Fan fiction:Bane Hero of the North/Chapter 15
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Bane Hero of the North is a fan fiction piece by Bane, originally posted on The Dark Library. The fiction series was recovered on April 14th 2010. You can find more information on Bane:Hero of the North article.
Chapter 15: The Gate(Part VI)
The peaceful tuneful song of the birds could be heard quietly in the background of Bane’s mind as he slept. His dreams had been pleasant enough, with no thoughts dwelling on the previous night, or if they had he had no recollection of those faded dreams. Sleep was a luxury thought the not asleep yet not awake barbarian as he turned over onto his back.
Craylim had once again been in his dreams, a very fish orientated dream where most of the details remained the same but some, as dreams tend to do, became a little far fetched. The dream in particular was when he had gone fishing with his grandfather Kuchi, when he had caught the biggest fish in the world, well it seemed like the biggest fish in the world at the time. Except this time the lake was unusual, it was too small for what he caught with the spear, the mountains were small as well and his grandfather was old, older than he had been during that moment in his past when he caught the fish, Kuchi had looked exactly the same when he had left to die in the mountains in the Old Way’s of his people.
The fish had also been odd, it had spoke to him, “Grab hold of me…”it had said “Bane, take my fin.” They were the same words the talking fish he had met in the lands of Kios the Barbarian Death God’s un-natural land had said to him. Another disturbing thing was the fish had said something else “watch the keeper”, what did that mean?
The birds tweeting grew stronger and the barbarian could sense he was waking from sleep. His eyes snapped open. For a moment he wondered where he was as he peered around the room with sleep filled eyes. He saw Chiana and then the room in greater detail. Memories of the night before flooded back in and Bane shook his head. Why couldn’t he have stayed asleep for a little longer? Then again, his dreams had been strange, “watch the keeper”; Bane placed his hand on his head and closed his eyes, no point in worrying about it now.
Leaning up slowly and quietly Bane pulled the red duvet from his body and let it fall silently besides him. Swinging his body and leg round so that his feet touched the cold stone floor Bane reached for his boots, slipping them on with ease.
Standing up he reached for his sword belt and tied it round his waist, adjusting it slightly afterwards until it was in his favoured drawing position. He looked at Chiana and smiled, she was still asleep; he had done a good stealthy job at waking up without stirring the girl he thought as he made his way to the balcony.
He looked out into the forest to notice that although some of it remained, due to the magical defences the mages said they had placed surrounding their home most of it was destroyed. He shook his head and turned away, walking towards the door.
The door opened quietly as soon as Bane pulled it open. The corridor was warm; as if it were in the height of the summer season, yet last night he had heard it thunder, saw streaks of lightning flash from the heavens above to crash onto the earth as if the gods themselves were angry with mankind.
The corridor was long, one end stretched to a balcony, where he could see birds singing upon the stone structure and fly through what remained of the once proud forest. The other end was where they had entered during the night; through the door would be a passageway that led towards the grand hall. Bane briefly pictured the scene, it was like a dream, and the construction was nothing short of incredible, whoever had built it was a master at his trade.
Bane moved along the corridor, past the rooms of his sleeping companions, swiftly making his way towards the hall. To say he was nervous would be an understatement; he had spent a night among a group of magic users after a long night of battle and blood, and magic users were something Bane did not trust all too well. Still he had slept and it had been good, and the magic users had not done anything unfriendly as of yet.
The hall was empty, save for the sound of a song being chanted by many voices from some unknown room in the temple. He looked up at the domed ceiling that stretched high above and noticed the ceiling was painted, one scene spread across his head, that of mountains and grass fields beneath a red sky. His eyes studied the painstakingly beautiful and detailed mountains and he closed his eyes, trying to push his own countries defining features back into view. The Kamidian mountain range was fading from his mind, but it was still there, Mount Arreat in the distance, standing high and proud amongst its smaller brethren.
