Chapter 11

What ends well…

And the swordsman spoke to his companions, and he said "What can we learn from such an adventure. What wisdom have we acquired in this battle of magic?" And they thought deeply. Then the Spearman stepped forth and spoke:

"Screw prophesies. Lets get another beer."

And there was much rejoicing.

- From the book of Cheese, small and uninteresting prophesies, chapter 16, verse 33-9746 ¾.

The Assassin had pulled up his hood, in a  vain attempt to cover himself up. The Titans had been the most beautiful creatures on earth, but the demons had given them a face that went with their new masters. The Dark Knights kept their face hidden, but now that he was dehooded, he felt terror stab his mind. Through a mind going rapidly mad, the Assassin had searched for the person it blamed for its predicament, the person that had made all this happen. Drake.

The Assassin lunged, the dagger aimed at Drake's throat. Seara tried to push him out of the way, resulting in Drake being pushed to the left and slightly upwards. The blade went through his right shoulder. The world exploded in pain and darkness as the dagger was pulled out, and fell down through the mist. Had Drake or his friends been in any state to notice, they might have heard the flap- flap of scaled wings. The Assassin staggered back, and whatever he was planning to do was too late. A huge form swept out of the mist and grasped the Dark knight in its talons. The shriek of a great dragon could be heared then, and the two healthy mortals stood stock still at the sound of it. Drake, who had just been hit by the cruellest weapon in the world, was not healthy however. He slid forward, and hit…

Dirt.

Many authors big and small have wondered about the best way to wake up. Some claim that the famous " everything will be alright" and a soothing hand is the best way. Everyone agrees that the praise "You search his pockets, I'll find a place to bury the body" is the worst one.

A sad voice saying "well, even if he dies I could always raise his skeleton" is not among the best.

Drake opened his eyes. He felt horrible, but also slightly proud that his friends had kept their sense of humour while he was away. He hoped it was humour anyway.

Seara was hovering over him. When she saw he was awake, she gave him a dazzling smile. Since she had pearly white teeth and pale skin, you really understood why the Creator had given elves lips. Red lips. "You're alive!"

Drake tried to clear his throat to reply, and realised that he couldn't move a muscle in his throat.

"The wizard king used magic to heal you" Seara explained "But he said something about were it was aimed and that your throat would heal in time."

Drake nodded carefully (Nodding without moving your throat is an achievement) before he looked around. He was in a tent, which was layed on the ground. That explains the dirt, Drake thought, and I suppose I'm in Ralock's tent then. Hawk was absently spinning her hammer on the floor and Javlin was leaning against a chest. Ralock and Emily was nowhere to be seen. He cast Seara a puzzled glance.

"Emily is with the Reaper Men. She said she had a thing or two to tell him."

Drake smiled and nodded. He was suddenly glad he was here, wounded, instead of there, trying to make sure no one was hurt.

"And the wizard king…. He took the Titan's crown and disappeared."

Drake gave her another puzzled look.

"Literally disappeared. Magic, I suppose. I think he left to fight all the Dark Knights. That would explain all the explosions."

Drake listened intently; Great explosions and screams of agony completely failed to occur.

"I suppose he is finished now" Seara continued.

"We could have won."

They looked at Hawk, who was still absently spinning her hammer.

"The orcs, the trolls, we could have taken them. We had all the armies in the world fighting for us. Then the Dark Knights came, and everyone just… panicked. It was like they couldn't control themselves."

They probably couldn't, Drake thought.

"And then you fell in, and once everyone came over the shock Ralock looked at your wound and healed it. Then he took that- that crown and got all cold and…." She stopped her hammer and looked at him. "You'll be alright Drake."

Yes, Drake thought, but its not me you're worrying about right now. He remembered how Ralock had been when Hawk had wanted to follow him to Kandar. Strange as it may sound, it seemed like both parts of their relationship was overprotective of the other part. Considering that this was the two people in the world who was least likely to need protection, this was rather amusing. He looked at the throne in the middle of the room. It was the great iron thing that Ralock had gotten in Mort.  As if his glance was a cue, Ralock suddenly appeared on it.

The way he appeared could be described as a lot of atoms suddenly deciding to ban together and become something. Drake would not have described it like that however, partly because he wasn't poetic by nature, but mostly because he didn't know what an atom was. If anyone mentioned it, he would probably think it was some sort of fruit.

