Book 8 - Conquest for the Truth - Chapter 30, Part 1 - Heart of a Warrior & Part 2 - Soul of a Legend

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013

After one of the longest writer's block I think I have ever had, I finally completed the last chapter.  It ended up being just over 10,000 words long.  So at this point, I decided to make it a two parter.  Regardless of two parts, two chapters, or one chapter, this whole sequence I wanted to post at the same time.

 

There will be an epilogue to conclude the story and look forward to Book 9!

 

I present to you the epic climax of Book 8 - Conquest for the Truth!

 

Thank you to all my current readers who have been patiently waiting for me to get this chapter finished.  I sincerely hope you enjoy this chapter!

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Rest in Peace NarixuZen.  2004-2017

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Book 10 - The Shattered Axe

Chapter 17 - Back on Track

 

The Jarl Mollerson Mystery Series

All Chapter Links
 

 

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

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httyyd
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Joined: 10/12/2013
I had such a blast writing this. The epilogue may be up soon too

Here is my custom epic music playlist again for this chapter:

Heart of a Warrior, Sould of a Legend - Chapter 29 - Epic Music Mix (Conquest for the Truth)

 

Conquest for the Truth

 

Chapter 30, Part 1

Heart of a Warrior

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         I know I have said about many things and seems like I have said this for this mystery many times, but the fight truly comes down to this.  All or nothing.  Even now, how far am I willing to go to win once and for all?

         I quickly ask Vixxen, “Are you alright after all that we said to you back there?”

         “Yeah,” Vixxen answers.  “All of it was true at one point which is why we were able to fool Einar.  He won’t take that lightly.  His reinforcements from the rest of his fleet should be coming in from behind.  With the two alphas fighting on the northside, our ships should be rotating around the south side.  I would suggest your air support to go help knock out the remaining targets on the ships.  When the fight there is more in favor of our ships, regroup on the shores of Izar to attack Einar from behind.  Because leaving that open for now should invite him in after we made a fool out of him.  I’ll give the signal for when to regroup.”

         Dawn comments as she barrels overhead knocking a Grim Gnasher out of the way, “As long as nothing else comes up, which it probably will.”

         My friends and I fly south, arcing around the back to come up behind Einar’s fleet.

         I call out, “Let’s soften them up for our ships to take them out!  Arrow formation, spread out!”

         Splitting up into three teams of three, we create three small “arrowheads” with the lead dragon making the initial blow on the chosen target while the two dragons flanking finish off the target.  Annabeth, Cazi, and I.  Hattori, Ashley, and Garth.  Dawn, Tory, and Cullan.  Hattori, Dawn, and I take point with the others taking their respective flanking positions.

         Working in tandem with one another, we soar through the air as if we are one dragon.

         First target for me is a ballista launcher.  Fredrick fires his sonic blast knock it off its firing projection.  While the blasts still move through the air, Anora shoots her fire into Fredrick’s blast and scatter’s her blue flame everywhere.  Electic and Sparklebolt both shock all the vikings on that part of the ship.

         Hattori aims for an array of catapults.  Shadow Strike swoops in, stops on a dime, claps his wings together, and the wind knocks off all the vikings.  Megan sets the catapults ablaze and banks up for a spike tornado making sure the vikings stayed back.  Riptide grabs hold of the catapults and throws them into more catapults, setting them on fire.

         Fawn bulls her way in with Nimhe and Jade close behind.  Dawn has her Triple Stryke use her tails and picks up the three gunners on top of three arrow launchers.  Tory and Cullan land on the sides of the ships and shoot their Nadders’ magnesium fire across the launchers and that side of the ship.  As they fly away, both Nadders tail whip spines to make the vikings from the stern of the ship to think twice of trying to take a shot at them.

         Using these three techniques among the three squads, we wipe out the remaining heavy artillery, leaving them open for attack from our ships just coming into view.

         As we are turning back away from our last target, I hear from behind us in a nearby by ship a deep, nearly vibrating the air…

         RRRRRRRAAAHHOOOooorrrr!!!

         Stopping in our flight we turn around to see a ship explode from the inside out.  Out flies a grey blur, who nearly flies into us along with several more dragons from the ship’s hold.  When the grey dragon flies past us, it suddenly stops mid-flight and starts turning around…  Revealing its second set of wings to hover.

         It flies back at us.

         Cazi remarks, “Uh, why is it flying back at us?”

         Annabeth answers, “Because it recognized something.  Come on, let’s meet it.”

         “Sure,” Cazi follows.  “If the Bewilderbeast, evil Dragon Mage, and scores of ships and vikings don’t get you, just go say hi to the dragon who tried to run you over.”

         Annabeth adds, “It was scared and probably held against its will.”

         “I know, but still,” Cazi says back.

         The dragon looks familiar, but we have seen a lot of dragons on Izar which have similar markings and colorings as our own dragons.  But for a dragon to stop like and turn around, it recognized something.

         A guy’s voice sounds off from behind the Stormcutter’s large head, saying, “It’s really you guys.  I can’t believe it?”

         All at the same time, we reply, “Michia?”

         “In the flesh,” Michia stands on top of Albatross’s neck.  “Well, most of me.”

         Seeing Michia, he has lost a tremendous amount of weight for his size.  He was already pretty short, only five foot five.  Around the same age as us, but he is mightily skinny.

         “I know you might be asking, ‘How could I maintain such a pristine physique such as this?’”  He strikes a pose to show off his lack luster muscle tone.  “But let’s get out of the line of fire first.”

         We form up in-line again to regroup at the place where Vixxen had suggested.

         While we are going, Michia informs, “I learned about you guys being here after Valkarik was brought to The Fifth Fleet after being captured during the first attack.  I thought it was merely going to be an attack on some island.  Low and behold you guys are here.  I knew I had to get to you guys somehow, but between Albatross being kept still on one of Einar’s ships and everyone being eagle eye on anyone not in their ranks, I couldn’t make a move.  I wanted to see if I could contact Valkarik, but something could have gone wrong for the both of us.  So, I left my toy I had of my long-lost sister that I know some of you have seen.  Going from Theo to Einar was a welcome change of pace though.  If you ask me, Theo is a loose nail short of an empty barrel.”  He twirls his finger around next to his head.

