus Zacquaris was already heavily armored and modified. Skaro dressed an old, body armor with a patched violet cape which he suited it during his first struggle. King Corus, growing furious and annoyed by a taste of a conflict, had paid for a chosen army for most well-trained warriors. “Listen up, my brethrens!” He exclaimed over Skaro’s army, “The small village deep in the rainforest has avenged by a gang of Ta’za army. I have sensed the death among the innocents and torture of our citizens and fear of their children whom the foes kidnapped. You must throw away those damn invaders and rescue all the affected people there!” While King Corus was speaking, Hotara and Viator entered the armory beyond the front entrance of the fortress where the artificers could kindly suit him and his velociraptor. They knew that Hotara was the brother of Shivanian Hero, so they paid respect to him. Hotara wore leather torso underwear before a strong, rigid metal plate, gauntlets, golden bracelets, thigh plates and saurian helmet. In weapons, the artificers gave him a bladed boomerang and the “Tripod Lance” which was designed by King Corus. The Tripod Lance had tripod-like blades, leather handgrip and pointed metal ends. Meanwhile, the other artificers gave Viator a dinosaur armor plate, arm plates, knee plates, tail plates, limb bracelets and helmet attached with reins, and they placed a dinosaur rider’s seat with stirrups on top of her back, and belted down her belly. “This will suit you and your raptor, soldier,” an artificer foreman said, “I know your brother is a tough, mighty Shivanian hero to fight. You must be like him.” “With pleasure, sir,” Hotara said. Trying to mount Viator, however, he was dragged down by body armor. “Um, I think my armor is too heavy for me. Why don’t I remove only this?” “You may not, because your torso must be protected. What will happen to your waist if it is not dressed?” Hotara spoke nothing, and accepted the will of his self. He balanced his own weight as he was climbing up onto Viator from the stirrup. He controlled Viator to walk outside the armory and join beside Skaro leading his preparing troops. “Where have you been? What took you so long?” Skaro asked. “I’ve been working in the forge to create a new weapon. I called it, ‘Saberbow’. What do you think of my modification? Viator’s?” Hotara grew anxious for his new saberbow that was widely new to Shivanian tribe. The saberbow was his most favorite weapon besides other weapons that Skaro’s army equipped. Skaro judged Hotara’s battle armor. The armor was as old as his father’s, except the circlet adorned with fake but shiny diamonds made of an ordinary glass. A magenta cape that Hotara wore wasn’t required to his battle. A pack full of arrows was absolutely possible to professional sharpshooters. “It’s nice and strong,” he commented. “So, you have learned from me for a long time, brother. You need to connect your training to the real battle wherein you know the martial arts and swordsmanship. Nevertheless, as of your weightiness, your steel armor seems to be heavier than a leather coating you worn before. Why don’t you replace your armor into a lighter one?” “It’s all right. I can handle with my armor.” In the meantime, Skaro and all of his recruited Shivanian troops were listening to King Corus’s war speech saying: “We shall seek victory to obstruct the invasion among our Shivanian community. As for our forefathers, we shall sacrifice for our tribe’s sake…Now, are you ready to salvage the village deep in the jungle?” This speech was not as opprobrious as his fathers whose incoherent communication was a disgrace to his soldiers during the ancient wars. The ancient wars were more or less internecine than now, but required more than a thousand troops who were scarcely prepared and defensive to withstand the tribal conflict. Listening to the whole war speech, the Shivanian army roared courageously and approvingly. “Then commence!” King Corus concluded. To emit a battle cry, he raised his golden fire staff enthralled with the fire spells. The lizardmen roared in a second time, their furious, fully-armed raptors screamed also. While King Corus, exhausted by his loudly vibrating snorts in his throat, returned to his fortress and stood at the window, the Shivanian raptor riders positioned themselves into a rectangular parade a meter away from each and faced before General Skaro and Hotara glancing at front of the fortress gate. Because of the battle which elicited them who were either experienced or not, they felt that their hearts were beating faster, their stomachs were vibrating, and their lungs were panting. The royal guards, by the reputation for Skaro, rotated the strong pulley to open the fortress gate and to lower the portcullis, allowing the army to salvage the affected village. General Skaro and his army marched outside the Shivanian Fortress and through the city. The townsfolk respectfully stepped away from the parade’s path that led them to the main entrance of Xan’orthras. Hoping that they would be vanquished, they cheered and heartened Skaro and his troops and their raptors. Throughout the jungle, Skaro’s army only walked separately and individually when there were many different trees and thorny shrubs all around, blocking their single-paced parading. Hotara and Skaro, on the other hand, march together. One of his army stepped off from alligator ponds. Another whose scales were almost perforated by succulents should stick together with the group. Third was unexpectedly fallen down the lower elevation. Traveling to the invaded village would cover about ten kilometers “Do you know someone in that village?” Hotara asked Skaro. “I’ve been there since I was a thirty-four, giving poor villagers food and money with my supporters from Xan’orthras.” “Do I say, ‘Did you go?’?” Hotara emphasized. “I said ‘do you know someone?’.” “Oh, sorry, brother, I thought you ask me which I made donations. Long ago, I was there to meet my…” Gasped, Skaro began astonished by a realization of his known relatives. In the past, before his parents separated him, he found an infant on Kashaa’s arms. It was his second brother. His parents couldn’t permit their newly-hatched child to remain in the house with him. When the baby was grown up, he was trained, but he became selfish and irresponsible. Skaro located him in the village—it was clear and satisfied—thirty years from now while he was donating poor citizens some money, food and clothing. He spoke a name to Hotara, “…Larzuk?” “Who’s Larzuk?” Hotara asked without an acknowledgment from his brother. “Our middle brother! I forgot about him, but you haven’t recognized him He lives in that village where Ta’za invaders hunted him and his family down!” Because of the death of the middle brother, Skaro screamed in rage which overspread the areal jungle, scaring his troops. “Why didn’t you tell me about him?” “Unfortunately, I haven’t been in that village for almost thirty years—it’s a huge longtime. Now, I easily remembered him from my memories!” Because of his great anger and act for vengeance, Skaro internally increased his leadership skills and mightiness, scorning and warning his army behind. “My fellow troops,” he roared, “we must get into that village as fast as we must! No hesitation and no break!” He controlled Zacquaris to gallop swiftly through the jungle. A simple result of ‘no hesitation and no break’ was eagerly not to Shivanian soldiers, but to raptors. Regardless, soldiers could feed their raptor a reserved meat and water they carried in their utility bags. Lately, they reached the village firing drastically and completely. Ranging carefully and quietly, they, napping on their raptors’ back, told their raptors to drop their heads below the body height to sneak through very dense leaves and sprigs. The village was irrepressible and no longer sustainable after all. Lizard dens on the leafy grounds, at trees, in treetops, on swampy river and in caves were slashed into bits and burned down into ashes. Looking forward the numerous fears and deaths in his mind, Skaro found dead Shivanian people scattered on wet ground, and floated on the mucky river. The total population of the village was already wept out, all except, the children, nothing in the casualties, were abducted. “They already killed our people,” Hotara said desperately, “and all poor youngsters were kidnapped.” “Where are those bastards?” Skaro growled, searching for his deadly foes around the savaged area. “There they are!” Hotara found a small group of Ta’za army at the other side of the swampy creek dragging enchained Shivanian children away to the next area. He heard several heavy whips and abusive shouts and baby cries which were the children. “Finish all those intruders!” Skaro commanded brutally. “Don’t do it, Skaro!” Hotara stopped him. “You’re alarming the invaders. What if we will attack them so suddenly? And what will happen to the children as we are in the surprise combat?” “Yeah, you’re right.” Skaro told his lizardmen army, “Lizardmen, let us pass through the creek quietly.” As they were told, Skaro’s troops assured their raptors to tardily walk into the mucky, bloody creek and move to the other side of the swamp, without snorts from their mouths. While they were creeping, they pushed frightened big fishes and floating corpses off their way, and they cautiously refrained from soft, muddy creek bed, which it could sink them down, by stepping on concrete stones. In the middle of the river, they were soaked completely, except their exposed, fearless head. From now on, they, covered in mud, entered the other side. “Stay in position,” Skaro ordered his following troops, “and wait for our signal” His troops stopped at the creek. He and Hotara dropped from their raptor, and sneaked through the bushes. Astonished, they saw not the small group of Ta’za lizardmen, but a large group of them on the lower level of the ground. The Ta’za army pushed the remaining innocent children in their metallic cage carts filled with crying and frightened Shivanian children. “They’re many of them. Is it enough to finish them?” “Yes,” Skaro replied, with his angry eyes that he could grow furious. He precisely estimated and compared the victory chance based on the strength and total number of his army and of the enemies. “I know we have the strong army which you would guess. Numbering these freaks cannot associate with assaults.” Two brothers heard the enemies’ conversation while few Shivanian children were forced to get into the spaced cage: “Finally,” one Ta’za soldier grunted, “these children we kidnapped will add to our army. Master Grakkon will be proud of us all!” “I can’t wait to have ‘fun’ with them!” another said, feeling aroused seductively. His furry-skinned loincloth lengthily bulged whenever his black genital was exposing. This citation meant that it was homophile and they were all ready to hump the children. This fiendish abuse by sex activity was a “good” practice only to Ta’za Tribe, but extremely evil to Shivanian and Ka’thnosian Tribes. And the Ta’za chieftain roared, whipping the poor children inside. “Hurry up, maggots! You shall be with us forever!” He closed the cage door after all the victims entered into their doom. Skaro gestured his quiet lizard riders to move nearer for a surprise attack, not a single twig snaps, rattling bushes and lizard disturbances around. As most of Ta’za army faced beyond the cage, he shouted, “ATTACK!!!” All Shivanian riders, heeding Skaro’s dictation, rushed through the bushes and jumped down the ground. Because the Ta’za soldiers were incognizant, they killed them by slicing their heads off, stabbing their bodies and, to all brave raptors, biting their parts up and ripping with their “terrible claws”. Defeating the foes, they were being careful not to destroy the cage. The children were either frightened or jollied by a great rescue. Only a half of the Ta’za army was claimed. “Chief! The Shivanian invaders have killed half of our army!” The Ta’za scout said. “We’re trying to stop them, but they’re too many of them!” The Ta’za chieftain screamed in rage. “Retreat! But I must take this damn cage with us!” He whipped his two four-legged lizard-like dinosaurs which run faster than Shivanian raptors to pull the cage away. Many children screamed to warn one of the Shivanian riders. “The Ta’za chieftain is taking the cage of children away!” Hotara warned Skaro As he gazed through the unpaved pathway where the cage was rolling away, Skaro replied. “Then both of us must save them!” He told the Shivanian captain, “You take our army, my brother and I will save these children!” After the captain nodded Skaro and Hotara rushed through the battlefield, controlled their brave raptors to chase and contact the scarpering cage. Both Zacquaris and Viator, consuming the nearby Ta’za soldiers, must remain their vitality so that they could reach the Ta’za chieftain. They passed into the arid, semi-sandy desert. Fewer cactuses and thorny bushes were quite safe for the runners, and desert floored with hard rocks were plausible but painful for their feet. The sun in partially clear sky would deplete the dinosaurs’ energy rapidly. Children were slightly happy when two rescuers approached among them. But six Ta’za soldiers were shown over the cage, preparing their bows and arrows to shoot them. As they potently shot arrows at Skaro more than Hotara, Skaro used his scimitars to accurately deflect the arrows’ heads away by very sharp sight and extreme agility, and Hotara also avoided them using his Saberbow. The main target for Ta’za archers was to hit an arrow to the raptors as a weak point to running riders, aiming their bows at two aweless raptors. Gradually, Hotara and Skaro found it out that their raptors would be primarily stabbed. So Hotara charged an arrow at the archers to seize the shooting. Standing by squatting, Skaro balanced himself on Zack who was still galloping as fast as the rolling cage. He sprang from the raptor seat and grabbed the bars of the cage. The children saw him gleefully, but the chieftain was outraged. To stop the moving cage was to insure the lizard-like dinosaurs pulling it. Ta’za chieftain left the reins off and climbed onto the cage roof from the driver’s seat. Unleashing his axe and a metallic round shield imprinted with Ta’za symbol, he faced Skaro who was tiredly handling his bloody scimitars. “Release all the children and get out of my territory,” Skaro hissed, panting. “The