Ralock sat on the throne like a man with the whole world literally sitting on his shoulders. The crown was forced so hard upon him that it drew blood. Drake had a feeling he had seen this scene before.

Hawk was about to go to him, but stopped. "Is it… is it over?" she asked.

Ralock lifted his head. His eyes were eyes that had seen too much, and his entire face was a picture of tiredness. Well, except for the nose. A nose seldom looks any different whatever feelings might bully the rest of the face. It is what we call a neutral body part.

"Almost" he said. "Javlin?"

"Hmm?" Said Javlin, straightening up a bit.

"Touch my crown."

Drake stopped breathing.

"Why should I thouch your crown?" Javlin asked, puzzled.

"It has to do with magic. I foresaw it some time ago"

Javlin shrugged and stepped forward, and Drake tried to cry out, but he couldn't speak. He looked around himself, but no one here had heard Ralock prophesying that 'the limping hero would limp no more'. Emily was with the bloody Reaper Man for crying out loud! Or rather, not crying out loud. He tried to move, but he was to weak to make a grab for Javlin. Seara looked down at him with concern.

"I think there's something wrong with him" Javlin said.

"I'll take a look at him," Ralock promised. "Now touch my crown."

Helpless, Drake could only watch as Javlin reach forward. The effect was instantaneous.

Javlin screamed, and jerked back, but whatever forces ran through him seemed to follow him. Bones cracked and his skin ran like wax. He fell to the ground, still screaming.

Everyone looked in horror at the sigh, except Ralock, who watched uncaringly. Or was there faint satisfaction in his gaze?

Then the process changed.

The waxy skin turned back to normal, only whiteout wrinkles. The bones reasserted themselves, free of any hindrence old age might have put on them. What looked up from the floor was not an old man nearing the end of his days.

It was a man no older than twenty five, and he looked mightly surprised. Then he looked down at his hands, and the surprise turned to disbelief. He raised one hand to touch his face and felt the smooth skin in wonder.

"Yes, it's you" Ralock said. Javlin looked at him.

"How did you…"

" With time. With understanding. With magic. That's all you need to know."

Javlin stared at him, speechless, and Ralock turned to Drake.

"And now I think we should let Drake speak again."

Drake felt as if someone had removed a collar from his neck. "Why." He cleared his throath. "Why didn't you tell me you were going to make him young again?"

Ralock grinned, and his eyes seemed to gain back their previous warmth. "That would have been much less amusing. I saw how you writhed on the floor. Don't you trust me?"

"Of course I do, but you said that 'When he touches the Crown of Knowledge, the limping hero will limp no more.'" Drake protested.

Ralock nodded. "Javlin, walk around a bit please.

Javlin did so. There was not even a shadow of a limp.

Drake looked at him. "Well, that explains it. What are you going to do now?"

"Get rid of this bloody crown" Ralock said easily.

"But that crown has all the knowledge in the entire world inside it!"

"Exactly" Said Ralock, standing up from his chair. "And one thing you realise when you have that much knowledge is that ignorance really is bliss."

He looked at Hawk. "Please, I need your help in this."

She nodded and touched his shoulder. They disappeared, and the sheer emptiness they left behind seemed to deny they ever stood there.

"Well, that's one way of ending an argument," said Seara.

"What argument" said Emily as she entered the tent. She looked at Javlin. "Who are you?"

"That's Javlin" Drake explained. "He got young again when he touched the Titans Crown."

Emily just looked at him, before realisation hit. "Let me guess, he's not limping anymore?"

"Not an inch! And now that the Dark Knights have been exterminated, the wizard king plans to loose his crown and so forth" Javlin put one arm over Emily's shoulder and one over Seara's "I suggest we party."

Emily and Seara sent him identical glares and he dropped his arms.

"Are you telling me" said Drake "That five minutes after you have cheated Death himself, you plan to party?"

"Certainly! Youth is wasted on the young, and I don't intend to miss one second of wasting."

"But isn't there anything we should learn of this great adventure?"

They thought for a moment.

Then Javlin declared a memorial phrase and suggested they should all get another beer.

"Sounds good"

"Worth a try…"

"Hey!"

They looked at Drake. "How am I suppose to do any partying if I'm to weak to move?"

Javlin strode forward, and put an arm around Drake's shoulder, hauling him up. Emily took the other side. "If anyone ask," Javlin grunted, "You had too much to drink."

