Dragon’s Cradle Chapter II

Opening Ceremony

Part I Forest Maze

Looking over to Santus, Spencer noticed that his left eye had turned turquoise from its normal golden colour then a strange mark appeared within it. Then Santus stared directly at him, his turquoise eye then began emitting blue flames, confused he saw him pointed to his hand gesturing for him to look at his. Following his instruction, he saw the same mark that was in Santus’ eye had appeared on the back of his hand. Feeling a gentle gust of wind caress his face Spencer looked up to see that he was alone in a forest of trees and the only thing he recognised was the towers from Dragon Cradle off in the distance ahead of him though the canopy. “What the heck. Where am I, I was in the town hall one second, with the door shut and us trapped inside, and now I’m in freaking a forest.” He thought to himself. “What the ever living hell is going on here.”

“Wait is that spencer.” A voice echo through his head.

“Who’s there?” Spencer called out turning to find the source of the voice but no-one answered.

“Hey Spencer you there.” He recognise Santus’ voice coming from inside his head.

“Wait are you speaking inside my head.” Spencer thought back trying to figure out how to communicated.

“Yep that’s right.” Santus voice echoed again in his head. “Ok so now, let’s take roll, Spencer…” Santus’ voice came again waiting for him to respond.

“Here” he answered reluctantly.

“Nathan” Santus called for him to answer.

“Present” Nathan responded.

“Barhine” Santus called out again.

“Yep” Barhine answered.

“Cody…, present” other voice came randomly.

“Cody? How did you get in here?” Santus asked.

“What no hi, no hello gezz stingy” Cody returned,

“Says you, well I can’t take you out without cancelling the whole channel so. Everyone this is Cody Dangier.” Santus said introducing him.

“Ok but what going on here.” Barhine asked.

“Well this is how they are making us select our houses this year apparently. Even if it’s a whole day early.

“Ok so What do we have to do?” Spencer asked.

“We will have to make it to a house tower from here through the forest maze killing any monster that we come across.” Nathan Answered.

“Just be careful, students have died in this forest before. Use this to communicate ok let’s not die please…” Santus added.

“Also before I forget there is a prize for the first students to make it to each of the towers.” Nathan finished.

“Ok now let’s do this.” Santus sounded for a cheer.

“Yeah!” They all cheer in their minds as they made their way to the towers.

Spencer walked with his eyes set on either the blue or black dragon houses aiming for first place. Everything was too easy as he walked through the forest. The forest was thick, the trees seem to stretch into the heavens, and thick vines hung from most trees and their roots all intertwined as they grew. The forest were also teeming with life, small birds could be heard chirping, squirrels could be seen foraging for nuts, and other small and large animals became evident as he walked through the forest. Every once in awhile he would lose sight of the towers in the canopy but he continued, knowing he was going the right track. After walking with no surprises he made his way through a thick overgrowth of scrubs where he heard a loud scream. Rushing to the sound he saw some other students were running from a pack of bellum deos. They were armoured and armed with nice weapons, there was about 20 of them chasing those students. “Well it’s where I’m heading, so why not, I’m bored” he thought to himself. Running down to meet the students he pulled out his new staff and pole vaulted into the middle of them. Landing between the students and the bellum deos, as he landed the bellum deos attacked him trying to gain the upper hand via a surprise attack. “What’s with everyone and surprise attacks today?” He thought to himself, as he repelled their attack. He kept his staff straight up then spun around it, using his feet to disarm any who came close. Landing to this feet he help his staff still straight up with a satisfied grin. The knolls quickly found themselves outmatched, as Spencer spun his staff around him in complicated movements. as they approached him each were knocked away with ease. Spencer kept the bellum deos at a safe distance the entire time. Next they all rashed him but after a few seconds of dodging he managed to disarm them and left a couple of bruises for fun. The other students stood in awe as he was single handedly fending off a pack of twenty bellum deos fighters. It wasn’t long after however that they started to get use to his staff and began to get in closer to him. “Ohhh a challenge.” Spencer thought as he broke his staff into two nunchaku right as a bellum deos thought it had him cornered. He unleashing a barrage of air bullets with every swing of his weapon, jumping, flipping, and even letting out a few kick. Taking the upper hand in the fight, it took him then about 5 minutes to beat the entire pack of bellum deos. Right as he took a triumphant pose the last of the bellum deos let out an ear splitting howl. Covering his ear from the sound he heard another set of howls erupting from every direction. “This is bad! This is so bad!” He thought to himself, “ok what now I don’t know anything about bellum deos shit, wait I know, Santus knows about them.” He thought again “SANTUS! SANTUS!” He thought as hard as he could, trying to get his attention.

