Again, thanks guys/gals. Yes, that is a pic of Magatha. Alright, so here is the new addition. Prepare yourselves, because after this one there comes the longest chapter in the story, composed of fifteen sub chapters.
Chapter 10 Part 2/2
"There is a strong element unlike no other, a rare type of mineral that grows only in a certain world." Hel began. "It is called Orihalcon."
Saga and Magatha exchanged curious glances, but then they turned their attention back to their mother and listened on.
"Cocytos is the name of this world I speak about" (Co-Key-toes)
"Cocytos?" Magatha chirped, surprised. "I've never heard of such a place before, and I am sure I have read many of the books here. You, Saga?"
Saga shook his head at her, then he regarded his mother, whom he knew would explain.
"You both haven't heard of such a place, few know of its existence. I have kept it a secret for a reason, you two still wish to know?"
"Go on," Saga bade, and Magatha nodded.
Hel nodded and knew she had to work her voice in a creepy manner if she wanted Saga to become frightened so he could give up on his foolish plans of acquiring power. "Cocytos is not really a part of Asgard or Midgard, but lies separate somewhere on Yggdrassil, the world tree. Cocytos is a dark land, darker than this lower land here. It is filled with vile monsters and creatures that you have not seen before nor could ever come to imagine. Cocytos is an extra planar world that was constructed by the first disobedient child."
"How do you know all this?" Saga interrupted. He already was hooked and wanted to learn more. Somehow, the demon prince could tell his mother was not lying.
"Because I was there when my brother designed it and constructed it," Hel answered, not too proudly. The revelation surely rocked Saga and Magatha. "I aided him with my magic."
"What?" Saga sputtered. "You were...."
"Yes, I was there." Hel went on. "As were others from our ancient family. But let us not deviate from our current topic. Cocytos was constructed merely as a soul-collecting plane, a large tomb where all evil dead souls end up in. It is the opposite of what Elysia (paradise) is. Souls are tortured there day and night without rest as payment for their committed bad or evil deeds."
Magatha lowered her head sadly as she imagined that: all sorts of creatures being tortured. Saga didn't feel sad at all, no, he was on the edge of his seat and willing to hear more.
"Cocytos is the only place where Orihalcon is found," Hel went on after she clearly noticed Saga's excitement. "You want power, Saga? Then all you have to do now is go to that foul place and acquire a chunk of Orihalcon. I will make you a sword even more powerful than our own Demon Sword Levantine if you are successful, a sword that will make you stronger the more foes you kill."
Saga's eyes glittered greedily and with excitement, and Hel did not miss that and became saddened within, for the more she went on with her explanation the more her son drifted away from reconsidering. Somehow, she forced herself to continue.
"Bring me two chunks and I shall also craft you a suit of armor stronger and durable than any in existence. With the armor and weapon in hand...you'd be nearly unstoppable."
"Nearly?" Saga did not like that word, behind his mask his eyes narrowed dangerously. "I don't like the sound of that."
"Orihalcon is a rare element, son, the walls of Cocytos are made out of it, they have withstood the passage of time unchanged, unaffected, even when they were attacked by a large force of magicians long ago. No one really knows how much damage Orihalcon can endure, my brother, who was the only one who ever wore such an armor, was untouchable, until our father was able to finish him off at the cost of his own life."
There was nothing more to hear, decisively Saga stood up from the table. "I will do it," he bravely said. "I will go to this place...Cocytos, and acquire what you want. Should I be successful you will keep your word and craft the sword and armor for me, and when that is said and done, I will leave Tartakus and start out on my own. I promise not to cause trouble for you again, mother, nor will I ever attack Tartakus should I somehow rise to power. I will never forget about my roots."
Hel rose from her chair, as did Magatha, both concerned, for with his words Saga was letting them know that he would set out on a conquest.
"There is nothing I can say to change your mind?" Hel looked straightly and hopefully at her son, who shook his head right away.
"Your chances of succeeding are low," Hel warned, her voice shaky, the queen of Tartakus just wanted for her son to reconsider. "Cocytos is no place for the living, should you go there, the creatures there will know of your presence, and they will attack you until they kill you, for you are not one of them. And should they kill you, they will keep your soul and torture it for as long as time itself endures. You still wish to go, my son?"
