Book 7 - The Crimson Storm - Chapter 23: Motivation is a Strange Thing

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

Happy New Year everyone!

 

Hope everyone had a wonderful time ending the old year and ringing in the new.

 

To celebrate, here is a chapter.

 

I will have the next chapter up by tonight, no later, but there is something very interesting that is going to happen.  Something that I have not done since the beginning of this series.  That last phrase is the clue to what it might be, but it probably is not what you think or expect.

 

Hope you all enjoy the chapter!

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Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

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The Wedding

New - Part 4

 

Book 8 Coming Soon!!

 

Destiny in the Dark

Chapter 3 - Friends and Enemies

 

Proud Leader and fellow member of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the chapters of my fan-fic series.  The books go in chronological order.

 

The Clue of the Missing Socks.

Chapters 1 and 2                         Chapter 3                                       Chapter 4

Chapter 5                                      Chapter 6                                        Chapter 7

Chapters 8 and 9                        Chapter 10                                     Chapter 11

Chapters 12 and 13                     Chapters 14, 15, and 16             Chapter 17

Chapter 18                                    Chapter 19                                      Chapter 20

Chapter 21 and 22                      Chapter 23                                     Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26 - There is a hidden surprise.  Can you find it?

Chapter 27                                   Chapter 28, Part 1                         Chapter 28, Part 2

Chapter 29                                   Chapter 30                                       Chapter 31

Chapter 32                                   Chapter 33                                       Chapter 34

Chapter 35                                   Chapter 36                                       Chapter 37

Chapter 38                                   Chapter 39                                       Chapter 40

Chapter 41                                   Chapter 42                                       Chapter 43

Chapter 44                                   Chapter 45, Parts 1 and 2

 

The Mysterious Frozen Fire

Chapter 1         Chapter 2         Chapter 3         Chapter 4         Chapter 5         Chapter 6

Chapter 7         Chapter 8         Chapter 9         Chapter 10       Chapter 11       Chapter 12

Chapter 13       Chapter 14       Chapter 15        Chapter 16       Chapter 17       Chapter 18  

Chapter 19       Chapter 20      Chapter 21        Chapter 22, Part 1       Chapter 22, Part 2 

Chapter 22, Part 3

Epilogue/Preview for my Third Story!

 

Thoughts of Guilt

Chapters 1 and 2          Chapters 3 and 4          Chapter 5          Chapter 6          Chapter 7

Chapter 8          Chapter 9          Chapter 10          Chapter 11          Chapter 12, Part 1

Chapter 12, Part 2          Chapter 13         Chapter 14         Chapter 15         Chapter 16

Chapter 17 and 18         Chapter 19         Chapter 20         Chapter 21         Chapter 22

Chapter 23         Chapter 24         Chapter 25         Chapter 26         Chapter 27

Chapter 28         Chapter 29         Chapter 30         Chapter 31         Chapter 32

Chapter 33         Chapter 34         Chapter 35         Chapter 36 and 37

Chapter 38, Part 1         Chapter 39, Part 2         Chapter 40, Part 3         Chapter 41

Chapter 42, Parts 1 and 2         Chapter 43         Chapter 44

Chapter 45, Part 1         Chapter 45, Part 2

 

On the Edge of Mystery

Chapter 1          Chapter 2         Chapter 3        Chapters 4 & 5    Chapter 6, Parts 1 and 2   

Chapter 7          Chapter 8         Chapter 9            Chapter 10       Chapter 11        Chapter 12

Chapter 13        Chapter 14       Chapter 15          Chapter 16        Chapter 17       Chapter 18

Chapter 19        Chapter 20       Chapter 21          Chapter 22       Chapter 23      Chapter 24

Chapter 25        Chapter 26       Chapter 27         Chapter 28        Chapter 29 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 30       Chapter 31       Chapter 32 and 33                         Chapter 34 Parts 1 and 2 

Chapter 35 Part 1         Chapter 35 Part 2        Chapter 35 Part 3        Chapter 36

 

The Secret Symbol

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7     Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21   Chapter 22   Chapter 23   Chapter 24 and 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29 and 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39

Chapter 40 and 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43, 44, 45, and 46

 

The Legend of Shadow Mountain

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Chapter 6    Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapter 10

