The Shadow King

By CatC


It was an unusually warm and crisp fall season. The leaves were all bright and colorful. It gave the hint of a late winter. Small animals scurried beneath the leaves gathering an assortment of supplies for the approaching wintry months. A squirrel dashed up a tree with his tail swinging to and fro. His cheeks were bulging with acorns. The year had been surprisingly over-abundant and productive. Every bush was laden with fruits; their branches heavy. The grasses were green and full of nutrients.

It was a beautiful scene, one that made it hard to believe that a cruel and cold-hearted King ruled over the land. Long ago, a king had ruled before this one. He was kind and gentle. During the winter, when it was the harshest to survive, he lowered taxes and gave food from his own stores to those less-fortunate. The King, now though, was as cruel as a king could ever be. His name struck fear in to the souls of even the bravest of hearts. He was once known as a shadow lord, but with his ever consuming need for power, he went to the King to offer him his services.

He stayed low for several years, slowly gaining the trust of the King. Then the shadow lord slipped some poison into the king's ale that he had every night before going to bed. Of course no one suspected a thing, for he was the right hand man of the king and all trusted him. Unfortunately, the King had no heirs to the throne and no queen to succeed him. He had lost his wife to a sickness that had plagued her for years, and she just couldn't fight it any longer. The people thought it suitable for the Shadow Lord to become the King.

Once King, the Dark One proclaimed himself as the Shadow King. He took more with taxes and gave less back. He punished all that wouldn't obey and bow to him. His punishment was to kill anyone that opposed him. He turned those poor souls into his shadow army of smoke-like beings-sworn to serve him for eternity.

Not all of the creatures though were under his control. The griffons and sphinxes that lived in the top most regions of the kingdom were free to do as they pleased. They were considered powerful and honorable in battle. They had respect throughout the entire kingdom, all except the King. They all had a battle cry of "Fight with respect and honor!" which was a way for the people to remember the old King and of better times.

The majority of the kingdom was inhabited by beings that could change forms. They were humans, but could change to a dragon form. Each one was different in their abilities. There were ones that processed different elements. The elements were fire, earth, water and air. Each of these was divided into clans and the leaders of these clans each were treated as gods of that element. The Fire Clan could set a forest a blaze with one breath, the Water clan could flood a valley within seconds, the Earth clan restored the wilderness, and the Wind clan was the fastest fliers of the Kingdom.

The inhabitants of the Kingdom all were referred to as Draconians. The kingdom was Draconia, the land of the dragons.

Chapter One

Three draconian people walked along one of the small forest paths, talking quietly and listening to the busy forest.

"Today turned out to be so peaceful and serene. It's hard to believe that it's already dusk. Where did the day go?" said Tiamat.

"I know," replied Silveera while looking around the path; the light slowly fading as the sun slid behind the trees.

"The night is going to be clear and I think there's going to be a full moon," said Shadah looking up at the darkening sky with the faint twinkle of the stars.

"Well that's always a good thing for us travelers. For bright stars mean more light to see by at night," stated Tiamat, "We should make camp soon.... This looks like a suitable place."

The travelers came upon a clearing that had appeared to have been used by many other travelers. There was a small fire pit that wasn't in the center, but close to it. There were also a couple of logs that were rolled in to the clearing for seats.

"Ah... this looks perfect," replied Silveera.

She walked over to a log and said, "I'm in the mood for a light nap." So she lies down across a log and fell asleep.

"Okay, well I'm going to search for some food for us for supper and Shadah can you starts the campfire?" asked Tiamat.

"Sure," replied Shadah.

After the wood was stacked, Shadah breathed a short breath, which formed a small flame on the palm of her hand. She placed it on the wood and the wood immediately went ablaze. As the campfire crackled, both draconians relaxed and waited for Tiamat's return.

After an hour the sky darkened and the stars glistened. The full moon rose over the camp turning the surrounding forest into a silvery world. The branches rustled in a light breeze and Tiamat appeared carrying a dead buck. When she got to the fire, she began to skin the buck.

Silveera awoke and eyed the blood that was dripping from the buck and started to slowly purr.

"Can you give me some of that?" asked Silveera.

"Okay......" replied Tiamat very slowly, and she passed some to her after collecting it in a piece of hide.

Silveera slowly lapped from the hide and purred. When finished she began to groom herself. She is what is known as a drat, which is part dragon, part cat. They are also vampiric.

Shadah sat by the fire stroking Spirit her traveling cat companion, who sat alongside Pitter and Patter, Silveera's travel companions. They all were purring in allusion, all eating a slab of the deer meat. They were talking quietly among themselves in their own language. Their tails were softly going across the ground.

The trio sat for awhile, silently eating and listening to the crickets in the orange glow of the fire. A slight warm breeze blew, rustling the leaves both on the ground and on the trees.

"Well I'm going to the scout the land for a while so that when we leave in the morning we won't be in for any surprises. I would also like to get a feel of the land," stated Tiamat.

"Okay we'll keep watch of the camp while you're gone," replied Shadah.

"Be careful Tia," replied Silveera.

"As always," said Tiamat smiling.

After Tiamat left, the camp was once again silent, with the leaves rustling and the crickets singing. The fire crackled and released some stray sparks into the air. Then Spirit's tail puffed, her eyes growing wide and she gave a low growl. Pitter and Patter gave a growl and all three's eyes focused on one point where the shadows played on the foliage.

Chapter Two

The leaves rustled more and a twig cracked. An evil laugh was heard. All that heard it were chilled to the bone. The laugh barely more than a whisper, twisted its way through the bushes to listening ears.

"Wh...who are you? Speak and show yourself!" demanded Silveera. Her two cats were glaring at the bushes, their tails bristling a low growl emitting from them both.

"Why should I show myself to such unworthy beings?" replied the creature in a hissing voice that was sly and cunning in nature.

"Unworthy!? Who are you to call us unworthy, when we are in the light and you are in the shadows like a coward?" asked Shadah, a little upset.

Spirit, Patter and Pitter all bristled and gave looks that could kill at the hidden creature. "Us unworthy," they thought, "How dare you!" Patter gave a low growl and a hiss.

"Anger shows fear," chuckled the creature, "But I will show myself to appease that fright.... or it just may increase it!"

The creature laughed again, an evil hissing laugh, and red eyes glowed from in the bushes. The leaves rustled and stilled to a few seconds. All was quiet as all looked towards the bushes. Time seemed to be frozen as seconds ticked by. Then the leaves rustled again and out jumped a strange creature. It was a being of shadows and was never the same shape. It was shifting shapes like that of a shadow. Silver flames curled and licked around what appeared to be its face, arms and legs. He was smoky- gray in color and as large as a house and his fangs and claws were made of steel.