Saga walked away from his mother and sister and just stared off at a stone-made statue of queen Hel that stood in the corner of the room. "I have never been afraid of anything," he said. "your tale of Cocytos does not inspire fear in me. If all is real as you say, then I want to go there and experience it on my own. Should I fall to the creatures there, I will fall honorably...what happens after that wouldn't really matter." Saga then turned around and asked. "I will get the stones, just tell me how to get there"
And thanks for reading once again. Oh, and guess I messed up. That huge chapter doesn't come around until chapter 15. So yeah, still a few to go before we get there.
"I will most certainly get you there," Hel responded a few seconds later. "But you will not be going alone, I'm afraid."
"What now?" asked Saga, throwing his hands to the side in frustration. "I can do this alone!"
"Cocytos is a dangerous place," Hel rose her voice, walking towards him with a very much concerned Magatha at her side. "If you are so convinced that you want to go, then you'll do it with a party or you won't go at all. Heck, I am having seconds thoughts about letting you go, I think I will just keep you here safely where you belong, I can just have Magatha teach you more advanced magical spells."
Magatha glanced at her dear brother with hopes that he would agree to that instead of his current death wish to go to the world of Cocytos. Seeing his glaring eyes, she quickly withered the thought.
Frustrated, Saga was about to protest, but he calmed down and nodded at his mother. "Fine, tell me, mother, what do you have in mind?"
"Fifty of our elite demons will accompany you there," Hel quickly said with a light smile. "For your own protection and for my own relief. Believe me when I say you will need all the help you can take. You'll be thanking me once you return...if you return at all!"
Saga read the anguish in his mother's words, he understood that she was really worried about him. Was Cocytos really such a dangerous place that she worried so much?
"Fifty demons? I can live with that. Alright, have them assembled as quickly as possible, I want to do this right now."
Putting her hand on his shoulder, Hel told him to calm down. "I am not done, Saga," she went on. "Just relax, listen to me. You will get your chance, but you will also have to take Ailyth along."
"No way," Saga quickly turned around and walked away. "No way, never!"
"Ailyth will go or else you won't be going either! Magatha, prepare your most advanced tomes, it seems to me that Saga is willing to stay here after all."
"Why?" Saga turned back around, rage evident in his eyes. "Why her? Why not Magatha or you?"
Magatha seemed shocked then, and she innocently glanced from Saga to queen Hel.
"Never mind," Saga said when he saw her reaction. "I'd never take you two anyway, I would not expose you to danger."
"Magatha is not going anywhere," Hel said, looking at Magatha, who relaxed at those words, for the younger daughter had no intention to go to such a dangerous place, not even if Saga--the brother she loved so much as her own life--was going. "Though that certainly does not mean she wont be helping out, I need her here with me if I am to open a portal to Cocytos."
"A portal?" Saga was thrown off, but then he recalled his mother relating that Cocytos was in some other plane, surely it was not connected to the lands he knew.
"As compensation for having helped him construct that place, my brother allowed me to keep a key to enter it at will if I needed to. Not really a key but the means to be able to enter Cocytos. There is no other entrance to it, a portal is necessary. I know how to open it and close it, but I wont be doing it if you don't agree to take Ailyth along."
Saga, in desperation, scratched his head and paced about the room thinking hard on what he was going to do. He had never liked Ailyth much, and he became upset that his mother was apparently going to force him to take her along.
"Saga," Hel surprised him and brought him to a stop. He turned to face her. "Ailyth will help you in your quest. She's the best at what she does. She's my second for a reason, she will definitely come handy. Look, son, I know you have never liked her that much. You don't like her because of her ancient heritage...she was human long ago, now she is one of us, you are just too blind to accept it."
Saga looked off to the side, unable to say anything. Yes, he knew Ailyth was great at using magic, Hel had taught her well. And she definitely knew how to fight using melee weapons as well, though Saga had rarely seen her in action, had just seen her training legions of warriors, those that belonged to her.
"Ailyth is the first human I encountered during our arrival to Midgard," Hel related. "She was dying, I saved her and she pledged her allegiance to me in exchange for a new shot at life. Over the passage of time she's done so much for me, for the realm, she's proven her loyalty a thousand times over. I even see her as a daughter as well."
Saga turned a mean stare his mother's way. "Yes, you love her much. She's never done anything for me, except has brought plenty of frustrations, that is why I hate her...and because she used to be a human."
"Just give her a chance," Hel sweetly proposed. "You'll come to understand she is not that bad. She's been watching over you for so long. During your warring with the neighboring realms she was out there looking out for you...at her own request. She's never hated you as you have hated her."