battle is between you and me.” The chieftain laughed. “Show me your skills, fool!” He charged forward ferociously, aiming his sharp axe above to increase his power to cut Skaro’s arm off. Skaro shielded himself from the axe by forming his pair of scimitars into a cross. They began a head-to-head battle on the rooftop while the cage was moving and Viator and Zack were galloping restlessly. Swinging axes prodded the rooftop and frightened the children underneath more than before. Many weapon reflects, misses, dodges and jumps made them more exhausted. Hotara was watching Skaro’s tiresome techniques, movements and assails. But the moving cart couldn’t slow down. If he would use his rope and a strong, steel hook from his backpack to catch the cart to decrease its acceleration, then he could be pulled and dragged on the rough, rocky, spiky ground. Pulling the cart was too difficult to neophytes like him. He couldn’t wish to cooperatively join heroic Skaro fighting with a Ta’za chieftain because he dubiously knew that the chieftain was definitely stronger than him. He looked beyond the cage and, alas, there was a high, steep cliff where Skaro, Ta’za chieftain and, horrifically, the Shivanian children. “Skaro!” He shouted to warn Skaro after three tries since the wind and the ground creaks noised all around the area. “You’re approaching the cliff! Do something to save our children!” In abruption, Skaro heard that he was reaching the cliff at a thousand yards away. Still he tried to stop the chieftain. Suddenly, the Ta’za chieftain punched him with his damaged shield. His back impacted on the rooftop, he couldn’t easily handle his scimitars so he loosened them aside accidentally. He was trodden by the chieftain’s foot trapping him. Worse yet, he hardly tried to force the foot away but he was already exhausted. “You are defeated, foolish green bastard,” the chieftain grunted, lifting his axe and aiming its sharp. Assaying worriedly to save his brother’s life, Hotara, at halfway to the edge of the cliff, used his Saberbow and arrow to stab Skaro’s enemy although Viator’s wild galloping toughened his arrow-targeting. The arrow was released in a full potential energy, and it impaled the chieftain’s shoulder to pass him out. Skaro grabbed his pair of scimitars back, and finally jabbed his foe grunting sorely into the end of lifetime. After the Ta’za chieftain fell onto the ceiling, he sat on the driver’s seat, grabbing the reins tied to two running dinosaurs. As he saw the cliff still going nearer and nearer, he tried to stop their actuating, but they were unstoppable because they were inevitably loyal to Ta’za tribe, and they should never trust their enemies. “I can’t stop them,” Skaro yelled to Hotara moving beside the runners. “The best thing to do is to release the latch of the cage!” He grabbed the metal latch that tightly connected the cage to the runners. When the latch was too tight, he used his scimitars to create a lever to loosen it from two sockets. It was now at the half until Ta’za chieftain on the rooftop who regained his consciousness strangled Skaro. Hotara was shocked, so he used his Saberbow twice to stab on another area, but his arrows were already expired. Skaro was losing his breath. His scimitar was dropped onto the ground and disappeared from his sight. He couldn’t even remove the latch. Horrendously, they had ten seconds to reach the edge of the cliff. Hotara tried to find an alternate way to save Skaro and the children from falling. He found that only the wheels could avoid the cage haphazardly, so he prepared his Saberbow and threw it straight through the spindles of the wheel. The bow destroyed one of four wheels and losing the balance of the cage. Two linked sockets split. Children were thrown around the cage. Skaro held on the holders on the cage, but the chieftain released him from throttling. Their bodies released as a connection to the heavy cage was unlinked, two dinosaur runners including Viator braked using their powerful feet at the edge of the cliff. However, the Ta’za Chieftain was pushed toward the open cliff rapidly, and met his death below the bottomless ground. After the risky rescue, Hotara dismounted Viator and turned to Skaro growing weak and inducing fatigue on the ground. He hold Skaro’s head and shook his body to wake him, “Skaro, are you okay? Please, say something!” He worded. Skaro opened his eyes, adjusting his double-imaged vision to normal. “Is it over? Are those children saved?” “We saved them!” Hotara said triumphantly. “Hurray for the Shivanian tribe! Praise the king! At last!” Skaro whispered joyfully. “Now, release these kids.” As his brother commanded, Hotara used Skaro’s single scimitar to ruin the padlock powerfully. Happy but lonely children departed from the cage. They thanked Hotara and Skaro who were known as Shivanian heroes. “Anyone got hurt?” Hotara asked. The children replied nothing, meaning they were fine. They scattered around cheering when they were freed and vanquished. “Skaro?” One of the crowding children said, “Is that you?” “Ganth?” Skaro hissed, recognized the voice and the appearance of a child. He stood up and focused on a child he found. “Hey, you are Ganth!” He realized him truly, and he hugged him on the floor. “Who is Ganth? Your son?” Hotara asked. “No, this is our nephew, the son of our middle brother Larzuk.” Skaro turned to Ganth, asking “Where are your parents, little one?” “They…they were killed.” Ganth responded very misfortunately. “My mom and my dad are all dead on the river!” He cried desperately since he was now an orphan, too. Both Hotara and Skaro were dumbfounded that their poor nephew was alone in his family. “Don’t you worry, Ganth. Please don’t be very lonely and miserable. You see, I and your uncle Hotara will raise you and feed you like your parents.” The remaining Shivanian riders, worried about their champions—Hotara and Skaro—arrived from the distant jungle, and halted before the dirty, sad orphans. After the generous soldiers fed them with roasted meat from their packages, Skaro told his troops that the orphans should be taken to Xan’orthras to live them in the Shivanian Fortress with King Corus. He also announced that the village was prone to Ta’za invaders, so the remains of the ruined houses must be transferred to the capital city for safety. Mathematically, he put two children each raptor until they were all allayed. The riders then transported them back to Xan’orthras as the mission was accomplished, leaving Hotara, Skaro, Ganth, Viator and Zacquaris behind. When the battle was over, Skaro and Hotara, feeling being weighted, removed their armor and cape and packed them in their raptors’ bag. Both of them wore only old loincloth. “Allow me to introduce my youngest brother and your uncle,” Skaro said gently to Ganth. “His name is Hotara. He is the sharpshooter. I trained him in his life until he became a successful blade dancer and great marksman.” Hotara knelt down before Ganth, put his hand on Ganth’s shoulder. “It’s good to see you, my nephew,” he said, nodding. “It’s good to see you, too, uncle Hotara.” “Meet my raptor Zaquaris, or you can call him Zack. And Hotara’s raptor, named Viator,” Skaro added. “Wow, two uncles in one big battle! I don’t believe it, you’re fascinating warriors unlike my dad.” Ganth suddenly remembered his dead parents whom he saw on the bloody river. He sat down hard on the ground and cried, “I miss my real mom and dad, but you Skaro and Hotara are good, caring uncles.” Feeling very remorse to his deprived nephew, Skaro and Hotara, showing tender loving care, squatted beside Ganth and patted him. Skaro embraced him around his torso and his arms, and Hotara on his nephew’s back. Zacquaris and Viator, showing also love the children, licked him and rubbed their heads around his face. “It’s alright, my dear nephew,” Skaro said, rubbing his head against Ganth’s back. “We’ll take you to my house, Ganth,” Hotara said. He lifted Ganth on his waist and placed him onto Viator. He climbed and let Ganth rest on his abdomen. “This will make you feel better.” “Before we’re all going home,” Skaro said, sitting on Zacquaris. “Let us first return to Xan’orthras to meet King Corus again. He will give us an award for courage and for the rescue of all children.” Skaro whipped Zack and galloped forward followed with Hotara, Ganth and Viator. The family joined the troops passing through the ruined village and departed the jungle. After an hour of reverting errand, they passed through the exuberated townsfolk in three cities. In the Shivanian Fortress, they met King Corus in the throne room. Skaro’s troops bowed unto him and reclaimed naked children were jollying for giving thanks to all their miracles. Skaro and Hotara, with their raptors and Ganth far away behind, knelt down before the king. Their heads faced below with serious smile and closed eyes, the brothers were succeeded for the existence and honor of Shivanian Tribe. “Now,” King Corus declared proudly and gleefully, “this is your second time to salvage our childhood citizens, although the slain innocents brought us fears and plagues. I am proud of you, fraternal heroes. Therefore I announce that you General Skaro become the Champion of Shivanian Tribe, and for you, Hotara, have received a promotion. You are now called, ‘Slayer Hotara’.” All the lizardmen, in every row, dropped their upper bodies down the floor, showing their respect to the greatest champions. They had paid attention which King Corus dictated the sign of esteem to whoever relinquishes the tribal attackers. While the reward was denoting, King Corus presented two enchanted pendants. The first pendant for Skaro was glowing Pendant of Flame, and the second one for Hotara was glowing Pendant of Frost. These predominant artifacts, as told from scrolls of history in the Great Library of Scales in the Upper City, were created by the legendary wizards of the long past. Its magical powers were against the sorcery controlled by extinct lizard ancestors of Ta’za Tribe—called “Ka’zum” “Thank you, your majesty,” two brothers pleaded, bowing politely. “Do you know how to conjure with your pendant, Skaro?” King Corus asked. “You must if you were me.” “It is simple,” General Skaro said, “I can use the energy of supernatural that lives inside me so that I may perform new specific kind of fire enchantment from my pendant you gave me.” He asked Hotara to stand back whenever he was unleashing his supernatural powers amidst the foreseen magic from Pendant of Flame. Stretching his hand diagonally, he began to unleash his fourth-dimensional energy to charge blazing flames on his arm. By a thrust of his muscles and magic, he overstretched his arm to burst a jet of fire on the air, scorching a small area of walls and ceiling and fearing the unknowledgeable spectators. “Impressive wizardry, my friend,” King Corus said, turning to Hotara. “Now, for you, Hotara, do you have any idea about ice shifting?” “Uh,” Hotara croaked, looking at his Pendant of Frost. He couldn’t have knowledge of elemental magic but knowledge of might which he only mastered from his brother. He uttered, “I don’t know what to do with this necklace, you majesty.” “Just try what I conjured, brother,” Skaro begged. “I taught you anything that are significant to wars with might and magic.” “I’ll try—guessing.” The audience gasped, curiously observing Hotara’s initial enchantment. Hotara used his arms in a way of Skaro’s position, and forced himself to reveal his supernatural powers and vigor instead of using his mightiness. But then, his concentration was annoyed and twitched, causing a huge, sharp icicle floating on the air. Because of his chaotic aggravation that the connection of his magic and might was distracted, he released the assiduity suddenly, expelling a huge ice to fall below. Many terrified spectators sprinted away from where an acute icicle would impact. The collision emitted small shards of ice shooting and scattering around the throne room. Most of the lizardmen were safe, but few were horrendously inflicted with minor wounds caused by a sharp ice. With the use of extremely sharp eyes to detect the ice shards, Skaro found a long ice fragment charging towards Ganth who was deeply frightened and covered without heavy protection. He sprinted from the throne swiftly and, throwing himself from his powerful legs, grabbed his nephew away to dodge from an ice shard. To avoid many large ice crystals tremendously, he tumbled and somersaulted from all perilous targets. After the incident in the kingdom, a giant ice crystal had damaged a long invaluable carpet that rolled from the throne to the jeweled door. It could melt into water for an hour. Few wounded lizardmen were placed in another room to treat with medical herbs by doctors. For rich citizens, the priests completely cured them using healing powers glowing on their hands, exchanging their energy. “You made a serious inflammation to our people and my fortress, Hotara,” King Corus scolded. “I would confiscate your Pendant of Frost, but I will give you a chance. Just be careful on using the complex spells. Your brother has so many knowledge of wizardry.” “I couldn’t have begged you for this disaster, Hotara,” Skaro regretted. “I’m so sorry, your majesty.” He bowed down eagerly politely. “It is all right, champion. Be creditworthy to your young brother and to your nephew.” King Corus glanced at Hotara for a short prompt, “And you, please always trust your elder brother until you receive the wisdom of powers and skills.” Before the farewell, he grabbed Hotara’s back quickly, and embraced him deeply and fondly. Skaro saw them hugging closely, and he chuckled while carrying Ganth on his arm. Hotara gasped, his stirrings penetrated to his senses, when King Corus wrapped him around. After Corus freed him from his muscular body half a minute, he eyed to the blue-glowing Pendant of Frost on his scaly palm. Casting his spells using his pendant was a burdensome and unsafe toward the Shivanian and Ka’thnosian people. His pendant would be urgently useful in many battles and confrontations, if desired. He could think about what the ice spells were—rain of icicles, frozen orb, frozen ray, ice arrows, touch of solidification and blizzard. But he must practice the conjuration not by himself but by Skaro and other elementalists in Upper City. “It will take a month or two for you to fulfill the ice magic skills with your magical pendant,” Skaro told. “Unlike me, I know