Chapter 11    Chapter 12    Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15

Chapter 16   Chapter 17    Chapter 18    Chapter 19    Chapter 20

Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23    Chapter 24    Chapter 25

Chapter 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29    Chapter 30

Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34    Chapter 35

Chapter 36    Chapter 37    Chapter 38    Chapter 39    Chapter 40

Chapter 41    Chapter 42    Chapter 43    Chapter 44    Chapter 45 & 46

Chapter 47    Chapter 48    Chapter 49    Chapter 50    Chapter 51

 

Teaser "Trailer" for Book 8 - Conquest of the Truth

 

The Crimson Storm

Chapters 1 and 2     Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6

Chapter 7    Chapter 8    Chapter 9    Chapters 10 and 11    Chapter 12

Chapter 13    Chapter 14    Chapter 15    Chapter 16    Chapter 17    Chapter 18

Chapter 19    Chapter 20    Chapter 21    Chapter 22    Chapter 23

Chapter 24    Chapter 25 and 26    Chapter 27    Chapter 28    Chapter 29

Chapter 30    Chapter 31    Chapter 32    Chapter 33    Chapter 34

Chapter 35 and Epilogue

 

The Wedding

Part 1     Part 2     Part 3 

httyyd's picture
httyyd
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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 10/12/2013
Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!

The Crimson Storm

 

Chapter 23

Motivation is a Stange Thing

 

         “Jarl, Jarl, are you okay?” I hear a voice.

         Struggling to open my eyes, I feel I sit up first before being able to open my eyes.  A figure comes into focus and it is my mother.

         “What are you doing back here?” I ask

         Mother replies, “We can talk about that later.  I leave for a few hours only to come back and find my children and their friends laying flat on the ground, out cold from something.  What happened here?”

         First, I stand up and look for Annabeth.  I see that she is alright and Heather was attending to her.  I briefly retell the events of what did happen and who introduced themselves.

         Mother started to apologize for not being here, but I say, “There’s nothing you could have done differently than what we did.  We had just met the guy, so I was reserving judgment until we could know for sure if we could trust him.  When certain events started occurring like everyone having a bad day after we met Skygge and the bag of diamonds going missing as well as Skygge trying awfully hard for me to doubt my friends, things just didn’t add up.”

         Once fully aware of everything, Samantha came over with Aiyana and Samantha observed, “I thought for sure you were thinking I did it.”

         Aiyana speaks up, “Why didn’t you pick me?  I was the obvious choice and you could have gotten your revenge on my attempt to kill you.”

         Mother’s face turned pale for a moment, I comfort her, “It’s fine.  I’m here, obviously.  So, she wasn’t successful.”

         In an act of kindness, I walk over to Aiyana, go around to her back, and untie her.

         Mother protests, “What are you doing?  Didn’t she just admit to trying to kill you?”

         “Yeah,” I answer as I look at a very shocked Aiyana.  “But after figuring a few things out, I believe she’s earned a chance to explain.”

         Annabeth asks, “What did you figure out?”

         I respond, “First, as you pointed out after saving my life, Annabeth, you saw a shadow in front of us and therefore thought to leave.  Circling back around, your hunch was right and it was someone else.  You pointed out that it was sloppy for Aiyana to get behind us while the sun was behind her, thus creating a shadow for one of us to spot.  Then when she got away from you, she went to her dragon.  But instead of flying away, it sounds like she flew back towards the Outpost.  Also, from Samantha’s description of finding Aiyana trying to escape on her dragon, Aiyana was not riding her dragon.  She knew where to find one of us and got Samantha’s attention somehow.  Why?  Because she wanted to get caught.  And the most important reason why is because of Kaimana.”  Aiyana looks up and shows some alertness.  “See, Kaimana means something very important to Aiyana.  Who is it?”

         Aiyana reveals, “Kaimana is a Sliquifier, and one of my best friends.”

         Mother asks, “How did it happen?”