Saga said nothing, just remained quietly staring at his mother. But then he turned around and smiled, for an idea had occurred in his clever mind. He could agree to take Ailyth along only to dispose of her in Cocytos. If all went well, Saga could kill two birds with one stone: he would dispose of Ailyth and get the Orihalcon stones.
"What are you thinking, my son?" Hel asked, seeing that he had remained very thoughtful.
"I...I think I will...take her along," Saga kept his deceptive plan well hidden. He turned around and added in a serious tone. "Only because I want to do this. I accept, mother, she can come along, but she better not be a burden."
For the first time in a long time, Hel smiled proudly at her son. She pat his shoulder and said, "Then if you have agreed to this, I will keep my word and open the portal to Cocytos."
"How soon can you have the portal ready?" Saga seemed overly anxious.
"How soon can you inform Ailyth that she is to go with you?" Hel asked with a wide smile.
For a long minute Saga just remained staring at his mother, then he nodded back at her.
"Go, my son," she said, unaware of Saga's true intentions. "Tell her she is to go with you, and tell her to assemble the fifty elite demons. Come to the throne room when you are ready, I will open the portal there."
"Very well, mother," Saga said, then he stared at Magatha and nodded at her before starting his walk towards the door.
Feeling excited over what was happening, Hel joyously stared at her daughter and invited her to follow her to the throne room. "Come, Magatha, we have a portal to open."
Magatha followed her, though she felt nervous as she did, for despite feeling as happy as her mother was for Saga's apparent change when it came to dealing with Ailyth, she was frightened that they would be heading to that horrible place. What if none of those who were going came back?
Thanks, guys. Yeah, that clever Saga is always up to no good, eh? lol.
Anyway, here is the next chapter in line.
When Saga had found and approached her in one lonely corridor of the palace, Ailyth had not believed what she was experiencing. Saga, the person who had hated her the most through out the passage of time, had come to speak with her.
Saga stood in front of her not knowing what to do. For a long moment they just stared at each other, but then it was Saga who cleared his throat and spoke in a gentle tone. "It seems that my mother has a mission for you. I am here to let you know that you are to accompany me to a dark and very dangerous place. You are to assemble fifty elite demons and be prepared to depart in ten minutes. Think you are up for it?"
Dumbfounded is how Ailyth stared at Saga, for she still could not believe he had come to her personally and let her know of queen Hel's wishes. She nodded slowly and even nervously, never taking her eyes off of him. "Y-Yes, prince Saga, of course. I will go and get the squad ready at once." She bowed at him with much respect.
"Also," Saga went on, feeling ill for having come to speak to her, the one being he hated the most. "Prepare provisions, the mission may take us some time, so it's best if we prepare ourselves well. Arm the elite demons with the best weapons and armor we have, and arm yourself well, it's going to get dangerous, according to my mother."
Ailyth bowed at him, and she turned around ready to go complete the order given, however, Saga detained her by adding. "Before you leave, where are my two demon friends?"
"Down in the sub level in individual cells," Ailyth said right as she turned back to face him. "You wish to see them, prince?"
Saga not only nodded at her, but he also said, "Yes. And I want them freed."
"After I assemble the squad I will take care of--"
"No," Saga cut her short, bringing his hand up to silence her. "I'll go release them myself, I have much to talk to them about. You go and take care of your orders and meet me back in the throne room, my mother should be there, she's preparing the portal as we speak."
"Oh. Then you will need this," Ailyth said and brought out a silver, rounded key holder from within a pocket of an invisible satchel she carried at her waist. "Use the golden key, it opens all cells down there."
Saga took the key holder, which held lots of keys, including the golden one. Seeing the key amongst many others, he nodded at Ailyth and turned around, ready to depart, however, it was Ailyth's turn to detain him.
"If you are releasing your two demon friends, may I suggest you don't release the other prisoners, my prince?"
Saga turned around and stared at her. "Why?"
"Some of those are traitors to the realm, they are awaiting their execution for having spied on us and delivered information to our enemies recently."
"Very well, go at ease, I'll just be releasing Sammy and Repiv, no one else." Saga said then turned around and left.
