|Disclaimer: The characters and story are based on the series BeastMaster: The Legend Continues are property of Tribune Entertainment Company. There is no intent to infringe on their rights, this is only for pure enjoyment.|
don’t know what's wrong…it shouldn't be reacting this way," the
Sorceress complained while pacing back and forth.
Her robe of lavender taffeta, covering a honey colored
undergarment, whirled buoyantly every time she twirled.
She stopped and turned to face the Ancient One, hands grasping
her amethyst pedestal.
teacher marveled at how a simple hue could alter one's appearance. "You look radiant, my dear, especially when you're
upset. A ray of sunshine on
such a dismal day. What
seems to be the problem?" He
glanced down at his rainbow-tainted cloak wondering if it appeared too
gaudy. His eyes returned to
her beauty--she remained stunning even when she narrowed her eyes,
confused by his lack of concern.
just it…it's the weather. The
monsoons aren't due for several months and yet this never-ending storm
bears down upon us.” The
Sorceress’ angered look turned to worried.
“I think I've created the storm from a spell of mine—one that
seems to have backfired."
I delight in spells that backfire.
Do tell," the Ancient One urged, grinning mischievously,
"and don't leave a single detail out."
incorrigible!" she snapped. Needing
his wisdom to solve the riddle, she had to appease his curiosity.
"Two days ago I was gazing into my crystal basin observing
the Beastmaster when—"
Beastmaster? Don't you ever
grow tired of watching him?" he interrupted.
I must say he's not discomforting to the eyes."
She smiled coyly. "Where
was I? Oh yes, I was
watching the Beastmaster and his Eiron friend when King Zad paid a
Ah good, you're here. I
have a favor to ask." The
bald king approached her with care for he didn't want to hurt her
feelings with his request. He admired her beauty but mostly her power and felt she
fancied his attentions; however, since she insisted that nothing could
ever come between mortals and immortals, he gave up the pursuit and
moved on. "Have you
heard of the Ayribions bordering the west?"
She nodded in response to his question, waiting for him to
continue. "The old
goat's pledged me his daughter in hopes of strengthening our relations.
I hear the princess is magnificent and her beauty breathtaking.
I've also heard she is a spitfire—the perfect woman to be my
wife?" the Sorceress asked with a giggle.
"It sounds like you have everything under control, King Zad.
What favor could I possibly grant you?"
looked suspiciously around as if the walls had ears.
He moved closer to the crystal basin and whispered, "I’m
lonely. I really would like
to marry soon…raise an heir. So,
to be in favor with these people, I want to shower them with good
fortune for offering me such a prize.
I hear the princess is eager to meet me."
your wish a wedding gift then,” the Sorceress offered while retrieving
a dove. She stood in front
of the crystal basin, Zad behind. He
seemed preoccupied when she spoke the words, “Unseen moisture
lingering above, gather together within the wings of this dove, and
shower the receiver with good fortune aplenty, until released unto those
he beholds so worthy.” She
tossed the dove in the air and it burst into glimmering lights that
slowly faded as they sprinkled over the Terron King.
Sorceress looked to her mentor. “It
was an easy spell to cast, but something went astray.
Once the king left the rains started.
It's been pouring ever since.
He leaves today to meet with the Ayribions."
Ancient One moved closer to the crystal pedestal and as he passed his
hand over the basin the image of the Terron camp came into view.
Zad, irritated and drenched from the continuous downpour,
informed his men he would return in a few days.
Four warriors rode off with him towards the west.
Shortly after his departure, the Sorceress and the Ancient One
noticed the rain outside the cave had started to dissipate. The storm was following Zad.
clearing weather confirmed the Sorceress' belief that her spell somehow
backfired. "I showered
him with rain instead of good fortune."
does put a damper on things,
doesn't it?" The
wizard cringed when he received a warning glance from eyes that couldn't
bear to hear any of his quips. Unable
to resist another pun, he added, "My dear, perhaps you're ill.
Do you have a fever? Casting
a spell while one is under the
choreography--unifying weapon with defensive moves--fascinated the Eiron
scholar. Tao watched in
admiration as the Beastmaster spun the six-foot staff preparing to
strike his opponent and at the same time twisting his body out of harms
way. The last thief went down with a thud. Tao released his breath and ran towards his friend.
