The Guardians of Embrellon – XI

When Jatar returned to his quarters, one of the Archivists asked to speak with him, he bade him enter, and the Archivist in a very hushed, excited tone, told him he found it, he found the reference they were looking for, and it was from the time of Whitlaw’s daughter Lantana. It said that they had discovered a way to use the crystals to create a weapon that would end the war with the Marn, and give their world peace. It said to look to Lantana’s tomb and the answer would be found. Immediately, Jatar sent out Scouts, they had been looking for the tomb for centuries. No one as far as he knew, had located the tomb, and now, with this reference, finding whatever was in the tomb became too important to miss.
He hadn’t said anything to Chrylos about the tomb before they left for Varna, and he reminded himself that as soon as he had some kind of answer he would send him a message. Right now he was so focused on finding the tomb as well as keeping the Craft Masters working on what they had found, that telling Chrylos slipped his mind.
Chrylos and Catya returned to Varna, their children were as excited to see them as they were them. Gryton and Zala went to see their children as well, children, the litter was grown, had joined the Guardians, and were preparing to go on maneuvers with the rest of the Rangers when the message arrived from Jatar.
He wanted them to search Varna for the Tomb of Lantana, there was a secret weapon or defense hidden in the tomb and they needed to find it. Chrylos told Catya they need to return to the Lantana’s Tomb, they took a squadron of Rangers with them and left that day.
They arrived at the tomb on the second day. The other base commanders had left them the day before, they had troops to ready, Chrylos and Catya were more fortunate, the bulk of their Guardians were seasoned veterans. They entered the tomb and began searching with Gryton and Zala’s help. They found what they were looking for. In the back of the tomb, behind one of the walls, was a room about ten meters square, inside the room were several cabinets and inside the cabinets were Faron bracelets, with tanzite crystals in them. These crystals were different than the diadems they wore, or the sword and dagger pommel crystals. The crystals had faceted faces on them and in the cabinets were thousands of the bracelets, enough for every Guardian and cadet. Chrylos decided to put one on, and when he did, the tanzite crystals in his sword, dagger, diadem, and bracelet began to glow and when he pointed his hand toward the floor, a flash of light exploded, and smoke filled the room. He took off the bracelet and decided to go outside before putting it back on. He put the bracelet back on and the tanzite glowed again, this time he pointed it at a rock in front of him and it disintegrated. This weapon would indeed change the outcome with the Marn.
He and Catya quickly sent a message down the link to Jatar to come, with a patrol and meet them. Jatar arrived a day later and when Chrylos took him inside the tomb, there was a strange silence that fell on Jatar, and with tears in his eyes he told Chrylos that all his life, he had heard about the Tomb of Lantana, every Senior Commander knew the story, but he and Catya found it. He hurried his cadets into the tomb and they loaded the bracelets. Jatar told Chrylos that the bracelets focused energy and if the wearer focused his thoughts, he could use the energy as a weapon, a shield, for protection of others, and if linked with many guardians, could form a protective barrier that no weapon could penetrate. It was the greatest find in Chrylos’ life. They returned to the Great Temple, called for all the Senior Commanders, trained them to use the bracelets, and sent them to their bases with bracelets for all the Guardians. This would be a one sided fight when Tygos’ forces returned, and they wouldn’t be able to take Catya. Chrylos and Catya breathed a sigh of relief, and with this, the Tomb of Lantana became a place that all Embrellon revered and would visit.
Once the devices were distributed to all the Guardians, they had to learn how to use them. They were controlled by thought. And the mind had to be trained to do it. Chrylos seemed to be an adept, he was able to get the shield without a struggle, and he could fire the energy blast now without losing the shield. That was going to be hardest for them. You had to learn to keep the shield up, and fire the energy, and it was amazing how you could focus the energy into a fine point, or into a wide pattern, and keeping the shield up took effort.
The other Guardians weren’t as fortunate overall. There were a few who were naturally adept like Chrylos, the others were struggling just to maintain the shield. It bothered Chrylos that something like this was happening, the Guardians were all used to flying while speaking on the link, maintaining the link during battle, and functioning on the link, but operating the bracelets while fighting seemed different, it took so much concentration to keep the shields up. They all could fire the energy bolts effectively, but only a few could do both at the same time, and those few, weren’t enough to protect the planet.