"What do you suppose it is?" whispered Shadah to Silveera

The beast heard the comment and replied:

"I am the Shadow King! All bow to me and worship me. I am the powerful and almighty king of this land!"

"We bow to nobody! Nor do we serve anybody", stated Silveera, her eyes beginning to glow. She took a fighting stance and yelled, "Pitter, Patter, Spirit go find Tiamat and make sure she's alright!"

The three all nodded and dashed into the foliage. Spirit turned and glared at the Shadow King and then went to catch up with the other two. After the cats disappeared into the forest, Shadah and Silveera changed into their dragon forms. Silveera turned into true Firebane. She was now larger than the King and had thick plated metal all along her body and her eyes were glowing red. Shadah changed into a black dragon with purple spikes and yellow cat eyes. Her size also changed and she was slightly smaller than the King. Her tail was no longer that of a dragon, but that of a cat.

"You think that you can battle me?! The Almighty King?!" demanded the Shadow King.

"We will prevail over you!" shouted Silveera. She then called in a language of the olden times and beasts of all assortments appeared. Griffons, sphinxes, dragons, fearies and many more had appeared in the clearing.

The King laughed and gave forth a high pitched whistle. Smoke began to form all around the clearing. It twined around all the feet and bodies. Little beings formed all around the clearing. They were small in comparison to all the other creatures, but their power was much greater than their size. They were known as shadow demons. Their eyes were orange, like a little flame as they stared at the opponents. Wyverns and other serpent-like creatures appeared next to the King's sides. The King whispered something to two of the serpent creatures and they went off into the forest and were lost in the darkened forest of the night.

The battle was set, all sides were quiet and still. The Shadah and Silveera's side erupted in a battle cry that was yelled for centuries before them:

"We fight with honor and respect!"

The clearing then erupted in yells, the cry echoed through the woods and all small creatures burrowed deeper into their nests in the warmth and comfort of their homes.


Chapter Three

The three cats came upon a trail of blood while on the search of their friend Tiamat. They sniffed at it and it seemed familiar, but it was also mixed with a scent that covered up the older one, one that frightened the cats into a sprinting run, for the blood was that of a dragon and it was covered with the scent of an evil creature.

They bristled up even more and ran even faster. As they approached another clearing they slowed to the sound of someone talking. They stopped short of the clearing and sat resting and listening.

"You are a sly one wyvern. Why must you battle me? I have done nothing to you!" responded the dragon as it paced around in a circle.

"It issss massssster'ssssss orderssssss" hissed the wyvern, "He sssaid either capture you or kill you" The wyvern was also circling the clearing.

"Well you will be doing neither!" Just as the dragon tried to jump the wyvern, smoke began to curl around her feet and turned to chains with smoke demons tugging on the long chains.

The trio watched in silence. The dragon turned out to be Tiamat in her dragon form. She was a light blue with golden spikes. Spirit was pacing to and fro. She began to meow and Patter stood and nodded. He took off back towards the camp at a run. The other two prepared to follow the wyvern and his crew to their destination.

In the clearing Tiamat struggled against her restraints. She destroyed the smoke demons, but for every one she killed two more took their place. She struggled more and tried to grow larger to break her chains. The chains though had a different idea. They took away Tiamat's energy as she put it forth to grow and they became harder to lift. She then lay weak with her energy drained and the wyvern laughed.

"There is no use to struggle little dragon!" As the wyvern said this another wyvern appeared and responded, "This dragon will be perfect for masssster!"

Spirit and Pitter were in hot pursuit as the band began to travel deeper into the forest.

"Where do you suppose they are going?" asked Pitter to Spirit.

"I am not sure. It has been several hundred years since I have been in this part of the land. It's hard to remember."

"I also wonder who this "Master" is?"

"Well there's one way to find out!" at that Spirit picked up speed through the treetops.

The two followed for an hour through the trees. The band had come to a cave that was shaped like a giant wyvern. The entrance was in through the mouth of the statue. Smoke rose from the mouth and slowly drifted towards the skies. The shadow demons dropped Tiamat onto the ground with a thud.

"You will walk from here, or you will be dragged until you walk."

The shadow demons circled around Tiamat and lashed out with a thin white flame that whipped through the air, making her walk. As they walked through the mouth of the cave, smoke began to spew from the walls creating an eerie fog.

Tiamat stumbled as she walked through the passage. Before going through the entrance, she glanced mournfully at the outside world. She had to quickly turn back around to avoid another flame whip as it cracked inches from her face. Through the entrance, they came upon a black opening and voices could be heard chanting in a hissing language.

Chapter Four

"Shall we follow?" asked Spirit to Pitter. "We must be cautious first and perhaps do something that we haven't done in ages," replied Pitter.

"You mean....." whispered Spirit. "Yes, we must use our anncient magic to be disguised; no longer must we be in hiding."

With this the two cats began to transform into these creatures that were almost human in nature with tuft like ears, though they changed they still had cat like characteristics. Their eyes were striking yellow and their faces were angular, like a Siamese cat. With a look at each other and a short nod, they slowly descended into the cave, with the green fog enveloping them.

~ . ~

In the clearing the battle was raging on and both sides lost comrades, in the back of the battle the Shadow King roared and gave orders to his warriors. He spoke in hisses and then smoke began to form all around the clearing again and then small creatures darted around the clearing. They took no shape, just wisps of smoke. The others took no notice and it was clear which side they were on. The King laughed evilly and he then disappeared; his voice echoing even after his departure.

The griffons and sphinxes battled on, but the numbers were becoming too great. Silveera and Shadah were working their way towards the King, when he abruptly disappeared. Silveera was to the right on the battle field and was confronted with a menacing red wyvern. The wyvern was emitting purple flames that threatened to scorch Silveera if she came too close. She laughed softly and with deep breath she breathed a red flame. The flames mixed and turned an eerie red orange color and the two fires exploded and sent sparks all around the clearing.

Shadah was to the left of the clearing and upon seeing the sparks began to make her way towards Silveera. As she reached her something strange happened. The clearing became quiet even though the battle was still raging on as if someone had pushed the mute button and all was moving slow. Shadah looked around in disbelief and reached towards Silveera, but she too was moving very slow. Shadah noticed that something must be amiss, but as she turned the world went black and a faint image began to form. In the haze there was a cave deep within a forest and chanting.