Ailyth watched the prince go, then she smiled excitedly and turned around, the ex-human eager to go complete the given orders. Ailyth was more than excited, she felt very glad since this would be the first mission besides prince Saga. According to his words he had said that they were going to a dark and very dangerous place. As she walked through the lit corridor, Ailyth had to wonder which place this could be, but it really did not matter to her where she was sent, not if she officially would be at Saga's side. Maybe this mission would mark the start of many more, maybe this mission would allow her to be able to break the ice, that cold displeasure which Saga felt towards her. Yes, Ailyth could only hope this was the start of many exciting adventures beside the being she loved.
Saga had proceeded to head to the dungeons below the mighty palace. The guards stationed there did not even ask him what he was doing there, and Saga didn't have to explain a single word to them. As he passed by them, all they could do was bow before him.
Saga soon came upon the cells where his demon friends were being imprisoned. It was Repiv who quickly rose from the shadows of his cell when he saw him standing behind the other side of the bars.
"Saga!" he cried, too happily, his hands grabbing the cell bars. "You are alive and well!"
"Is there a reason why I shouldn't be?" Saga asked as he began opening the cell.
"That Ailyth lady...she told us you were dead, that you had failed in your attempt to take the sword..."
"She probably said that to give you a hard time, to torture your mind. Anyway, you are free to go."
Repiv did not question him, he quickly left his cell but followed after him as Saga continued towards Sammy's cell. The demoness there was happy to see him too. Saga explained to her the same thing he had told Repiv, that Ailyth had told them lies just to make them feel bad.
Once the two demons stood in front of him, Saga let them know what had happened with him, why he had not shown up as scheduled. He also let them know that he had struck a new deal with his mother, one which would guarantee him great power if he was successful. And yes, the demon prince told them about Cocytos, the place where he was going.
"My prince, I wish to serve you in this dangerous mission," Repiv was quick to offer. "Please take me along."
"I do too," Sammy offered her services as well.
"I would take you two along, except that it is a dangerous mission, I doubt you two would survive, you are not strong enough. Heck, my mother says no one has attempted this before."
"Just give me the chance," Repiv pressed on. "I have nothing else to live for. Now that word has spread here that we are traitors to the realm, what do you think will happen to us? We will most likely get a dagger in the back."
Saga knew he spoke the truth, but he really would hate to take them along only to have them die in Cocytos. Still, he understood that if he left them here they would most likely die soon anyway, many demons hated to have traitors around after all. In that moment Saga agreed with himself that he would be taking them along, he would watch out for them.
"If you want to accompany me, then head to the armory and get yourselves the best equipment possible. When you are ready, meet me in the throne room, I shall be waiting for you there, you have ten minutes." Then Saga turned to the nearest guards and told them to accompany his friends as a security escort. The guards would have protested, but since it was the prince himself who had given the order, they just nodded timidly.
Saga left the prison dungeon a moment later, when he had watched Sammy and Repiv departing, along with four guards.
Very observant, Pseud. I like that in a reader. It just shows how much attention you pay to the whole story. You are absolutely right about Saga, he's mean and doesn't care much for anyone else other than his family and the two demons.
And thanks for reading as well, Crim.
Anyways, might as well give you readers the next update. It's short, so why not. The next chapter after this one is that monstrous one, so yeah, just a warning.
When Saga reached the corridor that would lead him to the throne room, he noticed there was a long line of demon vallans waiting out there. They were well armored and carried assorted types of weapons. Ailyth, Saga noticed, had done a good job getting them prepared with so little time.
The demons bowed before the prince as he made his way into the throne room. There he found that his mother and sister Magatha had already designed the portal, but they had not done it alone, some ten other demon magicians stood forming a large circle, their arms risen and electric currents coming out from the tips of their fingers. It seemed to Saga they were providing power in order to open the portal or something.
Ailyth was also there holding a sword in her hands, she seemed calm as she stood beside queen Hel. She looked different to Saga when he laid his eyes on her. She no longer was dressed in the typical dress she usually wore, now she was dressed in mail armor and was carrying two other blades at her hips.
Saga made his way towards his mother, who like the rest magicians, was feeding power to the large portal in the middle.
"Is it ready?" Saga asked as his eyes fell on the portal, which seemed dark in the middle and with lightning surrounding it.
"It's ready to be opened, son," Hel nodded. "But first, a word of advice before you all go in."
"I am listening," Saga announced.
"Do not dishearten and lose your mind while in there. Stay together as a group! You and Ailyth in the middle, no hero stuff, you understand? You will remain in the middle of the group, not in the lead! Promise me that before I open the portal!"