         Aiyana explains, “A band of dragon hunters came and kidnapped Kaimana, leaving a message for me to come and meet them if I ever wanted to see her again.  I met them and they had an ultimatum for me:  If I wanted to keep my dragon alive, I would have to do work for them.  I began doing spy work for the Dragon hunters and I stopped attacking their ships.  I knew most of the islands well and my trading business I had shone a fairly good light on me.  Eventually, I left my trading business to someone else and became a Rogue Dragon Rider doing the commands of the Dragon Hunters in exchange for Kaimana’s life.  In return, I also get a good deal of gold and free time, which I devote to training and creating various weapons which I could use during battle, like these mist bombs.  I have been doing this spying business for over a year now and have gotten pretty good at it.  Many vikings know about me, but not that I am a spy, which means I have been doing a good job as a spy.  I never divulge the information that I am a spy unless it is absolutely necessary.  Giving my circumstances, this is the best time and reason I have had to do so.”

         Mother comments, with a change of heart, “That’s terrible.  It would be a test of character how far one would be willing to do when someone they love is threatened and in danger.  Any attempt to save them on your own may result in a result no one wants.”

         Aiyana breaks down the walls she put up between us and her to reveal, “I have no one to turn to.  I cannot do anything to save my dragon.  This hit on your son, that they are paying me to do, is the first chance since this started that I have been alone and by myself without a Dragon Hunter or another spy close by watching my every move.  After everything I have heard about you, Jarl, when I was debriefed on where you live and what you are about, I knew this was my chance to do something about my situation.  Can you help me?”

         Everyone looks at me and I respond, “Yes.”

         Aiyana goes into a bit more detail of what exactly her situation is.  Since she has been doing this for over a year now, her missions have been getting bigger and bigger lately, going after higher profile targets or gathering important intel on other vikings.  She has yet to have to take out a target, merely interrogate or severely hamper their ability to do anything, and that means with their actions.  This mission against my life is the first one where they actually wanted her to kill someone.  Aiyana was surprised they did not do something like this sooner, but Aiyana comments to say that they were probably getting her warmed up and used to being a spy before they actually had her doing the missions they wanted.

         Aiyana suggests, “Here’s an idea.  To satisfy the Dragon Hunters who I have to report to, let us stage a trap where you guys come in, they think they are here to capture you or whatever, you are there to tail me back to my point of origin, but it is an opportunity to stage me killing you but making them think you are dead when in reality you are not.  Your friends rescue your body and return here.”

         Annabeth states, “This would be awfully risky.”

         “I know,” I reply.  “But what choice do we have?  If Aiyana goes back empty handed without a body as proof, whose to say they won’t just get a rid of her right then and there and get someone else?”

         Annabeth sighs, “You are going to do this anyway, aren’t you?”
         I nod.

         Annabeth adds, “Well, let’s plan this out and do this the right way.”

         I ask Aiyana, “Did any of the Dragon Hunters give you a time frame where you have to be back by?”

         Aiyana responds, “Tomorrow.”

         “Then we need to plan this out quickly,” I comeback.

         We return to the Clubhouse and get out a map of the area.  Apollo is taken to the Stables by my father.  Aiyana shares the details of where this outpost is located that she is to report to.  Turns out that it is actually a group of ships anchored off the coast of a small chain of islands to the north.  It would be about a six-hour flight from Mystery to get there.

         Mother decides to salvage some supper from what is left in the kitchen.  The rest of us stand, in a group, in the middle of the Clubhouse.  Aiyana then talks about how she will make it look like she kills me.

         “Can you take an arrow to the back?” Aiyana asks out of the blue and mother drops a pan in the kitchen.

         Father walks in at this moment too and quips as he looks at the front door, “This is the right Clubhouse?  Because I thought I just heard someone say to someone else to their face that they want to voluntarily take an arrow to the back.”

         My eyes go wide and I struggle to say something, “Um…”

         “Okay,” Aiyana takes it back.  “Let me rephrase that.  Can you take a flesh wound from an arrow?”

         Annabeth folds her arms, displeased with where Aiyana is going with this, I reply, “Probably.”

         “Good,” Aiyana answers.  “I am pretty good with a bow and arrow and my style is to stay hidden and attack from afar.  To make sure no one else suspects anything, I should stick to what I know and what the Dragon Hunters know I can do to make sure we can pull this off without letting the Dragon Hunters know.  Ya know?  I can aim somewhere to create a flesh wound where the poison could seep in.”