the fire skills from psychic powers.” “Maybe I will be like you, uncles,” Ganth said, picking up watery ice crystals on the floor. “Link fire and ice into one to become…what do you think?” “It will be a contradiction for combining two opposing elements, Ganth,” Skaro explained logically. “You cannot wear both of our pendants, or something supernatural will happen in you.” “Your uncle is right, Ganth,” King Corus said, rubbing his cape downward to remove black ants crawling above. “You should not use their magic unless you are their apprentice of wizardry.” “It is necessary.” After they said goodbye to King Corus, Skaro and Hotara carrying Ganth on his arm walked away to the front gate of Shivanian Fortress. They ride on their raptors Zacquaris and Viator who were fed and cleaned by lizard maidens. They skipped through the cheering townsfolk and soldiers and returned to the Great Swamp, retracing their way to their home. They ceased at the midway because Viator felt hot and uncomforted in galloping. Hotara and Ganth dismounted the velociraptor. Viator’s belly between her chest and pelvis was pained internally. Now the severe pain frequently turned into her genitals. She stumbled and rolled on the ground, screaming and snorting uneasily. She heaved hard. Skaro couldn’t interpret what Viator roared, but Zack did. Zacquaris roared at Skaro, speaking in raptor language: My beloved mate is going to lay eggs! “Hotara, Ganth!” Skaro yelled, “Viator is going to lay her eggs!” Hotara and Ganth surprised. “We must hurry! Viator should ovulate in our house, not in this creepy place!” Skaro dismounted Zacquaris. He and Hotara lifted collapsed velociraptor and let her ride on Zack’s back. Zack kept himself balanced and heedful as Viator grappled his neck and torso firmly. Worriedly, he was ready to become a good father—not just a potent deinonychus—as he had children fully developed inside his wife. The Shivanian lizardmen grinned because they felt bashful about Viator’s egg laying. The whole group walked fast through the right path to the lizard den instead of galloping. In the lizard den, Only Zack, Viator, Hotara and Skaro enter the raptor room because they shouldn’t let young Ganth peek the privacy of mother’s egg laying and censorship. It would be very scornful and loathsome to children. Ganth sat on the floor, looking at the locked door of raptor room. When he grew bored, he toured around the lizard den to familiarize the rooms and emplacements. Inside the raptor room, Zacquaris and Viator had made a hay nest after their erotic copulation more than four months ago. It was fit for two raptors. Hotara squatted before his raptor’s genital part which became intense in laying. Managing the laying raptor to avoid further pains, Skaro pulled Viator’s tail upward to widen the egg canal. In a good oviposition, Viator pushed herself hard to eject the first raptor egg from her vagina physically. The lubricated egg was slipped through the cervix, and dropped onto the nest. Nervous Zack wrapped his arms around his wife’s belly, pushing it to maximize the laying force. Panting strongly, Viator sorely discharged a second egg, then the third one, the fourth and then last one. Five eggs covered under gooey albumen were successfully laid. Viator recovered her sensation. Two gladdened raptors licked sticky egg whites on eggshells to clean up their children. Both of them together incubated their precious eggs on the nest. It was a miracle! “Aren’t they cute?” Hotara asked Skaro whose heart beat fast in elicit. “Yeah, our raptors become good parents. We should let them nurture their kids in our house. Possibly, Ganth will use one of them as a trained rider,” Skaro said. “You can let Ganth watch those raptor eggs.” As he was told, Hotara unlocked the exit door, and hollered Ganth in the kitchen, who ate fried peanuts from the pot. Ganth ran to reach Hotara and Skaro in the raptor room. “Was it over?” He asked, looking at the smiling raptors rubbing their heads together with tender loving care. “Yes, it’s over. You can take a look at the raptor eggs inside their nest.” Ganth sat in front of Viator and Zack, and asked for a short peek on the eggs. Two raptors agreed, gladly, so they stood on their heels to show their eggs to Ganth. Watching over five cherished raptor eggs, he touched one of them, feeling a heat on smooth shells. The lizardmen departed the raptor room, leaving their raptor parents brooding on their growing children, and they took a short dinner afterwards. Feeling sleepyheaded, they entered the bedroom where Ganth couldn’t discover. They removed their loincloths. Hotara let Ganth stay on his muscular torso so that he could link with him as his first apprentice. Skaro quenched fire in the dragon lamp off, darkening the bedroom. After some yawns, they fell asleep.
Chapter 8: Rescuing Ganth
Chapter 9: Agamid and the Snakeman
Chapter 9 Agamid and the Snakeman There were now five of them living in the lizard den. The Great Swamp had doubled its population, besides Xan’orthras and nearby towns, still the spring water flowing from the mountains and down the swampy lowlands wherein muck and slimy streams made the rivers less vigorous. Dinosaurs roaming around the swamp enjoyed their new life whenever Ta’za Tribe could still pillage the resources of neighboring Shivanian and Ka’thosian Tribe. Many changes around the Great Swamp created the environment more exquisite and glorious, and the goodness remained in spite of the Ta’za army did not cherish the nature. One morning, Skaro, stretching and twisting his naked body, smelled resourcefully the indulgent scents of the swamp which no fallen burnt ashes and blood of wickedness might infest the settlements of dinosaurs, wyverns and the lizardmen. Regardless, he deeply felt that only few victories were manifested. When his belly rumbled, woke Hotara wrapping Ganth around his arms. Hotara had been embraced by him who passed a comfort snuggle to his brother and then to their lovely nephew. He confirmed their livelihood of being a grand martial art teacher, and Hotara the blacksmith. This time, it was their day-off when Shivanian Tribe celebrated the yesterday’s victory. Occasionally, their festivity overjoyed the citizens; whenever the Ta’za tribe would be afraid of them—but it was not stated in a fact and prognostication. In every town, they prepared a whole roasted pig, fruit juices extracted by feet, salad and other meat products on a big banquet, and they performed a tribal dance. “It’s time to eat, brother,” Skaro said, waving Hotara back and forth. The waving awakened Ganth from his sweet but dramatic dreams. Opening his active eyes wide, he was very happy when his affectionate uncle Hotara clutched his torso for a whole night. He held Hotara’s muzzle tight and uttered, “Wake up, Hotara, wake up!” “It’s time for breakfast,” Skaro pleaded. Knowing that Hotara tiredly overslept, he released Ganth from the tight bosom. After he squatted in front of Hotara’s face, he inserted his arms under his brother’s neck and back and, with his full strength, lifted him up. As the bedroom was too low for him to handle heavy things, he just walked like a duck until he reached the trapdoor. He unlocked the trapdoor. Becoming exhausted of being a brother handler, he turned Hotara vertically despite the heavy weight bearing him down. After some flexible contractions and squirms, he stood upright on the main room. Ganth climbed from the trapdoor, and he looked at Hotara’s secret grin, which meant it was all jocularity and deceit. “Uncle Skaro,” he told, “looks like Uncle Hotara is smiling at you or himself like a monkey. I don’t think he’s already awake.” “Isn’t he?” Skaro asked. Awkwardly, he gazed over Hotara, checking its bodily dissimulations. Suddenly, Hotara frightened him by opening his jaws like a crocodile and screaming like a snake. Terrified, Skaro dropped him down on the floor. Hotara’s strong back and arms collided on the hay floor away from wooden platform without suffering a muscle pain and stabbing. “Argh!” He grunted. Ganth laughed. “It was such a joke, Hotara,” Skaro said, helping him stand up. “Are you hurt?” “No, just a little bit. No offense.” “That’s what I thought, both of you,” Ganth said, continuing his laughter. Because of Ganth’s childish cachinnating, Hotara and Skaro looked to each other, smiling when they had an agreement of affrighting him. Abruptly, they slowly charged to him, showing their ghastly faces and powerful muscles. Chasing him around the round main room, they laughed in a morning playtime. Zacquaris and Viator opened their door, looking at their masters doing a fun stuff in the lizard den. They smiled, rubbing their heads together with passion. Inside the raptor room, they already had five fresh raptor eggs on their nest. They had been copulated three months ago in the same room. Thinking about parenthood and orderliness, they made sure that no raptor droppings and effluvium around their clean room. Viator sat on her eggs while Zacquaris put his strong body on her back. Back at the main room, Hotara captured Ganth first, being careful not to topple onto him, then next was Skaro. Laughing playfully, he pushed him against his abdomen, and he briskly rubbed his fist on Ganth’s head. Ganth was thrilled merrily. Gladly, Skaro looked over them titillating. Expressing a family joy, he unified with them for fun. The two brothers jostled, frayed, giggled and stroked their nephew without with no arousing sensation. Until now, the playtime was over. This rough playtime was common to Shivanian Tribe which incited fearsome adults to show love and tender to children—it was not in a faggot way! They continued into the dining room. Hotara sat down on one dining chair, keeping Ganth sit on his thighs. Skaro prepared a whole turkey that was larger than that before. Repeating the roasting process, he cleaned it, sliced it, salted it and then roasted it under burning coals. They waited for thirty minutes while Hotara and Ganth were playing again. Time had passed. Hotara and Skaro shared their servings to Ganth fairly. “Your roasted turkey is delicious!” Ganth said, chewing hot, tender-brown fleshes. “Is this what you only have?” “No,” Skaro replied, gnawing the meat, “I can make salad and other meat dishes. That’s my favorite hobby when we are here.” After they were eating all turkey meat, Skaro contributed Zacquaris and Viator a leftover meat and bones as they were full. They sat down by the river on the porch, putting their feet on swampy water. Hotara was always letting his young nephew remain on his muscular torso. “How old are you, Ganth?” Skaro asked for a legal age to be trained by him and Hotara. “I’m seven years old now. My hatchday was last week before our village was burned down.” “I’m sorry, my young nephew,” Skaro pleaded sorrowfully. “Why, brother?” Hotara asked. “This is not an applicable age for you to be trained. The law written by King Tashkr and decreed by the council members states that ‘only the children who are eight years and above shall be trained in the war’. We must agree the declared statement, so we must wait for a year.” Skaro turned to Ganth. “Ganth, have you been in the school?” “No, I’m not yet informed.” “So you will go to school in the Great Swamp, won’t you? It’s three weeks before the first day of school!” “Okay, I will, but don’t you have anything playful in our house today?” “Maybe yes.” While they were talking about education and literacy, Agamid, wearing a short, triangular loincloth, was shown behind the flowery bushes on other side of the river. He yelled to greet the two brothers. “Hey there!” Evoked, Skaro and Hotara glimpsed Agamid waving his arms as a signal gesture. Compliantly, they welcomed him, beckoning at him. Agamid dove down the swamp. Using his expert diving skills, he swam underwater until he reached Skaro’s legs to be grabbed. “Hey, Agamid, cut it out!” Skaro yelled, pulling his legs off the water. Agamid rose from the water, splashing eagerly. He climbed onto the porch, entering the lizard den. “Hello there, friends,” he greeted, shaking hands with Hotara and Skaro. “Welcome, Agamid my closest friend!” Hotara welcomed. “I was notified that both of you won the battle against those damn kidnappers deep in the jungle. I’m so proud of you, guys! How many victims survived from the invasion?” “Only fifty-six children all alive, but the other citizens and parents were killed, not a single lizardman. It was so pathetic! One of the survived children is what we have here.” Skaro handed to Ganth, introducing a newbie to Agamid. “His name is Ganth, our only nephew. He is still seven years old.” “What’s up, Ganth?” Agamid rubbed his hand on Ganth’s head. Obviously, he was friendly to cute children to be cuddled. “Having fun here with your great uncles?” “Yeah, I have!” Skaro whose eyes were slightly down in tedium planned for a new avocation. “Since we’re in time off, we’ll have a morning walk again in the jungle.” Walking through the woods for a modest exploration was not so wearisome but delightful. Hotara and Ganth agreed excitingly. “And Agamid, are you coming with us?” “Sure! We’re still close friends!” Agamid replied euphorically. “We’ll leave Zack and Viator behind while they’re still incubating their eggs.” “Your raptors have children?” Agamid gasped. “Yeah! Five of them were laid just yesterday!” “Can I see awhile?” “Sure, but be careful, they are strict stewards. Just look at them not too closely.” Skaro and Hotara let Agamid enter the raptor room where Zacquaris and Viator sat on their eggs and shielded them completely. “Viator,” Hotara said, “let my friend watch your eggs.” Viator nodded liberally. She stood up while Zacquaris crawled off the nest to expose their precious children. Squatting before the nest and beside Zack, Agamid gazed at five shiny beige eggs. He amazed at those which he wished to view a “child in a stone”. He put his hand slowly on one of the eggs. However, this made Zacquaris grunt feebly angrily, showing his rage face with tempestuous teeth and eyes, but Viator agitated. “You will make Zacquaris mad if you attempt to injure it,” Hotara warned. “Just touch when I haven’t touched them.” Agamid rubbed his claws and his palms on every raptor egg. Desirably, he could feel pleasures and adornments as those on the flowery fields. But he felt the yolk and albumen where only a single cell inside was grown for weeks. It was like he emerged from an egg he remembered. Hotara had five minutes