Saga would have loved to lead, but his mother was asking him to be careful and to maintain himself as far away from danger as possible. He nodded and said, "Fine, I will do as you say, I will make sure Ailyth and I remain in the middle."
"Ailyth will be watching over you, as usual, but you...look after her as well, son. Go in fast and strong, look for a place where green light shines all around, there you will find a mine, it's where my brother did his digging of the material, he had the tools to do such a thing back then. Hopefully there will be some Orihalcon left there. If there is none, then return immediately, that's the only place I can think of where Orihalcon can be found."
Saga became surprised over what his mother had just informed him. "Now you are telling me that you are not sure whether this element is obtainable?"
"I never said that, son," Hel quickly replied, not liking much Saga's reply. "Last time my brother picked the walls at the mine, I am sure there has to be some pieces laying about. The Orihalcon will glow in a dark reddish color, but you'll know that since as soon as you make it in there you'll notice the color of the walls being that same color. Now go, we are wasting time, my mages and I only will be able to keep this portal active for a full day at most, and we will be closing it at random intervals, remember that! If you don't make it back before time expires, you'll be left in there until I can reopen it, and that usually takes time since my powers aren't unlimited. Go before Ailyth, she has some weapons for you to use, and she'll place upon you a steel skin spell, it will surely come handy, you'll be able to take damage for an extended period of time, but the spell will deplete, so keep that in mind, too."
Saga sighed heavily but he nodded at his mother and moved towards Ailyth. She offered him a scabbard with a heavy sword within.
"The demon sword Nefarious," Ailyth explained as Saga took the blade from her. "It's your mother's own blade, she has imbued it with dark magic which allows the wielder to fire ice beams at targets, it will freeze all that it touches."
"Kind of like that blade I took from--"
"This one is much more powerful, it will surely help us in that dark foul place...hopefully. As I said, your mother imbued it with the most dark powers at her disposal, she only hopes that it will hurt the creatures residing in Cocytos."
Saga nodded and brought the sword out for inspection and noticed it was dark in design and had carvings on both sides of the blade. The ends of the cross piece were the designs of skulls, and the blade had another large skull in the pommel. The sword was heavy, which meant he would have to wield it using his two hands. Not a problem, really, since Saga could fight using any kind of sword. He maneuvered it carefully before Ailyth and then said.
"Alright, feels good in my hands." And he began to set it on his belt at the side.
"I will now place upon you a steel skin spell, my prince," Ailyth said. "Be still."
"Go ahead," he told her. Ailyth stood before him then, rose her hands and spoke the incantation. Saga felt the magic enveloping him, making his body feel more sturdy. After she was done with Saga, Ailyth blessed herself with the same spell as well.
By that time, Sammy and Repiv made it to the room, although Saga had barely caught sight of them, for several demon vallans had detained them at the entrance to the throne room.
Saga rushed over to the entrance and told the demons to stand down, that it was alright for the demons to come through. Sammy and Repiv thanked him for coming to their rescue, for the vallans had spoken of plans to throw them out of the palace altogether. Saga just asked them whether they were ready to go in.
Repiv and Sammy did not reply right away, rather their eyes marveled at the large portal that had been created in the middle of the throne room.
Ailyth arrived to stand beside Saga and asked. "Will these demon friends of yours be joining us in there, prince?"
"Leaving them out here will only get them killed anyway, so yes, Ailyth, they'll come along. Bless them with a steel skin spell as well, if you can spare the magic."
"I can," Ailyth winked at him. "And I will be blessing the other troops as well."
Saga nodded and stepped aside in order to give her room to maneuver. It took Ailyth around ten minutes to cast steel skin protective spells over Sammy, Repiv and the fifty elite demon Vallans. But then, after a while, everything was ready, even the formation they would use when going through the portal and through Cocytos itself.
Saga found himself in the middle of the pack, with Ailyth at his right side and his two demon friends close by. He didn't like it one bit, usually he led the forces and was seen up front. From where he stood he glanced over to where his sister Magatha was standing at. She was too concentrated in the task at hand to notice him, but Saga could tell that she was sad for his departure.
"In a minute the portal will glow in a blue hue, which will mean it has opened," Hel shouted their way. "You will have to be quick! Once everyone goes in I will reseal the portal, we cannot have it open too long, creatures from that plane can cross over to our world, and so I will be reopening the portal at intervals of ten minutes. Keep that in memory! Go! And may you return safely, all of you! I love you, my son! You are very brave, and I am opposed to this, however, I promised you this and I can't take it back! Get those stones if you want your dreams to come true!"
