The deeper into the forest we got, the darker our surroundings became, but not from getting dark, everything just seemed less alive, the color had drained from them. The dirt was hard, the tree branches were brittle. It seemed as if they were howling in pain… or sadness.
“We’re entering the Northern Side,” I stated, frowing. Ghoun put his hand upon a tree, and pulled his hand away. “The trees ares sticky with bloods…”
“And wet with tears,” I said, touching the tree as well.
Thawl shook his head, listening to the harsh wind coming from the trees, “This isn’t right, the Drans not only want all creatures dead, but they want the whole island destroyed.
“Only for them to start their own island, a land of darkness and death,” I clenched my hand into a fist, “I will not let this happen. I have no house or village as a home, Bunlar Island itself is my home. I will not let another thing be taken away from me!” I glared at the ground and a dead branch laying in my gaze set aflame. I jumped back in alarm as Ghoun stamped the fire out.
“What was that???” This forest must have deeper secrets than we know.
“Indeed, it had much deeper secrets than you know. And Falconth has much stronger powers than he knows. Which is why he will soon be in my possession. With his powers combined with mine, I will be unstoppable.” A powerful voice laughed and echoed through the forest.
“What are you?!” I yelled, not sure where I should be directing my voice towards.
“No, no… wrong question… I believe it should have been ‘Who are you?!’”
I looked around for who or what this was, and Ghoun looked toward the ground, shaking in fear… or was it anger?
“Is knows whos he is,” Ghoun said in a quiet, yet strong voice.
“Oh yes, the dwarf. Do not worry, I haven’t forgotten about you. You will be taken care of. But for now, I must focus on the boy, the Kir’draz.”
Ghoun looked at me, in surprise, as Thawl stared in confusement. I covered my own confusement with a look of rage.
“I see the humans don’t know what it means. I know you do, dwarf, for you have outlived these humans by far and remember the last one we had… 100s of years ago.”
“Who is he, Ghoun? And what’s a Kiras? I’m not going to let him call me names!”
“Go on, dwarf, tell him who I am…” the voice gave a slight sly laugh, as if this situation was funny.
Now it was Ghoun’s turn to clench his fists as he said, “It’s the Lord of the Drans… Drako…”
Another chilled laugh echoed through the forest as Thawl’s eyes gre big and my arms flexed, ready to kill the Dran who killed my family.
“You’re in my land now, there is no escape. You will have to face me sooner or later.”
“I’ll face you now!” I stated, pulling out the dagger from my belt.
“Put that toy away, child, don’t be foolish like your father was” The voice, still harsh, began to get softer.
“My father was a brave man he fought til his capture! It was an unfair battle!” I gripped my dagger tighter.
“Oh, it was a battle now, was it? He came to me willingly, in search of something he will never get back! By chance, he escaped, probably to try to return to you and your soon-to-die mother! But it seems as if he couldn’t go on his original quest. What a fool! For he came straight back to us not long after. All we had to do was shove a sleeproom down his throat and toss him in a bag!”
“You speak lies!” I shouted, tossing my dagger at nothing, “show yourself!”
“You still have much to learn… I could teach you skills beyond which you can comprehend! You could be powerful, almost as powerful as me, if only you’d let me show you…”
“I will never fall for your evil plans!”
“Then they will be forced upon you, for I cannot let your magic abilities go to waste. You’ll one day be in my control!” The voice was lowering to a scratchy whisper. “But enough of this, we will meet again soon… face to face! I’ll be waiting for your arrival.”
And with that the silent forest began to howl once again, for it had ceased all of its rustling during the presence of Dran Drako’s voice.
“What are you talking about?” I waited for a reply and then said, “Coward! Come back!” I wondered why he’d suddenly leave without even a fight. Had he been scared of me? I stood straight with pride.
“Don’t be foolish, Falcon! Hes was merely projecting his voice throughs the winds of the trees!” Ghoun exclaimed, seeming frustrated.
“He must be very powerful to project his voice here all the way from his castle.” Thawl stated, pretending he wasn’t scared and had never been.
“And Falcon musts bes a fool to think he had scareds thes Lord of the Drans aways!”
“I am no fool!” I said as I reached for the dagger I had thrown. Though I did realize he was right, and I had made a mistake to even think such a thing!
“Drako is very powerful indeeds…” Ghoun stated quietly, “powerful enough to destroy a whole underground city…” he cut off, not wanting to tell more. I understood that I shouldn’t press his to say more on the subject, for it seemed a very personal topic.
“Um… anyway, we should probably set up camp, it’s too dark to travel further.” Thawl suggested. I didn’t necessarily want to camp in a place which had been plagued by the Drans, but we seemed to have no other choice.