passed while Agamid was still stroking his hands on the eggs to enjoy. When Skaro and Ganth called to be ready to depart, he wrapped his arms around Agamid’s waist, halting the adoration, and lifted him up. “It’s time to leave, Agamid,” he told. “Okay, fine.” Before he would leave the raptor room, Agamid worded at the raptor family. “Farewell, raptors, and take care of your hatchlings.” With no beastly replies, Zacquaris and Viator looked at him who was nice at them and their treasured eggs. Viator learned that the Shivanian lizardmen were tolerant and respectful to each other, including the dinosaurs. Before, she thought they were delusions of grandeur and unrighteous. No, the Shivanian Tribe was not as evil as Ta’za Tribe. She had been taught by her beloved mate Zack. Skaro, Hotara carrying Ganth, and Agamid traversed the swampy river until they reached the muddy, moss-stained land. The group walked straight through the path, watching the rays of the sun shining through between leaves. They listened to the chirps of beautiful birds, hisses of tree lizards and snakes, snorts of some dinosaurs—raptors, ankylosaurs, ceratopsians, sauropods and ornithischians—thuds of falling rotten fruits, and noises of nocturnal insects. They viewed very thick foliages and mossy and lichen-planted trees, coconuts and hanging vines everywhere. Ganth enjoyed the discovery as much as Hotara did. In the middle of their errand, they found two yellow-scaled lizardmen on top of the rocky cliff. Hotara and Agamid thought they were Ta’za spies who despitefully intrude on their borders, but Skaro believed they were Ka’thnosians when he saw their tribal stripy loincloths. Skaro recognized them, telling his companions, “Those Ka’thnosians are Voy and Krator! Do you remember them?” Agamid and Ganth doubted, but Hotara remembered them closely. “Yeah, they are!” Hotara pleaded, “Look at Voy, same age as I am.” The group watched them carefully without being alarmed. On the cliff, Voy targeted his spear tied with a long piece of string at a ripe peach four meters away from the edge. He threw it accurately until it pierced through the mantle, but the whole string was joined. Krator laughed. “Shut up, brother! See I have a good eye in throwing spears that our dad trained us.” “But you could not reach the string!” “Well, it’s not funny anymore. I’ll try climbing up that tree like those Gekkosians climbing up with their sticky fingers.” “Did you say, Gekkosians?” An anthropomorphic gecko was shown from tree branches covered by stringy leaves. The human-sized intelligent gecko race was called, “Gekkosians” originated in deserts at east of Ka’thnosian territory. Their scales were yellowish-orange, beige, brownish and golden. They are extremely flexible mostly like Tokay geckos. They had their ability to climb up on any walls, but, unlike a real gecko, they couldn’t walk upside down because they were too heavy. They had been devastated by Ta’za army from their colony. Long ago, the Gekkosians were affrighted by Ta’za invaders who had destroyed and scorched their homes near the Ta’za border. The occupation had spread throughout their jungle. Refugees in half of their population had united with good, friendly Ka’thnosians. They had replaced their furry loincloth with a stripy-weaved fabric loincloth in the honor of Ka’thnosian Tribe. “Tufrolk, you’re late,” Voy said. “Can you reach my spear and a fruit I captured?” “Sure? Why not?” Tufrolk walk straightly to the tree, ignoring the Shivanians after he looked at them. As he was watching the Gekkosian walking towards the tree, Voy looked down and found Skaro and Hotara. “Hello there, Skaro and Hotara, the heroes of Shivanian Tribe!” He shouted, “It’s been so long!” “Great cheers for the heroes!” Krator roared. “Yeah, it’s been so long, Voy,” Skaro said. “Who is that gecko?” “He’s the Gekkosian, and he’s our friend, Tufrolk. Interestingly, Gekkosian race had united with us ages ago.” Voy said. Furling his tail, Tufrolk stared at Hotara and Agamid who were a foot taller than him. Before he could greet the Shivanians whom he hadn’t seen—but heard—he climbed up the tree branch using his sticky climbing paws. He reached the spear and a stabbed peach, and passed them to Voy. Being generous to the strangers, he crawled into the crown to gather more peaches he desired. In dangerous shortcut for children, he fell down five yards from the ground and landed without a bone crash on his legs. He distributed munificently the peaches to Hotara, Skaro, Ganth and Agamid. “Hello there, green iguanas,” he greeted, putting his fists on both sides of his waist. He spoke in a high-pitched but rough voice. “My name is Tufrolk. I’m a Gekkosian warrior. We look like gecko lizards that I grab everyday on our walls.” “Awesome gecko lizards!” Ganth said, licking peach fluids on its edible part. “Aww, you look kind, kiddo.” Tufrolk looked at Ganth’s eyes, which made him interested in handling youngsters. “Can I hold him for a while?” He asked Hotara eating up a peach. “Sure, Tufrolk.” Hotara passed his nephew to the gecko lizardman. “What’s your name, kid?” “My name’s Ganth.” “How old are you?” “Seven years old.” “When is your hatchday?” “Last week.” “Where are your parents?” “They were murdered.” Ganth himself turned into grief when he replied, thinking about his worst experience he had seen. “Gosh, your parents were murdered. I know they’re killed by those Ta’za bastards. I think your uncles with you are taking care of you.” While both Tufrolk and Ganth were talking and Hotara and Skaro were chatting with Voy and Krator, Agamid listened to the far-off ophidian noises behind him. When he turned around, he saw a glowing yellow circle staring at him from large leafages of vines and bushes. He thought it was an eye of another lizardman or a Ta’za spy—no, Ta’za lizardmen’s eyes were glowing red. He walked nearby the yellow eye, but it moved away. He scooped through the bushes while he was chasing snake hisses. The reason why he was tracking down the slithering creature was that he loved snakes, either venomous or atoxic. When he reached the spaced, very moist jungle where bogs soaked up sediments and decaying trees, he found himself in the middle of nowhere. He was confused of random directions which he lost his backtracking. He couldn’t hear Skaro and other’s talks and roars. Stranded, he sat down on a mossy, lichen-grown rock and remained to wait for his acquaintances’ calling voice. He couldn’t see behind where a snakeman was crawling around the branches. The snake was not as normal as other real snakes. He was very muscular—which was males’ body formation. He was dark green with circular black and yellow marks. He had two arms but no legs. His four-fingered hands were half a meter long in which long claws were grown. His head was nearly similar to Shivanians. He was venomous. His length was approximately eight meters long. Like the other snakes, he could eat large preys by swallowing them through the mouth. Agamid heard the hiss even louder, when he turned back, he saw a snakeman charging at him below. With hyper reflexes which Skaro taught, he suddenly grabbed the snake’s head before the venomous fangs could inject him. In collision, he was forced downward. His lower body was wrapped around rapidly while the snake’s long claws grabbed his shoulders. During the wrestling, he prevented the snake’s jaw crunching his snout by pushing him with his strong arms. However, his body was squeezed painfully when the snake’s body curled him inside. To release himself from deadly compression, he bit the monster’s arm at right side. When the snakeman was bitten, he was loosened, and he could crawl out of the elongate body using his powerful legs. Standing on the ground, he left his loincloth torn away aside. Having no weapons, he moved when the grisly snakeman crawled sideward facing at him to prepare for a bash. When he entered the bog, putting his left foot on water first, the snakeman charged in haste by catapulting from his tail. He dodged to the right from the surprise attack. Now his body was wet. He picked up a rotten, straight twig from the ground and struck it on the snake’s head. But the snake forestalled it, grabbing the twig speedily and snapped it in half. His legs having trembled in terror, Agamid had nothing to escape from the snakeman’s predation. But there was a chance to survive from a ravenous beast—climbing a tree. He climbed up the mangrove tree into the escape like what Tufrolk did to obtain peaches. Looking down, he found the snake creature continued to chase him. Thinking about to bind a critter, he nabbed several handful of thick vines, awaiting the creature’s arrival. When the snake had reached him, he pulled the vines diagonally inward and curled his head about to trap him in the tangled strands. As the snakeman struggled to break free, he could escape from branch to branch far away. Now the incident was cleared. He groggily sat on a thick branch of a taller swamp tree and took several breathes to regain his vitality during the clambering and battling. After less than a minute, the snakeman was recovered from the vines. He only tracked him simply, thanks to his active heat sensors from his mind, just like all ordinary snakes do to hunt prey even in total darkness. He easily grabbed his arms around Agamid’s torso from the back, and used his elongate body to wrap the lizardman’s arms, legs, tail and neck. Agamid was fully trapped and curled. “Release me, you snake freak!” Agamid yelled, trying to reach his jaws at the snake’s torso. “Silence, Ta’za bastard! I am ready to retaliate!” The snake creature warned, moving his long body to tighten his squeezing. “Ta’za? No, I am not one of our enemies! I am a Shivanian lizardman! You’re making a mistake!” “Shut up, you fool!” “I mean it!” “You must prove it if you are not in the treason. Answer this: who is your master when you were trained?” “It is Skaro, the famous Shivanian hero!” “And the last one: Have you dealt with them?” “No, I certainly not! Ta’za Tribe is our worst enemies. They destroyed our, ugh!” Agamid was choked as his throat was compacted. The snakeman was thinking about the lizardman he captured. He testified that his defending prey was one of the Shivanian Tribe, the divine, righteous lizard race. Finalizing that his vengeance was a mistake, he released Agamid regretfully before Agamid could be suffocated. He twisted his body around the branch. “So, you are the Shivanian lizardman, are you?” He asked. “Yes, I am! Cough!” Agamid replied, wheezing to fulfill his breathing. “You are trying to kill me like a duck. Why are you doing this?” “I hunt for those damn killers of Ta’za Tribe. My whole family was killed, and I am completely alone. I lived in Sha’zkha Ridges with our people. We were being attacked by the invaders of the east to conquer our land and murder our people. So we survivors exiled from their borders and create a new beginning in your territory. We extremely hate them!” the snakeman replied. “I believe, cough, you’re one of the survivors from your corrupted origin. So who are you?” “I am Rah’zakha. We call our race the Vipers—interesting name for us? We born in peace on where we are belong. We had met the Ka’thnosians long ago as our benefactors and traders. They brought us extra food, crops, shelter and magic to maximize our efforts and lives. But now, we fearfully escaped after the perilous invasion to the north to find a new life in the safe jungle. Without the benefactors, we suffer starvation, thirst, struggle and predation.” “So you are as good as we,” “But nearly half of our population served Ta’za Tribe—those atrocious traitors! After my family was killed, I looked behind while we were crawling into the woods, and witnessed the guardians and fighters were either killed or subjected. I never have to be with them.” “How bad it is. So, you’re still alone in the Great Swamp?” “Yes, I am alone here. One of my people told me they are fleeing to Xan’orthras where the genial Shivanian king and his barons will meet us in peace. Urgently, I separated from them to search for other places where I love. This place is now my new home. In this time, I am looking for tasty food to swallow with.” “Would you like to come home with me? I have lots of meat in my house, the lizard den. You won’t survive in this creepy, wet jungle for a long time.” “Do you?” Rah’zakha grinned when Agamid would comfort him like a partner. “I haven’t live with a lizardman in his house, but it seems to be you are a kind, caring lizardman.” “Remember, we Shivanians are kind and peaceful race. We follow the rights and dogmas of the lizardman.” “So where is your home place?” “I would do, but I’m lost in the jungle. I couldn’t find my friends talking together with Ka’thnosians and a Gekkosian companion. I stay here and wait for their yelling.” At that moment, Agamid heard a faint, known voice calling his name. “It’s my friends calling me!” “Won’t I come with you?” “Sure, you may come with me.” Agamid climbed down on every branch until he stepped on the ground, following Rah’zakha worming below smoothly. Shouting aloud to respond, he tracked the blatant voices of his old acquaintances, with his new snake friend chasing him happily. He lethargically walked in every other direction as if the boulders, very thick trees and leaves were blocking his trail. Insects like ladybugs, walking sticks, walking leaves, mosquitoes and beetles annoyed his traveling. Over five minutes, he found himself standing in front of Hotara, Skaro, Ganth, Voy, Krator and Tufrolk deep in the forest. “Agamid!” Hotara, Skaro and Ganth pleaded, group embracing a poor lost wanderer. They soothed him cozily. Rah’zakha crawled a meter away from the lizard group. “We have been looking for you around the jungle, my best friend,” Hotara said. “Is that the snakeman, Agamid, you found in the forest?” Skaro asked, gazing at Rah’zakha. “I know who snake people are. They are called, ‘Vipers’.” But Ganth, Voy, Krator and Tufrolk were all afraid of the snakeman standing behind Agamid. “How do you know us?” Rah’zakha asked. “King Taskhr, our long dead ruler of Shivanian Tribe, told us about the destruction of your home in Sha’zkha Ridges. So you are one of the refugees flying to Xan’orthras for a new settlement. Let me introduce you snakeman. My name is Skaro. I am the Shivanian tribal hero, the teacher, and the benefactor.” “Pleased to you, Skaro, Agamid told me about you while we were encountered. I am