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The Cloud Knight by: Dan Cloud

The Cloud Knight

 

The Trial Begins

            Today is the day of my trial.  The King has accused me as a heretic.  In fact I'm heading to the royal courtyard where all heretics trials are held.  I only hope that I can convince the king that neither I nor the one who hired me are heretics. 

            Oh, beg your pardon.  My name is Hieya.  I am a Cloud Knight, the highest order of mercenary.  I was arrested for claiming an item from the holy temple of the Ancient's.  The one who hired me you will hear about later in the trial.            Anyway, I'll tell you about the Trial now.

            "How dare you sit when the king enters the court," That was one of the holy Ancient's, the holy Ancient's are another part of my story that will be explained later.

            "And why should I a Cloud Knight who has no allegiance to anyone stand for a pathetic mortal," this clearly wasn't the best idea I've ever had, for shortly after I had finished what I was saying I felt a sharp blow to my head.  I knew it couldn't kill me, but it still hurt to me as bad as if I were a normal human.  Those fools! Those bastards!!  I could do nothing for the Ancient's were the ones paying judgment to the gods who could easily take my powers and my rights as a Cloud Knight.

            So what was I to do I had to stand, for there was no way I could remain immortal if I was hated by the Ancient's.

            "State the crime for which you have been accused and will now be judged by," demanded the same holy Ancient that yelled in outrage at my proclamation of non-allegiance.

            "I, the accused, have been arrested for taking claim to an Ancient artifact of great power for my employer.  Under the code of Cloud Knights I cannot stop until my job has been completed or I die," this was as plain as day to everyone even those who knew very little about the Cloud Knight, and most of what there was to know was that a Cloud Knight is almost impossible to kill and they were the best mercenaries, the only type ever hired by royalty.

            "Will the accused please state the artifact in which you attempted to...Ahem...claim for your employer," Said the ancient sitting on the highest cloud, obviously the head of his order just as I was of mine.

            "The item in which I was set to claim was the Bahamut Crystal, the summoning tool of the most powerful measure of strength." There was a gasp that came from the entire crowd even most of the Ancient's, except for the few that knew what I had done and tried to stop me.

            "And why would even a high priest want a summoning tool which could only be used by an Ancient of great power, and only the chosen one at that, who was stolen from us during the night of 'The Rebirth'."

            "Because my employer is the chosen one.  She was taken by her father an accused heretic.  She isn't as strong as she would have been in your training, but she is still stronger than even you holy Ancient's of the highest order." Again this seemed to startle all the on lookers, but this time even the head Ancient gasped at how foolish he had been to give the girl to the druids who had claimed her to be a slave that had escaped.

            "We wish to hire you..." started the head Ancient, to retrieve the girl from the druids and kill any that get in your way."

            The other Ancient's were all in shock at this request, But my lord," they said in unison before being cut off by the head Ancient's.

            "I can pay you any price."

            "I don't want your money and I'll get her back for myself not for you.  I have no need for you to beg or plea with me to get her back."

            "And why is that?"

            "Because she is my wife, and I will not let her die at the hand of lowly dirt like the druids." Well that had done it The Ancient's were really ticked that I knew she was the chosen one and still married her.

            "Kill him," the Ancient's yelled.  They were not pleased but they knew to themselves that even if they took away my immortality they could not stop me with the power of the chosen one behind me giving me strength.

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Destructive Force

            The problem with going without hire was that I couldn't charge the weapons I bought to the employer. This would prove to make things much more difficult. I couldn't just leave Hinageshi to die with those damned druids.  "You think I will let you do this! You think you can get away from me! I won't allow this! I won't let you! Hinageshi!"

            I wasn't going to let them kill her. I could never live with myself if I let those monsters do what they would to Hinageshi. I would die before I let them have her.

            But...But I could do nothing. Even with my powers. When I reached the druid's hive what would I do.  They where not human.  Not any more any way. They had sold their souls to obtain their place among the gods, but they were banished to earth. Enraged they gained more power from the souls of Ancient's. Ancients. Those who carried the power to destroy entire legions with a mere thought could not come close to the power of the druids. What chance did I have? How could a single Cloud Knight, weak from fighting the Ancient's to obtain the only way to save her, the Bahamut Crystal? Even with as valuable a woman as my love, Hinageshi, at stake. They wouldn't let a mercenary like me use the summoning crystal.

            I had to go though. I could never live with myself if I didn't. But maybe there was a way I could find the leviathans and ally with them. No, that still wouldn't be enough. I would need an army consisting of every creature including the trolls and demons. Would they do it? Maybe they would they hated the druids just as we did. Well, actually they hated them more. For the druids had destroy their planets and now the only one left was the one they would try and make their own, and the druids would try.

