Several hours later they all were gathered back in the conference room, Lee, Trinity, Falan, Rotar and the Premier. Rotar said “All the known passages to the secret chamber have several layers of guards in them, Sir, and there are 4 of the most trusted, in the chamber itself. For now it’s well guarded”.
“Still no sign of Jondar. Someone should have gone with him!” exclaimed Trinity. The rest of the room were all thinking the same thing, but said nothing.
“He seems very capable, Trinity, if I’m any judge, and I’m sure we will see him again or hear from him, at least,” Lee said encouragingly. As the men in the room talked and made plans, Trinity paced around while going over what happened, and tried to see what could have been done differently. There was a commotion out in the mural room, with shouting and the sounds of several bodies moving.
Suddenly the door was opened, and in came Jondar. His cloak was burnt, and he had several wounds that one of the medical guards was trying to patch, but he would not be still. “My apologies Premier, but it could not wait. It is much worse than we thought. The snake Trendar, is gone. He will not spread his treachery any further,” he looked at Trinity when he said, “Do not take offense young lady, you are either much better than anyone knows, or were extremely lucky in your fight with him,” he then looked at the men in the room and said, “He was one of the banished, and had the old skills no longer taught, and he used witchcraft together with them. I nearly got the worst end of it”.
“How is that possible?? That was ages ago, hundreds of years ago, how can it be?” questioned Rotar incredulously.
Jondar answered him with chagrin, “I know not how, I know only what I saw, what he said, and how he fought. I know the skills, I was taught them when I was a child, to know evil from good.” He looked at the Premier when he said, “He said there were many more still alive, and they had been waiting until the watchers were no longer as diligent. They are coming for the fortress Premier, to destroy the Guardians Chair and wipe the ruling families and their soldiers off the planet forever”. He looked at Lee and Trinity, and continued “Once that is done, they will send thousands through the portals, who’s only mission is to eliminate all your kin, so there can be no way to rebuild here. They have started sending Wracks through already, but even worse than that,”he said with a bit of dread, “They have woken the sleeping giants,” his voice full of hatred. “Dragons! They have woken the dragons to help them!”.
Trinity was prepared for lots of things, but the idea of dragons was something she never fathomed, “I’m sorry Jondar, we don’t have dragons except in myth,” she said “Are you sure?!!”
Jondar leaned heavily against the thick oak table, “Things change over time. Your myths must have come from somewhere, and yes, young lady, I am dead certain.” he said as he pulled his cloak aside to reveal a huge claw stuck through his armor. “Not many man-made blades can easily pass through the armor of a Destroyer. I am glad to know it works almost as well with dragons!” and with that, he slumped onto a chair and was swarmed by the medical healers, carrying him off to be tended to.
Shortly after, Falan said, “Dragons? What do we know about fighting dragons?”
He was answered by Rotar, “There are ways,” he said, as he looked at the Premier. “The old ways, they did write them down, and now we need access to that information”.
The Premier nodded, and said “Follow me,”and walked out into the mural room again, “Everyone leave!” He said to the guards, and everyone except the five of them was ushered out, and the room sealed. The Premier went to the third mural, and did something with his hand in it, and the whole room changed into a moving picture of battles, and strategies for different enemies, “Here you will find the defenses for every enemy we have ever faced, and some that have yet to appear. Just touch a picture and it will come alive, so you can see how to defend against each enemy. I will leave you to it. Rotar, show your captains so they can prepare,” and with that he turned, and walked back into the inner chamber.
The rest watched as Rotar touched the dragon picture, and it transformed to fill the room with its size, with several spots along its body that could be penetrated with spear and sword or arrow. It also changed showing soldiers in battle with their shields and armor, battling the dragon using different methods. “Falan, assemble the captains! We must get them in here soon to study this,” said Rotar. Falan nodded and quickly left the room. Lee looked at Rotar, “You are going to have your hands full it looks like. Trinity and I are going to check on Jondar, then swing by the secret chamber to make sure your guards are diligent, then I think we may go scouting, before returning home”.
Rotar nodded, “Yes, I believe you are right, and the guards will let you both pass, to any part of the fortress, so go as you please. If, in your scouting, you find something of interest, send word back so we are aware,”with that he turned back to studying the dragon battle scenes.
