Chapter 8: A sad end and a new beginning


Jaha was fuming. Chester was not overly impressed. Myself, well I was curious and Sarah, let’s say she was more than a little disappointed.

“Why did you just stand there?!” Jaha shouted at Kazin.
Kazin looked puzzled. “When?” he questioned.
“Just then… you just stood there while that lump of goo was about to attack Sarah. What were you thinking?!”, he almost screamed, though he was clearly pleased to have been given this opportunity to yell at the new guy.
“Oh, then!” replied the mage. “While we were walking through the woods I tried to teach Sarah a new spell which could come in handy. I call it ‘Blast’…”
“…but I guess I haven’t quite mastered it yet,” finished Sarah. “Give me time and I’ll get it right.”
“Sure you will,” said Kazin, comfortingly, “and I just know it will come in handy sometime!”

Chester was dragging his hooves again. “Isn’t it time we were going?”, the centaur asked.

“I think so” replied Jaha, through gritted teeth, “I’ve had enough of this trouble maker, the sooner we get to Hawel’s, the sooner we can ditch him!”, he finished, staring at Kazin.

Kazin’s face feigned a hurt look, then he brightened up and, grinning that broad grin of his, responded:
“Watch it, stumpy, or I’ll turn you into a frog!”

At this point our dwarven friend could not take it any more… he stormed off into the forest, and after a few loud noises of metal whacking wood, he emerged again. He grumbled under his breath as we continued on our way.

After what seemed to be a very short walk we came upon a kind of glen, in the middle of which stood a fair-sized building with smoke coming out of the chimney. This must be the place!

“Something doesn’t feel right” said our new friend.
Chester looked around. “It’s too quiet.” the centaur agreed.

Kazin approached the door nearest to us and knocked.
“Master Hawel?” he asked, “can we come in Sir? It’s Kazin and your visitors.”
No response.
Kazin opened the door and gasped.

“You? You’re not supposed to be back yet!” came a gruff voice from inside. Surely this could not be the voice of wise old Hawel?
STOP!!! yelled Kazin, dashing inside.
We ran in after him, just in time to see two heavily armed soldiers fleeing through the back door. Turning, I saw Kazin kneeling beside a body slumped on the floor.

“Master Hawel! Oh Sir, what have they done to you?”, the mage said, with tears welling in his eyes as he spoke, “Sarah, I need your help!”

Sarah approached Kazin and his master, slowly. Looking at her face I could tell this this situation needed magic far more powerful than she possessed. She touched Kazin’s shoulder, and he turned to see her slowly shaking her head.

“Groundseal…”, came a whisper from the old man’s throat.
“What?” Kazin turned to his master, “What about it?”
“My notes….. they took them….. all of them…. my… notes…”, came the response, fainter this time.

I whispered to Kazin, “Ground Seal has opened… can your master tell us anything more?”
“I may be almost dead, but… I can still… hear you!”, Hawel croaked. “But, how can this be? … If this … is true…. Grans Island is lost! …. The tower…… the tower confines the most terrible… of devils. … Two jewels…. two…”, the man coughed, clearly struggling. “Two jewels were… installed…. … This was not supposed …. to happen!”
“Master, hush now”, Kazin pleaded, “If you keep talking you’ll die!”
“Don’t be stupid, Kazin… I’m going to die anyway! Now…. listen to me…. my student….. you….. you must find……. the jewels… to seal….. ancient……..”, the man’s voice trailed off into silence. His eyes closed and his head sank to one side.

He was gone.

We stood, silent. Kazin wept openly, it may have been grief, but equally it may have been anger at the soldiers who had done this to his beloved master.
“Master! No! Don’t leave me!”, the mage cried.
Sarah hugged him, trying to comfort him. Eventually he said to us:

“Bowie, my master’s last wish was for me to find the two jewels…. this ties in with your quest, does it not? Please allow me to join you, to fulfill my master’s wish!”

How could I refuse him? After all, he seemed to be a nice enough guy, and Jaha would get used to him eventually.
“Of course”, I replied. “We’re happy to have you, my friend.”
Kazin tried to muster a grin.
“I think it’s time we left this place”, he said with a sigh.
“So do I, my friend, so do I”.