         Annabeth objects, “Okay, hold on missy.”

         “Wait, wait, wait,” Aiyana holds up her hands as Annabeth walks up to her.  “I am used to telling my superiors how I will get the mission done, but I wasn’t going to use poison.  I was going to use some more of my Flightmare mist.  When the mist gets in the blood stream of a target, the effects of the paralyzing ability of the mist overtakes it’s target that much quicker.  I have some stuff that could knock you out too to make it appear you dead.  But,” she turns her attention to Annabeth.  “That is where you guys come in and rescue Jarl’s body before the Dragon Hunters have a chance to check the body.”

         Annabeth still objects, “I don’t like this, Jarl.”

         I internally think, “I don’t like this either,” but I respond out loud with, “What would you do if it was Anora?  How far would you go?  You and I have been in a couple situations where it was one of us.  See how far we went to save the other?  Besides, Aiyana could have taken me out any number of ways but decided to do it the sloppiest way, no offense.  I also hope in showing her that I did not pick her as the guilty party of who stole the diamonds but instead went with my gut and what the clues were telling me.  My gut is telling me that we should help Aiyana too.”

         Annabeth sighs and reluctantly gives in, “Alright.”

         Within a few minutes, mother did salvage a supper of using some of the stew that is not too ruined and made a meat salad with some bacon bits, dried bred chunks, and the family’s special sauce.  We also had some fruit, apples and grapes, along with milk and water.  Mother stated that we should eat healthier more often to stay in shape.  Not that we do not eat healthy to begin with as we already do because we are so active, but that we eat things more times that would need more activity to be worked off.

         During supper, we all admit to each other and apologize to each other after the way we treated everyone.  Skygge truly is a master manipulator but in the subtlest of ways to make it look like it was not his fault.  But, if one simply connects the dots, then they could see that Skygge is behind it all.  Everyone else heard what Skygge told me, about staying out of his way.  Thinking about what it meant, we all wonder if we will run into him again and if we do, what will happen?

         Taking another fifteen minutes to a half hour for supper, we then have a surprise visitor.

         Dawn bolts up, “Mom?”

         Lilah the Treacherous walks through the entrance.

         Garth clarifies, “I sent for her.”

         Dawn furrows her brow and does not understand, “Why did you send for her.”

         Garth sighs, “I think it is about time I said it.”

         Lilah responds, “Sorry, to barge in like this, but it is extremely important.”

         She goes on to explain in the condensed version of what I heard from Garth about how they know each other and what else is going on.

         “But this brings me to why I am here,” Lilah concludes.  “Just before receiving Garth’s Terror Mail, I got word that one of Verodfellar’s cells are at a Dragon Hunter outpost north of here.  With the news of having Verodfellar separated from his main forces, and for the last several years, the forces I have been in command of have kept the leader from reuniting with his forces to our home.  This is the biggest news we have had in a long time.  But we need to find out where he is and this outpost is our best chance to start the trail.”

         I ask, “Is this outpost a small group of ships anchored off the coast of a small chain of islands?”

         Surprised, Lilah replies, “Why, yes.  How did you know?”

         Now giving Lilah the condensed version of what transpired today, Lilah encouraged us to go through with our plans because that would grant the distraction, she was actually wanting to plan out for her to attack the Verodfellar cell of forces to gain intel on the whereabouts of their leader.

         I state, “Then it is settled.”

         Lilah adds, “We need to leave as soon as possible to ensure that this chance does not slip us by.  I arranged to have us stay for a few hours to get some sleep at Wingmaiden Island.  Then from there, while still under the cover of night, will go to this outpost and get what we need.”

         We immediately start getting ready.  To go on the trip with us, I pick Annabeth, my parents, Explod, Hyrith, Heather, and Valkarik.  Dawn and Dagur are also coming, but they both request that they help Lilah in the mission, which I confirm the both can do.  Dawn comes back and blatantly tells me that she would have done it anyway with or without my approval.

         I think, “Well, at least she asked first.  We are making progress.”

         The next ten minutes are needed to get ready for the mission and before we know it, we are at Wingmaiden Island.