            Could I do it then? No, there was one other thing I would have to obtain. How I, a heretic, would obtain it I had no Idea, and yes, I am now a heretic, because I have defied the laws of the Ancients by knowingly marrying the chosen one. I would have to fight for it, the Knights of the Round Tables Crystal.

            I would do the unthinkable ally the humans, demons, trolls, and the leviathans to defeat the Ancients and gain the 'Rune'. "I will go now," I said aloud to myself, "I will not be long my love, Hinageshi. Soon, I promise to be with you...soon."

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Leviathans oceans

 

            I had not seen land in two days.  I was out at sea that long.  I was sure the Leviathans wouldn't allow me to stray into their oceans for long, but I hadn't seen a single one.  I was afraid the Druid had taken them by force and killed them all knowing what I planned to do.

            Would the Leviathans have left because of the Druids?  No, they would have stayed and fought till the last Leviathan had died. They were at the last place suited for them to live in. If they left they would have a shortened life and soon die.

            Then the first sign of the Leviathan appeared.  A whirlpool had jut formed.  This was the first warning of death to ordinary sailors.  But to a cloud knight and the head of an order, with the power of the chosen Ancient behind me, I could not be killed.

            The Leviathan finally arose from the depths of the 'Sailors Grave Yard'.  This was the name given to the 'Leviathan's Ocean' and for obvious reasons. 

            "Why does the Final Cloud's order visit 'Leviathan's Ocean'," the Leviathan asked in its mightiest voice.

            "I have come to speak to your king Ragnarok."

            "Very well, the Lord Ragnarok would be honored to see you Lord Hieya."

            I was surprised at the greeting.  I was not expecting to see the king without a battle.  "Oh crap." I had spoke too soon.

            "You will have to beat the Kings son Koronoway to enter the castle."

            "You've got to be kidding me, I have to fight the Kings son.  Very well then."

            I didn't have time to waste in a dual.  I wasn't going to wait for him to realize this was serious at the last moment.  I used one of the 'Cloud's of Heaven'.  One of the most powerful spells in existence.

            This caught the Kings attention.  I was willing to kill Koronoway to see the king as soon as possible.  So before I had even enough time to say half the chant required to cast the spell.  Ragnarok burst into the arena.  I of course stopped my chant and looked up at him.  He was about 20 times my size and twice a frightening, but the fact that he could never win against my Cloud's of Heaven was reassuring.

            "What do you want Hieya," asked in a worried tone.

            "It is imperative that you join me as an ally."

            "Who am I to ally against?  I am one of the strongest beings in existence.  Who could possibly scare me enough to join you?"

            "The answer to that lies in your nightmares."

            "You can't mean...You don't mean...No, we would be slaughtered!"

            I could tell he was frightened and knew exactly what I was talking about, and so did the entire crowed watching this strange event occurring.

            "Yes, I mean the very ones.  The druids.  We stand no chance even with the power of the 'Cloud's of Heaven', the Leviathans great armies, and the power of the cloud knights backed by the power of the chosen ancient."

            "You don't mean Hinageshi.  Why would the chosen one be behind a scoundrel like you?"

            "Because, if the Ancients haven't already told you I'm a heretic for knowingly marrying the chosen Ancient."

            "What!!!  You I should never have let you into my domain."

            "And what could you have possibly don't to stop me?  I may be a heretic, but I still risk my life for my wife.  Who has been taken by the druids, and not by force so the Ancients can do nothing against them with the gods' power."

            "But.  But...But how could the druids get hold of the chosen one without forcing her?"

            "They tricked the Ancients into doing it for them by telling them...by telling them she was a slave.  And since the Ancients forced her to go under that pretense they can do what they will, and we can do nothing.

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The wandering forest

 

            I can only hope the Trolls, with their limited amount of intelligence, didn't do something stupid, like attack the druids.  If they have then the druids would occupy this area.  The Leviathans and I could take a few druids with no problem but if the trolls were wiped out the druids would be swarming over these lands.

            We were lucky there were only a few druids.  It seemed like hours before we finally killed the last one.  We found the leader of the Trolls he was dying.

            "What happened," I asked, Even though I already knew.

            Bonegrinder replied in a raspy voice, "Leave me at once I want no help from you hoomins."

            I didn't think he would say such a stupid thing even if he did hate my kind.  "Why don't you want to live?"

            "As if you can cure Drooids poison."

            "As a matter of fact I can.  I am-"

            "I know how you are.  I may be a Troll, but I'm not as stupid as you thinkin'.  What will it take for you's curin' Bonegrinder."

