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“So,” said Sianna, “Where to now? Water, Earth, or Wind?”

“Er,” said Bevern, “We don’t want to know about your medical problems!”

“I meant which Crystal do we head for now! And, more to the point, where are they? Tyght, any ideas?”

Tyght had already gripped both hands of the staff and had entered the trance-like state he had been in previously. A few moments later and he opened his eyes and turned to face the east. “The Water Crystal is the nearest. We need to head to Port Klempt. The Crystal is somewhere in the ocean. Come, we must leave at once.” And, once again, he led the party.

Bevern looked at Gaian and said, “I hope you brought your water wings!” The party followed Tyght.

As they walked they noticed that the landscape had changed. Before long they didn’t see any more magma, but there was a lot of black rock, newly formed from the magma. If they were ever able to restore balance in the world it would still be a very much changed world.

After a few hours darkness started to fall. Gaian said, “We should rest for the night.”

“I disagree,” said Tyght, “We should press on. The sooner we reach Port Klempt the sooner we will reach our destination, and our final goal.”

Bevern then said, “Tyght, don’t be a fool. We all want this to be over as soon as possible, but there’s no point in killing ourselves by exhaustion first! We have to rest to build up our strength!”

“Do what you like, I’m going to press on.”

Sianna then said, “Are you on a suicide mission? Haven’t you realised by now that we need to work together? That’s what Lisa intended! You won’t be able to restore the Crystals on your own, and we need you to help us to find them.”

“When I want your advice, witch, I’ll ask for it.”

“Well, tell me I’m wrong then. What will you do when you get to Port Klempt? Find a ship and sail it by yourself! That’s even if there are any ships left! Then say you find the Crystal, and there’s another guardian beast, or more of the Emperor’s goons. Are you going to take them all on yourself? You may not like us, or the magic that I use, but you need to face reality. You won’t be able to do this on your own!”

Tyght didn’t say a word, but the expression on his face showed that he knew that Sianna was right. He grudgingly sat down on the ground. “We move at first light,” he growled.

The others sat down as well. There was no cover here, but then there was no cover to be seen for miles around. Sianna went to lie down next to Gaian, who was looking up at the sky. “What are you thinking about?” she asked.

“What power is it that the Emperor has tapped into? What is it that could possibly cause all of this devastation?” A streak of lightning sped across the sky. “Surely this is the work of Geevan, but the General said that he didn’t exist. Why would he say that?”

“Maybe the Emperor lied to him.”


“He doesn’t seem to know that the Empire has also been devastated.”


Sianna then quickly explained what she saw when she had touched the Crystal.

“The Emperor has destroyed his own people? To what end?”

“Who knows what the Emperor is doing any more. Maybe he spoke to Geevan, and Geevan has tricked him. Or maybe he’s just gone mad. We may never know what triggered him to do all of this.” She kissed him on the cheek. “We should get some sleep. We’ve got a long walk ahead of us tomorrow.”

Gaian fell to sleep quickly that night. But his sleep was disturbed by dreams – images of destruction that had taken place in the towns and cities of the world. How many people had died that day?

It was Tyght who eventually woke him up. “It’s about time we got a move on.” The sky was still dark overhead, but it was slightly brighter in the east, indicating that the Sun had risen, although there was no possibility of seeing it through all of these clouds.

Gaian sighed, “Very well, let’s get going.” He wasn’t going to get much more sleep anyway.

Within minutes the party was awake and Tyght was once again leading them to the East. Gaian noticed that ever since that incident in the underground lake Tyght was acting single minded and determined, without a thought for anything other than their quest. He reasoned it must have been Tyght’s reaction to the shock of nearly dying in that cavern – by fighting what has caused this he won’t have to come to terms with his own mortality.

Barely a word was spoken amongst the party that day, as Tyght was setting a breathtaking pace. They climbed up into some hills, and once they were at the top they could see Port Klempt in the distance. Whilst there were still some signs of devastation, they could clearly see that a number of buildings were still standing, although there was some smoke rising from the town.

Tyght concentrated hard. “I can see that there’s still a ship in the port, and it looks seaworthy.”

Bevern also concentrated hard and looked in the same direction as Tyght, “How can you see that?!”