         “After that, I was transferred from The Fifth Fleet back to Einar’s fleet, but not the same ship.  When Einar’s fleet started this second wave, I knew it was my chance.  All the slaves and workers were out and about to help with anything that Einar’s men needed.  But with my size, I slipped off the side of the ship and went for my dragon.  All of the other workers are too fearful not to do what they say, so unless it is abandon ship, they don’t dare do anything else.  I tried to get a few of them out, but at the last second, they couldn’t do it.  I don’t really know any of them, because I was always the one that stood out, was different, and actually tried to escape many times only to be caught every time.  From what I hear of how things were going; I knew it had to be the one and only Jarl Mollerson crew.  If the slaves see they can take their own freedom, they will do it.  If they can see Einar and his forces in a vulnerable position, they will rebel against Einar’s men. they will be in good hands once Einar’s ships have to surrender or abandon ship.  Because once Einar is not there, his men more or less look out for themselves as if they are on their own revenge vendetta.  Because over the last several days, you guys have been getting under Einar’s skin and his think Einar is pandering too much for his personal battle not what their original mission was.  He doesn’t show it in battle, but he thought this whole invasion was going to be a lot easier than it has been.  He has still prepared for the resistance, but when he doesn’t get something his way especially if it isn’t in his plan, this is when he will make mistakes.  This so rarely happens because the guy is so smart, he practically thinks of everything.”

         “Well, if you want to come with us, we are going back to a rally point to meet with Vixxen,” I tell him.  “Our fleets will disable and board any ship, taking it under our control.”

         “Wait,” Michia shakes his head.  “Vixxen?  The Vixxen who is our enemy?”

         “Long story,” I say.  “Trust me on this, she is on our side.”

         When we arrive, we find the rest of our crew, but no Vixxen.

         Make known Michia’s presence and Ali is the first to run over and hug him.  He briefly explains how he got here.

         Ali then detaches something from her belt, “Do you recognize this?”

         Ali gives him the Thunderdrum felt toy.

         “Why yes, that is my toy of my long-lost sister,” Michia replies.

         Ali’s eyes begin to water up as she further questions, “Do you remember what toy your sister had?”

         “Yeah,” Michia slowly answers, not getting it himself.  “She had a grey Stormcutter that looks like Albatross.  Why do you ask?”

         Ali chuckles as a couple tears streak down her face, “The Stormcutter is my toy.  Michia…  I’m your sister!”

         It finally hits him like a ton of yaks.

         Valkarik needles Michia, pushing him into a hug of his sister, “If you only you could see his reaction, Ali.”

         Holding her brother tight, she replies, “I don’t need to see.  I finally have all I need.”  She pulls Valkarik in for a hug as well.

         After a few moments, Garth interrupts, “Sorry to break this up, but we need to refocus.”

         Tory announces, “Kaya and Saga are flying over on Ayre and Dance.”

         We are all surprised to see her, though Michia does not really know what is going on with our end of things.

         Garth first off asks, “What are you two doing here?”

         Kaya, visibly worried, “Something big is going to happen.  Being the Alpha’s Hand for this long, I know what he will try to do.  He would like all available dragons to come to his aid.”

         Saga adds, “Einar’s Bewilderbeast is doing the same with Einar’s dragons.  This means all of your dragons as well.”

         Turning to Fredrick, I ask him, “What do you think?”

         It may just be me knowing my dragon as well as I do, but I thought I saw him smile.  He leans back on his legs roaring into the air.  Every dragon from every member of my crew, even the extra dragons of Sparklebolt, Ultra Violet, Star Scream, Sirena, and others who came with us rose into the air.

         Fredrick looks at me.

         I kneel down looking at him, “Go on, Fredrick.  You guys have your own battle to settle.  We’ll take care of Einar from here.  Together, we will end this thing once and for all for dragons and vikings alike.”

         I hug my dragon for this may be the…  Inspiration he needs.  He proceeds to give me something else in return… A big lick on the face.

         Dawn comments, “I see even he has your sense of humor.  Maybe your humor is even contagious to dragons.”

         I chuckle, “I’m sure he had it long before I had it.  We just made it easier for the both of us to be ourselves.”  I look at my dragon lifting up into the air, “You go get ‘em boy.  Lead the others into victory!”

         He liked the sound of that and raced ahead with our dragons following him.  Kaya and Saga then mount their dragons to go with the dragons and help direct and command them as well as the rest of the dragons.

         “Kaya!” Garth calls out.  The both stop, looking back.  “You be careful sis.”

         “I’m not worried about me,” Kaya replies.  “I’m more worried about what kind of explosion you have planned for Einar.  If there was ever a time to set off one on purpose, now would be the time.  Not now-now, but when it is convenient.”

         They start to turn away, but Garth adds, “Saga.”

         “Yes?”

         Brief pause before Garth simply says, “You be careful too.”

         Saga smiles, “Thanks.  You too.”

         As the two of them fly off on Kaya’s Zippleback, I turn around to see all of my friends looking at me.

         Annabeth takes her axe from behind her back, grabbing it with both hands, “You said something about leading other into victor?  What’s the plan?”

         “Nice segue,” I laugh.  Though I become serious now, I still have a slight smile.  “Here is the plan.  We sandwich these guys.  The bulk of our forces are on the center of Izar just like we had thought out before.  But now comes the last part of our plan, though now without dragons.  But some of us started our adventure without dragons.  We would love to go into battle with them, yet they need us to take out Einar and we need them to take out the Bewilderbeast.  Like I said before, we are doing this together.  This is the only way we are going to win this fight, this battle, the war.  For we are winning this thing the right way.  We are going for the knockout punch to show them the better way.  Work in tandem with a partner.  When you come upon an enemy, one engages to distract while the other comes into knockout, not to kill.  If it cannot be helped and you must strike your opponent, strike only to injure.  Watch each other’s back, which would be difficult because you’d always be facing each other, but you know what I mean.  Obviously, defend yourselves to the best of your ability.  Keep each other safe.  Help other tandems out if they need it, however, keep space between each other so we can cover the most ground.  Use every tool available to you.  Use the environment if you can.  Use your enemy’s position and tools against them.  God give us the speed we need to persevere, the strength to endure, the swiftness to overcome, and the might to win this fight.”