“What! what! it’s like your seaming in your head, stop it! That hurts! and how are  you only speaking to me anyways, I thought only I could do that.” Santus responded.

“Look there’s no time, I need to know how big are bellum deo packs.” Spencer urged.

“Why the only bellum deo pack around here is…. Noo, you didn’t.” Santus responded.

“What, what is it?” Spencer responded panicked.

“The only bellum deos pack in this forest are White’s bellum deos, but they…” The sound of more howling caused Spencer to lose focus cutting Santus off mid-sentence. Looking around he saw a whole army of humanoid shaped creatures moving around the forest. Calling the other students to him he waited for the pack leader to show himself. Hoping if he could take him out I could buy them some time. Then one of the students panicked and began running in the direction of the towers while screaming for help.

“Shoot!” Spencer exclaimed. “Everyone run for the towers!” He shouted leading the group of kids through the forest until they came to an open plain. Spencer could tell that the bellum deos had already surrounded them it was just a matter of how many he had to deal with. Still on-course for the towers they ran to the centre of the plain but stopped when they noticed they were visibly surrounded by bellum deos. The kid who first started running was now just a few feet in front of them.

“Awooooooo” the sound of more howling came from the forest. Still huddled together they saw a huge pure white wolf emerge from beyond the trees between them and the towers.

“This must be that White person Santus was trying to tell me about.” Spencer thought as he walked closer. It stood taller than Spencer, had a muscular body covered in scars  and stood and stared at them intensely. Then the bellum deos Spencer had fought just prior walked out from the trees behind them. White then walked toward them, his head held high and commanding. It was as long as a four door car from nose to tail and was standing four feet in front of them. It started speaking with the bellum deos in a sequence of growls and barks. The conversation escalated till the wolf got angry and was barking loudly at those bellum deos from what they could tell. The bellum deos tails fell between their legs and their heads dropped and seemed really embarrassed, but Spencer took this time as an opportunity to take out the leader while he was distracted. Rushing the White with his staff he let out a flurry of jab and air shots, trying to take White by surprise. His plan failed however, White’s instincts allowed him to evade Spencer’s surprised attack. Taking a step back the wolf made Spencer’s first attack void. It then it turned and grabbed his staff, lifting him into the air then slamming him into the ground,  the impact left knocked the wind out of Spencer, then White placed his huge paw on his chest. Its paw extended from his chest to his abdomen pining Spencer in place. The other student began to tremble as they saw Spencer be taking down so effortlessly. Bending his head White looked Spencer in the eye and said to him.

“Listen kid you’ve got guts, and I like that, but you need know which battles you can win, and which battles you can’t.” He said with his teeth bared in what looked like grin. “But I am Looking forward to seeing you in White’s class.” He said lifting his paw and then wavering his tail signalling for the bellum deos to follow him. Looking back, he then points in a random direction with his tail and vanished into the trees.

“Ok then who the hell is White… who the hell was that so many questions?” Spencer thought as he pulled himself together. “Well… I guess I’m heading this way.” Spencer said getting off the ground, and walking in the direction the wolf pointed to.

Walking through the forest Santus notices a few shadows moving around the trees, readying his rapier, he waited for their first attack. After a few seconds a large shadow attacked from the heavy undergrowth, but in one fluid motion Santus managed to dodged its attack and with a spin he countered  with his rapier leaving an icy trial along a cut done the side of iits neck. “It’s tougher than I thought.” He thought to himself. Turning to face it he realised that it was a wortling, as the sun struck it body through the canopy it’s large somewhat humanoid wrinkled purple body became visible.  Its bodies was portly, and its arms and legs were lumpy, having much thicker forearms, calves, ankles and feet then normal humanoids, it face was simply smooth layer of skin with groves where eyes might have been and small slits across where a mouth might be. “Wait these thing hunt in packs!” He thought again. Being more alert he noticed four more shadows jump at him with a similar move as before, evading their attacks he left them with two icy trail along the arms. Ready for any more surprise attack Santus got into a fighting pose and readied himself to attack. As they all stood up and began to charge him, he then dashed towards them in a blur and black, white, snow and ice, and a flurry of slashes, and trusts. His fast movement killed them before finished they charge, dropping to the floor dead. Sheathing his rapier, he began to walk toward the towers again, “there’s gonna be more that will attack me.” He thought to himself trying to remain alert. Than two feet later a horde of ten wortlings all jumped out at him from the brush. Their movements were much faster than the last group and more synchronized. “Crap they’re faster than the last set!” He said aloud. Realising he didn’t have time to react properly, he tried to create a glyph shield whatever time he had. Using his mana to create his shield mark he tried to get it in before he took too many hits. Then a without warning barrage of arrows ave the day as they pierced each one of the wortling in their heads exploding on impact.