He opened his eyes and began a slow decent down the polished stairs. He could hear the singing clearer now as he reached the bottom of the stairs, treading on the red carpet that lay across the floor. It was not a song that sounded dreadful to the soul, one that he had expected from magic users; instead it was as peaceful and charismatic as the tune birds would sing in the morning.
His instincts led him towards the melody, Bane moved across the carpet to an open corridor similar in look to the one he had walked previously upstairs. Bane began to pace down the corridor quietly, until he heard a noise, it was a door opening. Well-trained instincts took hold and told him that it was in front of him but there was nowhere to hide. Bane froze hand on the hilt of his sword as a priest stepped forward. He recognised the mage to be the girl he had briefly spoken to the night before. She did not look back to Bane but continued along the corridor. Bane studied her quickly, remembering his attraction to her from the last meeting. She was dressed in a long graceful white rob, her hair tied back into a ponytail.
“Are you joining us barbarian?” Her soft voice called back to him and she turned to face him. She smiled warmly. Bane stepped forward, hand on the hilt of his sword.
“Depends on where you are going?” he replied roughly glaring back at the girl. She stood and stared at Bane, the friendly smile still spread across her face.
“Did you sleep well?” Bane nodded and released the hilt of his sword.
“What is that noise?”
“It is the Morning Song in your tongue.” Bane peered down at her now as he stood besides her.
“It is strange, it is a lot softer than the songs of my people.” She reached out with her hand and took a hold of Bane’s hand.
“I will take you there if you wish.” Bane looked at her briefly, suddenly alert to the fact that it might be some kind of trap, but then relaxed. From what he could tell looking at the girl’s eyes, she meant no harm and would it not have been easier to kill him and his comrades while they slept? Bane nodded and the girl turned.
“What is your name?” he asked as she began a slow walk to the end of the corridor. She did not turn instead opened the door slowly in front of her and then spoke back, the singing noise even louder now that the door was open.
“My name is Alaia.”
“Alaia.” Bane nodded whispering her name as if he was filing it in his mind somewhere. “Where are we going?” he shouted out to her as she moved forward with pace. She did not respond leaving Bane with some ground to cover to find his answers.
- - -
The room was just as grand as the rest of the mages home, the same white marble walls, some of which dangled giant colourful tapestries depicting various winged men with powerful looking figures and blond hair doing battle with demons in which Bane could only imagine against a grey sky and large mountains. He stared at the winged figures and a shiver ran through his spine, memories of the past flooded into his mind, of the night his father had died, it couldn’t be could it? There were pillars that stood as wide as his old room back in the north. At the centre of which, on a raised platform was a large table where a group of the mages sat, a table that stretched out just as long as the Longhouse table in his village of Craylim.
As Bane followed Alaia into the room the singing stopped and each member at the table turned towards him. The silence that ensued was enough to put Bane on edge, had he just walked in on something the mages did not want him to see? He shook the thoughts aside like he would brush away a fly from his face. He could smell cooked meat, freshly baked bread and fish, besides the girl had seemed honest enough.
“Welcome barbarian!” the speaker stood and Bane recognised him to be the man who appeared to lead the group of mages the night before. He studied the man closely now. The ‘leader’ was old, the man’s worn and wrinkled face a testimony to the fact that the mage had seen quite a few years. A small and scruffy white beard covered the lower features of the face. A layer of thin white hair slapped to his old head made the man appear to be weak. Bane knew this to be false however, for the man looked physically strong body-wise due to his broad shoulders and biceps that showed through the robe he wore. The magic he had used the night before had proved he was dangerous, Bane had no doubt the mage could kill him, or at least prove a problem.
As Bane neared the steps that led up to the table another recognisable figure was sat there. It was Moth, the man smiled momentarily as he sat and eat the food before him.
“Join us for some food. Your companion Moth here can vouch for the foods excellent taste!” The ‘leader’ spoke confidently in a voice that held little emotion.
“Its good Bane, better than what we had in Oxan’s hole…” the man stuffed some bread in his mouth and chewed as if his life depended on it, Bane shook his head, it looked as though Moth had been depraved of food for a few days.