         A moment later, Vixxen and Klarp return with a small contingent of forces from their fleet.

         “Hope we’re not late,” Vixxen says running up to us.  “We went back to my vikings and brought with us any who would want to join the fight.  Did we miss anything?”

         Dawn gives the synopsis, “Work in twos.  Fight to knockout, worst case, injure the enemy.  Don’t kill.  Doing this without dragons, but we’re doing this together.  Then he said a sort of a prayer or something.”

         Vixxen raises her eyebrow at her.

         Dawn raises her hands, “Don’t ask me to retell it word for word.  I wouldn’t know how to make as poetic and inspiring as he did,” her eyes shoot a glance at me, telling me she does not necessarily want me to know what she felt about what I said, but does not care anyway in her own way what I think.  “But I’m sure you can figure out the gist of what he said.”

         Vixxen winks, “I can.”

         Ali throws an arm around her brother’s neck, showing what we are up against with the other, saying, “Welcome back, brother.  Now that I have my family back, want to charge into battle with me?”

         One of Vixxen’s Vikings hands him a sword.

         “Sure,” Michia sounds half-impressed but confident.

         Cazi then takes out her daggers, “Shall we get this show on the road or not?”

         We all chuckle and line up shoulder to shoulder at first.

         Annabeth to my right side looks at me, smiling, “After you, Jarl Brodd Mollerson, Leader of the Edge of Mystery’s butt-kicking crew.”

         I step out in front, taking out my bow.

         “Let’s make this on-going war past tense!”

         We start running forward.

         Before we all split off too much, Dawn comes over and remarks, “You just had to start this final battle with a pun, didn’t you?”

         With I smile, I shrug.

 

         Svana and Sigvald.

         Asvord and Elsa.

         Dagur and Heather.

         Cazi and Dawn.

         Hannah and Abbie.

         Dagmar and Adam.

         Vemund and Annett.

         Ali, Michia, and Valkarik.

         Tory and Cullan.

         Hattori and Ashley.

         Meen and Navaro.

         Garth and Explod.

         Repteil and Faith.

         Sapphire and Thoreous.

         Hyrith and Angie.

         Jack and Pat.

         Samantha and Fira.

         Ohmarr and Aiyana.

 

         Annabeth and me.

 

         The sight we see in front of us is the back row of Einar’s forces at catapults, launchers, and other devices.  They are too focused on what is in front of them to care what is behind them.  We climb on top of them, grabbing hold of every viking piloting them, and knocking them out.  No forces were guarding them because they had no idea there was going to be anyone coming up from behind.  We banked on the fact they thought we would stay on our dragons.  They were wrong.

         Using a variety of my bows and others their bombs, we blow up all of the artillery supporting Einar’s forces.

         Now, we are running up behind the back line of archers.  Barreling over a few, knocking over others.  When they see us coming, it is already too late.  The explosions only caught them off guard.

         Finding a small boulder nearby with a flat top, I climb up on it.  I draw my bow and fire arrows at nearby soldiers getting them to focusing on me without a chance to fire back.  This distracts them as Annabeth sprints in, chopping bows in half in one swing.  Soldiers stagger back, she rushes in knocking their legs out from under them.  Anyone not knocked out from the fall, Annabeth finishes them with a few punches and kicks.

         Quickly checking our surroundings, I start lobbing arrows to nearby partners to cover them.  In the meantime, Annabeth returns to me to watch my back while I get a lay of the land in front of us.

         I shoot a Flightmare arrow ten yards ahead of Dagur and Heather.  The squad of vikings coming at them to surprise them are now frozen stiff.  Once the two Berserkers take care of the ones they were fighting, they make sure the squad enjoys their time being frozen, knocking them out.

         Sending a Night Fury arrow to a group next to my mother and father, the arrow explodes causing every enemy viking to faceplant, tripping over their own feet.  My mom and dad make sure to knock them out.

         Looking back to my left, I see a Zippleback layer of smoke which I zip a cracker arrow over there.  The explosion sends several of Einar’s men into the air and out several yards, taking out a few others with them.

         In front of me by about twenty yards to the right, Ali, Michia, and Valkarik are about to be sideswiped by a few mace wielding soldiers.  Sending a few cracker arrows over there makes the soldiers tumble into knock out assembly line which is the two Clar Siblings and one very determined Valkarik.

         Speaking of determined, Meen is an enemy wrecking ball with her dual cast iron pans.  Navaro wipes up the ground with any stragglers which Meen would miss…  Of which there are few.

         Then the thought occurs to me, “Maybe I should have just equipped everyone with pans.”

         Annabeth calls out, “Smaller catapults fifty yards ahead.  Looks like a few are turning back this way.”

         “Do you have your bow?”

         “I’m standing right next to him.”

         “Very funny.”

         Annabeth had taken her bow from Anora’s saddle right before she left.

         “When I mark a catapult,” I tell her.  “Fire a cracker arrow at them.”

         My mom and dad as well as Dagur and Heather had come over to our position to keep occupied any would be viking who would try to take Annabeth and me out.

         Taking aim, guessing for the correct trajectory, shoot the arrow in the air.  It misses to the left about five yards.

         “You missed,” Annabeth quips as she takes a similar aim and firing.

         “Still getting warmed up,” I comment as the catapult then explodes into pieces and goes up in flames.  “With the Zipple arrows, I don’t need to hit the target.  Just get it near it.”

         Two catapults down…

         Three catapults…

         Four…  Five…

         My father then suggestions, “Time to move forward.  The others can take out the other installations.”

         The three duos split up a bit and rush forward.

         The enemy is now coming at us full force, though dividing their total force in half.  This should give some our side fighting on the front lines some relieved pressure.