Silveera saw Shadah as she fell and with an angry roar she faced the wyvern and saw the sneer on his face. She moved fast and slashed out with her razor claws. The wyvern started to laugh because how could one dragon do him harm, but when he looked down his red scales were glistening in the fading light. He cried out in agony and with the look of disbelief on his face he fell never to rise again. As the wyvern fell the battle seemed to come to a stand still and the smoke beings disappeared. All looked around, but they only saw themselves. As the light slowly faded the creatures kept a watch over the clearing. One of the centaurs made a small fire to see by. Early morning and the battle felt like it happened ages ago. A lord of the griffons stood and said,

"The battle seems to be over for now, but I can see future battles as this land is turned in turmoil. The Shadow King will stop at nothing until all creatures worship him and he can be called the King of all the land. He must be stopped. I will aid with my people in the future, but for now we must go to our homes and rest. Many of the people will be mourning this day for the loss of some of our warriors."

With this he stood and him and is people took to the forest towards their homeland. The sphinxes; without a word, took flight into the skies and all was quiet once again in the clearing, with only the sound of the crackling fire. Silveera looked over at Shadah who looked as if she was sleeping and tried to wake her. As she tried, Shadah's eyes flashed open unfocused and she began to speak softly.

"In the realm of darkness, all shall be lost. Don't give up hope, look towards the north and a light shall be seen. Cries will be heard and lives shall be forsaken, but with time they will be remembered. Go towards the land of shadows and the help that may be needed will aid."

After the last word was spoken Shadah woke abruptly and looked around the clearing. "Where is everybody? What happened?"

~ . ~

Chapter Five

~ . ~

Spirit and Pitter descended on a stairway that led to the depths of the cave. As they went further and further down, the chanting to increase in both speed and volume. The temperature also began to drop and in the little bit of light left, they could see their breath in a smoky plume.

At the end of the stairs they came upon a solid wall. Both stopped and pondered where the door was when Pitter noticed a strange look to the stone. Instead of being cold and damp, the area was dry and very warm to the touch. She began to push the rock, but before her hand hit a solid wall, it went through the stone. They looked at each other puzzled. Spirit tried and she too could go through the wall. After much pondering on if they should go through or not on account that it could be a trap, they carefully stepped through the stone. It was pitch black and a rumbling could be heard not far away in the darkness. They tried to go back through the stone, but the wall was now solid.

Deep within the dark a flash of bright green appeared and then a small and low laugh could be heard.

"Who dares enter the cavern of Omotis the Great?

As the last words echoed around the cavern, a blast of bright light flashed illuminating the room. It took a few seconds for Spirit's and Pitter's eyes to adjust from the dark world to the bright one. What they saw startled them.

The room had a rocky path through the center and on both sides there was a black void of dark magic. Standing in the path was a chained creature that was part bird, dragon and horse. It head was that of a dragons, its wings feathered, and the rest of its body a horse.

"It has been awhile Oromis, or should I say, Dark Starlight."

~ . ~

Shadah told vicious all that she remembered before she had fallen and awoken. She said that she saw that the sparks she was coming to help Silveera out. As she did though the world began to be very slow and almost unmoving as she stopped to look around the clearing. She then described that after one last look at the battle everything went black and that was all that she could remember.

Silveera thought for a minute and then told Shadah of what she had said during the time that she was out. She described the battle and the strange retreat and how the Griffons pledged to help out in anyway that they could. She then said as she bent over Shadah that she began to softly whisper something. She repeated it and Shadah looked very puzzled and then she remembered an image that had appeared suddenly in her mind.

"I...I saw a dark land that was destroyed, all was silent, but I could see in the distance a bright light and I tried to get closer to it, but as I got closer, the world in the picture began to change. It showed our realm and of the green hills and great mountains and all of the creatures. A Voice told me if we didn't do something that the world we once knew would be cast into shadows and all would become creatures of the dark and we would all lose our souls. The Voice then told of what you just said, and apparently it wanted both of us to find this land. First though I think that we should find Tiamat."

"I agree, but where is Spirit, Pitter and Patter?"

Then the bushes began to rustle and Patter came dashing into the clearing, panting and stopped in front of the two others.

"They have captured Tiamat and have taken her into a cave in the center of the forest. We must hurry though for I fear for her. Spirit and Pitter are following the band and they said that they would try to get Tiamat, but when you could, come and try to meet them where Spirit, Patter and I split up. I will take you there if you can come."

"Of course we can come now and on our way we shall explain our journey that lies in our future," said Silveera. Shadah nodded in agreement and all three took to the forest towards the cave.

~ . ~

"How do you know my true name? Two scruffy things such as yourselves......" said Oromis.

"Why are you, the lord of the stars chained in this cavern and you look so weak!" replied Patter.

"It can't be......" said Oromis pausing, "Pitter and Spirit!? It's been such a long time!"

"Yes it is us, but you still haven't answered our question."

"It is a sad story, but I shall tell it......." Started Oromis as the cavern changed in into a scene for them to see....

The cavern changed into a beautiful starry scene with the planets all a glow and then a soft sound that grew in intensity began. The sharp whistle grew and small shadows appeared and then a horrid sight was seen and Oromis's voice began to speak.

"I was amongst the stars and speaking with my many friends when the whistling started.... It was a star that was being pput out and would soon have its eternal flame extinguished. I immediately flew down and saw these shadow creatures attacking many of the stars and then they also had other star watchers with them and they were chained, emaciated and very weak. Even though they were trying their best to move as fast as they could some of the shadow creatures had flame whips and they were slashing their already wounded backs. Many groaned in pain. I was enraged and also scared for their safety and immediately gave a blood chilling roar. It was my duty to protect all watchers and the stars for if their light extinguishes the galaxy would soon be in darkness. I swooped down and freed many of the watchers and the shadow creatures, taken by surprised paused for just a second and then they began to attack. They swarmed all around me and piled all around and it seemed that for every one I vanquished two or three more were in its place. I then noticed one of the watchers I hadn't gotten to yet or released. It was one that I cared very much for and I had spent all of my long life with, centuries and she was beginning to softly fade and then the rest of the world was forgotten, the whip's scorching and slashing forgotten, as I reached out to free her. As I snagged the chain off she softly smiled at me and then... she was gone faded aaway and I knew like the stars that the watchers and I protect, her eternal flame was extinguished. I cried out in agony as the great masses of the shadows over took me and so I lost my will to fight. They took me into a dark place and left me there and I slowly weakened and then after what seemed like forever and I was weary from grief they chained my legs and now I am here sworn to protect what lies ahead... of what it is I have no clue...."

The scene faded and the cavern came back into view and Oromis's eyes were a little misty from having to relive the tragedy.