“Where are the others?” he asked Moth. The man looked up at the barbarian and swallowed the last bit of bread in his mouth, closing his eyes in doing so.
“Asleep I think, I woke up about a half hour ago, came down here.” Moth picked up another roll of bread and bit into it, tearing apiece off. Bane looked around the table. There were quite a few mages here, some he recognised from the night before others were new faces to him.
“Please sit Bane.” Alaia spoke to him softly and pulled out a stool at the end of the table, besides the leader and gestured to Bane to sit.
Bane accepted the stool and sat down besides the girl. He looked across the table to notice that every face was turned on him, all but Moth who remained consuming his food noisily, seemingly oblivious to all his surroundings.
“Did you sleep well?” asked the ‘leader’. Bane simply nodded.
“Who are you, what is this place?”
“My name is Kahrim, and this is a place of shelter in this world.” The man spoke in a soft tone. He smiled and passed Bane a plate of vegetables. The barbarian looked them over, he was hungry but needed meat, something to fill his stomach, not tease him for fuller, meatier foods. Deciding against refusing it he accepted the plate and set it down before him. Perhaps if he hadn’t Kahrim and his followers would have become angry, he was a guest after all. The food was good, it tasted above all else fresh, fresher than foods he had tried anywhere else in his short life. Bane looked up and smiled uneasily and continued consuming the food.
“I have some questions Kahrim?” Bane said, coldly eyeing the mage. Kahrim seemed to notice the look but Bane did not care, he did not want to be in the mages house any more than he wanted to be outside with the shadows.
“Eat barbarian, after breakfast we shall wake your companions and discuss anything that is a plague to your minds, and perhaps answers you seek.” Bane nodded his head in agreement. He wanted to know what was going on, why were the shadows about, what were the intentions of such creatures? And now, these mages had come to Bane’s rescue the previous night and had allowed them to stay in their home. Now he was eating food with them. Bane chewed a piece of bread and wiped his mind of worry, there would be no doubt plenty of time for that later.
- - -
The room was becoming packed out with bodies; every seat in the horseshoe shaped arena becoming taken. Bane looked around in awe. If all the others rooms he had been in were designed beautifully, it was this room that had impressed the most. The seats were solid and designed in such a way Bane had never seen before. He looked up behind him seeing that that the seats stretched upwards as if it were a stadium back in the City of Galmnor. Alaia had told him that the room was called the Place of Discussion, and was a well-used room among the mages.
Shortly after breakfast with Kahrim the rest of Bane’s companions had stirred and woken from slumber. Those who had not eaten breakfast were given it on trays, which was everybody apart from Bane and Moth, who at current looked to Bane rather ill, perhaps the man had eaten too much in too short a time. Bane now sat besides Balkin and Chiana, his other companions also near, upright and alert, waiting for whatever was about to happen, happen.
“I did not think there were this many mages here?” whispered Chiana. Bane looked about nervously. He did not want to think about the amount of power available in this room, most of it in the mages side. Magic was something Bane decided was something mankind should not have taken up in practice, something that should have never been allowed to spread across the world. But then suddenly other thoughts spread into his mind. Magic could be used for good, he had seen various levels of it in the past back in his homeland, albeit more natural magic used by the druids in harmony with nature, and other magic’s to protect land and home, people and so on, it all depends on the man that wields the power. Bane closed his eyes, perhaps the thoughts running through his mind were there because the mages put them there, perhaps they were manipulating Bane’s mind to be more tolerant of magic, he had heard of this sort of thing before, in old stories where powerful men commanded many with the power of evil magic’s. In the end Bane decided that it was just his feelings towards magic that had him confused, from stories he had been told in his youth by his parents and grandfather, installing a fear for anything magical and that he was probably paranoid, his mind playing tricks on him from his recent experiences.