         I am basically out of arrows at this point; I am keeping a few in reserves for anything else major which will probably come up.

         With sword drawn now, I rush at five vikings coming at me.  Thinking I would try to bull rush him I slide at the last moment throwing a smoke bomb at his stomach.  Using her axe’s flat face as a blunt weapon, she swings down on the guy’s head, knocking him out cold.  I proceed to leg whip the ones nearby and a solid right cross or two and they are out.

         Progressively, slow and sure, we march are way forward.  For the most part, I only need my sword to defend against any attack while Annabeth either flying kicks or punches the stomach of the one we are fighting.  When we have to fight one-on-one with two come at us, it takes it a few more minutes of back and forth.  But by keeping our backs close to each other we can use our enemy’s might against them by sending them into each other.

         The further we move forward the tougher the enemy types get.  Nearing the front lines, we have nearly handled this front all together.  We can see Atali, Mala, and Sif’s forces similar tactics to us.  They go on the offensive instead of defending the front edge of the main village.

         Holding our ground until the rest of our forces meet us, Annabeth and I take on anyone who dares fight us.  I use up my mini bow-caster arrows to knock vikings out this way.  Continuing what has worked thus far, we distract and knockout.  The enemy does not know whether to move forward and lose ground to my crew coming up behind or fight us and lose ground to the other side.

         A viking comes at me with a sword while another comes at Annabeth.  This guy is skilled with a sword as his grip is not easily broken on his weapon.  I cannot get him to let go of his sword.  In trying a little too much to disarm him, he manages to disarm me!

         “Lost my sword!” I declare.

         Annabeth exclaims, “Duck!”

         As I bend down, he swings from left to right at me.  She backwards rolls onto my back and flips over, swinging down with her axe on the guy who just tried to swipe me.  I in turn, tackle the guy who tried to swing down on Annabeth.  I manage to knock him out.  But as I turn back to Annabeth, a feel a knife tries to slice me in the side.  It cuts through most of my leather armor, but the extra armor which Garth made saves me.

         Turning to face enemy, he tries to bring the knife down on me.  I block with my left bracer, grab his right arm with mine, shove my shoulder into his chest, and fling him over me at the exact same time Annabeth does the same to someone she had been fighting.

         Impressed with the other, we both see something behind the other.  By our shared reaction, we instantly know to duck.  But we instead dive forward into a roll, bowling over the other’s enemy behind them.

         Several more come at us with nothing more than their bare hands.  Annabeth and I jump into a unified frenzy of mayhem.  Each time knowing exactly what the other one will do often matching the other move for move.

         Right cross, left cross, upper cut, sucker punch.  Knockout.

         Swing kick to face.  Knockout.

         Leg whip, tripping two guys over, landing solidly on the ground.  Knockout.

         “Grab my arms,” Annabeth calls out.

         We lock arms, I bend forward as she flings a kick straight up into the guy’s face.  Knockout.

         “Return favor?”

         Annabeth does what I do, and I do what she did.  Knockout.

         But she continues to flip me over.  Going with it, I backflip over landing on top of a guy who I right cross just in case.  Knockout.

         What looks to be the last two guys coming at us on either side, we right reverse spin kick to make them stagger.  Continuing the spin around, we jump, and bring our left leg around, following through to the guys’ faces.  Knockout.

         We look up and just smile at each other.

         Looking up around us, here on this front lies all of Einar’s men knockout or extremely dazed.

         The regroup point is just inside the village at the first town square.  All my crew rallies there and we catch up Atali, Mala, and Sif on what has been going on.  Then inform us that the other fronts are faring pretty well but could use our help.

         “I have to admit it, Jarl,” Sif says.  “Your plan is going off to near perfection.  Playing right into Einar’s hands has proven to have been the best course to take with the least amount of causalities.”

         I repeat, “Casualities?”

         Sif confirms, “There was going to be no way around it.  At some point, something was going to have to give.  Einar’s initial wave took down some of Izar’s strength, but we have seen worse in years before.  Though you, your forces, and your crew have been in valuable reinforcements, every Izarian viking protecting their home volunteered to be on the front lines at every point.  They would rather it be them then you.  All you have been trying to do from the start is to help.”

         I sigh, looking to the side, thinking, “This is what I wanted to avoid at all costs.  This didn’t have to happen.”

         Mala offers, “Which you have fought valiantly and showed tremendous bravery.  But there comes a time when we must choose what is important to us and take that ultimate choice out of the love we have for our friends, family, and home.  Wars are fought and won all the time, but it has been your steadfast moral guidance that has brought us this far.  The lives lost will never be forgotten.  To honor their sacrifice, we need to finish this.”

         From nowhere, a voice all too familiar comes from a nearby building, “I couldn’t agree more.”

         Out steps Einar Verodfellar twenty yards from our position.

         Without hesitating, I draw my bow and fire an arrow at Einar.  He catches it before it could strike him.

         “Firing first without asking questions?” Einar shakes his head.  “What happened to your steadfast morals?”

         “They’re still there,” I tell him.  “But I’m a through asking questions.  You’ve caused enough heartache.  This ends right here!”

         “While I may have earned what I have accomplished thus far,” Einar holds his hand up to stop me from coming.  I do stop, though I am not sure how much more I can stand to listen to, “I do agree with that last part.  This does end right here.  I would take some cover if I were you.”

         Einar starts walking away, turning his back on us.

         Annabeth starts, “What does he mean by-?”

         RRRRRROOOOAAAARRRRR!!!!!

         A second later, the sound of wood splitting comes to my ear.  Reacting, I grab Annabeth, and dive into the door of a nearby building.  Others yell to take cover.  Moments later, the destruction comes our way, obliterating all the buildings.  Something impacts with the front wall which in turns launches us further into the building.  Keeping tight grip on Annabeth, when we come to a rest, I shield her as debris comes crashing down on top of us.  It feels like a couple of Thunderdrums landing on top of me.  As quick as it did come, the sounds move on.

