Chapter OneDreams “Alban. Alban! Wake up!” Alban opened his eyes. His mother was standing above him. “It’s the Awakening, isn’t it?” His mother nodded. They were members of a group of rebels trying to overthrow Lucifer. Lucifer was a fascist dictator that called himself a king. He ruled over the land of Kanseben, the empire in which Alban and his family lived. For months, the rebels had been planning an attack on Lucifer’s castle called ‘The Awakening’. And today was the day. Alban stumbled out of bed and walked down the stairs of their two-story home. In the kitchen, he found his father serving breakfast to a tired-looking Sebastian, Alban’s brother. Almost as soon as he finished breakfast, they all heard a loud blast from the horn that the rebels had secretly positioned in the bell tower last night.? ? ? At age ten, Alban and Sebastian were working for the rebels. And in the battle that accomplished nothing except weakening the rebels, they lost both their parents forever. As Alban’s alarm clock went off, Alban tore his way out of the memory he had been thinking of. And as he got dressed, eleven years after the battle, he swore to himself that he would avenge his parents’ death. Chapter TwoDiscovery “Ting, ling, ling…” The bells jingled as Alban opened the door to the library. One of the things that worked best to distract Alban from his troubles was reading. His favorite author was Elien, a well-known Elf poet. As Alban was browsing the shelves, he noticed something. One of the books on the shelf looked older than the others. He looked carefully at the spine. It was covered in little gold swirls and leaves. Definitely an Elvish author. Curious, he slid the book out of the shelf. It was titled “Elvish Lore”. On the first page, there was a dedication. “To Gildien, who in his wisdom remembered that the Elves never lie.” Interesting. As Alban turned through the book, one particular song caught his eye. It sang of a secret passage that the Elves had used to travel to the outside world. The Elves liked privacy, and nobody could enter their realm without permission. This was the safest route in and out, and the only one not protected by this magic. Suddenly, a lightbulb went off in Alban’s head. He turned back to the first page. And there again, in flowery script, was the dedication. Elves never lie. Which probably meant not in their songs either. Alban returned to reading, pondering what he had just discovered. Then, another interesting song appeared. Near the middle, it described an elf seemingly appearing out nowhere in the middle of a human library. In the front of the song, Alban found the name of the library. Elder Branch Library. The same exact library he was in. Alban turned to the first story, which told of the creation of the magic divide. Apparently, it was impossible to use magic to either enter or exit the Elvish realm. Which meant that there was a trapdoor hidden in this library that led to the Elves. Who could help him avenge his parents.Alban searched the book for any clues that might help him find the trapdoor. At the end of the book, there was a section devoted to Elvish Art. One of the drawings had some fuzzy lines, which on closer inspection were tiny script. It said “History s6 r3 b13”. Alban took this to mean the history aisle of the library. When it was in front of him, Alban realized the weird text was referring to the shelves. He located the sixth shelf, counted third from the bottom, and located the thirteenth book. Unsure what to do, he looked at the book again. At the bottom of the page, there was another smudged line. The text it provided was only one word: push. Alban pushed the book, unsure what would happen. And, just as he was about to turn away, he fell into an underground room. Whether the Elves would help him or not, there was no turning back now. Alban jumped. A loud voice emanated from the very walls: “We have waited long for such a day. Please continue, we have been expecting you.” And with that, the far wall slid upward to reveal a long passageway. As Alban started down the long path, the wall slid shut behind him with a clang. In his head, he heard the echo of his thoughts. No turning back.Chapter ThreeSecrets As Alban walked down the seemingly everlasting passageway, he took a look around. The walls were carved out of stone, gilded with gold. The stone carvings were precise, inscribed with little scenes of battles, times of peace, and other moments in Elvish history. Bang! While looking at the carvings, Alban had not noticed that he was walking towards a doorway. Rubbing his head, he slowly opened the door, unsure of what he would find. Behind the door was a simple room. Cautiously, Alban walked in and closed the door behind him. As soon as the door was shut, it opened again of its own accord. But not to reveal the passageway. “Welcome to Azmelmulan, The Realm of the Elves,” a loud voice spoke. When Alban’s eyes adjusted, he realized that an Elf stood before him. But something seemed different about