“You should be more careful when fighting my friend.” A strange voice came from behind him turning Santus saw another student stand in the clearing. He had long black hair and was well dressed, his body was of a similar build to Santus just a bit much muscular. His shin was fair and he eyes blue. He florion crown was white with deep green leaves which branched  like a present moon around this the left side of his head. He was holding his bow and had two knives on his side as well as a broadsword, all expertly crafted. His skin was fair and he seem to be of Florian royalty.

“Well we all have days when we miscalculate don’t we. But thanks for the help.” Santus replied letting his mana free from making the shield, and walking towards him. As he reached within arm lengths he extended his hand. Taking the gesture, they shook hands, “My name is Joshua Santus but my friends have started to call me Santus.” He said introducing himself.

“Hey, nice to meet you, I’m Zac Waiz.” He returned,

“Huh it not often you get to meet royalty.” Santus remarked while bowing.

“Yeah, and  not related royalty, but what do you think those things are anyways? I’ve also come across a couple of them as well.”

“Those, those are wortlings they are made from a carnivorous tree called a Orcwort and there’s sure to be more around here but that’s only if I’m right.” Santus answered, “but if we get the towers we don’t really have to worry about them too much but.”

“What about the other students?” Zac asked.

“Yes that is exactly what I’m worried about, too. But I could always be wrong about them.” Santus replied. “Still I’m going to see if I can find the parent tree you can come along if you want to? It will be a lot easier if you do.”

“Sure, let’s go.” Zac replied. Leave their journey to the towers behind, they both rushed through the forest to try and find the Orcwort. Running through the trees and wading through shrubs Santus head exploded with Spencer’s yelling.

“SANTUS! SANTUS!”

“What! what! it’s like your seaming in your head! stop it! That hurts! and how did you get it to only send to me I thought only I could do allow that.” Santus responded.

“Look there’s no time I need to know how big are bellum deo packs.” Spencer urged.

“Why the only bellum deos pack around here is…. No, you didn’t.” Santus responded.

“What, what is it!?” Spencer responded panicked.

“The only bellum deos pack in this forest is Whites bellum deos, but they only attack when there are provoked. Did you do something?” Santus asked but with no answer. “Spencer! Spencer!”

“Dang it!” Santus exclaimed out loud.

“What’s the matter?” Zac asked as they ran through the forest.

“Someone on my telepathic line is in trouble.” Santus responded.

“Do you think it’s more wortlings?” He asked.

“No, he said something about bellum deos but he’ll be fine, he can handle himself in a fight. Let’s just focus on this for now. We need to find another wortling so I can find the Orcwort if there is one.”

“Ok, let’s get it done.” Zac responded. Just then they came across about five other students fighting about thirty wortling as the busted through the tree line into a clearing. Looking closer Santus noticed Cody was with them. He was with a tall minotaur, about 6’7” and heavily muscular, his fur was bright, red, orange and gold like a blazing flame as it was brushed in the wind, clothed in a loincloth and armed with three axes one large battle axe in his left and two smaller hand axes one on his side and the other in his right hand. The other there were humanoids and one was wearing a mask. Using his telepathic link, he called out to Cody just above them on a hill.

“Cody it’s Santus.” Santus said on the link.

“Yeah I can’t really talk right now, my hands are full at the moment.” Cody sent back as he repelled two wortlings.

“Yeas, I can see that, but just so you know I have a friend here that’s about to rain arrows on top of their heads so just keep watch and don’t move.” As he said that Zac pulled back his arrow ready to fire, as he did Santus used his mana to create a glyph in front of his arrow as he shot through the glyph it changed into a hailstorm of arrows that rained down on the heads of the Worthing killing almost all them.

“Whoa what was that?” Zac said confused as he stared at his bow.

“That was a glyph, with my symbol for multiplication.”

“Ok but how did you do that?” He asked again.