Silence seemed to swallow all friendly atmosphere in the room as the mighty doors of the Place of Discussion shut. For a brief second the room was encased in darkness even Bane felt difficult to penetrate, but only a heartbeat before a ball of fire shot out of a dais at the centre of the room.
The little ball of fire illuminated the room as if the sun had been captured and placed inside the building and as it shot towards the vaulted ceiling it separated into five smaller balls of light, which began to dance above the heads of the onlookers. In heartbeats those small balls of fire shot off into different directions, attaching itself to little grooves on the richly decorated ceiling. The room was alive with colour. Bane could hear Balkin mutter something under his breath and looking over at his companions he could see all were impressed.
Bane could see Kahrim was now standing behind the dais, his face covered by the cowl of his robes. The man was standing upright and Bane could see why the man was the leader of the group, Kahrim seemed, at this very moment at least, a powerful man, not just powerful through strength of magic and arm as Bane would normally judge a man, a different kind of power, one which Bane had seen in very few men, and that was the power of presence.
“Welcome to the Place of Discussion.” His voice was powerful and echoed across the room as if he were shouting in a cave. “It is here we shall ease the minds of our guests,” he said gesturing with a slow wave of his right arm palm extended towards Bane and his companions. Bane shifted uneasily is his seat and looked around him. Everyone had seemed to turn and stare at him.
“I would like to know who you are!” Bane said calmly, standing from his warmed seat.
“We will not lie to you barbarian but our history is rich and there have been those who have chosen to not believe us before. We are the Shanites.” The man spoke simply, in the matter-of-fact voice as if Bane should understand already. The barbarian shook his head, obviously agitated. Why don’t these people just get on with, it seemed that everyone he had met in the civilised lands had an eye for the melodramatic!
“Myself and my companions are grateful for your help last night,” Chiana said, also standing up, she looked a little embarrassed, was it because she was talking to a large group of people Bane thought, “and for the hospitality you have shown us allowing us to sleep and eat in your home, but we have had many strange nights in the last few days, so forgive us our frustration.” Bane looked down at the girl, she seemed to have eased the tension in the room.
“Yes of course,” Kahrim said softly.
“Do you know of what has been happening in Kanton?” asked Bane, his voice was low and it sounded more like a demand than a friendly question.
“Yes barbarian, we know of the Shadows, we know of much worse than them.” Bane wondered just what the man was talking about.
“What do you mean, much worse?” asked Balkin muttering under his breath, it sounded as if he did not mean to have spoken out aloud, by the look on his face perhaps he had not meant to.
“There are a lot of things that inhabit this world that simply should not be here. The Shadows for one are not beings from this world. They are simply here because of their master, they are beings in part created by him.”
“Who is this master?” Bane asked again, a look of concern spread across his face. Images of Horthis flashed before his eyes.
“A powerful creature not of this world but another, darker one. We know of only two beings that are capable of bringing out the Shadows for the history concerning them has been taught to us by our fathers and there’s before them and so on. But to understand it we will have to tell you of our history.” Bane sat back down followed by Chiana, but his eyes did not leave those of Kahrim’s. Bane was interested now; perhaps what was to come would ease his mind, or at least clear it somehow.
“The Shadows are nothing more than souls called forth from another place very different to the mortal plane and placed within a body so that they can be used for whatever means the creator wishes. It is in ancient calling and we know of only two beings on this planet capable of such a thing, two demons named Horthistias and Grandindium.” Bane’s blood seemed to go cold; he could feel a strange tingling sensation in his back. Was one of these beings Horthis? It certainly seemed possible that the demon he had met was this Horthistias. He closed his eyes, there was also something else about the name that Bane recognised, but could not place it.
“How do you know of these beings, surely the world is vast enough for others to know of such magic?” Oxan said, looking quite relaxed leaning back against the marble tier wall.
“To know of such beings is to know of where they came from, and more importantly why they are inhabiting this world at current.” Replied Kahrim casually.