Lee and Trinity made their way through the dim halls, to the healers, and stopped in seeing Jondar was in a bed. His armor was off, and his side bandaged, when he saw them, “Welcome, you two. Don’t worry! They haven’t made the overgrown lizard that could keep me down, yet! Though that one came as close as any!” The claw was lying on a table. It was curved, and 8” long, thick as a man’s wrist, and neatly sliced through, by a sharp sword or knife. Trinity picked it up and felt it’s weight, and looked at Jondar who winked, “Don’t worry, young lady. You won’t have to deal with that dragon! That was his last play at me m, before I ended his miserable life!” he said. “Pity though,” he pointed at his burnt to tatters cloak, “That was my favorite cloak that he burnt”, he declared wistfully.
Lee and Trinity talked to Jondar a long while, and learned many things. As they were getting ready to leave, Jondar said, “That armor you are wearing will stop most things, Trinity. It was made by those long gone, their secrets went with them, but the armor remains. Once worn by the right person, it will always grow, and match their needs. While you are here, always wear it!”
Trinity said “I will. I promise”.
Later, after Lee and Trinity had made their way to their rooms, and Lee said “Get a bit of rest, Kiddo. You have had a busy day,”holding up a hand to cut off the protest he could see coming, “Take time to relax while you can. I have a feeling things are going to get very interesting, very soon, and, I as well as your mom and dad, and the rest of your extended family, are going to need you at your best. I can count on the boys to take care of anything that comes their way, but here in Tresland, I am going to need your skills”.
Trinity started to protest that she wasn’t tired, but what her uncle said made too much sense, and she kept quiet as she headed to her room, with the parting shot, “You have to rest too, Uncle Lee, or you won’t be at your best, either!” and she quickly closed her door.
Lee shook his head laughing to himself, and then sat at the table and planned his and Trinity’s next moves.
After both he and Trinity had rested and gotten refreshed, Lee suggested “What say you and I go see this chamber, and decide for ourselves if it’s going to be possible to get someone there safely?”
Trinity came out of her room, into the den area, pulling her hair back, making it into a pony tail that she then tucked inside her cloak, “Ok, sounds like a good idea to me,”she replied.
Lee and Trinity headed out and down the tunnel, following directions given to them by Rotar earlier. This was a section they had not been in before. The halls were cavernous and dark, the only light coming from torches spaced evenly along one wall.
Trinity kept up an endless stream of chatter, in a quiet voice about the different things that they had seen done, and heard, and how, “No one would believe half of it.”
Lee let her talk, as they walked towards the first of several guard posts, (not including the secret ones hidden in the dark, along the way). As they approached the guard post, they entered a well lit area, and were immediately met by several soldiers, all of whom saluted once they saw Trinity’s armor and Lee’s clothing. “Welcome, Bevan, and Lost Defender! You may pass!” said the Sergeant.
“Thank you, Sergent,” said Lee. “Is that place near?” he asked.
The sergeant replied, nodding towards a distant light, “Not far now, Sir.” They both looked at the distant light, and thanked the guard, and headed off. Trinity picked up where she left off, in her conversation about how, “No one would believe the stuff she’s done, and how the armor seemed to mold to her the longer she wore it, never constricting, nor feeling too loose.”
Lee smiled to himself in the dark, as she rambled on, while they finally arrived at the guard post outside the Chamber. Lee briefly spoke to a guard, and then he and Trinity were let through a series of doors, in a tunnel 15’ high and 20’ wide, that opened into a chamber, where they saw The Chair. The room was covered with thick polished tree roots along the ceiling, walls and floor, some of which formed a seat, smooth almost form fitting in its design. If a person sat in it, they would recline, their legs would rest in individual, smooth troughs in the roots, and the arms would rest in the same, only on a higher level, the chair looked comfortable.
Trinity had gotten quiet as she walked around it, looking at the intricate carvings and designs in the wood, while Lee was observing the same on the other side. The whole thing looked ancient, but also timeless, and Lee was wondering how any of it worked. Trinity ran her hand on one of the arm rests, and the whole room suddenly took on a reddish glow. She quickly took her hand off and the glow diminished instantly. She did it again, and it had the same effect.
Lee said, “Let me try,” and he ran his hand over the arm rest, but nothing happened, and he said, “I’m guessin’ it responds only to anyone with Minorcan blood, but only fully works for a certain few”.
Trinity studied the chair as Lee was looking around at how to defend this room m, if it came to that. The weakness lay in the entrance, but as he studied it, he realized that it was a series of chambers, that could be sealed, and the same defenses that are in play at the river, were here. Each could be flooded, and each was defended by holes allowing spears to be shoved in from all sides and top. “Look’s hard to penetrate, if the defense has time to set up,” he said to himself. “Whoever thought of it, had a good mind for keeping people out,” he thought.
Lee’s thoughts were interrupted by Trinity, “You should send Aunt Elena a picture of this. See if she can tell you anything,” she said.