Rak’zakha. I live here for a long time in this strange, unknown jungle.” “You are in our Great Swamp, Rak’zakha,” Hotara added. “Oh, let me introduce you, too. My name is Hotara, the Shivanian warrior, the second-in-command, and the blacksmith. Skaro is my elder brother, and my strict teacher. And this is our nephew Ganth. He is an orphan, so we raise him in our den.” Rak’zakha stared at Ganth looking cute which he haven’t glimpsed a young lizardman but a snakeman hatchling of Vipers. “How adorable you are, Ganth.” Ganth was pleased, chuckled. “Are those beneficial Ka’thnosians, Skaro?” Rak’zakha asked. “Yes, they are our recruited companions.” Skaro handed at which he was calling their names, “Their names are Voy, Krator and Tufrolk. Tufrolk is a Gekkosian warrior.” “Will you remember them, Rak’zakha?” Agamid asked. “Of course, I should commend with whom I greet for the first time. Moreover, all of you can call me ‘Rax’ for short name.” “Well, okay, Rax.” Inaugurating which it was none of his coincidence to befriend a fresh supporter, Rax would closely interest in becoming Agamid’s roommate in the lizard den. His house was made of hay and mud, but it was not similar to Shivanians’ shaggy houses. If he could inquisitively wish for initiation, excluding from the Vipers’ tradition, he accepted. He might learn new things from his new associations. The morning walk was over when it was beginning to rain hard, Skaro gladly agreed to invite Voy, Krator and Tufrolk in his home. The rain in the midst of wide daze was becoming thicker and stronger. Skaro tenderly cooked another turkey for Ka’thnosian visitors before they could visit Viator and Zacquaris’ nest to witness charming eggs. Meanwhile, Hotara, Agamid, Ganth and Rax visited Agamid’s lizard den only twenty meters away from Skaro’s house. Agamid’s lizard den was smaller, cuter and narrower. It had three chambers—a lobby, an eating chamber and a single bedroom—and passage hollows connected to every chamber. It was favorably covered under very thick, mossy shrubs, mangrove tree roots and barks, waterfalls whenever the rain falls. It had no front door to be viewed by strangers, but the entrance was in the house. To enter Agamid’s house, a visitor must sink under cold, clean, less-swampy water in front of a lobby window to get to the watery tunnel, swim into the grotto between the roots, and rise to the entrance hole. On the contrary, Ganth was afraid of being drowned when Agamid was swimming underwater, so Hotara lifted him through the open window. He looked around the room without lights and bewilderedly crawled about to see where he hadn’t embarked. In the meantime Hotara, Agamid and Rax dove below the water level, and went into the entrance hole by ladder. Agamid grabbed an oil lamp from a stack of house utilities and a matchbox to lighten up the room. “Welcome to my home, everyone,” he said, crouching on hay floor. “This place is too small for many, my friend,” Hotara said. He couldn’t stand upright in a narrow house, so he had to sit and crawl. “Your house is fantastic!” Rax said, exploring Agamid’s tools. “I appreciate it, Rax,” Agamid replied gleefully. “Stay here first when I’m cooking a dinner for us.” He crawled into the hollow to enter the kitchen chamber. He removed his wet loincloth every time he went home. He set a fire in a small fireplace, and placed a pot of “purified” rainwater over the flame. Inside the pressured food box he gathered a dozen of developed chicken eggs with an embryo inside. After five minutes while the rain was continuing, he dropped the eggs in boiling water. He waited the simmer until the grown conceptuses died and wholly cooked. Hotara, Ganth and Rax meanwhile were expecting for a meal which they want to see. “Rax, did my brother Skaro mean your people had suffered in Sha’zkha Ridges?” Hotara asked. “This is so misfortunate.” “Yes, he did. We are not so violent in that of Shivanians. We build our homes on trees where we climb, we plant our crops on a promised land, we care for the nature, we consume guardedly and we seek in our local paradise. We had a good deal with Ka’th nosians to share their traditions, goods, customs and teachings. We thought our homeland was isolated from disturbances, so it was already a prone to Ta’za invaders.” “So your people are as good as we. Eventually, we should not let ourselves down like animals. Ta’za Tribe is inevitable to surrender.” “Yes, they are invincible—often.” Agamid had finished preparing boiled mature eggs in a clay bowl. He crawled through the canal and returned to his friendly visitors to share his food hospitably. The lizardmen opened the shell and ate up cooked chick and other egg parts inside which Ganth spitefully tasted them, but Rax just swallowed them up. Rax had eaten the dinosaur and ostrich eggs in the jungle. Like the existing limbless snakes, he folded his exposed fangs inward. He stretched his jaws, dislocating its joints, and slipped a large egg inside the mouth. “You just swallow all eggs just like the other snakes, Rax?” Agamid asked. “Yes, we are. Like regular snakes, we Vipers swallow most eggs, including the dinosaur eggs. It is our prevalent meal,” Rax narrated, licking his lips with his forked tongue. “I had a pet snake before—a rattlesnake—but it died of overeating.” “You must not eat up my raptor’s children, egg-eater!” Hotara warned. His timid, admonitory request surprised the snakeman which he shouldn’t let him devour the Shivanian eggs. Inviting him in the Great Swamp would be harmful to every family that if he is famished he could swallow up a whole saurian being. “Don’t worry, Hotara, I know your raptors are useful in the Shivanian Tribe.” Rax consumed all remaining eggs since Agamid, Hotara and Ganth were already full. Tasting the cooked eggs which he hadn’t fed on them in his life was scrumptious. He could distribute a new kind of pabulum to his people living freshly on Xan’orthras. Though his venom dripping from his fangs affected the taste, he resisted any malodorous stuff. Ganth began to like Agamid and Rax who were living in a small chamber–like lizard den. Trying to befriend the Viper, he put his muzzle on Rax’s body below his abdomen. “What about you and me, Rax?” He asked. “Oh, little one,” Rax gasped, staring at Ganth’s endearing face. “You are an adorable young lizardman. Is your family okay?” “No, not at all, they were killed.” Ganth’s eyes turned into sadness as he suddenly recalled his past. Knowing that Skaro recommended him not to remember the useless pass, he disregarded it temporarily. “How pathetic you are.” Rax cuddled him on his arms to lull him into sleep for a minute. “You love my nephew, do you?” Hotara asked, rubbing his hand on Ganth’s head whenever he evoked the sleeping youngsters. “My brother and I love him so much as he’s an orphan. “I only like him as much as you are.” Hotara sat at the window, viewing strong winds pushing the swamp trees and yellow leaves while it was raining so hard. Sharply, he looked straight to his house whose light dimly glowed yellowish. Meanwhile, in the lizard den where Skaro and his Ka’thnosian visitors remained, Skaro served a half-sliced turkey to Voy and Krator, but a little to Tufrolk because he and his people unremarkably eat mostly insects—moths, grasshoppers, scarabs and dragonflies—and citrus fruits. “I appreciate your hospitality and your kindness, General Skaro,” Krator said, gnawing a roasted fleshy turkey leg. “I’m sure your young brother and your nephew are having time with that snake creature in Agamid’s house.” “Thank you, Krator,” Skaro said, eating a part of a cooked turkey. “Did you train Voy recently?” “Yes, I did with our father. He learned everything except the archery and magic. He only uses the Ka’thnosian spear, poison dagger and battle axe. Did you train Hotara, too?” “Of course, I did because we do not have parents to inform us. He only mastered his archery and magic, unlike your brother.” Skaro chuckled. When lunchtime was over, he returned all used dishes to the sink. He washed them under a basin of soapy water and scrubbed with a sponge. “So we’re opposites,” Voy said, standing up from the seat to loosen his stripy Ka’thnosian loincloth. “You haven’t seen our obligation, Skaro. I can tell you what I had done. I was so horrified in our serious training, like I was tortured—not all the time. Mother had been a farmer when she brought us wheat, pigs, goat and chickens.” “Certainly your people are also industrious and concern.” Skaro piled all the dishes on the wooden counter. “Where is Tufrolk, anyway?” Voy asked. “He’s still admiring our raptors’ eggs in the raptor room.” In the raptor room, Tufrolk, having his gecko face to incite Viator, looked at the raptor eggs on the nest where Zacquaris was protecting them. Plausibly, Zack gazed at the Gekkosian who was also kind as Shivanians. He guarded his eggs earnestly whenever the admiring informants would be suspicious about larceny and egg butchery.
Chapter 9 The Princess’s Seizure The next day, the sun didn’t strike its luminosity through the atmosphere until the clouds would be winded to the uncharted west part of the world. The citizens of Xan’orthras resumed in their relevant obligation. Markets were opened, and the vendors were strolling to find any buyers. Hotara, Agamid and Voy drove Viator to Xan’orthras when the victory occasion was over in the morning and the momentous work was resumed. Meanwhile, Skaro, Tufrolk and Krator visited the Shivanian Army School. Latterly Voy and Krator’s parents allowed them to abound the Shivanian territory but they should remain their Ka’thnosian custom in their mind, and Tufrolk, too. They could experience a strange variation. There was none of the brutal lizardman family fostering the eggs, so Zacquaris and Rax should remain in the lizard den to guard them seriously. Skaro eagerly required a ride to get to the army school, but he shouldn’t let the paternal raptor abandon his children. Since Viator was off to Xan’orthras, Zack’s scrutiny was a desire whatever the intruders and predators would burglarize the house and devour the eggs. Ganth was a lone, young lizardman in the den, so the evasive raptor and the snakeman could safeguard him also. In Xan’orthras, the Shivanian citizens looked to a Ka’thnosian riding with their folk hero with admiration but with suspicion because of Voy’s golden-yellow scales. Nearly all of them believed he was one of the Ka’thnosian Tribe, but few misidentified that he was a Ta’za spy. They welcomed him. Voy was slightly nervous as the Shivanian people were gossiping to one another while staring at him. “Those green people are looking at me like an insidious stranger, Hotara,” he told. It was his first time visiting the Shivanian capital city with numerous green lizardmen everywhere. “I’m here as one and only yellow-scaled lizardman.” “Don’t you worry, Voy, we are genial to your people the Ka’thnosians,” Hotara said, allowing the walking traffic show their way to the Middle City. “They know about your complexion and your decorative tribal loincloth, but never mind about that—you know what we are. Let me show you my workplace.” “Same as always,” Agamid said, “yellow and green are together against another yellow one.” After some pauses and some grand welcomes by many respectful citizens, Hotara stopped Viator by the locked and bolted forge. Knowing that Zacquaris demanded a double protection, he released Viator to return to the Great Swamp so that she should look after her children and her husband and Ganth. While he was unlocking the padlock and the wooden bolt, four prodded Shivanian children stood at Voy who was totally different to them. “Mister, are you not Shivanian?” one asked. Voy turned around, looking upon the children. “Yes, I’m not. I’m the Ka’thnosian.” “You’re here with whom?” another asked, watching the Ka’thnosian loincloth. “I’m with your tribal hero, Hotara, to see his forge here.” “You’re the friend of our warrior? He’s the brother of the famous hero,” the third said. “Yeah, I know,” Voy said. “Can I see anything from you?” “Are you a good lizardman?” Annoyed with obedience, Viator was overjoyed at pleasing children. He was incited from the children’s cuteness and kindly requests. Grinning, he briskly rubbed their heads, and then he put one of them on his arms like he was carrying a cuddly teddy bear. As a child he piggybacked was cuddled, he was pleased to all Shivanian lizardmen. The children’s parents watched them, twinkly. Hotara had unlocked the entrance and concealed a wooden bolt from the view. After he pushed the entrance door open, he surprised when he gazed at a Ka’thnosian playing with Shivanians. He chuckled. He and Agamid, as blacksmith partners, left him when they were resuming their forging. Two close friends suited themselves under a blacksmith armor and leather gloves. They unpacked the metalworking tools from the closet—steel tongs, sharpeners, hacksaws, pliers and snips. Hotara used a scrap of a broken, corroded metal collected from battles by the Shivanian environmentalists, and heated it under the furnace. Agamid trimmed a broken metal sheet to create a razor blade and a kitchen knife. “You have a nice forge, Hotara,” Voy commented. “My people were used to be a blacksmith, but most of us do handicraft and woodwork.” “Well, your people are different from us, respectively.” Hotara and Agamid recycled an old, rusted armor. They scraped off rusty dusts from steel, and remade it into a new vest after many minutes. Sitting on a waiting bench beside the cash register on the counter, Voy had observed the techniques of a blacksmith. He grew bored, to seek an uncharted place, after nearly an hour. “Can I look around this brilliant city while you are working with Agamid, Hotara?” Voy asked, “I’m interested in touring the new city. This city is rather not the same as ours, which is made of wood.” “Sure you can, but not too long because we’ll depart in late afternoon, and you will be lost,” Hotara replied, hammering a red-hot metal from the fireplace. Excitingly, Voy took a gentle walk through the small crowd of greenish (with its correspondent colors such as sky-blue, sunny yellow and maple) people. He shouldn’t promptly modify himself to be like them because he was thirstily pleased of being a Ka’thnosian—his warmly colorful loincloth, his pelagic jewels, his religious beliefs and his eruditions. With a good demeanor, he heralded every few person along the street markets and sidewalks. Some of the