         Others come to our aid to start removing debris from on top of us, then Annabeth comments, “The ways in which you come up with to give me a hug, I’ll never understand.”

         I give a dry chuckle as the debris continues to be picked off.  It is my father.

         “Are you two alright?”

         “I think so,” I answer.

         I reach for Annabeth’s arm and try to help her up.  When I pull, she grimaces a bit before following through and standing up.

         Looking at her, I ask, “Are you alright?”

         “My right side is very sore,” Annabeth replies.  “After tackling me to safety, you landed on me.  Then after we were launched, you landed on me again.”

         “I’m sorry.”

         “No, it’s fine,” Annabeth assures.  “I’d rather be sore than something else.”

         She starts to take a step before left ankle gives out and she falls into my arms.

         “Annabeth, you’re not alright,” I help her to stand.  At this moment, she can barely put any weight on her left foot.

         “No, I’m fine,” she stares at me, though when my father goes to feel for her foot, Annabeth grimaces a bit.

         “Nothing is sticking out or broken, best case, just sprained,” father replies.

         “That’s good,” I breathe a sigh.  “But you’re staying put.”

         “I’ll walk it off,” Annabeth contends, putting some more weight on it.  She only takes a quick breath in but no longer grimaces.  “I’ll be fine.”

         “You’re staying here,” I tell her as I step out to survey the situation.

         Utter destruction.  This whole section of the village is intertwined with the icy structures which form from a Bewilderbeast’s blast.  My friends are merely trying to regroup and check if there are any injuries.  It looks like there are.  Cazi is helping Dawn, though as much as she wants to take care of herself, Dawn cannot stand on her right foot.  Hattori is holding his left shoulder.  Repteil, Abbie, and Ohmarr looked to have been knocked out but are being tended to by Faith, Hannah, and Aiyana.  Everyone looks beaten up and sore.  Valkarik is holding her arm with Michia taking care of it and Ali only able to watch, though a lot of good that is probably doing for Ali right now.  The rest of the crew is picking themselves back up and checking on each other as well as some of our other forces caught in the path of the Bewilderbeast’s ice.

         All my thoughts go to what almost happened.  My heart sinks.  The whole scene is screaming out my name.

         They need someone to fight for them.

         Footsteps come up behind me.  Turning to see my father, Dagur, Asvord, and Annabeth.

         I do not say a word.  Annabeth’s expression barely changes, but it goes from worry to understanding.

         Seeing my sword on the ground, I pick it up to eye it.  My mind reflects on the choices which have gotten me to this point.  Looking back to Annabeth, I go up to her, kiss her, and start running back down the street to the south.

 

 

Chapter 30, Part 2

Soul of a Legend

 

Jarl's Point of View

 

         It is no straight path.  Going around, over, and under the maze of ice, I make my way out of the village to see a terrifying sight practically blocking out the sun.

         Einar’s Bewilderbeast from the southwest corner of the island staring down Einar who is looking at it with his arms raised in the air.  He is about hundred feet directly in front of me.  And that is just the start.  Every single dragon on both Einar’s side and our side, even our own dragons from the crew, are circling this area of Izar.  They are creating a dome, probably two hundred yards across, almost covering this entire section under their dragon wings creating a flickering light and a looming darkness around here.

         I scream out, “EINAR!”

         Probably not expecting to see me, he eases his arms down and turns to face me.  I start walking towards him.

         He declares, “When are you ever going to give up Jarl!  I’ve won.  Your forces are depleted, your dragons are mine, I control the Bewilderbeast, and I am a Dragon Mage!  How on earth do you expect to stop me?”

         Einar laughs as he comes to meet me, showing me, “Look what’s around you.  I knew it would come to this point.  Out of everything I have planned, studied, and lived for this moment, it is everything I have dreamed it would be and more.  The Prophecy said it would come to this.”

         “That’s where you’re wrong, Einar,” I tell him.  “The Prophecy had more to say, but are you willing to listen to it now?”

         “Ha!”  Einar mocks.  “You think you know what The Prophecy says.  It was something that foretold my destiny and sealed Izar’s place in history as a spec of dust to be trampled underfoot.”

         “You know what the first part says,” I start, ignoring his remarks.  “At the proper time, all will come to pass, all will be made clear.  The Heart of a storm will rise with the winds of the sky and the depths of the ocean will return to its origin.  The power that waits to be held, can punish, corrupt, or be the savior to a land that was once lost.  A land which is home to healing, to wisdom, to strength, to immortality.  Only the storm will survive.  A storm is coming.  A storm is here.”

         I continue, “I guess you are right about a few things.  This has been destiny.  ‘At the proper time’ all has come to pass and has been made clear.  The hearts of the raging storms of both sides of risen with the winds of the sky and from the depth of the ocean to return to where it all began all those years ago.  All of the work you have put in and I over the last couple of years have led to this point.  There were signs along the way of what was to come.  The Secret Symbol to start the search for The Legend of Shadow Mountain.  The legend led to a Crimson Storm of the Gale Heart.  All of these things would point to the Heart of Izar with the power waiting to be held able to punish, corrupt, or ‘be the savior to a land that was once lost.’  All those who came before us trying to find the clues, trace the leads, and solve the mystery were led on a Conquest for the Truth.  This conquest has punished those who did not know how to decipher its clues and those who tried to skip ahead.  This conquest has corrupted a whole line of vikings with only one goal in mind, to wipe Izar off the face of the map.  This conquest has corrupted anyone too greedy for power not to have it all for themselves.  This conquest has been the savior to a young man who was thrust into a war he never asked for.  And for the last several years have tired everything in his power to end this war once and for all.  But every battle ended, another was just around the corner.  The Isles of Izar are home to amazing knowledge of healing, wisdom of past generations still stored in their libraries and records, the strength of the people still standing in your way, and the belief in the immortal idea that the right and the truth will conqueror all.  ‘Only the storm will survive,’ the storm of those willing to go the distance of where this adventure has gone.  ‘A storm is coming.  A storm is here,’ here facing down someone of equal might, power, and willpower.”

