The Power of the Dark Lord

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2010

 

 


CHAPTER XVIII

"You must get some rest," Sharon said as she sat beside Scott.

"No, I can't," he replied.

"Drink this," she ordered as she handed him a glass of red liquid.

"What is it?"

"Just drink it.  It'll make you feel better."  Scott obediently took the
glass and downed the fluid.  "Now just lay back and rest.  Akuta will let
you know if they find anything."  Scott tried to protest again, but was
unable to do so.  He fell back on the reclining platform and almost
immediately fell asleep.  Sharon carefully lifted his legs onto the
platform and made him as comfortable as she could.  Elnar, the court wizard
had given her the liquid telling her it was a simple sleeping potion that
was harmless but would work on humans.

Sharon had taken over the halls of healing upon discovery of the murdered
healer and had been working all night with Jennifer's and Caseldra's help
to make sure people were getting needed medical attention.  There were
surprisingly few injuries among the fairies, primarily superficial bites
and cuts from their battle with the trolls.  Among the elves who had fought
with Rood, several had died at the scene of battle.  Tomar had died of
shock and loss of blood from his wounds just shortly after they had taken
him to the halls of healing.

Apparently during the battle the black creature that had appeared to lead
the trolls had managed to slip into the castle.  Scott and Rowana were on
their way toward the main gate, Scott bringing Robin's golden sword, when
they saw the encounter between the king and this creature of evil.  Robin
was armed with a silver long sword and was standing in the middle of the
empty courtyard just outside of the white tower.  The dark outline of a man
with green fire for eyes was standing a short distance from him in what
looked like a confrontation.  As Scott and Rowana watched, Robin swung his
sword.  It seemed to pass right through the creature, doing no more damage
than it would to a shadow.  Then the figure seemed to grow, getting larger
and broader.  It reached out with long arms and wrapped itself around the
king, completely engulfing him and hiding him from his friends.  Scott drew
the golden sword and rushed forward with Rowana on his heels, but by the
time they reached the spot, the black creature folded in upon itself and
disappeared like a shadow washed away by the sun.  Akuta and the guards
were still searching for any trace of the king.

The sun was just beginning to shine in the window openings to the king's
chambers.  Sharon once again checked on Scott to see that he was sleeping
peacefully, and then slowly rose to begin her journey back to the halls of
healing.  As she stepped out into the main hall she met Rowana who was
coming to check on Scott.  "How is he?" the short, red headed woman asked.

"He's sleeping now.  The wizard gave me a drug that knocked him out pretty
quickly," Sharon answered.  "How are you doing?"

"I am well," Rowana replied.  "I worry for my king as do we all, and I
grieve for those who have passed on.  It hurt my heart to know they were
killed in battle by their own comrade."

"I know," Sharon admitted sympathetically.  The two women began to walk
down the wide staircase to the lower levels.  "The healers think there
isn't any hope for Rood, but I just can't give up that easily."

"You know not the power of the dark world," Rowana cautioned.  "If his
spirit has already departed for the western islands, would it not be cruel
to force the body to continue to live?"

"Are you advocating euthanasia?"

"I know not the words you use," the girl replied.  "I only know I grieve
for Rood's fate.  I feel that if the body still lives here, the spirit
cannot rest freely there.  He will be unable to return until all is
finished."

"I don't follow you," Sharon said.  "This western island where you say his
spirit is.  Is this your concept of heaven, an afterlife, or is it a real
place?"

"Oh it is a real place," Rowana assured her.  "It cannot be reached in our
world or in this life, but can only be reached through death.  But it
exists just as surely as your world exists elsewhere though we cannot
travel there by horse or cart without special help."

"So in your philosophy heaven really exists and is just in a different
dimension," Sharon mused.  "In our world I don't know if I believe in
heaven anymore."

"My lady," Rowana said, noting the fatigue in the voice, "you have worked
tirelessly for our sick and wounded, but no one has thought to ask you.
How fare you?"

The question took Sharon back a bit.  "I...I'm fine.  Why?"

"Forgive me, my lady, but you look not fine.  I can see the exhaustion on
you.  I am well familiar with humans.  You must have sleep."

"No, really," Sharon protested.

"Yes, really.  You must come with me now to your chamber or I shall have
Elnar concoct a sleep potion for you," the fairy threatened.