"Dar! Are you
all right? You had me
worried when he clobbered you.”
Tao, I'm fine.”
you see the one coming after me? He
tripped and knocked himself out. Talk
about being clumsy.”
should keep moving. It
won’t be long before these men come to."
Dar wiped blood from his cut lip.
Just touching it made him wince.
"Why would thieves attack us, we have nothing to
steal." Dar started
down the trail they had been traveling without waiting for his friend.
our food and clothes," Tao replied.
He soon corrected himself, "Well, my clothes..." Who would possibly want to steal Dar's loincloth?
Tao wondered how the Beastmaster stayed warm with what little he
wore. He then checked on
the two ferrets tucked safely away in the pouch he carried.
"Maybe those men are hunters and they wanted your
furs." He enjoyed
teasing Kodo and Podo, payback for all the times they bit him.
The two furry rascals squealed an unpleasant sound at his remark
and kept low in the bag in case the Eiron was correct in his assumption.
Something shiny in the grass caught Tao’s attention.
He picked it up and held the large gem against the sun.
Dar was farther ahead so Tao sprinted to catch up.
“Dar, look what I found. I
can’t believe my luck lately--first, that brute tripped and now this.
Beastmaster stopped in the clearing ahead not because of his friend’s
calls but from the storm looming across the way.
The small dark cloud appeared threatening, unnatural against an
otherwise clear sky. Tao
slowed until he stood by his friend's side.
News of the shiny stone he found would have to wait.
He dropped it into Kodo and Podo’s pouch.
"That doesn't look friendly."
blinked and answered, "No, it doesn't.
Maybe we should change course."
Sharak shrieked to get the Beastmaster's attention.
waited as the eagle soaring above communicated with his friend. When it looked as though the link between them broke, Tao
asked, "Are we in danger?"
from the rainstorm, Terrons are approaching."
Tao wasn't thrilled with the odds—Terrons in front of them and
thieves behind. "What'll
way," Dar suggested as he raced across the field.
Tao wasn’t far behind when he heard the torrential rain beat
against the dry earth. He
and Dar were instantly drenched and Tao’s soaked clothes became
burdensome. Soon they heard the pounding hooves of galloping horses
above the downpour as they closed in.
No match for Terrons on horseback, both the Beastmaster and his
sidekick stopped at the edge of a steep hill.
Below them were the Wastelands, a vast desert of sand
dunes—home of the Ayribions. Dar
turned to confront the warriors. Through
the blinding rain, he recognized Zad amongst the five riders.
king jumped off his horse and approached the duo.
Zad shouted over the rain, “Our paths cross yet
again--coincidence or fate? I
have no quarrel with you, Beastmaster, but since you’re here, I
require the services of your Eiron slave.
Hand him over and no harm will come to you.”
a free man!” Tao protested.
Terron warriors on horseback became concerned when their horses sensed
danger and backed away from the others.
“Get them!” the king ordered his men, wondering why they were
reached for his weapon preparing to unsheathe the two-piece staff, but
the ground beneath him loosened. Tao
felt it too and easily lost his balance.
Saturated with the driving rains, the soil became mud and gave
way, flowing down the hillside like a river, taking Dar, Tao and Zad
slid down the steep slope feet first, plowing through the mudflow. Able to retrieve his disassembled staff, he jabbed both
pieces into the ground hoping to anchor his fall.
The blade end began to slow his descent until Tao crashed into
him propelling Dar into full motion again.
The Eiron had been hollering since the top of the hill, unable to
control his spinning. Not
too far behind, Zad bellowed for his warriors to help, but to no
avail—the Terrons stayed back from the vanishing edge, amazed that the
rains had finally begun to subside as their king slipped further away.
In a matter of minutes the trio reached the bottom.
Dar glided to a halt as the ground leveled.
Covered in mud from head to toe he rolled aside just as Tao touched down.
Tao exclaimed as he spit out a mouthful of gritty sludge.
Rattled, Kodo and Podo escaped from their pouch and scrambled
away as soon as they caught sight of the forthcoming collision.
Dar was just about to warn Tao of the onslaught, but something
odd happened. In midstream,
Zad’s body took a turn and slammed into the Beastmaster, cushioning
the king’s landing. Struggling
to get up, Zad’s elbow banged Dar’s temple.