         “Equal might, power, and willpower?” Einar scoffs at my statement.  “While I’m flattered, I cannot help but see the overwhelming odds against you and think the complete opposite of what you are saying.”

         “Will you listen to the rest of The Prophecy?” I question as I quote.  ‘You are that storm.  Only you can look to their origin to choose whether to punish, to corrupt, or be the savior.  Only you with the heart of a Gale Storm, the knowledge of a Sand Wraith, and the might of The King of Dragons will have the spirit to conquer the truth.  You may rise or you may fall.  But only you can decide who you will be for eternity.’”

         I pause now only a few feet from him.  “The Prophecy was never about a power for viking to possess.  While one can apparently become a Dragon Mage, The Prophecy was a warning to whoever tried to become an equal to the King of all Dragons, the Bewilderbeast.  The warning was written by someone who had firsthand knowledge of exactly what a Bewilderbeast could be capable of, especially if someone could study one and master some of its skills.  This amount of power was of no good to anyone who wanted to use them, regardless of good or evil intentions.  Camilla ‘The Curious’ Vixxen knew what she was doing when she wrote the so-called prophecy.  That’s right.  Thorgunna Vixxen was a pivotal piece to this whole thing.  There were cases throughout this mystery where only certain vikings could solve the clues needed to get to this point.  In her own heritage lied the key.  In Camilla’s wisdom to set this all-in motion, calling the riddle she wrote ‘The Prophecy’ she would scare away any run of the mill would be viking who thought maybe they could take the power.  Only those smart enough and brave enough to commit to uncovering the truth of the matter would finally see it solved.”

         “You’re lying,” Einar simply states.

         Now I laugh, “After all this Einar, do you think I would make up such a well interconnected, thought out, epic, and awesome story as this?”

         “No, I don’t suppose you would,” Einar admits.  “But all of this is just talk.  I am the power of the storm.  I have harnessed the power from the Heart of Izar.  If you kneel before me now, I will make your death quick and painless.”

         “You still don’t get it,” I shake my head.  “First off, that’s a pretty useless deal seeing how you are wanting to kill me regardless.  Secondly, no one will ever kneel before you because you are the guy who has based his entire revenge story on circumstantial evidence arrived to by an assumption.”

         “I know what I’m doing,” he barks back.  “I know what the Izarian Alpha did.  It has all the abilities needed to send a swarm of dragon beasts to burn down my island, my home, and my family.  Even if I saved Saga, it still took even her away from me.”

         “Are you too blind to see the truth staring you right in the face?” I counter.  “For all of your brilliance of military strategy and knowledge of leadership, you are going to let the convenience of evidence speak for you without uncovering the truth of what really happened that day?”

         “Oh, and you’re standing before me to enlighten me to tell me my island died just because of a rogue group of dragons?”  He leans in close to me.

         “I’m not going to begin to say I know what really went down that day.  That is another mystery to solve for another day,” I tell him.  “All I am saying, is the foundation for the entire reason you and I are standing in front of each other right now couldn’t be built any where but the worst place possible.  Sand.  And buddy, there is a storm coming that will knock your house flat.  Nothing is sturdier than a house built on the rock of truth.  And the truth of the matter is…  What would your family think of you now?”

         He resumes a standing position and looking at me that I dare bring up his family.

         I add, “If they were alive today.  I wonder what they would think of you today.  Just for hypothetical reasoning, let’s say the rogue dragons did come from Izar and the rest played out how it has.  But you were given ten minutes to see your family again, all I can think about is what they would think about seeing all the destruction you have caused for multiple generations now, to countless families.  If your family could see you now, I’m confident when I say they would be ashamed of you and would not even recognize the man you have become, or lack thereof.  If you or any of us have learned from this whole ordeal it is this:  The Truth is so important, it is a matter of life and death.  And dealing with the reality of a situation of fighting or it is over, one must be willing to give their life for what is the truth.  They must also be willing to do whatever it takes to protect the truth, the right, and the innocent.”

         Einar again shows me what is around us, “You think you have everything figured out.  You think you can come up against me.  I turned all of your dragons against you, even you own best friend, Fredrick, the loyal Thunderdrum.  Nothing can stand between the power of a Dragon Mage and the might of a Bewilderbeast.  Not strength of will, not hard of hearing, not anything.”

         “But something can Einar,” I stand my ground.  “The only thing you cannot account for in any of your plans of every single variation of how this can come out.  Moss.”

         Expecting to hear another word, he is caught off guard, “Excuse me.  Moss?”

         I nod my head as I take some out my pocket and toss it to him.  I walk back, giving about fifty feet of space between he and I, “Speaking of hard of hearing, because the truth of the matter is, the truth will be your downfall.  Everything else my crew and I have tried to defeat you with has failed.  Everything anyone else who has ever come up against you to try has failed.  But this truth cut to the heart of the storm, will calm even and even mightiest of hurricanes.  Oh, and did you know moss paired with Night Fury saliva stickiness makes some fine earplugs.  Even a Gronckle can live with what it is like to be a Thunderdrum for a day.  Tell you want,” I unsheathe my sword and swing it around in the air.  “I’ll let you in on a big trade secret right now.  I hear the new Thorston line up this winter is clearly going to be the collection no one sees coming.  It will be so good that even I do not have the words to describe the collection because no one would hear me anyway.”

         After swinging my sword around a few times more before pointing it at Einar’s Bewilderbeast, every single dragon of my crew, fly away in all directions, causing confusion among all the dragons.  Moments later and the entire dome is broken down with dragons flying everywhere.  This does, however, reveal the Izarian Bewilderbeast to be standing up in the sea, ready for round two against Einar’s Bewilderbeast.  Looking over my right shoulder, I can see the Alpha.  Strangely enough, his eyes turn to look at me.  It is as if he is waiting for me.