"Very well," the doctor agreed.  "Maybe you're right.  But let's go to the
halls of healing.  I'll find an empty bed there.  That way I can be close
by if anyone needs me."  Rowana assented and the two women left the white
tower for the Tuathan version of a hospital.

* * *

"That's too much," George argued as he watched his partner placing the
charges.

"No it isn't.  This is solid rock." Stan replied.

"Just remember Beirut."

"What about Beirut?" Alex asked, suddenly nervous.

"Just a little miscalculation," Stan said off-handedly.

"We were supposed to blow up a warehouse.  This guy was using it to store
illegal weapons he was smuggling to the Middle East.  Hot shot here used
too big of a charge."  George looked down at Stan as the black man attached
the wires to the charges.

"And...?" Alex said expectantly.

"And he not only took out this one little warehouse, but the larger part of
three city blocks as well as a nearby train trestle," George finished.

"The warehouse was already full of explosives," Stan said as he stood up.
"This is just a pile of rocks."

"So now what do we do?" Alex asked.  Alee and Faylar stood quietly in the
background watching the humans do their work with the strange devices they
had brought from the other world and carried out here.

"Now we hook the other end of this wire to the detonator and we destroy
this wall."  Stan began to play the wire off the large spool he had.  He
picked it up and handed it to Alee saying, "Here, make yourself useful."
The group walked slowly down the twisting canyon as Alee trailed the wire
off of the spool.  They had made several turns in the rocky path when Alee
ran out of wire.  "Here's where we do it," Stan said.

At Alex's instruction Faylar ran back to the castle to alert the awaiting
men.  They already had wagons harnessed to horses and were prepared to haul
away the chunks of rock from the demolition project.  Stan and George
checked the final connections to the detonator and hooked up the battery.
In a moment Faylar returned, followed by a large number of elves prepared
to clear the rubble, battle the trolls or do whatever else would be needed
following the event planned by the humans.

"Okay, here goes nothing," Stan said.  "Get down!"  Alee indicated that
everyone should duck.  Stan flipped up the safety catch and pushed the red
button on the detonator.  Nothing.  "Shit!" he cursed.

"Is that it?" Alee asked.  "Is the wall destroyed?"

"No, it didn't work," Alex said.  "Why didn't it?" he then asked the two
men bending over the detonator.

"How the hell do I know?" Stan grumbled in exasperation.  "Maybe dynamite
doesn't explode in this crazy world."

"Or maybe the battery's just dead," George said as he jiggled the wires
that hooked the detonator switch to a small battery pack.

"Are you kidding?" Alex said in amazement.

"Nope," George replied as he touched two bare wires together.  "No juice.
This ought to at least produce a spark."

"Well, we can't just call up K-Mart and get another one," Alex said.  "What
do we do now?"

"That's it," George breathed as he dropped to the ground.  "We're out of
luck."

"Unless..." Stan suddenly jumped up and took off running down the canyon
toward the castle, pulling on a pair of sunglasses as he ran.

"Where goes he?" Faylar asked as everyone looked around in surprise.

"Maybe he's going to ask Elnar to zap up a battery," Alex retorted.

A couple of minutes later the fairies all moved to the sides of the canyon
like the parting of the Red Sea.  Behind and through their ranks came the
grey van with Stan at the wheel.  He drove up to where George, Alex, Alee
and Faylar stood, and then honked the horn cheerfully.  "One charged up
battery ready for use," he called out from the driver's seat.

"No way, buddy," George protested.  "If the voltage isn't the same we could
burn out the detonator and fry the wires without ever setting anything off.
Then were would we be?"

"Where the hell are we now?  You got a better idea?" Stan said as he jumped
out and opened the hood.

"We could have one of the archers try to shoot a flaming arrow at the
dynamite," Alex suggested.  The other humans turned to give him a disgusted
look.  Alee on the other hand was ready to ask for a bow and arrows.

"Give me those wires," Stan demanded.  Again Alee indicated for the
assembled masses to duck.  Again Stan flipped up the safety and pushed the
red button.  Alee started to get up and opened his mouth to ask a question
when the entire group was knocked to the ground by a tremendous explosion.
As they stretched out and listened to the echoing booms of the shock waves
they were suddenly pelted by a rain of rock and gravel.

"I told you it was too much," George shouted over the noise.  After a few
minutes, the thunder died away and the falling gravel stopped as well.  The
men slowly climbed to their feet and brushed away the dirt and dust.