Tyght looked at Bevern, “It’s my staff, its power improves my eyesight.”

“The staff, yes, of course...” Gaian noticed a twang of jealously in Bevern’s voice.

After about another hour they reached the town. Whilst some of the buildings were still standing, there were no signs of life. “Quickly,” said Tyght, “To the quayside.”

As they raced through the town they saw that some of the buildings were on fire, but there was no one here to put them out. There weren’t even any animals scurrying through the streets. Usually Port Klempt was a bustling town, being a major trading port, and people would be racing through the streets, with a number of cats and dogs running through their feet. But this was different, it didn’t feel like Port Klempt at all.

Before long they reached the quayside. They could all now see the ship that Tyght had seen earlier. It wasn’t particularly large, just 20 feet long. It had a great black sail, but a few large oars for use when the winds were calm. But it was the flag at the top of the mast that caught most of their attention – it was a skull and crossbones.

“Pirates!” declared Bevern, stating the obvious, “I don’t like the look of this!”

“Come on,” said Tyght, walking towards the ship.

“Wait a minute,” said Sianna, “Are you just going to take it? Don’t you think we should look around first?”

Tyght stopped, and then walked towards Sianna. “My dear Sianna, surely a person of even your limited intelligence should be able to work out that we are the only living things in this town! And I don’t think ghosts are likely to object to us taking a ship that we desperately need.”

“Ghosts might not,” said a male voice from behind one of the buildings, “But we do.” From around the various buildings emerged eight men. They were all armed and were clearly pirates, and therefore the ship’s likely owners. “The world may have ended, but that ship’s still ours.”

Gaian spoke up on behalf of the group, “Please forgive my friend. He is in a hurry to reach our destination. We have travelled far, most of us from Eliviston, and we are all lucky to have reached here with our lives. I’m sure that we can come to some sort of arrangement.”

“An arrangement you say?” said the pirate’s leader, who then turned to the others and laughed. “Now I’ve seen everything! This buffhead thinks he can come to arrangement with pirates! I’ll give you an arrangement – you give us everything that you’ve got, your armour, your nice swords, and,” he looked at Sianna lecherously, “You’re lovely young lady, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll let you live. Now, how’s about that for a deal?” The other pirates laughed.

“Really,” said Gaian, his nervousness clear from the sound of his voice, “There’s no need for that. A lot of people have died recently, and we’re all just trying to survive. We can’t be fighting each other.”

“You’re right,” nodded the pirate. “We should share what we have. I suggest we start with your woman. My men haven’t seen one for while, and I’m telling you, things have been building up. Now I suggest you hand her over before I slit your throat open!”

“That’s enough!” shouted Tyght. His staff started to flash red, and a red light engulfed him. It quickly dissipated, and his eyes were now starting to glow red. “AIYEEEE!” he screamed. He did a somersault, rising high into the air. In mid flight he aimed his staff, bringing it crashing down on the lead pirate's head. The force of the blow cut it in two.

The other pirates surrounded him. He quickly turned round with his staff raised, decapitating one of the pirates in the process. He then thrust his staff backwards, and it passed straight through the chest of another pirate. He jumped up into another somersault, and before they could see where he was he had landed another fatal blow on one of them. He then ran at two of them at lightning speed, gripping his staff with both hands in the centre, holding it horizontally in front of him. The two ends of the staff decapitated one pirate each as he ran between them. Quick as a flash he changed his grip on the staff so that it was now pointing right in front of him as he drove it into the chest of another pirate.

He turned around, but the last pirate had dropped his sword and was running away. Tyght threw his staff at him, and it hit him square in the back, passing straight through him. Immediately the staff disappeared, only to reappear in Tyght’s hands.

The red light faded from his eyes as he turned to face the party. “Come on,” he said as he marched towards the ship.

“What was that?!” asked Bevern.

“There was no need to kill them all!” said Sianna, “Especially the last one. He was running away!”

Tyght turned to look at Sianna and shouted, “JUST GET ON THE BLOODY SHIP!!!”

Trembling she did so, followed by Bevern and Gaian. Sianna was now far more frightened of Tyght than of the pirates.

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