"Wow I am so sorry for your loss and we will help you in any way that we can Oromis for you are one of our great friends and you deserve to be back amongst your friends family and the watchers." replied Pitter.

"I cannot go back my dear friends for I am ashamed to show my face. I failed to protect the watchers and I have lost much in the stars...." Replied Oromis sadly.

"I doubt that any of the other watchers would hate or not want to see you again. I bet they are all worried sick for you and mourn for you until you come back" said Spirit.

"I am gracious for your willingness to help me, but there is nothing that you can help me with. I can though let you pass so that you may continue on your path." Replied Oromis kindly and some spark seemed to appear briefly in his eyes.

"Thank you very much Oromis. We are forever in your debt", said Pitter, "Here let us at least remove you shackles and chains....."

Spirit and Pitter quickly loosened the chains and threw the remains of them down into the void of dark magic, the rattling slowly fading, but there was no thump of them as they hit the ground, apparently the dark mass had no bottom.

The two walked past Oromis, who was now lying down and a tear slowly fell from his eye, he seemed to be reliving the last moments. Spirit and Patter softly patted him on the back and said their goodbyes and their condolences.

~ . ~

Chapter Six

~ . ~

Patter quickly led them to the spot where he had last seen Spirit and Pitter, all the while Silveera and Shadah told of the battle, the strange ending and then the prophecy that was told. Patter listened intently and commented occasionally while his mind was reeling. When they reached the spot all they found was the trees and then nothing. Patter quickly sniffed the air and found the faint scent on the breeze. He quickly followed the trail with Silveera and Shadah swiftly following him.

When they arrived to where the scent ended they were several yards from a cave entrance and Patter stopped puzzled for the scent he was following changed into a new scent.

"No", he thought, "they couldn't have changed but our secret will be known... but the scent never lies." "What's the matter Patter you look worried" said Silveera.

"Oh nothing... they must have gone into the cave there....." replied Patter, changing the subject.

They headed off into the cave and came across a steep stair way. They descended down and found a dead end. They pressed on the wall, but it was solid all across it. Patter looked puzzled and said, "This is strange their scent ends here as does the passage way....."

"Perhaps they went a different way and back tracked and found the right way into the cave....." suggested Shadah.

"I'm not sure, but I guess we might as well try and see if there is another passage....." said Patter reluctantly.

They back tracked up the stair way and each one carefully scanning the wall for another entrance and when the almost reached the top of the stairs Shadah noticed a crevice wide enough for someone or something to walk through.

"Perhaps this is it" said Shadah pointing at the crevice.

"I don't smell any scent but perhaps they may have gone through here and this damp floor is masking their scent...." replied Patter.

And with that they squeezed through the crevice. They found that as they continued onwards the crevice actually widened and turned into another pathway that was wide enough that they could stretch their arms out almost all of the way. The ceiling though was shorter and they had to stoop slightly to avoid bumping their heads. They came upon a wooden door that was fringed in a golden metal. Shadah walked up towards the door and noticed no keyhole, but a small door knob was on its left, when she touched it the door knob glowed a bright red and the cave floor vibrated slightly and then a voice echoed throughout the small passage.

"No one may pass through the Realm of Dreams, without acknowledging the Protector!" All three companions looked at each other surprised and shocked, their eyes widened as they noticed a set of bright green eyes looked out from the shadows and then a glint of something metal. As the creature stepped out of the shadows it was a large dragon with a golden ring in his nose and a golden skeleton key around his muscular neck.

"Who has entered my cave and wishes to pass through?" said the dragon his voice vibrating around the passage.

"We are three travelers and we are searching for a lost friend who was taken into this cave. We are not sure where she is, but we fear for her safety and we must move with haste," said Patter, "I am Patter, and this is two of my traveling companions Silveera and Shadah. We are looking for our other friend whose name is Tiamat."

"I'm afraid that you cannot pass for the Realm of Dreams is a dangerous place full of nightmares from all beings of this world and other realms from all of the universes. If you wish to pass you must answer a riddle and then and only if you get the correct answer the first time may you pass through."

"Well what is the riddle, Protector of Dreams, if I may ask?"

The dragon pondered a moment and then he spoke softly and slowly as he told his riddle. ""It's without a key or a lid but golden treasures, inside, are hid"

Pitter pondered as did Shadah and Silveera and they did so for a good few minutes. They all stood raking their brains and then Patter's eyes lit up and then he whispered to both Silveera and Shadah to ask them what they thought and both agreed for the answer.

"It is an egg! The yolk is the golden treasure" said Patter smiling.

The dragon sat pondering the answer and then he sadly looked upon the three staring hopefully at his feet and had said, "Very well you may pass through, but I fear for your lives and what may face you inside the realm. With every bad dream captured it is added to the realm. Once they enter it they become demented and they change into horrid beasts with powers that at not known even to me"

"I'm afraid that even with those dangers we must go on to find our friend and thank you"

The dragon walked to the door and held the key in front of it and a small key hole formed and he slid it into the hole and the door clicked and opened into a bright and pearly white world. As they walked though the door way the door slammed shut behind them and the dragon sighed. "I really do hope they come to no harm...." And he shook his head and wwalked back into the shadows.

~ . ~

Chapter Seven

~ . ~

Pitter and Spirit crossed the bridge and took one last look at Oromis, who had now seemed to be softly slumbering, and then they went on. They came across a small entrance to another room.

As they went through the entrance the floor turned into a soft, almost cushioned, grassy floor. They both looked around in awe for what they saw in front of them was a grand sight. They were in a world where there were mountains and then in the yellow light of the moon a castle outlined on the horizon. The castle had six great towers and seemed to be of a great size and magnificence.

They walked towards it and as they came closer and closer to it was far vaster than they had once thought. The castle was about four stories high and had many windows and the drawbridge was twice the size of Silveera even in her mightiest dragon form.

"Well what should we do now?" asked Spirit, as she eyed the castle cautiously.

"Well maybe we should see who lives here and if they can help us. If not I guess we'll have to carry on, but I'm not sure which direction", replied Pitter.

"Umm how are we going to get in the drawbridge is up and there is a giant moat going all around the castle...." Inquirred Spirit

"Hmmm good question..." said Pitter.

As they thought of a way a voice called down to them.

"Who are you and state you business here!" It came from a posted sentry and both Pitter and Spirit looked relieved for there was a chance they could get through.

"We are in search of our friend and we would like to ask the lord of this castle some questions" Spirit called up.