lizardmen whom he greeted recognized a sole Ka’thnosian lizardman. Most of them received him hospitably but few ignored him with suspiciousness. In where he stalked, there were many workshops around Middle City. Interested in ritual inventories, he brought his own money—gold coins—that was a same currency to buy two tribal souvenirs from the merchandise and a small sack of candy from honey shop. He bought a hemp-woven bag with a symbol of Shivanian Tribe weaved on it to carry which he purchased. Spinning around the spaced pedestrian line, he looked at the civilians hanging their clothes, watering their window plants, repairing flawed roofs and, but then, watching him like an alien. He disregarded the busy people who were admiring his personality. As he was irritated, his hanging tail accidentally hit exhibited clay pots at the pottery. He apologized for the consequences, and the expert ceramicist accepted benevolently. It was noontime already. He visited the Upper City, surpassing the guards warding the gate. He met richer Shivanians wearing beautiful, complex tribal garments, precious jewels and necklaces, silver and gold bracelets and silky fashions. He was stunned of their prolificacy. He entered the every building, such as alchemists’ lab, fireworks factory, clock shop, artifacts shop, inn, tower of wizardry, and gorgeous fashion shop. Once there he found the items and inventories were more expensive than that in the Middle City. In early afternoon, King Corus’s two spear-armed royal guards riding on armored raptors halted his sauntering. “Greetings, Ka’thnosian,” a royal guard said, “We welcome you to Xan’orthras, but King Corus wants to talk to you.” “How did he know where I am.” “He just located you from his bedroom suiting himself under formal attire. He told us to invite you in a dinner party which we celebrate Princess Shakira’s hatchday.” “Why does he want me to be in the party?” “Because he wants a Ka’thnosian will be invited. You must be ready to visit the Shivanian Fortress. Make yourself formal as we, but you may leave your tribal loincloth alone so that we could recognize you in the party.” The royal guard let Voy mount on his raptor. They drove into the fortress. Worried as a newcomer, Voy was unexpected for this kind situation which King Corus prompted. After he dismounted the raptor guardian in the fortress, he looked above at the full front view of the huge fortress that sternly dumbfounded him. Every window had its yellow curtains and stained glasses, which made the Ka’thnosian Tribe admire but envy to its luxurious beauty. When he stepped on a ramp between Shivanian-carved pedestals, dragon sculptures and raptor statues, he felt the marble floor which was colder than cement platform in Ka’thnosian Palace. Passing opulent guests departing the fortress bewildered him until he grew more jealous. Inside the fortress, the rich guests and invited commoners welcomed the Ka’thnosian wanderer. There were lots of talking, chatting, drinking wine and lecturing Shivanian people in the party room. Pleased exceedingly, he searched the exquisite decorations on every wall, floor and ceiling. He glimpsed at handsome lizardmen and beautiful lizardwomen and the soldiers everywhere. When he observed the attractively served buffet, he thought he was hungry. On top of the buffet were a roasted pig, sweet flans, sugary castle-like cheesecakes, salad dressings, fried chicken in a bowl and roasted turkey topped with simple vegetables. At the middlemost part of the party room was King Corus’s giant chocolate cake with creamy frosting and with twenty-five unlit candles on it. Browsing the whole banquet made him starved, so he took a roasted turkey leg and ate it barbarously. However, handling a food in bare, unwashed hands was a very bad table manner in Shivanian Kingdom. He was requested by a royal servant to place it on a ceramic dish with dining utensils. His hands should be sanitized in a fountain of river water which flowed from clean river and exhausted to the sea. His tail should be folded down instead of hanging it on the air to avoid backward accidents in the royal fortress. Henceforth, he experienced a culture shock when he was totally a foreigner. He must control the disorientation before he would be arrested by the guards. “The nobles of our tribe have arrived!” The noble lizardman yelled from the doorway while the trumpeters sounded the Shivanian Anthem, “Beloved Shivanian Tribe.” Voy and the guests stepped from the carpet which leads to the chocolate hatchday cake with all burning candles. As the royal guards opened the door wide, King Corus, along with his noble daughter, Princess Shakira, and his wife, Queen Raquafa, entered. Behind them were elite warriors of Shivanian Tribe—but Skaro was optionally absent. They were wearing tribal loincloth and sumptuous garments and jeweled bracelets. The guests welcomed the aristocrats, but Voy was untouched to them whom he hadn’t encountered. During the ceremony of Princess Shakira’s hatchday, King Corus announced a testimony to give hatchday presents to the princess. One of the rich guests offered Princess Shakira a book of light spells, another a draconic vase, the next a stack of candies, fourth a fishbowl with a catfish in it, and so on for which the princess’s interests were. Princess Shakira was impressed gleefully. After she blew off all the candles on the cake, King Corus and Queen Raquafa sliced a cake into desired piece for the happy guests lining up. With folk music sang by the chivalric musicians beside the wide, stained window, all of the lizardmen danced with harmonious rhythm, following their tribal, native dance. The formal hatchday party was becoming more pleasurable and enjoyable. A moment later after the dance, Princess Shakira asked as she saw the Ka’thnosian lizardman eating a turkey, “Father, the Ka’thnosian guest is here.” She pointed at the stranger between the other guests. Queen Racquafa was astonished of a yellow-scaled lizardman in the kingdom. “So, he’s the Ka’thnosian whom I viewed from my bedroom,” King Corus replied. “I told the troopers to invite him here.” He passed through the dining guests who were avoiding his trail. Pulling his kingly cape, he stopped before Voy staring at him nervously. “Welcome to my kingdom, Ka’thnosian,” he greeted. “I sensed in your mind which you are with Hotara and Agamid in the Middle City, but never mind. How is your tribe in your borders?” “Well, you’re majesty,” Voy said, “our territory is well-secured by the guardians. Our deserts cleaned and jungles checked, so we’re not prone to Ta’za armies. What can you say about me in your kingdom?” “Your loincloth is tribally fashionable wherein we assume different customs from your people. Respectfully, your golden scales are surely unique among us. Sometimes you may explore my fortress which you have not visited. Do not be worried, I am compliant to you.” Leaving the party to Princess Shakira and Queen Raquafa, he put his fierce paw on Voy’s back and he guided him to distinguish the Shivanian Fortress. “Where are you taking me?” Voy asked. “I will show you my chambers and rooms since you are here for the first time.” King Corus led Voy upstairs and, on the fourth floor, he demonstrated his private room in the tower. Voy was fear of long heights as they were walking carefully on the renovated bridge which was well-built not only rigidly but also flexibly—so this bridge wouldn’t naturally bend and collapse forever. No Ka’thnosians had been stalking on highly elevated bridges but him. He added into his mind the initial practices occurred in the Shivanian territory to tell a journal to his family. “Are you sure this bridge is perfectly safe?” He asked. He felt his legs trembling in fear, so he could grasp Corus’s body to keep himself balanced safely. “Of course, my engineers have fortified my entire fortress. Here is my solar.” He unlocked his solar with a medieval key, and opened the door. Voy was amazed of vivid kingly and queenly decorations which placed symbolic tapestries, patterned curtains and bed sheet, potted indoor plants, fabrics adorned with jewels and embroideries, varnished desks and an empty bathtub. “It’s a beautiful room you have for you and your family, your majesty,” he commented, looking everywhere. “I appreciate that, Ka’thnosian,” King Corus said. “I see the rest of your people have not visited my fortress, and the Shivanian kingdom.” Voy remembered that Skaro told the Vipers excluding Rax had been in Xan’orthras when the snake race had departed their homeland far away from the deep jungles. “By the way, where are the Vipers anyway?” “Those snakemen are now settling their new homes in the forest near and beyond the Lower City. The lizardmen living in their huts are neighboring with them with comfort and friendliness. Isn’t that worthy for us?” King Corus had welcomed the Vipers after they scarpered through the wretched jungle. On the time before it took place, the unexpected Shivanian citizens in the Lower City thought that they were invaded by a horde of snakemen. Nevertheless, the ophidian visitors didn’t either harm them or devour them, so the Shivanian ruler diplomatically agreed with them to initiate their new beginning. “Eh, I agree with you, I see they are living harmony among your people. Are you going to convert some of the Vipers into your soldiers?” “Yes, but they are still training with our teachers. They know how to improve the warrior skills without legs. Latterly one of the Vipers told me that half of their race had submitted to Ta’za tribe. You will not know how those bastards do with them.” Standing near the door, Voy sensitively smelled with his strong nose the burning smoky gunpowder which flowed from outside the solar. When he looked outside, he detected a spiky bomb clung on the fortifications on the bridge. “It’s a bomb!” he yelled. He and King Corus took cover behind the bed. The bomb exploded loudly and massively, emitting grey clouds and sandstone crumbles and dust. Its intensive shock wave had missed Voy’s leaping over the bed. A strong explosion covered the entire capital city where people were easily frightened by it. The Shivanian citizens on three cities, the ships and farms, in the party room, and the Vipers beyond the Lower City, heard the sudden detonation. Shivanian civilians in the Upper and Middle City were on the rooftops to witness the disaster. Aroused into an assailing intermission, Hotara and Agamid cancelled their metalwork in their forge, dropping their heated metal clumps, strips and bars, hammers and tongs. They removed their blacksmith armor, and changed into their loincloth. Hotara armed with his old Saberbow and arrow and a dagger, and Agamid a blade lance. Without Viator who was in the Great Swamp, they rushed through the city where the perplexed crowd feared and panicked. In the meantime back in Skaro’s Shivanian Army School, Skaro, mentoring a group of young newcomers handling their sticks, felt the psychic presence that connected to Hotara’s mind. In few seconds he totally believed the psychic powers influenced Hotara who hadn’t experience it. He gasped, putting his palm on his head. “Is there something wrong, Skaro?” Krator beside him asked. “Yes, I felt there is a disturbance from my brother in Xan’orthras. When I read his feelings…” Skaro continued to interpret a spiritual “message” from Hotara’s influenced mind. He shouted, “He had heard the explosion on Shivanian Fortress!” “Is that it?” “Yes, the sudden explosion! Let’s go!” Skaro and Krator left the martial art class and the children whom he would teach were apprehended. Tufrolk exhibiting his full flexibility and contortion, climbing on the walls and catching geckoes was called by Krator to join. “There’s no Zack and Viator around,” Skaro said, looking around to search for the other dinosaurs to mount, but none of them were revealed. Running or walking towards Xan’orthras would take more than an hour to finish the errand. On the moment Viator arrived from the woods. She would use a shortcut to enter the Great Swamp but she was suddenly halted by worried Skaro. “Viator, call Zacquaris from our house,” Skaro spoke in raptor language, “We’re going to Xan’orthras where there was a tragedy.” Viator agreed. She used the “raptor call”, which all oviraptorids used to communicate distant raptor packs, by roaring extremely loudly throughout the Great Swamp. After multiple raptor calls which disturbed the teachers in the army school rudely, Skaro, Krator and Tufrolk mounted Viator who could potently withstand weightiness. They drove straight to Xan’orthras through Ja’sek route. In the lizard den, Zacquaris, still looking after his eggs in the nest, heard his wife’s calling in the distance. He worried that leaving the raptor eggs would make them endangered, but Ganth was still here in the raptor room, playing with dinosaur dolls, rubber-wrapped balls and Skaro’s favorite iguana. He told Ganth to remain in house and guard his eggs. If Ganth couldn’t comprehend his language, he used his arms and face to use a sign language. The sign language said that Ganth should guard his eggs while he was leaving the Great Swamp. Ganth understood the sign language, but he pleaded, “But I don’t want to be alone in our house. I’m afraid to be a single kid! Please let me come with you. I know your children will be safe as other dinosaurs do.” Zacquaris was pitiful to Ganth showing his very solitary eyes. He had no options to protect his eggs from any natural dangers. However, he still had another chance to save the young raptors. It was Rax who was told to stay and play with Ganth. “Are you sure you’re going to protect our house, Rax?” Ganth asked, “And can’t you just leave Zack’s eggs alone or else you would eat them?” “Don’t worry, Ganth, I know your uncles Skaro and Hotara owned Zack and Viator. The raptor eggs are precious for two beloved raptors. When somebody in the lizard den is nothing, I’ll guard the eggs although I’m a snakeman, not like the other egg-eating snakes consuming some pathetic eggs. Believe me, I’m now a best friend and a roommate of Agamid,” Rax pleaded. Zacquaris and Ganth agreed. Wisely, Zack locked the raptor room very securely. Outside on the porch, he locked the front door under chains and bolts. Ganth rode on his back, and he dashed throughout the Great Swamp into Xan’orthras. Locking the entrance door was a good thing to pretend the lizard den as inhabited house, but Rax was able to crawl out of the