“Our tale begins in another world, one in which was called Utopiara. It was a beautiful planet, very much like this one except for a few noticeable differences, the world was an ancient one, much older than the world in which we live in now.”
“The people there were different, as if they had evolved into greater beings than just mere humans. They were tall and handsome, and strong, with giant white wings.” A shudder ran through Bane’s spine, memories of his youth flashed before his eyes, of a man he had met during the night his father had died. Kahrim seemed to notice Bane’s change of expression and continued.
“The world was a perfect one, where everyone and everything lived in peace, where everything built was beautiful, craft of such greatness that nothing on this world can compare, wars were nothing but past memories, nothing more than written words in manuscripts and scrolls.”
“It was during this time of peace when something went wrong. The details are hazy but we believe that something awoke on the planet, and a new age began.” Bane listened intensively, interested by what was being said, but it sounded more like a simple story, a good children’s tale. He looked around at his companions but could not tell what they were thinking, some like Balkin looked confused.
“An old evil awoke, a being that is simply referred to as The Dread. It unleashed a terrible and dark army onto the earth like a plague, and began wiping out the free people of the world city by city.”
“The dark armies spread across the world leaving nothing but darkness and destruction behind them. During this time a man stepped forth, a man called Shanite, who began to forge an army to combat The Dread and his followers.”
“Shanite was a great man, taller and bigger built than most of his kind, with great wings that are said to have spread to twelve feet wide. He led his army against the forces of The Dread, defeating them at the Great Battle for Caria, the capital city of his country, and forced The Dread out of his homeland. But it would not end there. His army met The Dread’s in what is known as the final battle of Utopiara, outside of Caria. The battle that ensued lasted more than three weeks in our time, and was bloody. The force of darkness was too strong for Shanite and his forces were eventually defeated. However Shanite survived the battle, along with many of his kind, who went into hiding.”
“Years past and the world changed, and Shanite was forced to watch his world and people die. It was a time of great sadness, and the world was but a shadow of its former self. It was during this time that Shanite found a great gate that his people had referred to in the past. It was called the Way’ Far, and was said to be a portal that led to another world.” Kahrim spoke the words as if he had told this story a thousand times before.
“With hope in his hands Shanite and his followers began working on a way to open the gate which was eventually opened, and a great silver water shining substance moved at the middle of the gate.”
“Shanite walked through the portal alone and discovered a fresh new world, one that reminded him of Utopiara before its destruction. There was no visible rulers of the land, merely small tribes of man, a perfect opportunity lay before Shanite, a chance for his people to start a new life, hopefully one without war.”
“Upon his return Shanite decided to start leading his people through the gate. Many of Shanite’s people made it through to a new world in which they hoped they could live in peace. All however did not go to plan, and before long The Dread had found the small remaining forces of Shanite and the Way’ Far.”
“A furious battle followed in which Shanite eventually died, protecting the Way’Far allowing more of his people through during the clash, and fortunately a clash that left the gate damaged. Shanite’s great sacrifice had saved his people, or at least the very least, kept some alive.”
“Who are the two beings you spoke of before?” asked Bane, a look of concentration passed over his facial features. Kahrim looked at Bane calmly, appearing to be in no way angry about the barbarian’s intrusion in the story.
“I will get to them shortly, now however, Sanctuary is what I will concentrate on.” Bane nodded his head, he would have to wait for the old man to speak of the demons, not force it out of him. Kahrim continued.
“Out of respect for their former leader, the survivors of Utopiara built this place you are now in, and began calling themselves the Shanite’s. Here they lived in peace for a while, but that was over quickly, as the war known as the Sin War came to Sanctuary. Afraid of what had happened on Utopiara would happen again now on Sanctuary, the remaining powerful Shanite’s went against the demons of hell. They built strong magical barriers and placed the power around this home, where nothing could break through its invisible wall of energy. It remains here to this day, a testament to the power of our fathers.” Our fathers? Now what was the man talking about, Bane was losing patience despite his interest in the story.