The sentry whispered to another person who went off sprinting and his bobbing head disappeared and all was quiet for a few long minutes. Then the other sentry's head bobbed back into view and then he whispered into the other ones ear. He nodded and then they noticed the drawbridge begin to creak and then lower.

"We will escort you to our lord."

With that they hurriedly grabbed hold of Spirit and Pitter and rushed them through a passage that had so many twists and turns they soon had lost their sense of direction.

"Why are there so many twists and turns?" asked Pitter

"It is a safety precaution" said one of the sentry's curtly

"Oh, okay..." replied Pitter.

Spirit shrugged at Pitter and they soon came to a great solid Oak door that was stained a dark red almost brown color. The sentry to their left, who in the light of a torch had red hair and a lot of freckles on his face and a long nose, knocked quickly on the great wooden door. Spirit and Silveera quickly stole a glance at the other sentry and found that he had striking blonde hair and a round face. The door opened without even a creak and before them stood a huge hall with a throne at the end of it. The sentries released them and hurried back out of the room and quietly shut the door. Pitter and Spirit shuffled their feet on the tile floor as the waited in silence to be acknowledged. The lord spoke and sounded very friendly.

"Welcome to my castle, I am Lord Archlight. Who are you my friends?"

"I am Spirit and this is my friend Pitter. We are looking for one of our dear friends Tiamat," said Spirit.

"Where do you come from and why was your friend captured?" inquired Archlight.

"We come from the Kingdom Draconia and there we are terrorized by our new King who likes to call himself the Shadow King. Our friend was captured while out scouting the land as we traveled and we were ambushed by the King and his army of shadow demons. We went to look for Tiamat while our other traveling companions sorted out the battle. We found her, but they took her into this cave like place and now we are here in your castle." Said Pitter.

"We came to ask you some questions of this land, my lord", said Spirit

"Well by all means ask away and I'll try to help you in any way."

"Well umm what is the name of this land and have you seen a shadowy wyvern around these parts perhaps?" asked Pitter.

"This land is what is called Bellanthica. We are a peaceful kingdom and we seem to have no troubles with our King, but with rouges, or people who run wild through this land stealing and killing all people. I haven't seen a wyvern, but you may have to ask one of the sentries. I could have sworn through that I heard this hissing roar that was almost chilling to the bone."

Both Spirit and Pitter looked at each other for it had to be the wyverns and Tiamat. "We thank you for this information will help us greatly. How can we repay you?" said Spirit.

"Oh nothing, but would you like to stay the night, the nights are dangerous here because of the rouges" asked the Archlight.

"That is very kind, but we wouldn't want to intrude or cause any inconvenience...."

"No, no, no.... it is no inconveniencee. I would be insulted as a host if you didn't stay' said the Lord smiling.

"Well we wouldn't want to insult you so we will stay the night and thank you!" said Spirit. Two servants came into the hall and ushered them out of the hall. They led them up two stair ways up to the top floor and took them into a room that was very large and had two beds. There was a basin at the center of the room to wash their faces in and freshly laundered towels. The servants quickly left and shut the door.

"Wow! The beds are so soft and the covers are really fluffy!" said Spirit sitting on the bed.

"I know! And wow look at the view! You can see almost everything through this window!" replied Pitter.

"Well I guess we should get some rest it has definitely been a long day.... And a strange one at that...." said Spirit.

"I agree wholeheartedly at that statement" said Pitter yawning.

They blew out their candles and settled into bed. In the distance there was a soft barely audible laugh as the two fell asleep and a flash of red eyes as a storm began to brew. The lightning flashing and thunder rolling across the skies as the two slept soundly.

~ . ~

Chapter Eight

~ . ~

Silveera, Shadah and Patter walked through the doorway and heard the door slam behind them and they quickly turned at the sound and found no sight of the doorway. As they turned back around they saw the strangest of sights. The world was in pieces of islands floating about with trees. The strangest thing was that there was no sounds, no trill of a bird's melody or the slightest breeze. All was deathly still.

"What shall we do?" asked Silveera

"I'm not sure maybe we should go into our dragon forms so that we can fly over these strange little islands." answered Shadah.

"Sounds okay to me..." repliedd Silveera.

They both turned into their dragon forms and spread their wings. Patter hopped up onto Silveera's back and laid down at the base of her wings. As they took off they didn't even hear their wings as they beat the air and their voices seemed to echo and carry. As they flew over the islands they noticed many strange creatures. One was a red rat looking thing that had bulging eyes and flashing fangs. As they looked at it the creature hissed and abruptly changed shape into a wisp of a flame and it seemed to jump and wisp up into the air in their direction.

They passed a second island and it seemed peaceful and serene, but before they were about to land on the island they heard a high pitched whistle and a flash of bright light. A winged creature that looked like it was once a griffon stood in the center. Its wings were rugged and torn and its fur faded. Although it looked worn and aged, its eyes burned fiercely with light and alertness. The two decided to land on the island to rest far away from the griffon and remained alert in case they had to take flight.

"You know that dragon was right this is a strange place..... I wonder why each person has an individual island..... Wouldn't it be cool to find our own islands!?!" asked Silveera.

Shadah doesn't answer because she is staring at the griffon who has ventured closer to their resting place. There is a faded out symbol with a "D" inscribed in it.

"Hey look at that symbol does it look familiar to you?" asked Shadah

Silveera peered at the symbol studying it and then her eyes widened. "Oh my it is the olden symbol from the old warriors of Draconia! He must be at least 200 years old!" exclaimed Silveera.

"Whoa, I wonder how he got here?" said Shadah

"I think it was during the final great battle and they had chased many of the demons into this realm. They battled and battled, but no one saw them ever again; both the warriors and the demons." replied Silveera.

"What are you whispering about?! You must be plotting against the great Draconian Griffons!" yelled the Griffon.

"Oh no. no. no! Of course not, sir. We are Draconians, too! Who are you may I ask?" asked Shadah.

"I do not give away information! I do however receive information, what are your names! Speak!"

"We are travelers from Draconia and I am Shadah, this is Silveera and this here is Patter." said Shadah kindly.

"Well I guess I'll have to tell you who I am for I am the last of the great army..... I am Ironfeather of the Mountain clan." Ironfeather said sadly.

"What happened Ironfeather? The army I mean....where did they go" asked Silveera.