Battered and bruised, the Beastmaster succumbed to
attempt to stand failed, slipping and sliding in the mud as he tried.
Kodo had latched onto his leg in hopes of getting out of the wet
muck. “Get this rodent
off me!” the king growled, shaking his leg until the ferret scattered
away. When Zad finally
stood, he rinsed himself in the rains that continued to fall.
Spread eagle, the mud ran off his robe dripping onto the
Beastmaster below. Zad
appreciated the weather for once. Feeling
human again, he suddenly realized someone coughing.
He offered his hand and yanked Tao to his feet.
“Well, well, well…looks like you have no choice but to help
me now, Eiron.”
wiped the excess mud from his eyes while the rain cleansed his face and
He quickly assessed his dilemma--his friend lay unconscious, King
Zad loomed over him like a vulture and the Terron warriors were making
their way down a trail to assist their king.
animal lover can’t help you and if you won’t comply to my wishes, he
dies.” Zad’s threat was
strengthened as soon as a couple of his men jumped off their horses and
is it you want?” Tao asked curiously.
He watched Kodo and Podo dash safely inside their pouch on the
ground, the rain too unbearable for them.
Tao, then picked up the pouch and placed it over his shoulder,
wondering if he’d lost the gem from the tumble down the hillside.
“I don’t know how I could possibly help you, I always seem to
muddle my way through things,” he chuckled nervously, hoping
his play on words would ease the tension between them.
“What could I possibly offer you?”
wasn’t amused. “Your
wisdom, not your wit. Eirons
are known for their wisdom, are they not?”
Weary of the relentless rain, the king was desperate enough to
ask for this slave’s help. Once
his audience became somber, Zad elaborated, “It’s been raining for
days now and it’s not even the rainy season.
What do you make of it?”
of having the upper hand with his knowledge, Tao gained some confidence
and offered his thoughts. “The
rainstorm seems to be following you.
Before we crossed paths, the skies were clear.
I believe it’s supernatural…maybe sorcery or a curse.”
ludicrous! Who would dare
curse me? Their king!”
the braver Terrons spoke up, “He may speak the truth, my lord. The rain nearly stopped when we were still upon the ledge.”
contorted his face, confused by what he’d just been told.
When Tao offered proof, the king asked, “How?”
rain cloud isn’t that huge from what I saw.
So, first, send out two warriors, one north, the other south,
until they reach the point where the storm ends,” Tao suggested.
advice, Zad thought and nodded to two of his warriors.
The men obeyed and jumped on their horses riding off in opposite
directions. Addressing the
two remaining Terrons, he commanded, “Tie up the Beastmaster and throw
him on the back of a horse. We
wouldn’t want him to drown in the mud, now would we?”
The evil king snickered. He
could tell Tao’s self-assurance was dwindling as the riders spread
farther apart. Finally,
when they reached fair weather, they signaled the king confirming the
Eiron’s theory. Zad eyed the distance between his warriors.
“It’s true, a small storm.
and I will walk towards the west. Now,
if what your men say is true about the rains diminishing, then we know
the storm is traveling west. The
two men guarding Dar will let us know once the rains subside. At that
point, we’ll turn around and head back.
However, if the rains stay with us, then there will be no doubt
it’s following you.”
better not be a trick to separate my warriors!” Zad warned with
have nothing to fear from me—ahh!”
Tao soon learned the king wasn’t the least bit worried about
being alone with him. Zad
grabbed Tao’s shirt and dragged him along.
It wasn’t too long before the king discovered the Eiron was
right. Sure enough, when
his men waved that the rains were ending and he returned with Tao, the
rains changed course right along with them.
witch! She did this to me!
She’s cursed me!” Zad spat as he approached the two men
guarding the Beastmaster. He
gestured for the others to return.
“I asked to be showered with good fortune not curses!
king’s voice echoed throughout the Sorceress’ chamber.
The Ancient One looked up from the image in the crystal basin to
see how his apprentice was dealing with the king’s misfortune.
He could tell she wasn’t handling it well.
“Oh come now, my dear. There
has to be a simple explanation. Are
you sure you’re not ill?”