They had to keep working at it until they could all use the crystal weapons. They still didn’t know if the shields could deflect or absorb a blast from the Marn weaponry, they only had what was written inside the tomb. That they could form a shield, use an energy blast, and combine together to make a large shield, but, what they didn’t have was instructions on how. It made Jatar think that the reason the bracelets were in the tomb was that even though they had discovered the secret of tanzite, they couldn’t make it work well enough that all the Guardians could take advantage of it, and it was a bandage over a larger problem.
He asked the Archivists to look in the records of three hundred years ago to discover what happened that caused the Marn to abandon their conquest of Embrellon. They didn’t have the bracelets, they had been entombed one hundred and fifty years before the end of the last Marn conquest. They had abruptly left and hadn’t returned for three hundred years. They needed answers, and they couldn’t wait.
As he was pondering all of this, he failed to notice that someone had entered the chamber and was watching him from the shadows. Then, someone spoke to him, “Jatar, you are trying too hard to find the answers you seek. The solution hasn’t eluded you, your blinded by the chaos in your mind. Clear your mind of everything, and the solution you seek, will become apparent.” Jatar looked around to see who it was that had spoken from the shadows, and he saw the outline of large Skree, he asked who was there, and he was shocked when Tambar stepped from the shadows and sat down in front of him. “Jatar, how long have you been bound to Quinlan?” he said, and Jatar said “Thirty-five years since he broke his shell” Tambar looked at him and told him to seek the council of one he shared his mind with. Then he was gone.
He cleared his mind, and reached out for Quinlan, and his life-mate came to the chamber, laid down upon the bier beside his chair, looked deep into Jatar eyes, and began to ease his mind. There was more to the Skree than they knew. Quinlan, who seldom spoke aloud, told Jatar to think of peaceful thoughts, places they had been that brought him great pleasure and peace, and when he envisioned the private place they had built, it was in a small glade, with trees around it, a small lake fed by a stream was there, the water was clear and cold, and the house they built was a cave that they had found closed the face up, put in running water, found a way to heat water, built a sauna room, and had furnished it with small things from a good life. When he and Quinlan had found their mates, Tarina and Lereeza, they had both been brought to that place, and they had spent their lives together, and for them, he must win against the Marn.
As he focused on the peaceful life that they had tried to build, he realized the answer to the problem wasn’t to train all the Guardians to be able to do what Chrylos and the few could do. What he needed was to train them to all raise the shield, but not all of them needed to hold the shield and use the energy bolt at the same time. He got excited. If they could specialize the training to do one or the other. They could all use the energy bolt, and everyone could bring up the shield, and if he trained his forces to do either one or the other, and continued to train those who could do both to be Rangers, they might just have a chance after all. He wasn’t kidding himself, it was going to take a lot of hard work, and it would take time, but they could make the time work. The other thing that they didn’t know was if the shields would deflect or absorb the Marn weapons, he needed to test them, and he had an idea, if Chrylos was willing that is. If the shield could deflect or absorb the energy bolts the crystals produced, then maybe they could absorb the Marn weapons. They already saw that the energy bolts were far more destructive than the Marn weapons, and if that was the test, then they needed to do it.
Jatar sent for Chrylos, with a hope he would say yes. He was nervous, this was a test that could be deadly to the person holding the shield and right now, sacrificing a leader as good as Chrylos was risky at best. He just hoped Chrylos would see the reasoning behind the request, and say yes. Chrylos entered the room and he seemed bigger to Jatar, possibly it was self confidence that made Chrylos seem larger, but their hope was about to be placed on his shoulders and he hoped that Chrylos was up to the task. Chrylos asked him what he needed and Jatar, looking at his hands, raised his head and Chrylos could see the hope, the pain, the torment in Jatar’s eyes. As he stood there looking at Jatar, he knew he was about to be asked to do something dangerous, but something that was absolutely necessary. Chrylos spoke before Jatar had a chance, “Jatar, I know you want to ask me to do something, something dangerous, something that might kill me, and your struggling with asking me to do it. Whatever it is, whatever you’re going to ask of me, the answer is yes, I will do whatever it takes to secure the peace and safety of our world, for all of Embrellon, Brellon and Skree alike.” As usual, Chrylos had said yes. He couldn’t remember a time when given orders, that he had ever refused, or even questioned the tasks that he had been given. This was a relief to Jatar and made the request that much easier.