         Things are happening quickly.  Once Lilah arrived at Mystery, I feel like I am falling behind, especially when I think about what has gone on the last couple of days.  So much has happened with so much more to do.  I feel like I am starting to lose my grip on a few things because we let Traitor Johann lead us into a trap, we got captured, we were threatened by the late Koll Valgardson, met Skygge who saved our lives, had an epic fight with an unknown Titan Wing dragon, I nearly was killed even if Aiyana was not going to go through with it, everyone on the island had a bad day, found out the truth about Garth’s past, had a mini mystery that ended up with Skygge’s betrayal and threat, the reason behind Aiyana’s motivation, and the connection between those who are blackmailing her are the same enemies of Garth and Lilah.

         “Come to think of it, this was all a piece of cake,” I tell myself.  “Note rhetorical sarcasm.”

         The moment we get to the Wingmaiden’s island, we are escorted to our quarters, which is a camp of tents on the northern side of the island, to get some sleep.  It is mentioned that Lilah is very good friends with the Wingmaidens, even well before we knew they were there and before Lilah met up with us.  Aiyana leaves as soon as we get there to get her head start.  We try to get some sleep in the meantime, but at this point, not a whole lot of us got sleep anyway.  So, we leave an hour earlier than what Lilah had planned.  Just before though, the leader of the Wingmaidens requested that my crew and I come back next chance we get to discuss something.  They say it is not pressing, so we can do it when we can.  But they seemed quite interested in Annabeth’s black Razorwhip, Anora.

         We leave for the outpost, thinking we have to follow Aiyana’s directions and look for landmarks.  Turns out that she smartly left a small but visible trail of Flightmare gel on the ocean surface below us, roughly every hundred yards or so.  The trail led us straight for the small chain of island Aiyana described.  Her trail of Flightmare gel ended the same time we saw the islands as well as the group of ships.

         Lilah, Dagur, and Dawn break away to meet with Lilah’s forces who she says have been waiting to the east to keep an eye on things.  When the night fell, Lilah told us she had instructed them to get as close as they dared to the Dragon Hunter’s outpost.

         Continuing on, my crew gain some altitude and survey from above the situation.  The Dragon Hunters have set up a temporary Dragon Proof dome arena with dragon cages as the walls with a chain mesh overtop creating the dome.  The arena and cages are in front of a tall rock formation shielding view of the north side of the island, which the arena is just about as wide as the island itself.  The arena looks to span the diameter of fifty feet with the cages adding another ten feet or more to the perimeter.  Inside those cages are a couple pairs of dragons which are Gronckles and Nadders.  Other cages include a Zippleback and a Nightmare.  The rest are more Gronckles and Nadders.  There are eight cages in all, making the octagon shape.

         I say, “Looks inviting.”

         I tell Annabeth, Heather, my parents, Explod, and Valkarik to stay back while myself, Hyrith, and Angie go down and set the dragons free.  We take out our Gronckle Iron weapons and first make a hole in the dome, cutting a few chain intersections in the dome to make a hole big enough for the dragons to fit through.  Then we go to work on the cage locks.

         The first cage I come to is the cage with a red Gronckle and a blue Gronckle.  They were scared to see me but not threating me.

         “Shh,” I whisper.  “It’s okay.  Let’s get you guys out of here.”

         There is no subtly when opening these Dragon Proof cages with Gronckle Iron.  Because of the noise and the dragons wanting to get out, we work as fast as we can to get all of them out.  It is also strange to also think at any moment, Aiyana is going to shoot me.  I come to the last cage with the Monstrous Nightmare, which is purple.

         Hyrith and Angie come over to help, but I tell them, “Get on your dragons and cover these dragons until they are well on their way to get out of this area.”

         They both follow my order.

         I open the last cage and let the Nightmare fly past me, it nearly knocks me down, but I regain my balance.  The moment I do, however…

         Thwip!

         Something hits my back on my left side… But this is no flesh wound!

         I collapse forward, onto my stomach.  I have never been hit by the Flightmare’s mist, so this is a new experience for me.  I become extremely cold and frozen stiff as an ice block.  But something else happens… I… Feel sick to my stomach… Then… Then there is siring pain from… What struck… What struck me in the back… I feel… I start… Feeling light… Headed… Slowly… I… Close my eyes.

         Then something… Weird happens.