Something went wrong, but what?”
She was mystified.
the Beastmaster’s Eiron friend can find the solution. He’s very bright for a mortal.
Seems to know a world of information about plants and herbs too.
Do you think he’d ever consider becoming a student of mine?”
Sorceress giggled at the thought. After
spying on Tao for so long now, she imagined how he, with his clumsy ways
and charming wit, might possibly drive the Ancient One over the edge.
If anyone could do it, the Eiron would be the one.
She finally answered her tutor, “He doesn’t believe in the
supernatural, he prefers the natural.”
suppose you’re right.” The
wizard looked back down at the image in the pool of the basin and smiled
at the promising mortal.
became aware that Dar was stirring—a good sign.
He had to stall for time and keep Zad busy.
“May I make a suggestion?”
do you know of sorcery?” Zad
stood in front of the Eiron scholar, thinking how a king like he could
benefit from this man’s wisdom. What
did a beastmaster need with knowledge anyway?
always one way to break a spell, though not always a curse. However, since you requested the Sorceress to shower you with
good fortune, then she probably only cast a spell on you.
There’s no doubt she showered you, it just happens to be with
rain. And as for the good
fortune—“ Tao paused. Come
to think of it, he had run into plenty of good fortune lately.
“That’s odd. I was just telling Dar earlier how lucky I’ve been lately.
First, that thief attacking me tripped and then I found the
biggest, shiniest stone I’ve ever seen…”
His words faded, worried the king would want it for his own.
“And, just now when you were rolling down the hill, aiming
straight for me, something happened and you crashed into Dar instead.
It’s like someone blessed me with good fortune.
Tell me how the Sorceress cast her spell. I’ll need to know if I’m to help.”
mumbo-jumbo about showers and doves,” Zad replied listlessly. The callous king smiled recalling, “I was more interested
in you at the time. There
you were, a small image within the Sorceress’ basin.
I wondered if I could squash you with my finger like an insect.
Pity it didn’t work.”
Tao’s mouth hung open. Behind
the king, he noticed Dar’s eyes open, surveying his surroundings.
Tao needed to gain Zad’s full attention as well as his
warriors. “If you touched
my image while the Sorceress placed a spell on you, then maybe we share
it; except, you are being showered with rain and I…the good
image shimmered in the crystal pool.
“Clever boy, wouldn’t you say?”
The Ancient One smiled at the Sorceress.
“Maybe I could change his mind about the supernatural.”
Eager to hear what Tao said next, he put a finger to his lip to
shush his apprentice. “Shhhh…”
may know a way to break the hex.”
Tao cringed at his last statement.
How could he claim such a thing when he had no knowledge of
spells? How long could he
stall Zad and the Terrons?
just what I was asking myself,” Tao mumbled beneath his breath.
Zad squinted, scrutinizing the Eiron to see if he was lying.
He hadn’t clearly heard what Tao said because of the rain.
Suddenly, one of his men announced approaching riders.
Zad pushed Tao aside and walked beyond his party of men to greet
the Ayribions, missing the sigh of relief coming from the Eiron.
Zad!” the elder Ayribion prince hailed.
The group he rode with consisted of ten soldiers and several
slaves carrying a veiled woman sheltered within a covered throne.
They stopped short of the Terron king, lowering the princess to
the ground. Prince Alcola
jumped off his horse and twirled in the rain.
said you’d bring us good fortune in exchange for my daughter’s hand
in marriage. Rain is the
best dowry a man could ever offer us!”
Zad looked back at Tao. “Could
the Sorceress have known?”
it’s common knowledge that the Ayribions live in a desert and water is
their most prized possession.” Tao
forgot all about Dar’s predicament, fascinated by the Ayribions.
in light-colored robes now drenched and hugging his body, Alcola stepped
closer and noticed Tao’s ring, the badge of his tribe. “You are correct, young Eiron.
However, there is another possession we value more, the emblem of
our people. A gem beyond
daughter,” Tao guessed. “I
hear her beauty casts spells on men and that’s why she’s forced to
hide her face.” His
peripheral vision caught sight of Zad’s glaring face.
Tao decided to say no more.
Princess Lori is, and always will be, my most precious gem.”
He turned to gaze at his daughter; however, the blonde beauty had
her eyes on King Zad, studying him contentedly.