this Elf… something mysterious… With a gasp, Alban realized that he was standing before Luthian, Lord of the Elves.Luthian was tall, maybe close to seven feet, although this was typical among Elves. He wore beautiful robes covered in blue gems. On his head, there was a crown made of pure gold, with three rubies in the center. He lived in a large mansion located in the center of Azmelmulan. Alban was given a lavishly decorated suite, complete with a 360 degree view of the whole of Azmelmulan. Apparently, the Elves loathed Lucifer almost as much as Alban did, and they had left that book there in hopes that the right person would find it and come to them. On his second day, Alban began training. Luthian himself taught Alban, instructing him in sword fighting, archery and, most importantly, magic. The true language of the Elves contained limitless power, and to the name was the thing. The word for fire did not mean fire, it was fire. To now the name of a thing was to controll it, and to now the true name of a person was to control them. The true name of a person included their personality, their accomplishments, their flaws. It was their entire being in one single frase. Furthermore, to speak in the language was to cast a spell, and it was impossible to lie in the language. People had tried and tried, but the language always twisted their words into a truth. Luthian always provided a good dinner, and it was no different on the night that Alban was leaving Azmelmulan. Once they had had their fill, Luthian signaled and the servants took away the food and vanished, In private, Luthian informed Alban of all of Lucifer’s weaknesses. As Alban got up to go, Luthian gave him one last piece of advice. “There is no victory without a sacrafice.”Chapter FourThe Gathering “Alban?” Sebastian had thought that Alban was dead for about a month. “Alban get in here right now.” As soon as Alban closed the door, Sebastian raised his fist to give his brother a proper beating. “Hættu!” Sebastian’s hand stopped in mid-air, thanks to Alban’s quick wits and magical training. “I believe an explanation is in order.” Yes, one of those is certainly overdue, Sebastian thought.”While I was in the library, I found a book of clues. This book of clues led me, in short, to the Elves. While there, you thought I was dead, but really I was learning and mastering sword fighting, archery and magic. This is how I stopped you from smashing me to a pulp.” Ahh… so he is a magician.”Do some magic for me.” “Brjóta niður þetta hús!” The house around them crumbled into dust.”Byggja musteri!” The dust rose in the air and came back together into a house.”That’s pretty cool. You could use magic to kill Lucifer.””Unfortunately not. Lucifer, it turns out, was a pupil of the Elves too before he turned upon them. He is just as adept at magic as I am. No, this battle will have to be decided by swords and wits.” “Unfortunate indeed. Well, at least we can help you… right?” “Yes. Please gather the troops. We will march to Gunterra and lay it under siege. From there, we will move towards the castle, and while our armies clash, you and I will battle Lucifer in the keep.” “I need a horn and a sword to gather the troops.” “No problem. Ég kalla tvö sverð og einn hávaða-framleiðand!” A sword appeared in their hands and a horn in Sebastian’s free hand. “Hold on. Couldn’t you just make a sword appear in Lucifer’s stomach? I mean, it would basically be the same as fighting him and winning.” “I could try, but he will probably have put up wards against magical harm.Speaking of which, Engin ör eða sverð skal gata Sebastian eða Alban! There. Now we can only be harmed by magical weapons. No direct magic, no regular weapons.” To demonstrate, Alban threw his sword at Sebastian. Two feet away, it stopped in the air and slowly floated downwards. “Komið til mín, sverð mitt.” Alban’s sword flew back into his hand. “Let’s gather the troops.”? ? ? A loud horn blast woke up nearly half the village. It had been eleven and a half years since they had last heard that sound. A Second blast woke the rest of the village up. A final blast ended the order. Because everyone in the village knew that three blasts from the horn meant only one thing. Gather and attack. The blacksmiths were the first to spring into action. They opened their shops, ready to give equipment to whomever needed it. Then they set to work, making as many swords and sets of armor as they could. All the soldiers slipped the donkey disguises off their warhorses, and prepared saddles and food packs.The watchmen turned the huge dial to READY. A loud scraping noise signified that the gates were still working, and inside, the mechanism had set the gates still locked but ready to open at a moment’s notice. Slowly, the entire village gathered in the main road, a fifty-foot wide stretch that extended nearly a mile. One more short blast and two long ones signaled to the gate-keepers. The large dial turned to UNLOCK and another loud scraping noise signalled that the gates were