"It was happy times before we left for the great journey to go after the demons. We boasted of our strength and powers. We held flying races to test speed. We feasted the night before from what the clans' cooks made. Ah it was delicious I can still taste the sweet berries of my own wife's pie. We left the next morning and marched gallantly through the villages all cheering us on. As we ventured out of the villages and went further into the forests we began to feel the emptiness of the forest. Not even a bird's trill was heard. We came to the waterfall were a cave was hidden beneath its crashing spray. We passed through the water's door and came upon a wooden golden door. We went through and began the great battle with the shadow demons. We fought long and hard and we lost many men. Finally we vanquished them but alas it came with a price. We were to never be able to go forth to the real world where our families waited and prayed for our safe return. As the years have passed many have gone insane or have changed into these strange creatures until I am the only one left. Tell me what year is it from where you came?"

"Well it was fall of 265 the age of the Dragons, but it is hard to tell what the time is now....." replied Silveera.

"Oh my, it has been more than 100 years! I knew it was a while but not that long!" said Ironfeather with sorrow, "I just know my villages are no more without the warriors......"

"Oh I am sure that they are still there, but with new generations. If you'd like we could help you find your way back" offered Silveera.

"No I wouldn't want to burden you."

"Nonsense, I know you can help us in finding our friend and then perhaps you'll change your mind and go back with us" said Patter, who was sitting and listening intently.

"Well it does sound like some excitement that may stir up my old bones. I shall think on it tonight. Why don't you three bed down for a while you all look tired and ragged. A short sleep will do you all some good" said Ironfeather kindly.

As they all bedded down for a short rest Ironfeather created a vast sphere of protection that was a soft glowing blue. As one of the strange creatures approached the light they couldn't get through or near it for several feet.

"You shall be safe tonight. This sphere can not be penetrated" reassured Ironfeather. They all slowly dozed away in the eerie quietness of the dreams realm.

~ . ~

Chapter Nine

~ . ~

Spirit and Pitter slept soundly as the moon gently glided across the sky. The occasional bat flew by the window its wings softly fluttering. In the room there was a single candle that gave off a soft golden glow on the sleeping faces. Just as the moon reached its highest point a loud howl was hear that jolted Spirit awake. She looked quickly towards the sound in the dim light. It seemed to be coming from the wooden door on the other side of the room. The howling stopped and then scratching started. The scratching awoke Pitter who now also stared at the door. Spirit quietly crept out of the bed and edged closer to the door. Pitter began to stand, but Spirit motioned for her to still. As Spirit got closer and closer towards the door the scratching became more furious and was now a steady sound. Just as Spirit approached the door, the scratching stopped and all was quiet. Slowly she inched the door open and peered through a small crack. Through the crack there seemed to be nothing. She opened the door a little further and noticed a set of piercing golden eyes through the darkness.

The creature darted into the room through the crack and swiftly jumped on the dresser at the left of the door. As it swept into the room the candle's light grew brighter and was now burning as bright as if the entire room was filled with candles. Spirit looked questioningly at Pitter who was just as puzzled as Spirit. They both quietly crept towards the dresser and the creature turned and looked at them both in the eyes. Its eyes were golden and there seemed to be a small flame burning in its eyes. The creature upon closer observation was the shape of a cat and was jet black. As they inched closer to it abruptly spoke.

"No need to be frightened I come bearing news of your friend and of great danger. I am Firestone a fire demon. We are long time enemies of the foe you seek."

The demon spoke though its mind and the voice seemed to echo all around. It peered calmly at the two, amused by their surprised look.

"Wait, you know of our friend how is she?!" exclaimed Pitter.

"You needent worry she is in a deep sleep and knows not of what awaits her. I have to warn you before it is too late."

"Wait, what awaits her is she going to come to harm?" said Spirit shocked.

"I can not say for demons no matter if friends or foes we mustn't tell of our olden secrets. I am sorry. I can however warn you of his advances. He is approaching this castle as we speak and is going to attack. He plans to kill you and all that try and help to protect you. You must both leave right this minute!"

"We can't leave! We must warn the King!" said Pitter.

"You don't need to worry of the King for he was part of this. He made a deal with the Shadow King to be protected from attacks if he would be able to give you to the Shadow King"

"Whoa that is ridiculous! He was...." Said Spirit

"...nnice... I know he is very crafty and takes bribes easily. Now you both must leave now!" interrupted Firestone.

"What will become of you" asked Spirit. "You need not worry" said Firestone and he winked and disappeared and the candle's light flared and then dimmed.

The two gathered their possessions and bolted out of the door. As they passed through an archway a crash was heard and a scream of rage. Startled they quickly looked back and saw a shadowy figure steadily coming after them. They quickened their pace and went around twists and turns. They continued on even though they had no idea which way was the exit. The shadow creature was gaining on them and was only a few foot steps away. The two rounded a corner and then... a dead end! All that was there was a winndow. Spirit quickly looked out the window for an escape and saw that they were on the top most story and the moat was far below, the water's current barely audible. They quickly turned back around and the shadow demon stood directly in front of them. He clenched his fists together and then unclenched them.

"There is no escape now!" exclaimed the demon in a ghastly voice.

They backup as far as they could until they felt the window's sill hit their backs. The demon inched closer and was only a foot from them and he reached out with his claws to snatch then and then he hit air. Confused he looked all about and saw that they were no where to be found. He quickly looked out the window and heard a soft splash. He laughed cruelly and paced back towards the room.

The air was streaming all around them as they fell from the window. As they were about to hit the water's surface they hit something solid. They quickly looked down and saw the glint of golden eyes. They smiled as they recognized Firestone. As the fire demon took back towards the wooded area his paws hit the surface of the water and made a soft splash.

The trees whizzed past as they hurriedly sped through the forest. Then Firestone came to a stop in front of a large waterfall. He motioned to the waterfall and then went though the cascading waters and entered into a spacious cave. Spirit and Pitter followed through and gazed at awe at the cave. Inside there was a golden light that was seeming to flood the entire cave. As they looked closer they saw many pairs of eyes that seemed to be part of the walls. Firestone spoke softly in a language that Spirit and Pitter didn't recognize and then the eyes became full shapes of many creatures jet black and in many shapes and sizes. They gathered around and Firestone talked to them motioning occasionally to Spirit and Pitter. They all nodded and they then melded back and seemed to disappear and the orange glow reappeared.

"They were informed of who you were and why. They will be on the look out for your friends. You should be safe here for the time being. You should finish getting your rest. I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be a long day" Firestone explained. He then melded into the shadows and Spirit and Pitter were alone in the cave. They decided to talk quietly as the dawn slowly arrived. As the cave lightened slightly with early morning light they dozed off.

~ . ~

Silveera, Shadah and Patter awoke and found that the sphere had disappeared and that Ironfeather was gathering up herbs and an assortment of many plants. As he saw them awaken, he came over to them.