Stan yanked the wires out of the van's interior and slammed the hood.
"Let's go," he said and hopped into the vehicle, firing up the engine.
Alex, George, Alee and Faylar all piled into the van as Stan started it
slowly up the canyon.  He had to zigzag his way around the large rocks and
fallen boulders which gradually grew in quantity as they approached the
wall.  Finally making the last turn in the canyon, the vehicle's way was
totally blocked by the rough, rocky terrain, but the barricade was gone.
Men and horses would easily be able to continue on through the rest of the
maze to the plains beyond.  At the sight of the open passage still smoking
with dust, a cry of cheer went up from the humans and Tuathans alike.

"You did it!" Alex said as he pounded Stan on the back.

"Indeed, your world has much stronger magic than we ever dreamed!" Alee
agreed.

After a moment's jubilation, George turned to the group.  "So what now?" he
asked.

"Now we get you home," Stan said as he carefully backed the van out into an
open space so he could turn it around.

"Me...What about you, pal?" George questioned.

"I'll be home when my mission's over," the black man said as fixed his sun
glasses in place and drove slowly back past the elves and wagons heading in
the opposite direction.

"What mission?  This whole project was scrubbed," George replied.

"I was sent to keep an eye on Dr. Strahan.  I lost him," Stan answered
sullenly.  "When I set out to do something, I see it through.  It's a
matter of personal pride.  When I find him, or find out what happened to
him, I'll come home."

Once the group had returned to the castle, they went directly to Elnar's
library.  "This is the way home, man," Stan said as he indicated the
armoire.  "He hugged his partner, and then opened the door.

"What'll you tell them when you get back?" Alex asked.  "After all, the
police know about the van and the robbery."

George smiled.  "I borrowed my cousin's van to go fishing.  I guess someone
stole it.  That'll teach me to leave the keys in the ignition."  With that
he stepped into the box.  "What do I do now?" he asked.

"Just open the door," Stan said as he closed the cabinet.  He waited a
moment then reopened it to verify that it was empty.

"Not too late to follow him," Alex said quietly.

Stan shook his head.  "Not yet.  He'll be okay."

"But we won't if we don't get some sleep," Alex added as he tried to stifle
a yawn.

* * *

Rood was tightly strapped to the wooden table.  His tunic had been removed
and he had again been carefully examined by one of the healers, as well as
by Dr. Gates.  There was a large contusion at the base of his skull,
apparently from the blow that knocked him out.  He again appeared to be in
a coma and was totally unresponsive.  His eyes still only solid, green
balls showing no pupils, but he appeared totally normal when the eyelids
were closed.

Sharon had conferred with the oldest and most experienced healer concerning
his condition.  The pale woman helped all she could, but had no real
experience with this type of situation.  The lead healer was the one who
had actually dealt with the burning blood before, but she was dead.  The
healer that now attended Rood could only say that when she touched him, she
didn't feel any response from his spirit.  Just as her dead mentor had
said, she felt that the spirit was already gone and Rood was no more than
an animated corpse.  But Sharon would not accept this.

"As long as his autonomic nervous system is keeping his body alive, there's
a chance," the human doctor said.  "If he were totally brain dead we would
need a respirator and life support unit to keep the body living.  What
would you have us do, kill him?"

The woman in the white and green robes merely shook her head.  "I
understand not the words you use," she said.  "But this I shall tell you.
A body cannot live without the spirit, just as a rock, tree or bird cannot
exist without its spirit.  What is now keeping the body of the captain
alive is the evil spirit of the burning blood.  His own soul is gone.  When
this evil force realized he is no longer useful to it, it will leave and
the body shall die."

"I have to know more about this magic blood thing," Sharon demanded.  "How
can I find out about it?"

"There may be information in the great library," the healer replied.  "Come
with me."  Sharon remembered the library of magic she had seen in the
wizard's chambers, the empty shelves and books scattered about in total
disarray.  She hoped the healer was referring to a different library, one
that was kept in better order.  The pale woman led her down a corridor in
the building and into a small room lit by an overhead skylight.  It was a
pleasant surprise.  The walls were lined with shelves containing books and
scrolls all in an apparently neat order.  The center of the room contained
a large table that provided a place to conduct her research.  "This is our
great library," the healer said proudly.  "This room contains all of the
knowledge we possess concerning the mind, the body and the spirit."

"Great," Sharon said with a smile.  "Where's the librarian?"  The healer
looked blankly at her, not understanding the question.  "Who takes care of
the books?  You know, the one who organizes things and helps find stuff."