She found the scars on his face intriguing…his baldness
attractive. Her father
faced Tao again. “No,
what I speak of is the emblem of my tribe…the Ayrib Stone.
Three thieves stole it from our lands.
Without it, my people fear we will no longer be protected.”
fancied what he saw in the princess.
Fed up with the idle chitchat, he interrupted.
“With whom do you need protection from?—surely not me. No tribe in their right mind would want the Wastelands, let
alone fight over them. Let’s
get on with business. I
brought you rain, your most precious commodity.
Now finish the deal…hand over your fair daughter to me.”
don’t want to hear that!” Zad barked.
hated to go back on his word, but the matters of his people came first.
“Without the stone, my daughter cannot marry.
I am sorry. The
stone protects our lands from the never-ending droughts.
Without it, we will be forced to leave our homes.”
caught the Princess’ eye. She
wondered who the savage-looking man was who just freed himself and slid
off the horse. With a flick
of his foot, he tossed a weapon lying on the ground into the air,
catching it with ease. In a
sultry voice she spoke, “Who is that man?”
and the others whirled around. “Beastmaster!
He’s free you fools! Get
him!” Dar stood alert,
ready to fend off any attackers.
squealed as he peaked out of the pouch, elated to see his friend was all
right. Suddenly, Tao
remembered the shiny stone he found.
“Wait! I think I have the Ayrib Stone.”
Those words brought the Terrons to a halt and everyone’s eyes
fell upon the Eiron. “The
same thieves who stole your stone attacked us.
That’s when I found it. See,”
he said as he pulled the stone from the satchel, fending off being
bitten by the nervous ferrets inside.
He held out the large stone.
Even in the rain it sparkled.
it!” Prince Alcola cried. He
snatched it out of Tao’s hands. “You
have saved our people, young Eiron.
Name your reward and it shall be yours.”
He bowed his head in grateful appreciation.
that my friend, Dar, and I should walk away with our lives.”
Tao bowed his head returning the polite gesture.
Seeing his friend had things under control, Dar relaxed his
stance. He watched Prince
Alcola walk closer to his daughter to hand her the stone.
leaves until you tell me how to get rid of this cursed rain!” Zad
protested as he grabbed Tao by his shirt.
think you already did when you offered the Ayribions the rain and now
that I’ve returned the stone, we’ve both passed on our good
fortunes. At least I hope
it was that easy.” Tao
stepped away from the Terron king as soon as he released his grip.
you’re right.” Zad
faced the Ayribion prince. “And
what of my bride?”
Lori loosened her veil, letting it drop from her face. She stepped down from her seated throne.
“I am pleased with what I see, King Zad.
I will wed you in one year’s time…no sooner.”
Her beauty cast a spell over all the men in her presence.
Zad uttered an agreement, unable to refuse the woman.
She held out the stone in the palm of her hand and closed her
eyes. Soon the storm around
them turned to vapor and spun like a whirlpool.
The waterspout vanished into the stone.
The Princess closed her hand and returned to her throne.
suggest you and the Beastmaster leave while you have the chance,”
Prince Alcola spoke to Tao, breaking the bewitching trance his daughter held over
Appreciative of the head start, Tao thanked the Ayribion prince
and bowed his head once more. He
headed straight to his friend and shook him gently.
Sure enough, Dar broke free of the spell. Both he and Tao fled up the path.
clapped his hands in front of the Terrons and Zad.
“Always a pleasure, King Zad.
‘Til next year.”
next year…” Zad uttered. The
Terron king watched the Ayribions depart until they faded in the
shimmering heat of the desert sands.
image slowly dissolved in the crystal basin.
“Well, well, well,” the Ancient One taunted.
“King Zad seems to be smitten with the princess.”
it seems,” the Sorceress murmured, “but I doubt he’ll ever marry
her. Princess Lori’s
beauty makes him powerless--a vulnerability he won’t have.
At least I now know what went wrong with my spell.”
“Yes, perhaps next time, you’d better keep Zad away from your crystal basin. Better yet, perhaps you should stop watching the Beastmaster and his clumsy friend altogether.” With that said, the Ancient One vanished, leaving the Sorceress to brood by herself.
~ The End ~
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