Saga just rose his arm up and showed his mother a thumbs up signal. "I couldn't have asked for more," he shouted at her. "This opportunity is enough, mother, I kindly thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you, and I will bring you the stones, you have my word on it!"
Hel calmly (and proudly) nodded, believing in her son's words, so did Magatha, who unlike her mother who appeared to be calm and collected, was trembling wildly with fear.
The portal soon glowed in a bluish hue that made the whole room fill with its light, and as soon as it did, the demons leading the pack quickly filed towards it. They went through it, disappearing from view as if swallowed. Saga, Ailyth, the two demon wieads, and the rest of the demon vallans, hurried towards the portal and into it they went, disappearing from view as it sucked them all in.
Thanks for reading, CS. And everyone else who reads it. Here is the longest chapter of book 1. Enjoy. (I may add another update later today)
(Part 1 of ??)
When he had stepped into the portal, Saga had felt a tugging sensation taking over him. He felt as if he'd fallen into a bottomless pit, and as if his soul was splitting somehow in two parts as he fell through that pit. Then he found himself laying on his back and with his head and senses spinning, his nose burning and his stomach feeling as ill as never before. He shook his head several times and came to his full senses. He soon adapted to his surroundings in a few seconds, as did the others who had come along with him, although every demon (and yes, even Ailyth) were on all four and throwing up. Not Saga, though, he quickly stood up and stared all around him, noticing that everything was dark all around. The walls, indeed, were made of a dark red color, like blood, as his mother had described earlier. They had a rough look about them and Saga could see that some held large holes. The place where they had arrived was very wide and rough, with many stalactites pointing down at them from the high ceiling and many different-sized stalagmites protruding from the ground and pointing upwards, all of that same bloody color. As to odor, a sickening and heavy-felt smell filled the very air, that was the reason why many of the demons and Ailyth had felt sick and had vomited right away. Saga, barely, had managed to endure the primary introduction of Cocytos, but as he stood there, ignoring the burning sensation he felt in his nose, he wondered what else awaited further in.
After a minute or two, the rest of the party began to rise up, Ailyth doing it slowly and seeming to be lost still and very confused, she even looked as if she had drunk a whole keg of Midgardian wine by herself.
Too easy, Saga thought to himself as he saw her current state. An opportunity to strike her down had just presented itself with the way Ailyth was feeling at the moment, the demon prince even took his right hand to the hilt of his sword, and though he withdrew the sword a bit, he sheathed it immediately when he remembered she could come handy in this dark place. And so no, now was not the time to dispatch her, Saga would gladly battle her even face to face if it came to that, but not yet, first he would make sure he got his hands on the Orihalcon stones.
Ailyth, in her confused state, tottered to the sides momentarily and hadn't noticed Saga's hand on the sword, but to Saga's annoyance, she then staggered over his way. He wasn't about to let her fall, he remembered the words of his mother clearly 'you...look after her as well, son,' and so he grabbed her by the shoulders as she came tumbling his way, willing to do as told, at least for the time being. He observed her beautiful face then, Saga would never disagree she was beautiful, he kept her still until she recuperated herself.
"Thank you, my prince," she thanked him, and Saga nodded and quickly let go of her, opting to turn his attention to the demons. Sammy and Repiv seemed to be alright, but they had thrown up all over each other and were cleaning the smelly vomit off of themselves.
"Mother said we should move fast," Saga said then, mostly to Ailyth. "Is everyone ready to move out?"
Every demon appeared to be when Ailyth asked the group as a whole, and so soon after, the group began to move through the eerie cavernous field, all keeping wary of the place.
That is very, very good. I was wondering what it would be like when they entered the portal. I would not want to visit such a place myself.
I always imagine going through a portal to be terribly exciting and this was no exception.
Yeah, I wouldn't like to visit such a place either, the way Saga felt really makes me doubt I'd enjoy that.
As promised, here's another addition.
Chapter 15: Cocytos (Part 2 of ??)
The creatures of Cocytos were a mixture of shadow, flesh, and bone. Their skin tone was similar to the color of the walls of Cocytos, but it was also fleshy. Their creator, the first disobedient child, had given them the ability to blend into the darkness, becoming in a way, part of it, but not wholly. They were still made of flesh and bone, like every other living creature, but they could hide in the shadows at will by blending in, then after a short while they would have to go back to their primary flesh and bone state, lest they remain in the shadows too long and be sucked into it, becoming nothing but air, or in this case, nothing but a grayish fog and part of the place that was Cocytos, the realm of eternal torment.