Lee replied as he pulled his phone out and took several pictures, “None of my messages have been going through on this trip, I’m not sure what’s up, but I told her that may happen and not to worry”.
“Oh, ok. Well, maybe they will get through soon,” Trinity said hopefully, as kept looking around the room. Lee stood off to one side, going over different scenarios in his head, trying to find a weakness in the room’s defenses. The only thing he could come up with, would be an overwhelming amount of enemy attacking, and not enough defenders. Even then, if the right person was in the chair and started speaking the required words, from what he gathered, all the evil would be stopped in place, until either the reading stopped, and they could resume the attack, or the reading was finished, in which case, the enemy would be destroyed, and absorbed into the planet. Lee had been told of a few who could withstand the reading, and who could still fight, right up until the final words were read, then they too, would be vanquished.
These were the only ones Lee concerned himself with. How could they be identified early, and either tracked or destroyed early in any battle. Lee put this question at the top of his “need info” list and moved on to other things, like dragons. “How do I keep everyone safe that I bring here, if there are dragons?”
While Lee was thinking about these things to himself, Trinity had been studying the chair and it’s surroundings. She found a curious notch at the base of the seat and poked at it with her finger but nothing happened. She then studied it more and finally understood, she laid her index finger along the notch and the chair vibrated and she jumped. She then did it again, this time ready for the vibration, and when it did, the base opened to reveal a head band, and two wrist bands and a book.
Lee had come over and asked, “What did you find?”
She answered “I’ve seen these before, in that painting. The girl that was in the chair was wearing them, and the book was open on her lap!”
Lee said, “Well, I reckon they are part of the ritual, and until we figure out who, how and when we bring someone here, that’s a good safe place for them”.
Trinity carefully replaced the items in the base, and it shut on its own and once again looked just like a tree root. “Seen enough kiddo?” Lee asked, and Trinity nodded yes, and then the two of them headed back out to the main corridor.
Lee stopped and talked to one of the older guards, and found out that the tunnel ran the opposite way for a good distance, with numerous offshoots headed this way and that. The ones they used were marked with a sword painted at the entrance, the others having only rumors of where they went. The old guard told Lee that these marked tunnels, as well as the others for all he knew, came out in different parts of the country outside the bounds of the Fortress. “Thank you,” Lee said to the guard, “That’s just what we were hoping for,” and he turned to Trinity. “Up for a bit of scouting?”
Trinity instantly nodded “Yes!”
“Ok!! But, you have to do exactly what I tell you when I tell you, ok?”
And she again nodded saying “Yes, Uncle Lee, I will, I promise”.
Lee smiled knowing she would do it, she wouldn’t like it,!but she would do it. He then turned and headed deeper into the tunnel which was even more dimly lit, as the torches were much farther apart. Lee took his bow of shoulder as they ventured farther, and their conversations became softer, and quieter without even realizing they were. Lee picked the 5th marked off-shoot tunnel they came to, and turned into it stopping so fast Trinity bumped into him, “Ouch!” she said, said but Lee remained quiet and still, and reached back gripping her wrist and squeezing it, as she came to realize her uncle either saw or heard something that had him on alert.
Lee let go of Trinity’s wrist, when he was sure she would be still and quiet, and he closed his eyes in the dark, and listened. What he had heard was unfamiliar to him, and sounded like a guttural growl, along with something rough being dragged over a hard object. The closest he could relate would be a really big alligator, sliding across a gravel road. “Do they have alligators here?” He thought to himself, “No one’s mentioned any to me,” he answered himself.
Lee suddenly went hyper alert, because there was suddenly a slight breeze, and he smelled animal and burnt flesh! Lee opened his eyes that had adjusted to the dark and was stunned. He was 10 feet from what looked like a huge cavern, and a pair of glowing yellow eyes, that were at least 2 foot apart. Lee’s mind could not register what it was he was looking at, and that was looking at him, and then it suddenly hit him “DRAGON!!!”
Lee turned faster than Trinity thought humanly possible, and shoved her back out into the main tunnel, shouting “RUN TRINITY!!!”
As he tried to get out of the passage, Lee felt something grab his body at the waist, and drag him deeper into the cavern. Trinity saw her uncle was not behind her, and turned to go back, only to hear his voice again “RUN TRINITY!! DON’T LOOK BACK! RUN! YOU HAVE TO WARN THEM!!!!!”
Then there growling and banging sounds. Trinity did not want to leave, but suddenly remembered Jondar’s words came to the front of her mind, “You will have to make an impossible decision,” and she started running for help! Back up the tunnel she went, her eyes wet with tears and anger.