covered windows to search for another food around the swamp. “That blast officially belongs to the Ta’za Tribe!” Hotara roared. “Yeah, and this means they are trying commit regicide! Like that my father told me King Taskhr was dispatched.” Agamid hissed. Both of the friends hurriedly entered the gate of Shivanian Fortress left open. Vexed Shivanian troops armed with their desired weapons marched toward the east to occupy the hazard zone. Hotara, with his very sharp eyes, saw a large crack damaging the support of King Corus’s tower room where he sensed the linked minds of the king. “King Corus is in there with Voy!” He warned Agamid. “How do we ever save them?” Meanwhile, Voy and King Corus felt feebly that the tower was about to topple toward the main fortress. It was about the end of the king and the Ka’thnosian wanderer, but there was a final chance to deliver. Voy looked through the doorway that the tower room was heading to the wide window of the fortress, but it was three meters away from where the solar door reached its full descending. Down below, they would be killed on fortifications with rows of very sharp metal prongs. “Your majesty,” he told, “I have an idea to save ourselves!” “What? We’re trapped inside, so we will be dead instantly!” “No, we must jump into the fortress window as your tower tumbles down. Trust me as a neighboring tribesman!” Voy reached his hand over King Corus. Having no further options to be covered in a jeopardized tower, worried King Corus grabbed Voy’s hand. Before they should throw themselves out of the door, Voy should think what to do. He precisely calculated which the toppled tower would reach imaginarily the fortress window below—he had studied mathematics and geometry before. When the tower swung forward, Voy shouted, “Now!” Both of them sprinted, and leaped from where the tower door in correct angle was fortunately directed to the fortress window. They broke through the window of an empty royal bedroom for elite warriors. The tower crashed onto the ground, erupting very thick disintegrated debrises and solid concretes throughout the area of Shivanian Fortress. The soldiers covered their sensitive nostrils with their clothing before the dust storm enshrouded them. Hotara and Agamid had seen Voy and King Corus miraculously saved themselves from the collapsing tower. The formal hatchday party was completely and incidentally cancelled due to the surprise calamity. Many affected guests were in a general panic without control, messing up the decors around the party room, dirtying the banquet with splatters, ripping up the curtains and tapestries and breaking the plates on the floor. Queen Raquafa and Princess Shakira had nothing to conceal from danger until suddenly the smoke bombs were thrown and clouded the whole room. Their eyes itched with tears, the Shivanians coughed and wheezed while they were struggling to depart the castle. “Shakira, my dear!” Queen Raquafa hollered when her daughter was missing from her sight. “Where are you! Speak to me!” Princess Shakira heard her mother’s calling, but the ferocious Ta’za hunters, hidden from loose decors and columns, snatched her and escaped through the door. Hotara and Agamid flashed through the long hallway to search for upstairs. Suddenly, they discovered the unconscious princess carried by Ta’za hunters away through the corridor. “The Ta’za hunters are kidnapping the princess!” Hotara used his Saberbow to shoot aimlessly toward the kidnapper’s leg. But an arrow which he sharply shot pierced the Ta’za hunter’s tail instead. Growled in pain, the Ta’za hunter told his companions to throw several spiky bombs at two Shivanians. Hotara and Agamid dodged before they could be stabbed by the bombs, and they fearfully ran away before the explosion would hit them. A blast that was weaker than before destroyed the spaced corridor and blocked its passageway with heavy, crumbling concrete blocks and wooden bars. The kidnapping was almost on its peak. Hotara tried to shovel the fragments away, but it was too long passing through the blocked passage. “There’s no way to dig out those rocks, Agamid,” Hotara said. “We should find another exit where they would go,” Agamid told. Unfortunately, he guessed the directions since he hadn’t know the fortress chambers and passages. As they entered back to the hallway, they met King Corus and Voy. “Hotara,” King Corus roared, “where is my daughter? She is not in the party room but my wife!” “Your majesty, they kidnapped her!” “Where are they going?” “They passed through this corridor.” Hotara showed King Corus the blocked passage. “Of course, they are walking him to the basement!” “But this is only a passageway to the basement, isn’t it?” Agamid asked. “No, there is another downstairs. Follow me.” King Corus with his followers behind dashed to the second stairway which he had locked with a wooden bolt. He took alternative downstairs and entered the underground basement where the Ta’za hunters had entered via Ta’za ship. He found long ropes tied to rigid stalagmite from the mouth of an underground cave, which Ta’za intruders climbed down with Princess Shakira upon their stealth ship. How did they cross the Shivanian blockade which was running continuously? Ta’za hunters had passed through the blockade by the use of a special dark magic, called invisibility—that was a cheat! “Wait here, your majesty,” Hotara said, “Agamid, Voy and I will handle with those damn kidnappers.” He and his armed followers alighted with dangling ropes to reach the ship. Before descending, they smelled a burning gunpowder aroma on the air. “It’s another bomb!” Voy yelled, hurriedly jump himself down the rope, and Hotara and Agamid did the same thing. The bomb that escaping Ta’za kidnappers planted blasted out of the cave. The fiery explosion destroyed and scorched old castle appliances, crates and tattered clothes that were stored as antiques. It viciously knocked King Corus so hard, and hit against the underground wall, fainting after a few seconds. Perceiving the infliction, Hotara knew that the king would be recovered soon, so he and his party had to resume rescuing the princess. To make the descending faster, he jumped against the cliff, loosened the grip on a rope a little, fell about two meters beneath, and clutched the rope quickly or he would release the climbing. Voy and Agamid followed the same strategy as Hotara did. The Ta’za crew was all on board so they would take Princess Shakira who was sentenced in a dungeon below the ship to Master Grakkon in the heart of Ta’za territory. They raised the anchor, and sailed forward quickly by oaring to depart Xan’orthras. The Ta’za general, named “Tyraghor”, roared when he saw three rescuers climbing down fast. He was wearing heavy armor, skull shoulder caps, metallic kneecaps and limb bracelets, and was arming with double axe. “Those meddling green lizards are following us!” He roared the Ta’za heretic behind him. “Burn them!” The Ta’za heretic cast three small fireballs and charged them toward the ropes to fall them down. His shooting was imprecise because the Ta’za people are doltishly amateurs. But Hotara’s shoulder was burned by a weak fireball. He directly could control his intensive pain. Hotara, Voy and Agamid landed on the deck of Ta’za ship. The fully armed Ta’za lizardmen surrounded the infiltrators. With an instant pause, a first enemy charged until the chain reaction elicited the others into fight. Hotara and his companions used their extreme movements which they were trained by their masters, and slain a several of their enemies. At the moment, Skaro, Krator and Tufrolk, Viator and Zacquaris voyaged with a small battleship with permission to ship owners by King Corus who demanded to rescue his daughter. Skaro must be hurry in navigation to aid Hotara and his companions. He raised an anchor to the deck, opened the sails and told the sailors to oar roughly toward the open sea. Mischievously, Ganth was concealing behind barrels and crates to avoid be seen by Skaro. He wished for an adventure by himself. After a few minutes of struggling, Hotara and his companions were about to be unluckily defeated because the Ta’za soldiers were on deck too many and yet they were exhausted. To surrender for their lives, they reluctantly stopped at where the brutal lizardmen surround them. “What are we going to do, Hotara?” Agamid asked. “There is no choice. We must give up this fight.” So Hotara, Voy and Agamid dropped down their weapons on a wooden floor. They pant sternly when they were hackneyed in fighting skills which Skaro didn’t eventually propose in training time. This could bring humiliation to his brother and to the king, which no hero and a skillful warrior should surrender in great battles. Never! Too much courage and chivalry was unfair, causing risk of life. The Ta’za lizardmen had to spare the heroes’ lives instead of murdering them pathetically. In other plans, they could penalize them tribally but unlawfully. They grabbed their enemies’ arms on the back firmly. The weapons were sequestered and owned. Since the rescuers were captured, Tyraghor laughed. “You are too weak to overcome us, you insignificant fools. Take them away to the dungeon!” Ransoming for slaying few of his army, he took the precious Pendant of Frost from Hotara’s neck. After the stolen artifact was desirably possessed, his crew dragged Hotara, Voy and Agamid to treacherous dungeon where the princess was condemned. “I know my brother, the hero, will come someday!” Hotara screamed while he was forced into the dungeon with his feared companions. Meanwhile, Skaro felt that Hotara was given up because the Ta’za crew overwhelmed them. He grunted when a sudden defeat through his senses was his weakness. He sat on a crate, crouching, and felt disquieted. If he reach his ship to the Ta’za ship visibly, he could be noticed by an enemy crew and commence a naval assault. Therefore, he told the Shivanian captain to decelerate the sailing until night. “My brother is captured so ill,” Skaro told his party on board. “Fortunately, he and his friends, including the princess, were spared, but I know those Ta’za bastards will foredoom them to death.” “Yeah, but we mustn’t leave our champions wandering in where he was taken away,” Tufrolk said. “And I shall kill those bastards for kidnapping my young brother!” Krator growled, snorting through canines like a real beast. His anger of the Ka’thnosian was a trait. “Let us make our difficult plans to save our acquaintances from the ship, anyone,” Skaro told, walking through the Ka’thnosians. “Before the dawn, we will do a stealthy deliverance of Hotara, Voy and Agamid in Ta’za ship. The enemy crew will fall asleep during their nightly navigation. Tufrolk will connect a rope from here to that ship, and then he will plant high-explosive bomb kegs on sides of the ship, which the stevedores had provided them in the cargo bay. Krator and I will search into the jail underneath. After we sneakily release my brother and his party and the princess, I will use the Pendant of Flame and burst the ship out of the ocean.” “That’s a good scheme, Skaro,” Tufrolk said. Ganth was still behind the crates, eating his lunch a loaf of bread. In the day before the dawn, they were already in the middle of the ocean. Sometimes no traces of land were seen in the skylines. Their ship was completely invisible in darkness, without any source of light effuse from all the parts. They espoused Skaro’s tactics. They reached the Ta’za ship furtively eight meters away, in spite of the wavy movements. Carrying a long rope on his hand, Tufrolk went down the ship via climbing and submerged on deep water. He swam toward the Ta’za ship. He climbed onto the ship and the bulwarks, and he tied a rope on it. Skaro tied the rope on a spar, limiting its straightness and durability. He and Krator were able to crawl on the rope to enter the enemy ship. “Where is Hotara?” Krator asked, being sensitively prepared for an enemy encounter whether they were here or not. “He is under the ship. We have to look for him.” Skaro and Krator sneaked downstairs hastily when an awakened Ta’za crew was strolling around the upper deck. They entered the lower deck with few unlocked doors throughout the corridor. Overhead they were able to conceal themselves on ceiling bars whenever the patrolling enemies were walking. “I sensed he is in the prison in the deepest part of this ship,” Skaro said quietly. Meanwhile, Tufrolk swam back to his ship on the upper deck. Doing what Skaro had contrived, he and the sailor loaded many small kegs of high-explosive gunpowder on a hanging rowboat. It must be enough so that the buoyancy would be well-balanced. He entered the rowboat, and the sailor descended him on the ocean. When he reached the enemy ship, he planted explosives on the bulwarks until they were gone. Back in the enemy ship, Skaro and Krator entered the lowest deck after many tricky conceals but no slays. In the prison room, he found a Ta’za guard holding a stack of few dungeon keys and sleeping on a stool. Krator closed the door with a noisy hinge which wakened the guard apace. Skaro immediately killed the guard on his neck before he would sound a direct alarm with a signal horn. “Will you be quiet, Krator? You’re going to alarm the entire ship,” He whispered. “Sorry, Skaro.” From now on everything was safe, but not at all. “Hotara, Voy and Agamid and Princess Shakira might be in one of those cells.” Skaro looked for them in each of the cells until he found them in the last portion. He glimpsed them providing no weapons to be armed with, except the princess who was somewhat in other chambers. “Skaro, my brother,” Hotara pleaded. “You found us!” Skaro unlocked the prison with a dungeon key. The unlocking clang wakened Agamid and Voy. Both of them seemed very surprised for deliverance. “Thank me later, Hotara,” Skaro said. “Where is the princess?” “He’s with Tyraghor, the leader of this Ta’za army, in the captain’s room,” Voy replied since he had seen the hapless princess dragged by Tyraghor. “Ahem, I’m not sure what he is doing with her.” “Don’t tell it.” Skaro returned the weapons to the prisoners stored in the weapon rack. Now he had a large party like mighty heroes of Lizardland, and the fellowship therefore was strengthened. He told his party to stay behind him to creep. He couldn’t sense the mind of the princess as she was completely not his inheritance. The party roamed around empty corridors on each deck to