         “One final truth of the matter, Einar,” I start smiling.  “All this time you thought we were playing right into your hands, giving you the fight, you wanted.  But that is just it.  You played right into ours.  Every single element of our plan was to anticipate every tendency you make and use it against you by the suggestion of Vixxen.  With your plan to obliterate Izar, make it look like we are already giving up ground by leaving Iyer open for an attack while we rally everyone on Izar.  Splitting up our forces to make it look like we are stretched thin.  Deliberately daring you to strike me and my friends down, going against what you had planned.  Leaving the south side of Izar undefended to invite an invasion in.  ‘Falling’ for your distraction of your dragons and leaving you open to start the ground invasion.  Our artillery on the backside of Iyer was to encourage you to move forward with your plans.  Knowing those ships were not the total number of your fleet, bring the rest of our fleet in to meet them before they could reach you.  Taking a small group of my crew to wipe out any remaining large weapon attachments on your ships will leaving most of my crew to keep being ‘distracted’ with your dragons.  Once you and your ground troops were on the ground, come up from behind and sandwich you between a rock and a hard place.  And finally, Vixxen figured you would use your Bewilderbeast on us at some point as well as our dragons.  It was a huge risk to let it happen because of the injuries we could and have sustained.  Then to our dragons, they are not under your Bewilderbeast’s command, as you can see.  Through the guide of Lyra and Saga on Changewings, they guided our dragons to make it look like they were being controlled by your Alpha.  Thanks in no small part to the planning of everyone and the key contributions of one Thorgunna Vixxen.  Without her, none of us would be standing in the position we currently are.  A chance to win this war once and for all.”

         I conclude, “The only way we are going to finish this war is to give you want you wanted all along.  Back during the Dragon War, Vixxen had the right idea, she did not have the backing behind her she needed and was blinded by her own situation.  As much as I have tried to plan, pray, and prevent everything coming to this point, even I must look at the truth of the matter.  If something is heading a certain way and there is nothing you can do to stop it, let it go.  Take hold of what you can control and work to deal with whatever comes up.  And what I can control is how this thing finishes.  I don’t have to give up what I am, where I am from, and who I am just to finish what I became apart of.  Every one of us must look to our origin for we get to make the choice to punish, to corrupt, or be the savior.  There is always a choice.  If you think you cannot stop yourself from doing something, continue to believe in something that may be wrong, or finish something just because that is the way it must be, know this, the truth will set you free.  Whatever the truth is, you may rise to the occasion or you may fall and give up.  But only you can decide who you will be for eternity.”

         “I am Einar Verodfellar.  Leader of the Sun Warriors,” he unsheathes his sword.  “And I will have my justice one way or another.  Who will you be?”

         I answer as I raise my sword, put both hands on my sword, and ready my stance, “I am Jarl Brodd Mollerson, a stubborn viking from the small Isle of Berk in the Barbaric Archipelago.  And I will stand for what is right, what is true to protect the innocent; whether that be viking or dragon.”

         “Then you will hidelike all the ones before me,” Einar states.

         There is a pause before Einar starts running at me.  At the same time, his Bewilderbeast starts running too.  When I start to rush Einar, the Izarian Alpha starts rushing the other Alpha too.  The moment the swords clash, the Alphas collide as well.

         Einar starts a fury of attacks in quick succession to one another.  Einar swings down which I deflect up.  Einar swings from the left which I lean to block.  Einar counters with a slice from the other direction, I lean to block it as well.  I sneak in a kick to his stomach, which he dodges back.  Creating the space, I need, now I attack.

         Swing down for his legs from the left, he deflects and parries with a swipe across the middle.  I duck down and try for his legs from the other side.  He jumps and goes into a thrust to the ground; I roll backwards to evade.  Following my motion, he tries to come down on me again.  Anticipating this for when I come out of my rolling somersault, I lift my sword up to fend him off.  He presses down with all his might and I push back with all mine.

         “Seems like you are always on the defensive and in this position,” Einar sneers at me.

         “You know,” I say as I press a hidden button on the hilt.  “It isn’t smart to talk too much during a fight.”

         The button releases some Zippleback gas from the pommel, beneath my grip.  The gas creates a small cloud between us which I throw my back backwards, slide my sword down on his, creating a spark.  As the cloud ignites, I use Einar’s pressure on me to create momentum for him.  I stick my feet into his chest and flip him over me.  The small explosion sends him further back then he was expecting.  Instead of a graceful recovery, he tumbles on the ground before standing back up.

         He faulters a bit in standing back up as I come over.  I stop.

         “I’ll wait for you to get up,” I tell him.  “It isn’t like we cannot be honorable in this fight.  We don’t have to resort to desperate measures of flinging dirt in the opponent’s face.”

         From Einar’s left hand, he opens it and lets the dirt fall to the ground he collected from his tumble.

         “Very clever,” he replies before rushing at me.  “I’m not desperate.”

         He swipes down at me.  I dodge left and rotate into using my left foot to swing kick to his face.  I barely miss.  Though I leave my back open for a lunge, I roll forward to evade.  Whipping around, I manage to deflect his swing up though I nearly lose my sword.  Taking advantage, Einar flying kicks me in the chest and sends me back several feet.  When I land on the ground, my back slides for another couple of feet.

         He does not wait for me to get up and tries to swing down on me again.  I deflect him to the right.  He comes back from that direction to swing down, but I roll forward back to the north, to create a small amount of space.  I hear a swipe above me as if he tried to reach out for me.  Obviously, he misses.

         Rushing me again, his fury of attacks is faster than ever before, making it difficult for me to keep up.  No room for any counters or parries, I am solely on the defensive right now, doing all I can not to be struck down.

         All I have been doing during this whole battle today is finally catching up with me.  I am tired, fatigued, probably injured somewhere, and my strength is escaping me.  I can see in Einar’s eyes he senses this.  He loves to try to overpower me with a swing down.  But in doing one and holding it as he did before, he takes his right hand off his sword to grab for mine and my hands.  He brings me closer to him, lifting his knee up into my chest.

         That is what is injured.

         For the split second I grimace in pain, Einar takes the sword out of my hands, throwing it to the left side.  Right cross to my face.  Left cross with his sword still in his hand.  Another right cross.  Runs his shoulder into me, driving me down to the ground, landing on me.