“Many of the Shanite’s died during this war, and those who survived against the demons returned to their home.”
Kahrim continued, and Bane learnt that the mages in the room were descendants of the original people who had walked through the gate. Apparently the two worlds were very different, and that magic was vast and natural in Utopiara, which counted for the fact that the Shanite’s were strong physically and magically and that when they began giving birth on Sanctuary, things changed, their children had been born smaller and more fragile, more like that of humans, wings vanished through generation as well as magical power, although some magic could still be tapped into. Bane also learned that the race were extremely long lived if not killed by magic or weapon, rarely taken by disease and illness.
“Are there any Shanite’s left, you know, winged guys?” asked Kez in a low almost embarrassed tone, rubbing the right side of his face as he tried to cover the redness of his cheek.
“We do not know for sure, the last of our winged ancestors left in search of the Way’ Far and then it was only one, a hero to many others and us. His name is Halizkiel.” Bane’s blood ran cold. Horthistias or Horthis, winged men and now another name he recognised. Halizkiel was the same name given to him the night his father died, by the man with wings! How could he have remembered such details from events spanning back more than eight years ago? He had tried his best to forget that night, his best to try and block out the pain of loosing his father so early into his life.
“What about the demons?” Bane asked, a look of concern spread across his face. Chiana looked up at him and smiled, Bane had become increasingly uncomfortable since the meeting had started and it was something she noticed with ease.
“Horthistias and Grandindium are demons from the world of Utopiara, not much is known about them apart from that somehow they had managed to also slip into this world through the Way’ Far. Our forefathers tried to hunt them down but could not find them. The pair both have the power to call forth the beings known to you as the Shadow’s.”
“Do they go by any other name?” asked Bane standing. Kahrim looked surprised as Bane stood and asked him.
“Yes, they go by many names, most of which would be impossible to pronounce in your tongue.” Bane could picture the misty form of Horthis rearing down at him from somewhere above. As if worried by this Bane looked up, but could only see the burning balls of fire set in the alcoves. Bane sank back down onto the seat.
“What purpose would they call forth the minions for?” Kahrim peered over at another face; it was the man who had joined them at breakfast, Moth. He looked weary, despite the food and the rest.
“One can only guess.” Replied Kahrim quickly, as if trying to avoid the subject. Bane noticed and spoke aloud once more, his voice thundering through the room like a volcano.
“You must know of something, if you know this much about the demons.” Kahrim smiled and briefly looked over at his colleagues. Bane looked around at the crowd of mages, there were at least a hundred seated in the room alone, Bul-Kathos knows how many outside the discussion room.
“They could be searching for the Way’ Far.”
“And what would they do if they found it?” asked Oxan, joining the conversation through boredom.
“So they can establish a link between this world, and the world of Utopiara. In short, so they can destroy this world you now know, and change it into a dark and barren wasteland.”
“I thought you said the Gate had been destroyed?” Bane said, remembering that Kahrim had told them the Way’ Far had been destroyed by Shanite.
“The Way’ Far is a strange device my friend. Not only does it have the power to move between worlds, the actual Gate does not stay in one place for long. Once damaged the Way’ Far will simply phase out of existence for a thousand years, and rejoin the world in another location. The Way’ Far is not damaged on this world, so they could open the link from here regardless of the state of the other Gate on Utopiara.”
“How do you know of this?” Suddenly there was shouting from behind the doors; briefly Bane wondered how he could hear the noise through the thick doors? The giant oak doors moved effortlessly apart to reveal the corridor beyond. Bane noticed a mage rushing across the tiled floor, his footsteps echoing along eerily, his head covered by the cowl of his cloak. The mage burst in the room, a red flush over his young face, which Bane could now see.
“There is someone at the edge of the woods!” with that the mages dispersed. Bane stood and looked at Kahrim.
“Lets find out who it is shall we?” he spoke as if he were not interested in the situation at all. Bane played with the pommel of his sword and nodded his head. He leapt to the floor and followed the mages out of the room.
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