search for Tyraghor’s room. Later they stopped by the locked door of captain’s room where Princess Shakira was inside that room trapped. There was nobody strolling in the middle deck until the sun had risen from oceanic horizons. “We must be hurry. It’s already dawn!” Skaro warned after watching the window where the panoptic morning sky was beyond navy blue. “We have to save the princess right away before it’s too late.” He used his scimitars to slide its blade through a narrow slit between the door and the doorway. He forced it downward, separating the indoor bolt. The rescuing companions broke open the door. This loud wood thud wakened Tyraghor on the bed and Princess Shakira securely chained against the wall alive. With ultimate preparedness, the party showed their weapons in order to slay the nefarious master. “You!” Tyraghor roared. He realized there were none of his weapons were in the room. They were stored in the weapons gallery and armory. “You are defeated, Tyraghor,” Skaro hissed. “We are many, and you are single in your room.” Cowardly, Tyraghor, selecting his alternate reaction wisely, broke through the window. He wisely climbed up to the upper deck where he could start a loud alarm, roaring, “INTERLOPERS ON BOARD! THE PRISONERS ARE ESCAPING!” His furious warning alerted all sleeping crew in the entire ship. The evoked lizardmen in each chamber gathered their weapons and rushed to spread. Moreover, it brought Tufrolk to omit last of the bombs. Having insufficient time to plant all the bombs, Tufrolk depart the rowboat alone, and swam quickly towards his ship. He told the sailor to move near the enemy ship, but not too near. “Come on,” Skaro said quickly, slashing the chain apart that the princess was confined, “he’s alerting all the Ta’za soldiers in the ship!” “Hurry up, or they’ll be here and kill us!” Princess Shakira hissed, receiving Skaro’s extra scimitar. “Let’s go into the ocean instead,” Hotara told. Escaping, he leapt through the shattered window into the open ocean, followed by Agamid, Voy and Krator. “Skaro, let’s go right now and burn up this damn ship!” Krator growled. “What are you waiting for?” Skaro was searching for the map of Ta’za Territory in desks, closets or drawers where tucked documents, scenarios, postulated plans and secrets were kept by Tyraghor. This secondary quest was another importance for King Corus to locate the Infernal Lands that Shivanian had not reconnoitered to invade. “We’re getting late, Skaro!” Shakira warned, watching the Ta’za soldiers drawing close to them. “I understand my father had told you to locate the stolen map from my grandfather.” “That is what I and your nobles need!” Skaro hissed, scattering all the unimportant documents, scrolls and papers on the floor. “I’m finding the map of Ta’za Territory which King Corus had requested me for a long time.” After awhile, he found a whole map of Lizardland, signed by King Taskhr, that the Ta’za spies had stolen it from Shivanian Tribe long ago. On this renovated map, the heart of Ta’za Territory was redrawn by Master Grakkon and his mapmakers in where they recolonized away from targeted Infernal Lands. “I found it!” From now on the outraged Ta’za troops reached the room, showing their dreadful arms. Masterfully, Skaro and Shakira used their skills that learned from King Corus and the scholars. They immediately found the weak point of her enemies—the neck. In so many defenses, strikes and styles, they slew only a few of the evil reinforcements, but they were exhausted on martial arts. While the first wave of reinforcements was gone, Shakira warned, “Come on, we have to jump through the window to save ourselves!” She jumped through the window straightly. Skaro turned and gazed at the whole party floating on the water with delay. Using his sharp eyes, he found Hotara aiming his light arrow toward him. The arrow was shot, zooming toward not him but a furious Ta’za soldier attacking with his grievous axe behind him. It jabbed through the head, spouting torrents of blood. Hotara had already mastered his archery when perceiving a sight beyond sight. “Great thanks for saving my life, brother,” Skaro said, nodding at his brother. He jumped forward and splashed onto the ocean. They were out of sight from the enemies as they swam underwater to enshroud their body heat energy from Ta’za lizardmen’s heat-seeking senses. The sun rose into the cold morning. The companions, having rescued princess with them, climbed aboard their ship through ratline. Because of the morning light, the Ta’za armies spotted them, and they were to prepare for firing cannonballs “Did you plant all the barrels on the enemy ship?” Skaro asked Tufrolk. “Yes, I did,” “Then let’s fire the bombs before they shoot us down!” Using his warm hands to initiate the elemental powers from the Pendant of Flame, Skaro waved his hands around, conjuring and emitting hazardous violent flames, until the spell grew stronger. When he reached the full level of fire charging, he closed his fist, and punched with aimed target toward the one of the powder kegs. When the fire met gunpowder, a keg exploded, damaging a part of Ta’za ship, and then the chain reaction occurred to all barrel bombs, including a cask of gunpowder in the cannon deck. The detonation destroyed the enemy ship out of the ocean. Many pieces of burning wood, rope, metal, ash and fabric rained over the air, and corpses of Ta’za crew floated on the water. “We had destroyed the ship and saved the princess!” Skaro shouted triumphantly. He lifted his arm holding his scimitar and signaled a grand naval victory and a war cry. The Shivanian and Ka’thnosian warriors cheered with glee and courage. “All hail to King Corus and his ancestors!” Skaro told the sailor to turn the ship around to return to Xan’orthras, using a magnetic compass. To celebrate their victory while they were navigating, they served a large mug of strong beer from huge barrel. It was Skaro and Hotara’s favorite beverage, but seldom to others. A large cut of roasted beef was served on the table. The party enjoyed their meal, but they should lessen their drunkenness. Finishing his beer from the table, Skaro spotted a small tail behind the crate. He sensed the family relationship that was Ganth on board. “Ganth, is that you behind the crate?” Ganth was surprised. Surrendering his concealing which he was revealed psychically, he stood in front of the warriors. “Eh, what is it, Skaro?” “Why are you here? You’re supposed to be in our house with Rax and our raptors.” “But I just want to see you fighting with real enemies, so I learned this lesson.” “Who sent you here?” “I asked Zack to come here.” Skaro knelt down before Ganth, lecturing him with discredit. “Sigh, Ganth, you must learn that there are dangers around you, just like your uncles—me and Hotara—who had experienced a risky consequences before. We were being cautious of everything that gives grief among us. I will punish Zacquaris for accepting your perilous request.” He was correct. Venturing young children to an unknown place was a total disrepute to families. They must have nurtured and safeguarded by parents and guardians so that there would be no so-called threats to a treasured family member Shamefully, Ganth was sorrowed for his wrongdoing. He dropped his head blow, showing small tears running from his yellow eyes. “I’m sorry, Uncle Skaro, because I like adventuring anywhere. You even don’t know that my father allowed me to go around the jungles. Please don’t punish Zack. He’s your beloved raptor, your servant, your active transporter, and your closest friend.” “I understand your reasoning, my dearest nephew,” Skaro turned into remorse which Shivanians confidingly do. “I know you like adventuring that your father had told me, but everything is risky! You must be aware for it. Today, I assure you to be with us. So you will learn everything you distinguish.” He embraced him after a good lecturing to relieve him. Smiling, Ganth felt so glad to the warriors. Princess Shakira walked toward the child, kneeling upon Ganth. “You’re a very cute little child. And yet you’re so sweet.” She rubbed his hands on the child’s head. “What’s your name?” “Ganth.” “Is this your nephew?” Shakira asked Skaro. “Yes, he’s our nephew.” “So you like adventuring elsewhere besides Lizardland?” She questioned Ganth. “No, not at all. Just looking around.” “How do our raptors feel today in our lizard den?” Hotara asked, eating all the roasted beef on the plate. “Can you perceive them?” Skaro closed his eyes to deepen the spiritual “message” from Zacquaris. He replied, “Yes, I sensed him resumed to brood the eggs with his wife, your raptor. They’ll be fine, even though Rax is with him.” Hours later, they were still in the middle of the ship to locate where the bay of Xan’orthras was. Skaro used his golden spyglass to locate a nearby land in horizons, but there was no sign of it. But thanks to the sailor’s magnetic compass, it pointed its marker to the north correctly, and they had to travel south. However, the violent storm clouds were approaching rapidly. Sunlight was disappeared from the atmosphere. Very strong winds blazed out through the ship. Oceanic waves became rougher and more crinkled. “The storm is coming!” Agamid alarmed. “Secure all sails!” Skaro growled. Being commanded, Hotara, Agamid, Voy, Krator, Tufrolk and Shakira together climbed onto the ratline and pulled the ropes to close all of eight great sails. The ship was freed without being swept convulsively. Shards of purple lightning flashed onto the ocean. One of the unnatural lightning bolts zapped a largest sail where Hotara and Agamid sat. The split sail crashed onto the upper deck, Hotara and Agamid jumped and swung with a snapped rope and then landed on safest area of the deck. “Wait a minute,” Skaro said to Shakira, “I sensed this purple lightning is not a natural way. It’s from one of the Ta’za heretics!” “Try to feel where this storm was created.” Skaro deeply tried to comprehend with psychic powers. Through the multidimensional motives was a despiteful connection to an adversary. But he could evade the psychic minds of an evil weather controller. He realized the storm was definitely created by Master Grakkon who was on another enemy ship that passed through the Shivanian blockade by invisibility. “It’s Master Grakkon who actually did this all!” He roared angrily. Outraged, he couldn’t find him anywhere in the shaded ocean wherever the rain, wind and lightning brought them horror and misfortune. “We’re in the perfect wave!” Krator warned, watching an enormous tidal wave coming towards their ship. “We’re going to be capsized!” “Brace yourselves, anyone!” Skaro yelled. He grabbed on the handlers around the upper deck, while others did as being warned. The destructive tidal wave hit their ship and split it half, and turned upside down. Horrified warriors were pounced by forces of massive ocean waves, and they separated from others. Hotara and Skaro were thrown into the open water; Voy and Krator into the other side; Agamid and Shakira into another direction far away from others; but Ganth, Tufrolk and the sailor remained amidst the shattered ship. Some of them were slightly suffocated. Strong waves forced them away to the obscure ocean severally, and lost. “Anyone out there?!” Hotara shouted worriedly. Flotsams and jetsams were on the water. Sea kelps covered his scales in half. “Where are you?!” Skaro yelled to one another. “Ganth! Voy! Tufrolk! Krator! Shakira! Agamid!” The sound of the terrible storm made their calling inaudible. Now they all were hopelessly lost at sea, nothing to find each other to be reunited. They experienced an unfortunate survival in the middle of the ocean because there were sharks, sea monsters and krakens abounding the Seven Seas. They were half a kilometer apart. Apparently blazed watery foams covered up the sight beyond the others wherein roughshod thunderstorms frightened them away. Meanwhile, Ganth and the sailor were struggling to survive in the tragedy. They were now on underwater. Objects in the ruined, capsized ship were sinking downwards to the abyss slowly. Such many splintered wood, metal, fabric and rope flowed in other direction. There was still some moistened air in the lowest deck where many barrels of gunpowder and explosives were latterly loaded for cannon fire. This could moderately float the wrecked vessel in strong drift. Horrifically, Ganth, squirming in the water, was unconscious when he couldn’t remarkably breathe air and yet he lost his respiration. Extreme coldness in some northern oceans was a dreadful place to lizardmen’s blood heat. He meagerly closed his eyes for he necessarily thought he would end his life. Fortunately, he was rescued by Tufrolk and the sailor who were swimming with full oxygen supplement rapidly beyond the rubbles. They surfaced and climb on the bottom part of destroyed ship. “He’s unconscious!” Tufrolk told the sailor, checking the life of a lizard child. “Let’s save him before he’ll die!” They performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation by giving a heavy, fresh breath through Ganth’s mouth, and thrust on the chest to restore the heartbeat and breathing. Ganth was recovered, coughing salty liquid off his mouth. “Tufrolk?” Ganth wheezed. “It’s okay, child. But we’re in the middle of danger!” At the moment, a last purple lightning flashed and hit the damaged ship through. The spark in the lowest and driest deck exposed on barrels of gunpowder and exploded immensely. Enormous blast strongly forced Ganth, Tufrolk and the sailor throughout the rainy air. The separated warriors in the distance were astonished and saw the explosion that their ship was completely devastated. Black, fiery smoke with orange light exposures spread over the sea. Three of them splashed onto the ocean with safely. But, they watched many cataclysmic heavy objects falling upon them. Tufrolk grabbed Ganth tightly and plunged to escape from deathly impact. Unluckily, the sailor was stabbed by a large, pointed pole splinter, and killed with blood and seawater mixtures spreading. Ganth and Tufrolk were severely terrified. Worse yet, heavy debris from the explosion splashed down the sea and hit them—not very potent. The collision made them eagerly unconscious and drowned, dropping into the depths. Before dying, Ganth could see through his narrow eyelids, and found a dark figure with two blue-glowing objects approaching.
Chapter 10: The Princess's Seizure