There were several kinds of creatures in Cocytos, including zombie-like creatures with four arms, horned devil-like creatures who could fly using their wings and also dog-like creatures, along with an assortment of others. They used no tangible weapons, rather they would defend themselves using long, sharp talons which protruded from their fingers and toes.
Because they lived in total darkness, they only had two real weaknesses, light and magic.
The residents of Cocytos had never been disturbed since a long while back, and because of that, the creatures had fled the areas where they had resided before and had gone to the center region where a massive castle surrounded by a dark lagoon stood erected and uncorrupted by the passage of time. In that area is where the tormenting of souls went on. Screams of sorrow, agony, and the purest horror could be heard all about the place nonstop, they belonged to the souls who were tormented there without rest.
It was there in that same region where an assortment of mines had been created, these littered the immense blood colored walls in the form of large holes. Few were the creatures that resided there, most had gone to the castle area over the passage of time, seeking to feed on the souls of the wicked, which was the cruelest form of torment a soul could suffer. Once a soul had gone through all the wicked forms of torment Cocytos offered, they would then be eaten by their tormentors only to be resurrected again to suffer more torment and then be eaten again. A never ending cycle, thus the term eternal torment.
Saga and company had carefully continued their quest through the darkened place, covering lots of ground since no monster could be found to challenge their passing. Saga had found that weird, but when he asked Ailyth about it, she could only shrug and say, "I have no idea why there has been no signs of life, my prince."
"Which is good for us," Saga said. "The less life we find here, the better."
"Agreed," Repiv had opinionated from the back, although Saga and Ailyth had paid the demon little attention.
As the group had advanced on, the foul smell had lessened, but they all could feel the air becoming hotter and heavier. When the heat became a little too much to bear, Saga raised his right hand as a signal for the group to stop.
"Halt!" Ailyth cried loud enough for the demons in front of them to hear. "Set up a perimeter!" Demons dispersed to do as told, forming a circle all around and keeping at the ready. Sammy and Repiv remained near Saga and the human Ailyth, weapons in hand.
"What is it, my prince? Why did you call for a stop?" Ailyth asked Saga, who was staring all around the area they currently were in.
"The heat," he informed her, turning his stare to her. "Don't you feel it as well?"
"Yes I do."
"And is there anything you can do at all to defeat it? A spell or something that will keep that hot feeling away? I mean, damn, look at me, I am sweating like never before, I've never felt this hot before."
Ailyth, bowed, conceding the truth, she too, was very sweaty. In truth, Ailyth had been bothered by the heat a while back but had said nothing simply because Saga was in charge, she was glad then that the prince had taken action in regards to that problem.
"I'll try something," Ailyth said and moved a few steps away. "Tell me if you feel any different."
Saga nodded and watched as she closed her eyes and rose her hands to her chest as if praying. Ailyth spoke something which Saga did not understand, she then extended her hands out to him, and all Saga saw next was a luminous wave leaving Ailyth's hands. That wave came towards him, enveloping him completely in a matter of seconds.
She opened her eyes and asked. "Well?"
Saga, who felt refreshed and cool, nodded at her. "It worked, can you spare a little magic to bless everyone else? If not, how the heck are we to continue on? What if it becomes too hot to go on?"
"Relax, my prince, I have enough magical stamina, I'll bless the entire squad," Ailyth said with a smile, and moments later began doing that: blessing the demon squad with the same spell she had blessed Saga. The entire demon squad couldn't have felt gladder and more proud of their prince when they again felt cool, apparently he was looking out for everyone's well being, not just himself. With everyone being able to resist the hotness of the place, the group proceeded on.
Fifteen minutes later or so they had traversed through a long tunnel whose ceiling was too low, forcing the whole group to hunch for a while and then to cross it on all four.
That tunnel had led them out into another valley riddled with boulders of different sizes, stalagmites and stalactites, and with a high ceiling. As the group moved on, Saga leaned Ailyth's way and murmured. "I find it a little hard to believe we haven't met any trouble."
Ailyth nodded in return. "I don't know, I find this place creepy, though, too quiet."