            As you can probably guess we told him the whole story and he stared at me as if I had told him that his clan was dead.  He agreed to join us.  And when we healed him he started pacing around, rambling about how he could get her back.

            "We still need the others to join us, Bonegrinder so give some of your best Trolls and don't do anything stupid.  You here."

            "Bonegrinder not try stupid thin again.  Bonegrinder not stupid."

            "Glad to hear it, my friend."

            "Just don't get any of my Trolls dead or you be dead."

            "I won't I'll put their lives before mine on this journey till we get to the druids and we have no choice but to fight."

            "Bonegrinder man very brave they no run from nothing.  They fight with you till the end."

            "Thank you, Friend."

            "You pick as many for Bonegrinder's best as you need.  Then you leave us be.  We be allies but I still no like you hoomins."

            "Very well Bonegrinder.  I will take my men and leave you forest in peace."

            "Thank you for troostin old Bonegrinder, and fur healin' his woondes," One of the trolls said.

            "Thanx."

            "Ya, Thankers for healin' him."

            I couldn't believe that all these trolls were actually thanking me for doing the simplest of spells.  Oh well, I guess they aren't as barbaric as I thought.  I'm glad they're not.  I only hope the elves will help us.  They always were too stubborn for their own good.  They never risk their lives for anyone but themselves would they now?

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Never Ending Knight

 

            "Ah, Hieya.  What an honor, sir, to finally meet you." said a sterling young fellow who was wearing a similar Type of armor as I was, but his was a purplish color to my red.  He must be the Cloud Knight I stained here to protect the elves from the druids.

            "Hello, Jak.  How's life for the hero of Hervenly?"

            "Hero!  Oh no, sir you were the real hero.  If you hadn't come along I would have been fish bait for them damn harpies."

            "Well, that's true, but...then again you were the only one to make it that far out of the castle and you even did it carrying the princess.  That was still hero enough to earn you a nice stationary job with the elves; however, we have a situation.  My wife has been taken by the-"

            "I know master.  Don't forget I'm a Cloud Knight too, and I know all about it.  So, why did she need the Bahamut Crystal?"

            "Ah yes, that's right you were old enough to be bound to my thoughts.  Well, she needed it to kill the druids, but she was taken when I was caught by those damned-"

            "Master!"

            "Oh...yes, sorry.  Well since we can't use the Ancients power to get her back I need to take you from you post.  I will also need you to go to the others and tell them to join me as soon as they can.  And I want no excuses.  This has to go according to plan, or Hinageshi may be dead before we get there."

            "I understand, sir," Jak said with a sort of honored pride and valor that you would expect from a Cloud Knight, "I'll be back with the others as soon as possible."  Then, he strolled into the wood and disappeared into the shadows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ***

 

            "Hieya?  Hieya!  Princess Garnet, it's Hieya," yelled a wrinkled old man in fine silk garbs.

            "Hieya!  Where is that little back stabbing, son of a bi-," the princess yelled in the flurry of a tantrum.

            "-Princess, the king might be listening, or worst that Cloud Knight," the old man warned.

            "So what.  Does it look like I care Jess?  I wish I could strangle that little bastard.  I can't believe he married that little-," she began before she went bug-eyed and silent in horror. 

            "And who would you be talking about," said Hieya, with a serious and stern look on his face that could scare the greatest of kings and entire armies.

            "Nobody you would know," the princess lied.  It was surprising to even her how truthful it sounded.

            "I should hope so.  It's about time you got over me you knew it would never work out.  Your still a mortal."

            "May I suggest, sir, that you follow me down to the Great Hall.  You look absolutely famished."  Jess said in his most polite and civilized tone, the one he used when talking to the king himself.

            "That sounds great I'm starving.  Heck, I could eat my horse and still have room for more," the Cloud Knight joked with a merry and boyish grin of his face, but then it turned serious.  The way it changed so suddenly scared the princess to death.  She thought he might be planning something terrible.  Finally when he started to speak she thought she would wet herself.  "Tell Faviren that I will see him the second I am finished with my meal, for we have a serious problem to deal with."

            When he finally left she fell to her knees crying.  She had never been so afraid in her life and she hope she would never be again.  She suddenly stood and thought to herself that she ought to be ashamed.  She was a beautiful eighteen-year-old princess and he was more like a fourteen-year-old child.  Though he was a Cloud Knight he was still looked and acted like a child...

 

***

 

            After eating a great meal at lunch, my thoughts still started to wander to the princess.  I had treated her so badly before I last left the elfish forest, but still she is just a human adopted by the king of the elves.