"And you are not to drink" said Emily "You're to young."

"Then you aren't drinking either" he said stubbornbly. Emily gave him a look.

"Was I planning to?"

And with that the heroes walked into the sunset, bickering a bit and lurching slightly (Swordsmen tend to have a lot of muscle mass.)

"I win" Fate said, smiling slightly. "And you lose" he added, in case this wasn't obvious.

"On the contrary" Death said. "I believe several orcs and so forth were killed by the wizard king. Not to mention several Dark Knights. And as you know, one Titan soul, even a corrupted one, is worth 33 mortal souls." Death grinned. "And thus, I have won."

"But I won the game" Fate protested weakly. His head was killing him, as Death probably knew "I always do."

"That is true" Death conceded. "You are Fate. You tip the scales one way or the other. You cannot lose. But you see." Although impossible with a bone face, death's grin appeared to widen.

"I am on both sides of the scale."

Drake satt down. He didn't have much choice, since his legs were too weak to carry him. He leaned back and sighed. "So what happens now?" He asked the world in general, but the figure beside him in particular.

Geist showed no surprise in the fact that Drake knew he was there.

"Not much, not much… Ralock will have to find a new job, since I don't think he wants to remain king. And Fate will probably need a holiday somewhere."

"So it's over" Drake said. And I'm out of a job as well, he thought. Just as well.

Geist glanced at the wound in Drakes right shoulder. "How's the hand?"

Drake glanced at it. The mark in his palm, the Titan's mark, seemed to glow in the candlelight. Perhaps it was just sweat.

"I cant move it yet."

Geist nodded. "That's an Assassin's dagger for you. Talk to Seara about it, she seems to know a lot about dark magic."

Drake looked thoughtfull. "Theres something special about her, but I can't put my finger on what it is."

Geist looked over at him. While this hero could jump to conclusions like a professional, he didn't seem to notice a romantic plot if a five pound hint hit his head from great height.

"Not sure."

"Anyway, why are you here?"

"Oh, I'm not really here" Geist lied "I'm just a fever fantasy, that's all."

"Really?"

"Yes, you're getting delirious."

"Nice of you to let me know."

Of course, there were some loose ends.

In Mort…

"Commander, it's the Reaper Men"

"What about them?"

"Their all dead, to say one thing but it's something even stranger!"

"What can be stranger than a Reaper Man actually dying?"

"They were smiling sir"

Pause

"Well, people did say that cracking a smile would be the last thing any of them would ever do."

"Just one thing sir…"

"What, soldier?"

"It must have been one hell of a joke, sir."

None of them thought about how the first one had seen the smiles since Reaper Men always wore masks. Geist slipped away. This was fun.

And in Kandar…

"So the wizard king drew all that fire right into the Hand!"

One of the workmen leaned out of the window and looked at the hand.

"All of that power, locked up in there…"

"Yes" said the first one.

"Aren't you supposed to clean that tomorrow?" Said a third.

There was a pause.

"You know what, I'll take three of your kitchen duties if you take that washing for me."

"Not a chance."

The dragon looked through a hole in the mist.

"He's too good for her" he sniffed.

Geist looked at his master. It was no secret that Titans and dragons hated eachother. At least, up until now.

Through the hole in the mist, Geist saw Ralock and Hawk laughing together.

"Why couldn't he have found himself a nice dragon girl. This First born doesn't even have scales!"

"All children grow up eventually" Geist said, and wondered what Dor was probably muttering in his sleep right now.

"Still, I don't like it" the dragon said stubbornly.

Geist looked through the hole. At that moment he wondered whether Ralock and Hawk should be classified as Titan and dragon or just as two humans.

"I wonder…" he said to himself.

"Wonder about what" the dragon snapped, not taking his eyes of the hole in case she tried anything.

"Nothing."

In the real world, a dragon and a Titan, or possibly just two humans, leaned in for a kiss.

(A/N) sorry about the bad ending, but I had to think of something? Anyway, that's the story. It's the longest one yet, and I'm quite proud of it.

If someone has actually read this far (which I doubt), it would be nice if you could take a few seconds to review. I know this story stinks, but why does it stink? Is it the characters? The lame plot? Too many clichés? That's the sort of questions I have to ask myself.

I'll probably be doing some humours one-shots next, which should be a lot better. Or funnier, at least.

I'll call its 'its not easy being evil' or something like that.

Eat cheese!