         I start to cough and is a little short of breath more than just being tired from fighting.  I lay on the ground with Einar pointing his sword at my neck.

         “Any last words?”

         “Yes, just one,” I say between a few coughs.  “Well, I guess the word count would be twenty-one including the number and the word I meant…”

         “Duck!”

         Wondering why I would say such a thing, he looks up.  When he does, he tackled by a flying Annabeth who is using her flight suit.  I saw her coming when I was rolling back north, so I tried to stall and get Einar into position.  Meaning, I intentionally let him disarm and overpower me.

         Now, Einar is being driven into the ground for several yards.  As fast as I can, I run to my sword, sheathing it, and also grab his which got left behind after Annabeth flew in.  I head after Annabeth and Einar.  I see he manages to throw Annabeth off him to the left.  Grabbing for my belt I start to help, but Annabeth beats me to it by reaching for her own cracker bomb to throw it at Einar’s face.  This insures she can land safely with a roll and get back up without Einar interfering; the same idea I had.  Though she is here, she is still hobbled on her left foot and limping.

         Einar is disoriented for a few moments but quickly recovers and is ready to continue fighting as he sees me rushing in with both swords.

         Regardless of Annabeth’s status, she takes her bow out, draws, and aims, “Hold it right there, Einar.”

         Looking back over to her, Einar an arrow pointing right at him.  Trying her, Einar challenges Annabeth by starting to rush at her.  She fires the arrow at his shoulder, he dodges enough as the arrow flies past his shoulder only for a flesh wound, but I throw a bola for his feet.  He falls forward in front of Annabeth who hops out of the way.

         I go over to Annabeth, asking, “Are you alright, Annabeth?”

         “I’m fine,” Annabeth assures as we look as Einar is trying to get the bola off his feet.  “What are we going to do with him?”

         “I’m going to end this once and for all,” I state.

         Annabeth questions, “What do you mean?”

         I go over to Einar, kick him in the face.  He falls back.  Right cross.  Left cross.  I draw my sword and crisscross both in front of Einar’s neck.

         Instead of trying to knock off from standing over him, Einar wonders, “What are you going to do?  Kill me?”

         “I’m ending this war,” I answer.

         Taking the swords, I shove the swords into the ground, trapping his neck so he cannot move without getting cut.

         “What is this?” he demands.

         “I’m not going to kill you.  This is the traditional Izarian form of dishonor of an opponent who should have been killed.” I answer.  “I’m going to let you live and see all that you have done has been for nothing.  We all have a choice to do what is right no matter what we feel the other should pay for what they have done.  Unlike you.  Instead of blaming Izar for what happened to your island, you should have sought the truth and not assumed.  You need to be honest with yourself.  While you may have wanted justice for losing your home, at the end of the day, you are just a power hungry viking sure bent on becoming the ultimate force to take rid the world of those who would stand between them and the peace between dragons and vikings.  What started out as a vendetta of revenge ended up with your greed for power taking you over, not caring who got hurt or who was in your way, only that people think of you something more than a man.  The greed for power corrupts, but the heart of a true warrior knows the might of what the truth of right can bring to a spirit trying to do the right thing.  Every time a warrior bleeds reaching for greatness, the truth never dies.

         My crew flies in on their dragons and dismounts around us.  Lilah walks up to Annabeth and me with the rest of my friends close behind.

         Lilah addresses Vixxen, “May you do the honors?”

         Vixxen becomes wide eyed for a moment before walking up to Einar, placing her hands on the sword closest to her.  Lilah grabs for the other.

 

         Thorgunna Vixxen declares, “Einar Verodfellar, you take your place in written history as the man finally brought to justice for all the crimes you have made against the Isles of Izar…”

 

         “The Dragon War is over!”

 

         Lilah and Thorgunna remove each sword.  Vixxen then leads Einar to be taken into custody.

         I look over to the two Alphas.  Einar’s slowly limping away as Izar’s Alpha remains standing, though visibly beaten up, scratched up, a few of its spikes missing, and chunks of ice scattered about on him and around where he had been fighting.  Izar’s Alpha looks at me.

         The Bewilderbeast closes its eyes, nods its head down, pausing for a moment, before looking back at me and turning around probably to return to his place.

         To have a dragon of its stature and place among the dragon world to show a form of respect to him, this must be important somehow.  But I am not sure how to take it.

         Out of exhaustion, I sit down and lay back on the ground, looking up at the sky.

         Annabeth joins me on the ground, saying, “We did it.”

         “Yep, we sure did,” I agree.  “Not exactly all to plan, but most of it.”

         “I would have wanted to be in that fight with Einar more than I was,” Annabeth comments.  “Maybe you wouldn’t have had to cut it so close with making Einar think he had you.”

         “Well, if I interpreted the look you gave me before I ran off, you understood what needed to be done,” I tell her.  “You followed the plan though never expected you to fly to the rescue.”

         “Meh, it was too unexpected,” Annabeth downplays.  “Just getting the height I needed was the first problem.  But using your grappling hook on the towering ice blasts left behind, ended up being no problem at all.  When Einar threw me off, I see I beat you to cracking his noggin’.”

         “Yeah, yeah, you did.  But I bet you never expected for Einar to come at you like that.”

         “I didn’t,” Annabeth replies.  “I have an arrow pointed right at him, yet he never flinches.  I guess if you have the reflexes to catch an arrow, you can also dodge an arrow a basically point-blank range.  Even so, I did nick him in the shoulder.”

         I take a deep breath in, “It’s finally over.”

         A few moments go by before I see Lilah come over holding out my sword.  I get up and help Annabeth to her feet by taking her left arm around my neck so she can stand on the other foot.

         Annabeth uses me to lean on while Lilah says, “I think this is yours.”

         “Thank you,” I take my sword and return it to its sheath.

         Lilah adds, “Before we came back home, I never thought I would see The Dragon War come to an end.  But through Garth’s recruitment of you…  We found a group of people much more than just a viking who can ride a dragon.  Instead, do you know what we found?”

         Garth smiles, “A couple of legends who will never die!”