unlocked. All around the perimeter of the wall, torches were autonomously lit. One last blast, the longest yet, gave a clear message to everyone. The dial spun one last time and came to a stop at OPEN. With a loud crunch, the main gates flew open and the army of Farthalmes, the largest army in all of Kanseben, marched out.Chapter FiveSiege The plan was simple. Put Gunterra, the city closest to the Castle, under siege. They would take it’s food, weaponry, armor and troops. After recovering, gathering the troops, and collecting the supplies, the army, which at that point would be the combined numbers of both cities, would march the the Castle of Kanseben. They would force a battle, and while the fighting was going on, Alban and Sebastian would sneak into the Castle and battle Lucifer in private. However, this was easier said than done. The march to Gunterra had been tedious. They had to remain secret, so Alban had put up a fake image of the village. He had also had to render the whole of the army not only invisible, but untouchable and noiseless. This had proven a bit of a challenge. After a lot of thinking, Alban came up with the following spell. “Þessi her skal ekki séð hvaða fólk, né heyrt af neinum fólki, né snert af hvaða fólki!” After three days, they reached Gunterra. They slowly spread around the circumference of the city, and readied the battering ram. They pushed it, and slowly it gathered speed. Because they did not need protection, thanks to Alban’s spell, they decided to go against traditional methods and just push the battering ram at high speeds. On the first attempt, the gate crashed into thousands of pieces. The army rushed in, but after three days of sleeping on their horses and not getting adequate meals, the soldiers were tired and did not fight well. It did not help that the soldiers had not had to live like this or fight like this for eleven years. Alban helped, but even he had limits. He could not give the soldiers any real skills without knowing their true names, and it would only make them more reckless and out of practice. But eventually, they subdued the warriors of Gunterra. After making the army visible again, Alban invited those who wished to join the army and aid the march against Lucifer. Those who stayed would be treated fairly, and although the army would need supplies, there would be food enough for those who stayed to live. After a while, the army started to gather again. And then, the march started. The march that would only end when Lucifer died. Or they died. Whichever came first.Chapter SixTurning Tides The march to the Castle was, although tedious, very useful. It allowed Alban to practice magic and teach his brother good sword fighting skills. Also, it gave him some time to ponder the words of Luthian. He had said there was no victory without a sacrifice. What would the sacrifice be? He would just have to wait and see. “Halt!” The army came to a stop. Once again, Alban released the spell that had rendered them invisible and untouchable. “Óp,” he whispered to himself. “King Lucifer,” he shouted, his voice booming because of the spell he had cast. “We are here to relieve you of your throne. If you wish to surrender, we will accept you kindly, but if you continue to rule, then we shall kill you. Give us your answer now, or this castle will fall to dust and you will fall with it.” They did not have to wait long for an answer. But what they did not expect was it’s location. “So…” Alban and Sebastian spun around. Their army was speaking as one. “You wish to fight me, young warrior? I will oblige…” The army started marching again. “Halt! HALT!” They paid on heed to Sebastian or Alban, except keeping their eyes and weapons pointed at the two brothers. “Sebastian, Lucifer has gained full mental control of our army. We need to get out of here. Now!” They ran to the gate of the castle. It was locked. “Opna!” The gate gave no response to the command. “Sebastian, Lucif–” “Lucifer locked the gate with magic, I understand! You don’t need to narrate every moment of our–” There was a loud bang! as Sebastian crushed the helmet of one of their attackers. “Life. I have eyes too, Alban.” “I now, ok, I’m just nervous. Lykill!” A golden key appeared in Alban’s hand. He shoved it into the keyhole and opened the gate just as Sebastian knocked out another soldier. “Come on!” They rushed into the fortress and closed the gate just as the army reached it. “That could have gone worse,” Alban commented. “It could have gone better…” Sebastian’s voice trailed away as he pointed. About fifty crossbows were pointed at them. A tall man was standing in the middle of the square, wearing a golden crown. “Welcome to my castle. It’s a shame you had to come at such a time… for such a reason. You see, I have fifty crossbows pointed at your heads. Oh, and don’t even bother with your wards. I saw to them before I even came up with controlling your army. Really, such simple wording… You should spend some time trying to come up with wards that