"I am gathering supplies if I am to go with you I better bring some herbs and healing plants. We may need them" he explained.

"That's a great idea. Do you remember where you may have seen the door that you had went through Ironfeather...?" Asked Silveera

"I remember the place vividly for I have visited the place many of times. The door though is locked and I can not go through. I will take you there though if you wish." said Ironfeather.

"We would appreciate it, thank you" said Shadah smiling.

"Why would the door be locked" asked Patter.

"I am not sure it is probably a security measure to keep out the creatures of this world" said the griffon.

After Ironfeather gathered up the plants he joined the other three on the edge of the island. All four of them took off and Ironfeather took the lead to take them to the door. They passed over many islands, each having its own unique look. There were dark ones and there was even one that was all rainbows. All three looked all around amazed at all of the unique islands they hardly noticed that Ironfeather was slowing down. He then came to a stop and in front of them was a small door that was only about 4 feet high. It wasn't adorned in gold like the last one it was covered with ivy and the wood looked old and worn down.

"Have you tried to knock before?" asked Patter, after sniffing the door.

"To tell you the truth I have only once and I was half afraid to touch the door. It was a long time ago though." Replied Ironfeather.

"Well might as well give it a try" said Shadah

Silveera knocked firmly on the door three times. They heard a soft click and then nothing. Puzzled Silveera knocked again three times and another click came and then nothing. She tried the knob and found that is turned very slowly and would budge a little. As she pushed on the door she heard the cascading of water beyond the door and soft light. Shadah joined in pushing on the door and it creaked open a little further until it was wide enough o just squeeze through. All four of them silently crept through the opening and saw a wall of thick ivy a few feet in front of the door. As they walked past the door it shut with a creak and they looked back and saw that it was now part of the cave wall. The outline of it was barely noticeable. They walked through the thick wall of ivy and saw a spacious cave and then they saw Spirit and Pitter! They called out to them and hurried over to where they were dozing. Both awakened and then they recognized their faces and they instantly hugged one another. As they laughed and happily talked the eyes appeared again and Firestone came into view, along with the other fire demons.

"Can we trust them Pitter and Spirit?" asked Firestone as he eyed the four newcomers.

"These are our friends Silveera, Shadah and Patter. I am not sure that I have met the griffon before....but iif he is with our friends then he too is a friend of ours." said Spirit reassuringly.

"My name is Ironfeather and I am not a foe. I come from the olden land of Draconia and I have fought in the great battle with the demons. I will help defeat these creatures again" Ironfeather said with a small bow to the Firestone and the others.

"It is a great relief to have you on our side Ironfeather. We are always glad to have the help of many friends. You just may have your wish to fight the demons sooner than you think, for they are staging a battle as we speak. My name is Firestone the leader of the fire Demons. We are the foe of the shadow king and the shadow demons. I think we shall plan a battle strategy before they decide it is time to attack. Wouldn't you agree?"

"I agree one hundred percent, but have you any thoughts on how to fight these beasts?" asked Silveera.

"I have a few tricks up my paws you could say, but they could use some tweaking. So my plan is to..."

The warriors all spoke of battle tactics as the sun began to rise to signal noon tide. As the sun began to make its decent they drew out their final strategy upon the cave walls. The battle was set all sides were ready.... Both sides rested to save eneergy for the coming battle.

Chapter Ten

As the moon cast its eerie glow over the landscape small darting eyes began to sprint throughout the foliage of the forest and the stream. They moved with a ghost-like swiftness and were quieter than an owl's wings in flight. They covered the forest floor with their masses and behind their wake there were one of the evilest creatures to roam the realms. They were the wyverns. Snake-like and with sharp back fins that were gleaming softly in the moon's light and with dark blood-red eyes that glowed slightly. They had wings that were charcoal black and some flew in the skies, while others trailed behind the massive army. They planned to attack when the moon was at its highest point in the clear night's sky. Even as the figures crossed the stream not even a splash or trickle in the water was made and they began to descend on the army's hideout.

The shadow demons began to scale the steep cliff that led to the cave and we getting closer and closer. They were only a few hundred feet from the cave entrance when they saw a glint of light and then many of the demons started falling to the ground below. The other demons paid no mind to the fallen ones and trampled them beneath their feet. The fallen ones wisped away into the night, as their souls were let free of the chains of the Shadow King. Just as their forms wisped away the cave began to give off a blue light and then a mass of fiery light descended rapidly through the masses. At the sight of the light the shadow demons hissed at the searing light and backed away slightly. The wyverns began to use their flame whips and the shadow demons backed further away as they were frightened of the sudden light from the two sides. They began to split up and go in different directions.

The wyverns began to get agitated and distracted from the cave entrance, at that moment three dragons and a griffon took flight. Each divided off to take on the different sets of wyverns. Silveera turned to the left, Shadah towards the middle and Ironfeather to the right. The wyverns were startled, but then snickered when they saw their foes. They turned their attention from the shadow demons and then to their new foe. Silveera was against three menacing wyverns. Their teeth gleamed and they were midnight black and their eyes were a fiery red. They stepped forward and advanced, but Silveera stood her ground, and then began her attack. She slashed out with razor claws and the swift speed of the Fire clan. To the side of Silveera several yards away Shadah met up with a trio of wyverns. They were a smoky gray and had piercing cold blue eyes. They circled around to surround Shadah. She quickly lashed out at the one to her right and then spun and slashed at another one. As she fought on to her left Ironfeather began to fight. He was up against two wyverns that were charcoal black and yellow eyes. I stayed alight and pierced at he wyverns heads with is sharp beak. The two then took to the skies and Ironfeather set off towards the forest, expertly weaving through the trees. The wyverns gave chase and crashed through the limbs, breaking them. As they traveled further their wings began to tear and get holes in them.

As the three battled, Spirit, Pitter, and Patter began to fight the shadow demons that began to enter the cave. They had changed into cat-like humans with tufts on their ears and gleaming cat eyes. They moved with a grace and seemed to not even touch the ground as they slashed out at the demons. As the demons fell they began to drift away in a smoke. As the moon slid across the sky and the stars began to softy fade the shadow demons began to disappear. Just as the sun peeked out from the horizon the shadow demons cried out and all of them went into a smoke. The wyverns below hissed in fury as their massive army disappeared.