He told Chrylos what he wanted to try, and how if the shields would deflect or absorb the energy bolts, then how he wanted to train the Guardians to deploy against the Marn. Chrylos looked at him, and then he slowly smiled, he would do it, and he saw the possibilities, and what this would mean. It was a little scary, to stand there with a shield made of energy, to see if it was strong enough to repel an energy bolt, but, the alternative made him even more fearful. To see his beloved Catya taken away, forced to marry someone else, and to be gone from his life forever, not to mention that her life-mate Zala couldn’t survive off world, and she would surely die once Catya left, and that couldn’t be allowed to happen, it would devastate Gryton to lose Zala, and then all four of them would be dead, because he knew that if she were able to, Catya would rather die here than be taken, even if it meant dying by her own hand.
Chrylos prepared himself as best as possible. He had taken as firm a stance as he could, and raised his shield. He had discussed it in depth with Jatar, and they decided that since he could raise the shield and keep his concentration better than the others, that he would be the one to be fired at. Jatar wanted to do it in stages, try the blast with a weaker bolt, and increase the intensity as they went, but they had discovered that so far, that couldn’t be done. They could make it a pinpoint of precision, or a wide bolt, but it was the same intensity, either way. So, Chrylos came up with an idea, they would use the wide disperse pattern first, if the shield held, then they would narrow the width of the beam, that they could do. He chose his second in command to fire the bolt. Cartan was the best second he had had, and if this went terribly wrong, he would be able to take command of the Rangers.
He stood there, it was a cold winter day, and he had sweat trickling down his spine. He looked Cartan straight in the eye, and said on the link to fire. The blast was like lighting, and when it hit, it shook Chrylos but, the shield held. He waited a few minutes, prepared himself again, and told Cartan to narrow the beam by half. He got set, and Cartan fired, the beam hit hard, but the shield held. Chrylos, his arm numb, held up his hand, and told Cartan to rest, he needed to regain the feeling in his arm, it was numb. It felt like insects were crawling on his skin. He needed to think, he asked Gryton if he had any thoughts, and Gryton laughed, that low throaty laugh of a Skree, and said “Clear your mind before you try again, find your place of peace, and once you have it, and your mind is calm, the shield will be stronger than your armor.”, he hated how easy the Skree made that sound, and worse yet, they could do it, it was part of their nature, men, now they had to learn how.
Chrylos now began to seek the quiet place, and realized that when he was first learning how to communicate on the link as a cadet, Gryton had told him the same thing. Maybe, that was the secret, the process never changed, the people did. As a cadet, he had to learn how to calm his mind to use the link, as was with all cadets, this wasn’t any different, just a different application. He calmed himself, found his inner peace, then he formed the shield and looked at it not as something made just of energy, but that the energy had form, and was strong like his armor. He told Cartan, to start where they left off, fire the beam at half width, when he did, the shield held, and Chrylos’ arm didn’t hurt. He told Cartan to narrow the beam again, half width of what he just fired, the shield held, and even though it hit hard, his arm was fine. This time he told Cartan to fire a full power pinpoint beam right at his heart. Cartan fired, the shield held, but it the power of the beam knocked Chrylos back about three meters. They were amazed, the shield held, and his arm was buzzing, but he wasn’t dead. At least they now knew where and how to start the training, and that the shields would hold.
Jatar was excited, as well as concerned, Chrylos and Cartan were the two best Guardians at using the shields and energy bolts. He really need them to train a core of men, at least one hundred, so that they in turn could go and train others. How much time they had, no one knew, but it wouldn’t be long before the return of Tygos, and time was a luxury they didn’t have. He made the only decision he could, Chrylos and Cartan would have to train the others, and he would give command of the Rangers to Ranger Third, his own son, Jazar. That grieved him, he didn’t want his son to die, but what other choice did he have. Jazar, a man in his own right, a Ranger now for ten years, veteran of at least twenty battles, was the choice.