are harder to remove…” Lucifer’s voice trailed off. “Anyways, I suggest that you drop you weapons. The less of a struggle you put up, the less painful your death will be.” “Never!” Alban said, and he threw his sword at Lucifer. Lucifer laughed, and trusting his wards to handle the sword, he began to weave a spell. “Eins og ég klára þetta álög skal jörð gnýr eldur skal gleypa tvær uppreisnarmenn. Þeir skulu deyja langa, kvalafullum dauða og þegar þeir deyja nöfnum þeirra skal eilífu gleymast.” Alban realized what Lucifer was doing, and struggled to deflect the curse. After a long mental battle, Lucifer retreated and called back the spell. He stood, panting, As Alban recovered. Suddenly, laughter filled the room. But not the bright, cheery laughter of the Elves. No, this laugh was bitter and cruel. And it came from Lucifer, laughing at how easy it was to overcome his enemies. “Sverð!” he shouted. A sword appeared in the air, shooting towards the two brothers. “Hætta! Hætta!” The sword refused to stop. Lucifer was simply too powerful. Alban could only stand and watch as the sword strike home. Sebastian fell to the floor. Alban stood there in shock, watching helplessly as his brother, his last remaining family, died. “I will kill you! You killed my brother! You killed my parents! You–“”Actually, they sort of killed themselves.””–are going to DIE!””We’ll see.””BROT!” Alban’s sword flew out of his hand and rushed toward Lucifer. Lucifer was so busy laughing, with complete trust in his wards, that he did not notice that Alban’s spell had not shot the sword at him. Lucifer only stopped laughing and noticed what Alban had done when with a loud twang! the sword struck Seldönarí, the fifty-foot wide star carved out of solid ruby, dead center. The crack spread quickly, and with a rumbling noise, the Castle of Kanseben began to collapse. Lucifer turned his gaze back to Alban, and his smile had completely vanished. Oblivious to the stone crashing down upon them, the two magicians dueled spell after spell flew between them, and nothing that wished to live stood in their way as they chased each other around the castle. Suddenly, Alban uttered a spell no one had ever dared try before. “Ég aðskilið þig frá uppruna þínum galdra!” The air around them grew heavy, and then there was a loud crack! Lucifer recovered quickly and continued to fight, but to his dismay, he had lost all magical powers. Alban had done what no other magician had before accomplished. He had won a duel by separating his opponent from The Language, separated him from the very source of magic. “I told you you would die. And you will. Deyjum.” Lucifer fell to the ground, lifeless. Alban set his corpse of fire, then sat down, thinking. After a while, he whispered “Gera við skemmdir.” The castle repaired itself. Alban walked down the passage to the front gate, where he gave his brother a proper funeral. He sat down, mourning his dead brother. The night was over.Chapter SevenRepair “Lækna. Lækna!” The wounded were many, and the memory of Sebastian’s death was still fresh in his mind. No matter how many times he cast the healing spell, more injured just kept coming. One of the problems with having a large army was that you had many mouths to feed, many people to heal. And, in Alban’s case, he had to get back to the Elves within a week. Just then, the line ended. Alban couldn’t believe it. He had healed the whole army! Now they could march. “Welcome, Alban.” Luthian was standing in the doorway. “I’m sorry to hear that your brother died.” “Yes, that was a real tragedy. I am planning on putting up a memorial for him at home.” “That would be lovely. Maybe you should try some sculpting while here.” “An idea as good as any. Do you know how Lucifer got so powerful? I would like to now so that I can help make the world a better place.” “You are just like your parents. They always thought that they could make the evilest of magics work for good.” “You knew my parents? Can you tell me about them? I did not really get to now hear about their past.” “You might be interested to hear that they are still somewhat alive.” “What?” Alban was bewildered. “They were only counted amongst the dead because their bodies were never found. Just as the battle started, they traveled through the same secret passage that you used to travel here. They warned us of the fight, and we immediately sealed all of the entrances to The Realm, including the Library Tunnel. Your parents have been living here ever since.” “Could I see them?” Luthian smiled to himself. A small voice peeped out of the corner of the room. Alban had not noticed the woman walking into the room. “You are looking right at them…” Her voice trailed off. Luthian and the woman both had small smiles on thei faces. “Mom…? Dad…?”? ? ? Alban stood upon the top of a large hill. Much had happened that month. He had led an attack on the Castle of Kanseben. His brother had died. His parents were alive. And now, even when the night had just begun, there was still more to do.