Silveera was beginning to slow as were the wyverns. They each had gashes, the wyverns' wings were torn and black ooze seeped from their wings. Shadah and the wyverns too were tiring and they panted. The wyvern's left eye was pierced and the ooze blinded him as he struggled to see clearly. Ironfeather was perched up in one of the trees hidden in the thick foliage as he watched the struggling pair below him. Their wings were torn and several long cuts stretched along their sides. He swooped again and gave them long gashes again and then went into another tree. The wyverns screeched in fury as they quickly surveyed the area and were even angrier when they saw no one. One of the wyverns whipped its tail sharply and it hit the other one accidentally. The other wyvern hissed and jumped onto the other one and began to attack it. Ironfeather swiftly took to the skies as the two wyverns began to kill each other. He looked back once more and saw both tear at each others throats and they both fell to the forest floor never to rise again. He headed back towards the others to see if he could help in any other ways. As he approached the area the skies began to suddenly darken and lightning flashed across the skies. Thunder boomed across the land and then the clouds began to form into a menacing shape. Below Ironfeather Silveera and Shadah looked quickly towards the skies and then quickly back at the wyverns as they screeched in pain. A lightning bolt hit each of them squarely in the heart and they arose into flames and then just black ash. A piercingly cold laugh was heard above the raging storm.

All looked up at the skies and saw a smoky cloud form in the skies. It descended rapidly and landed heavily onto the ground. The small army coughed and squinted as the smoke cleared. They were startled at what they saw. There before them was the Shadow King and behind him was Tiamat, chained and thin. She seemed to be in a deep slumber and she breathed softly and shallow. Her color was faded and dull no longer was her mane golden, but a dungy sand color and the bright blue scales were almost faded out to the color of white. Spirit, Pitter and Patter dashed down the cliff and stood ready for a fight. Firestone and his fellow fire demons stood ablaze and ready. Ironfeather landed next to Silveera and Shadah. The shadow King just laughed and stamped down on the ground with a fist and the ground began to crack. The crack circled around Shadah and Silveera, who were looking around nervously. They tried to fly up out of the way but their wings no longer worked as if they had a mind of their own. The cracks in the Earth circled all the way around Shadah and Silveera and then the ground beyond them began to crumble away. The others backed away quickly until the crack stopped and the space in between Shadah and Silveera and the others was almost 20 feet wide.

He Shadow King laughed heartily. "Now we shall see who is afraid and who shall conquer!" With that he motioned up with his hands and Tiamat's limp form lifted in the air and with a flick of his wrist he sent her flying through the air. As she approached the gap, the king held up his hand and she came to a stop and she hovered there and then she fell heavily on the ground.

"Tia! Oh you shall pay for this King!" yelled Shadah.

The king mockingly pretended to flinch and then he blew out great fire and the edge of the ground began to alight until it was completely around the edge. The temperature greatly increased and as the few drops of rain hit the hot air they sizzled and evaporated before hitting the ground. Shadah tried to breathe out with the freezing crystals to try and stop him from doing any more damage, but they too evaporated. Silveera and Shadah looked at each other and nodded. They split up and went to opposite sides and both slashed out at the same time. Shadah was pushed aside just inches from the flames and Silveera was given a slash on her face. They both found that their wings were no longer paralyzed and they both took flight above the King. They began to slash and bite as they swooped down quickly and then took off again. They kept this up for some time dodging the swipes and slashes of the King. Then after several rounds of this the king slammed both Silveera and Shadah into the ground. They hit the ground and the earth shook slightly. They both looked up through hazy vision and saw Ironfeather swoop in and charge at the Shadow King. They struggled to get up and help but they seemed to be held down with a heavy force. They watched in horror as Ironfeather swooped in and got a long slash down his side. The blood dripped rapidly onto the ground below. Ironfeather seemed to not mind the wound and kept up his pace. He reached in and went through the Shadow Kings shadowy chest and disappeared into the smoky haze. The king screamed in pain and the ooze began to drip from him. Just as the King began to shrink down Ironfeather burst from his shrinking chest and fell to the ground. His wound was bleeding profusely and his breathing shallow. Shadah and Silveera still couldn't rise, but the powerful force was weakening. As the King started t blow away like smoke the evil laugh was heard above them.

"This will not be the end! You shall all pay for this insubordination!" and with that the shadow King vanished and all that was left was the burning embers around the border of the battle field. The force holding Silveera and Shadah down vanished and they quickly ran over to Ironfeather. They saw immediately that there was very little time left. His feathers were softly fading and his eyes were dimmed.

"Ironfeather you mustn't go! We promised you to take you back to your village to repay the debt we owe you," exclaimed Silveera.

"I am...visiting my I can see their smiling faces... smell the fresh breads and meats.... Thank you my friends," Ironfeather then began to fade and his spirit floated above the forest fro a moment seeming to say its farewell and then it floated up towards the heavens.

A single tear fell towards the ground from Shadah's eyes and Silveera turned held tightly to Shadah as they quietly mourned over the loss. They stayed like that for some time and then they rose and silently flew over towards Tiamat, who was now beginning to stir. She blinked slowly and then the world came into focus. Then reality struck her and she recognized Shadah and Silveera and hugged them tight. They had finally rescued their friend and their mission was complete. They headed towards the others with Tiamat in between Silveera and Shadah for support until her strength came back. The sorrow was enough news for the waiting warriors. They patted both of them on their backs and led them towards the cave front. When they were inside they settled them into the cave and they had a moment of silence. After which Firestone rose and gave a soft prayer to the fallen Ironfeather. They all decided to rest for the night and see what the morning would bring. Spirit, Pitter and Patter all were changed back into their cat forms and they snuggled up close to their reunited friends. Through the night Shadah and Silveera told of the events that had happened and of the new journey that seemed to be awaiting them. When the early light of dawn hit they awoke and waited for all of the fire demons to awake. After a while everyone was awake.

"I think we should go back to our realm and find the shadow King for I have this feeling that this is not the end of his wrath." said Silveera.

"I agree with you Silveera and I think that I shall come with you. I feel that it would only be right" said Firestone.

The other fire demons all agreed and then it was settled. While Firestone is away, Ember will lead the clan and all would hopefully move smoothly while Firestone is away. They all erected a small statue that the fire clan molded from their flames. It was a grand griffon and on the statue it read:

"Through battles and the years
He stood strong and fought well for the well being of all kind
Even in the face of death
He fought with respect and with honor,
May Ironfeather of the Mountain clan
Rest in Peace

They all gathered around in the clearing and a bright light formed all around them and the three draconians, the three cats and Firestone closed their eyes and when they opened them they were standing in the clearing. The stream softly rippled and the logs were still in the same spots. It was spring and all the trees were full and a bright green. The blossoms on the nearby bushes were bright and full. They had arrived back home and they were now on their way to save Draconia from an evil force that knew no bounds.

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