"We all see that the library is in good condition," the woman said.

"Okay, so where can I find a book that will tell me about this magic blood
spell?"  The healer seemed at a loss for a moment, then stepped to one wall
and chose a large, old tome bound in black cloth.  She placed it on the
table.  Sharon sat on a bench and opened the dusty book.  It was only then
that she fully realized her limitations.  The magic oil with which she had
been anointed translated language in such a way that she had completely
forgotten that this was a foreign land with its own tongue.  But the chrism
did not translate the written words.  The human stared at the open book,
the pages covered with neatly printed characters that held no resemblance
to the English alphabet.  "I can't read this," she said disappointedly.

"You cannot read?" the healer gasped in astonishment.  "I apologize," she
said, quickly regaining her normally stoic composure.  "I had no idea
humans were so illiterate."

A young girl suddenly entered the room.  She was dressed as an apprentice.
"Forgive me, my ladies," she said.  "But I thought you should know that the
captain's body is beginning its passage."

"Passage?" Sharon asked anxiously.

"He is dying," the healer said calmly.

Before the words were completely out of her mouth, Sharon was on her feet
and racing down the hall and back to Rood's room.  Caseldra, Rowana and
Jennifer had arrived to check on their friend and stood back in horror.
The body was twitching and jerking, apparently in the throws of a seizure.
Sharon rushed to his side and called for help.  "Hold him so he doesn't
injure himself."  Caseldra grabbed Rood's feet while Rowana and Jennifer
held his torso down and Sharon firmly gripped his head.  She looked down at
the face, now contorted with muscle spasms.  The eyes jerked open revealing
the solid green glow.  But as she watched, the glowing light seemed to fade
from his eyes and the normal pupils appeared.  As this happened the body
relaxed.

"His eyes!" Rowana cried.  "They have returned!  He is going to be well."

The body suddenly went limp in their arms.  Sharon quickly felt for a
pulse, and then pressed her ear to his bare chest.  "There's no heartbeat,"
she said.  She quickly pushed Rowana back and climbed onto the table,
straddling Rood's body.  She doubled up her fists and fell forward onto his
chest with all her weight, giving him CPR.  The doctor kept pressing as she
counted, then she leaned forward, tilting his head back and pinching his
nose.  Sharon forcefully blew breath into his lungs, and then went back to
pressing on his chest.

"What are you about?" Rowana asked as she watched Sharon work on the body.

"Trying to keep him alive," the woman said as she compressed the chest.
She again leaned forward to breathe for him, and then returned to the heart
work.

"I understand this not," Rowana said in confusion.

"It's called CPR," Jennifer explained.  "She's keeping his heart beating by
physically pushing on it."

Sharon breathed again, and then leaned down to listen for a heartbeat.
"It's beating!" she said triumphantly as she climbed down from the
platform.

"But he still breathes not," Rowana observed.

Sharon then leaned over and gave him mouth to mouth.  "We need a
respirator," she said as she took a quick breath.

"What is a respirator?" Caseldra asked as the doctor went back to breathing
for Rood.

"It's a device that will keep him breathing without Sharon needing to do
it," Jennifer explained.

In a few minutes Sharon looked up and said, "Jenny, can you do this for
me?"  The girl quickly stepped in and continued the mouth to mouth
resuscitation.  The doctor looked to Caseldra and Rowana.  "Can you find me
a long, flexible hose and a bellows, like you might find in a blacksmith's
shop?"  Caseldra ran from the room with Rowana close behind.  Meanwhile
Sharon and Jennifer took turns with the breathing.  Within minutes the
girls returned with a soft, hollow tube about a meter in length, which
looked like it had at one time been the stalk of some kind of plant.  The
Tuathans cured this vegetable matter to use for tubing and pipes for water.
They also had a small blacksmith's bellows.  Sharon quickly fitted the
plant stalk to the bellows and tied a cord around it tightly to hold it in
place.  Then moving Jennifer back, she carefully and expertly inserted the
tube down Rood's throat and into his chest.  Next she gently worked the
pump to force air into his lungs.

"This will keep him breathing," she said and showed Jennifer and Rowana the
right amount of pressure to use so that she could leave.  "You keep that
going and I'll be back as soon as possible.  Caseldra, I need you to
translate a book for me."  The two women left the room on their way back to
the library.

 

 

 

 

 

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