Jazar received the news with mixed feelings. He was honored his father chose him. He respected him, he also respected Chrylos even more, the man had changed the future of all Embrellon and given them all a chance. He looked up to him, and was honored to a part of his men. But command had transferred to him. He hoped to honor his father, not disappoint Chrylos, and most importantly not dishonor himself. He always felt that he wasn’t of comparison to his father, one of the Greatest Rangers, and leader of the High Council, former head of all the Guardian forces, an honor he hoped to achieve on his own merits someday, and now, he was in charge of the Rangers who could hold the shield and fire the energy blast, he had one hundred men in his command, and they were the first line of defense for the planet. He had to make sure Chrylos and Cartan had time to train the men to hold a shield, while the other troops learned to control the energy blasts with precision. He wasn’t sure who had the more difficult job, but they both would do the jobs given with all they had to give.
Chrylos and Cartan were also concerned, not about Jazar, they had complete confidence in his ability to lead the Rangers. They were concerned that there wouldn’t be enough time to train the Guardians and face the Marn. That was their duty, get these Guardians trained, with a force large enough to face Tygos and his horde. They had to depend on one hundred Rangers, trained to use the shields and energy blasts, to stave off an invasion long enough to give them time to train the Guardian forces.
Before Jazar was to leave with the Rangers, Chrylos asked Jatar if they could have a meeting, there were things he needed to discuss with Jazar, and wanted Cartan and Jatar in the meeting. Jatar didn’t know what Chrylos wanted, but it was plain he was up to something, and it had to be important, or he wouldn’t have asked for Cartan, Jazar, and himself to be in the meeting. He had also asked that their bond mates be there. Which was odd, because you couldn’t hide anything from your bond mate, and they didn’t have to be in the room to know what was said, they could listen via the link. Then it struck Jatar, he didn’t want what he had to say on the link.
When they were all together in a room fully inlaid with tanzite, it would prevent anyone on the outside from hearing via the link, Chrylos looked at them and releasing a long breath, he began, “Cartan and I are tasked with training the men to either raise the shield, or use the energy blast. That as a task seems simple. What I really need to do though, is to train a squadron of men to raise the protective barrier spoken of in the record left behind in the room inside Lantana’s tomb. I can’t help but believe that there are more secrets in the tomb, and we just didn’t find them. I believe that my first task though, should be to train another group of Rangers that can manipulate the energy blast with the shield up.” There were a few moments of silence, and he continued on, “I believe that if Jazar handles this assignment the way I’m about to suggest, he will give us more time to train the Guardians, it comes with a price though, men are going to lose their lives in the process and that is something no leader is ever prepared for. Jazar, I have complete confidence in you as a leader, and I know you will do all that is expected of you, this assignment is more important than you think. I need time, and I need you to give me that time. You have to make Tygos’ forces chase you all over Embrellon, and I need several months to accomplish the task that Jatar has given Cartan and I.” It struck Jazar how sincere Chrylos was, he meant he what he said. This would be his hardest assignment ever. Chrylos continued, “When Catya and I were in the Homeland, we were shown many things, some, we gave our word to Tambar to keep secret, others I can freely share. Jazar, when you’re on this assignment, if you need help before I can get a relief force trained, try to find or contact Tambar, he will come to your aid when you need it most.”
Jazar had a look of astonishment on his face, Tambar he thought, the Pride leader of the Free Skree, Protector of the Homeland, and Honored member of the Great Council, a position given him by Joktar, his paternal Grandfather. He had some questions and now was as good a time as any to ask. “Chrylos” he said, “I need to know some things before I leave on this assignment, and I believe that you and Gryton are the only ones who can answer them. I need to know the location of Lantana’s Tomb, and I need to know where Whitlaw’s Cave is at. I may need to hide my men at times, and I know that those two places could provide the needed cover.” Chrylos looked at him and said “I can give you the exact location of the tomb, but I don’t know of anyone who knows the location of Whitlaw’s cave, no one has been there in six hundred years.” Everyone had a general idea of where it was located, in the northern end of the plains, but exactly where, no one knew.

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