The group went on, leaving the valley behind only to come to another open area, but this one different than anything they had seen so far. The ground was covered with holes of assorted sizes, and the walls held some as well. Few stalagmites could be seen now, but the ceiling was entirely covered with pointy stalactites. And about a hundred yards ahead, there seemed to be a grayish mist covering the ground.
"Uh-oh," said Sammy, troubled at the sight before them. "Looks like we've ran into trouble for the first time."
"Frightened of the sight, are you, demon?" Ailyth chuckled.
"Quiet, you two!" Saga silenced them, his arm risen. The god thought he had heard something over the distance. Everything became quiet, the elite demons did not even dare breath, neither did Ailyth, Sammy or Repiv. Saga was able to pay better attention to his surroundings.
"Master Saga?" Repiv murmured a while later, his tone nervous. "You alright?"
"I...think I heard a faint swooshing sound beyond that point." Saga announced, pointing towards the mist. "Like wind or something."
Silence all around them.
Ailyth glanced about, her ears working furiously trying to hear something. After a while, she too heard the sound Saga had heard, and Saga heard it again as well.
"I hear it now," Ailyth cried. "Something lies beyond that point, my prince, you have good senses if you heard that."
"Then we head there," Saga told her. "There is no other road before us to follow, anyway, so let us see where this takes us. Let us proceed cautiously, I don't like that mist."
"We'd do well to watch our steps," announced Ailyth. Saga nodded at that, for he knew one wrong step could make them fall into the holes, if there was any end to them, a bottom, who knew?
"Make sure everyone is told that," Saga said, and Ailyth did let the group know to proceed cautiously and to watch their steps.
At Saga's orders, and a shout from Ailyth to let the demon squad know of it, the group moved forward, everyone at the edge of excitement and fear and wondering what awaited them all beyond the mist covered area.
The group carefully advanced forward, avoiding stepping in the holes on the ground. Some were small and some were way too big, big enough for one of them to fall through.
Saga stared at one as he went by, it was all darkness, and he really could not tell whether there was something down there or not. Like the demon squad had done so, he too just continued moving forward, keeping his eyes on the ground and in front of him when he could afford it.
It was no trouble for the group getting to the area where the mist covered the ground and everything else beyond that point. The mist hovered heavily all about the region, nothing could be seen ahead except mist, mist, and more mist. Saga again rose his hand up, signaling for the group to stop. They did, after Ailyth called out for them to do so.
"What are we to do now, my prince?" Ailyth asked momentarily, the demon vallans glancing about the place curiously. "You surely are not thinking about proceeding on foot, are you? It would be suicide, what if the ground is still covered with these kind of holes?"
Saga said nothing, but in response, his magical wings began to take form behind him. Sammy and Repiv had to get out of the way, and Ailyth was surprised to see the wings appearing.
"No!" Ailyth shouted, believing she knew what Saga had in mind doing now. She was not wrong in her thinking, because Saga stared at her and said, "I will go ahead and take a look."
"What? You can't!"
"And why not?" Saga stared hard at her.
"What if something were to happen to you?...What would I tell my queen? That I let you scout ahead and that you died because of that? No way, prince Saga, not going to happen."
Saga became irate at her words. He shook his head and declared, "My mother is not here, I am in charge, so step aside, you won't detain me."
Saga spread out his wings and was about to take off flying, however, Ailyth's hands stopped him from doing so as she grabbed on to his shoulders. "Wait, my prince!" she said, looking into his eyes when he turned to stare at her with those unnerving eyes of his.
Saga's reddish stare, which let Ailyth know he was angry, made her drop her hands from him instantly, and she bowed in an apologetic way. "Forgive me, my prince, I just wanted to stop you from leaving, nothing more, and only because I want to go along."
"How?" Saga ridiculed. "You don't have any wings, you'll have to wait here for my return, I'm afraid, now stop holding me back."
Ailyth smiled at him, then she closed her eyes and began to murmur a conjuration. Saga, surprised, waited in his place and watched as the ex-human began growing wings at her back, similar to his very own pair of magical wings. He rose his eyebrows in surprise, for he had not known his mother had granted Ailyth magical wings as well.
"Can I come along, then?" Ailyth, eyes gleaming, happily asked as her wings' transformation was finalized.
"I hope you can keep up," Saga simply said and took off flying. Ailyth, surprised at the words, quickly shouted to the group that they should wait there for them, then she went after Saga, who was already entering the heavy mist and spreading it about as he beat his magical wings.