            Though she must have really loved me judging by how much she hates me now.  I hate to think how much it would hurt to be rejected by the one you love.

            "I don't have time for this," I said out loud to the crowd blocking my way, "I'm sorry but I must go to see the King.  Thank you, and have a safe, and happy life. "

            I ran to see the King despite what the others had told me about his mood.  This was no time for the King to have a temper tantrum.  But when I got there, there was a sense of mass panic.  The King had been assassinated.  But how there was no way to get in without the guards seeing.  Unless the guards were the ones responsible.  No they had sworn loyalty to the King only.  But who then?

            The princess answered this before I could even speak.  "It must have been him," she screamed, "Don't let him get away."

            "And were would I be going."

            "The only place your going is to the block."

            "And what good will that do you I didn't kill him so I can't be killed for him.  I don't fear you, because you're no someone who can condemn me to death."

            "I'll kill you," she screamed as she drew her sword to strike me down.  As the blade was about to strike the room was filled with a ring as my sword cut hers down.  She fell to her knees crying with what she had almost and wanted more than anything to do.  I knelt beside her and held her till she stopped crying.  She looked up at me and I could see she still felt the same love for me that she had a hundred years ago. 

            "I'm sorry for what happened to your father, but I promise that I will find the one responsible for your fathers death." Final she let go of my arm and stood.  She looked like she was about to fall apart she was distraught.  I couldn't just leave her like this I had to find out who had killed her father.  I told the men that they were under new rule.  I had given Garnet my word that I would find the ones who had done this to her father. 

            "People of the elfish forest, you are under a new reign.  Queen Garnets Rule.  By order of your sacred laws you are to fallow her orders and her laws," they looked just as happy as they had a hundred years ago when Faviren had been made king because his father and mother had wanted to live a happy life without strain and left the forest forever.

            "Queen Garnet I wish to take ten of your finest men to hunt down the druids and the one responsible for this mess."  It wasn't likely that I would find the one who killed Faviren, but I still had to comfort Garnet.  Even with her new power she was still ridged with the effort not to cry. 

            "You may take my entire army if it will help you defeat our mortal enemy, the Druids, but please find who killed my father." I had to hold back the need to hug her, to comfort her.  I was still sick with the feeling of being alone.  I was glad she gave me her army; I thought that the death of the king would have ruined my chances of defeating the Druids.

            I told the soldiers, which were more than I had expected, that we had a crisis and we needed to be ready to move by morning so I told them to fest on whatever they could down, for it would be a long time before we reached the next town where they could eat.  "Have as much as you can eat and take what carry.  Its a long way down the narrow paths of the High Mage Forest.

            But sir, why not take the path through the mountains.  We could cut the trip by half and we might even be greeted by the dwarfs.

            I have been there already there is nothing there but bones and rusting armor even the mythril was taken when the druids attacked the mines of mount Serion.

            Butthatthats impossible. My sister Nayomy was staying there.

            She might have gotten out in time and then headed for the village we are going to now, but we wont know unless we get there alive not will we.

            Yes, sir.

            Now, enjoy the last decent meal well get till we reach the Iksay village.

 

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The High Mage Forest

            "Jak Savadi reporting, sir," stated the young man now heavily flanked by at least a hundred other Cloud Knights wearing an armor of green, which stated that they were still just new mercs with the same undeveloped gift.

            "Is this all of them," I asked waiting for the young man to stop blushing and answer the question.

            "No sir, but they are on there way to the mortals to hire an army or two to help."

            "Good.  Ill send a rider to tell them to hold nothing back we will need a rather large force for the assault."

            "Yes, sir," the young man slapped his fist to his armored chest in salute and I returned it.  After a few seconds of thinking of who to send I yelled to one of the elves to send for Faulks.  Within a matter of seconds he was standing where Jak had been and he gave me a salute with a rather loud echo off the forest walls.

            "You called for me, sir," he was one of the most loyal of the Cloud Knights even if he was a little too enthusiastic about an assignment.  At least he would spare not a second to sleep if he could to get there before the other Cloud Knights.

            "I need you to go on an assignment."

            "Anything for the commander of the Cloud Knights."

            "Good.  It should be easy for you.  I need you to ride to the Koran Tower and wait for the a few Cloud Knights that will be looking to purchase the help of some mortal mercs.  I need you to find as many that will take the job as possible and wait till the others arrive.  You are to find as many as possible, but you will need to keep this quiet.  We dont want to start any wars."

            "Yes, Sir!"  Ok so maybe he was a little too enthusiastic.  Did I have a chose he was almost as fast as me; though, I could never spare the time.

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