“It magic, namly glyph magic, it’s one of the five types of magic. It’s made by writing symbols or words with either something physical or with one’s mana. Each symbol or word creates a different effect. Using your mana you simply power the marking to activate it. So basically, I made a multiplying glyph to duplicate your arrow, it was duplicated it seventy times when you shot it and then ten more times when the left the glyph.” Santus said as they walked towards Cody and the others who were with him.

“Hold on, how did you learn that?” Zac asked intrigued. Still walking towards the others Santus began to answer.

“So it’s a long story but I’ll try to shorten it. So I learned how to use magic when I was about five years old and was taught by a traveling magus. He came by a few times a week for the entire Winter and Summer seasons while he was in town. From him I learned the fundamentals and then taught mysflorian the rest. So as a result I’m a glyph magus and what I did was just a simple duplication spell. But like I said before with this magic the user creates a symbol or write the word that represents something they wish to cast like for example, to cast fire the symbol would be a flame or the word fire.”

“Ok I get that, but how do you go about getting the ability to use it.” Zac asked as the drew nearer to the others.

“Everyone has the ability to do it, or rather the ability to use magic. They just need to learn how. Different people have different aptitudes for different types of magic.” Santus answered.

“What you guys talking about?” Cody asked as they approached deep in conversation.

“I would tell you but, I feel you’ll just lose interest.” Santus replied.

“Gezz stingy.” Cody returned. Turning to look at the others Santus decided to introduce Zac and himsflorian.

“Hello so I’m Joshua Santus but call me Santus and this is Zac Waiz.” He said to them then pointed at Zac.

“Hey I’m Levi Dependere and the Minotaur is Over here is Scott Blatant, the one with the mask is Alicia Awkward, then this is Chase Hilarous, and I see you already know Cody.” Levi said pointing to each one in turn. Then he walked up to Santus and shook hands.Levi was a well built brawler, he wore simple clothes and no shoes. His pants were torn at the bottom to show his bare feet and a metal gadget around the ankle, a similar one was around his wrists as well. He also wore a poncho over his bear chest and abbs. His hair was brown and messy but reached just below his shoulders.  “Also thanks for the help. I’m not sure where all of those guys came from but I appreciate the help.”

“Yeah, it’s no problem, but I think I know we’re they came from.” Santus said to them.

“Really?” Alicia asked. She was the masked fighter, she wore a long cloak and hood that hid her appearance but her voice seems very soft and gentle, but her movements were precise and deadly using a crossbow attached to left arm and a straight sword in the right.

“Yeah but I really hope I’m wrong.” Walking to one of the still living wortlings Santus made another glyph and then touched it to its head. Within seconds it let out a loud screech almost as if it was in pain, then a few minutes later a loud roar cut through the air. “Alright, I have some good new and some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?” Santus asked as he lifted his head and turned toward the others.

“Let’s hear the good news first.” Scott said in response.

“Well I now know exactly where these things came from.” Santus said as the sound of something huge seemed to be moving around in the forest at an alarmingly fast pace.

“Where did they come from?” Chase then asked. Chase was a stealthy dagger wielder. His build was slightly smaller than Santus prioritising speed and agility greatly over strength. He was dress very casually with a simple t-shirt under a plain hoodie with jeans and sneakers. His hair was short and brown while his skin was tan.

“Well… that’s the bad news, they came from that.” Santus said pointing to a colossal tree as it tore through the forest leaving toppled trees and vegetation in its wake, emerging into the clearing where they were standing. With a mouth filled with rows of shape teeth and with vines, roots leashing through the air violently and wortlings rushing from behind it, it made its grand entrance.

“WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THAT!!?” Chase shouted as it enters the clearing with a devastating roar leaving all of them paralysed with fear. Soon after more wortlings came running form behind it, with a swarm of vines and roots followed close behind them. Santus couldn’t think of a way out of this situation as the roots, worthing and vines got ever closer a voice shot into his head.

“You little shit, what are you waiting for, FIGHT!” The voice of someone he knew rang ever so clear in his mind but he couldn’t place the voice. Drawing his rapier, he launched forward fear gripping his every step, Cody jumped forward as well, together slashing and cutting some of the roots and vines, as well as the first wave of wortlings they managed to save everyone from its first attack

“Ahhhhhhh!! Hey wake up! We can’t just sit back here and die! Let’s move!” Cody shouted as they stood on the chopped roots staring back at the army of wortlings that had now start to gather to protect the Orcwort. Drawing their weapons, the rest of them all got ready for the fight of their lives, launching their combined attack against the Orcwort second wave of vines, roots and wortlings.

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