Out of Time
It was a few days after the attack upon Warfang, shortly after Demetrius return to his lair.
Infernio was kneeling before Demetrius. He was still missing his left arm and his head was bowed heavily "Forgive me for my failure, master" said Infernio in his plain metallic voice which revealed nothing of his feelings. Only his actions showed his regret. "I underestimated the strength of our enemies."
Demetrius looked at Infernio with an almost amused look. "Please Infernio, there is no need for that. You did everything I could ever have expected of you" said Demetrius finally with a smile. "Stand up, there is no need for you to degrade yourself for something which does not demand it."
"But I failed you, master" said Infernio even as he rose to his feet. "Had I anticipated the apes arrival we could have taken Warfang."
"But you did not and I won't hold that against you. The arrival of those meddlesome apes and the speed at which the Guardians defeated the Golem both surprised me" said Demetrius in a gentle tone. "But such surprises happen during battle and even the most well laid plans can be destroyed by chance.
What is most important is that you are still with me."
"You honor me, master" said Infernio as he bowed before Demetrius.
Demetrius smiled. "You are the only one I can fully trust in this world,
Infernio" said Demetrius. "But there is no need for you to blame yourself. I always anticipated that we might not achieve victory today and that is why I have taken the steps to make sure we have the time to rebuild our forces."
Demetrius walked into his own chambers and Infernio followed him. Inside the first sight which met them was Spyro still immobilized by the dark field.
Demetrius walked closer, but stopped a few meters from it. He would not risk the field reacting to his presence and potentially dispersing.
"I feared they might find a way to release him given time, but now, now we have all the time we need. Though it might take years to bring our forces back up to the strength they had before, it is nothing compared to how long it will take the Forces of Warfang to rebuild" said Demetrius with a cold smile. "Slowly and surely we will crush them."
"Should we kill him?" asked Infernio as he walked up next to Demetrius.
"No, it is far too risky, at least for now" said Demetrius. "Though the field keeps him trapped it also protects him from outside harm. If we removed it and were even a second to late in killing him, he could cause major damage if not destroy us outright. I know what kind of power he commands."
In Demetrius mind however he also knew that Spyro would eventually draw Cynder to him. To Demetrius the Purple Dragon also represented his best way of luring Cynder back to his side. She would join him or
Demetrius shook his head. The mere thought of having to kill Cynder hurt like a deep wound. But if he could not bring her back to his side then he would be forced to kill her. And he feared he could never get her back, that she was already beyond his reach and whatever he did now only pushed her further away.
He involuntarily scratched his claws across the stones in frustration creating a loud screeching noise.
"Is something wrong, master?" asked Infernio immediately.
"No, I am fine" said Demetrius regaining his composure. He turned around and walked out the room. "Let's go fix your arm, Infernio. You will need it soon enough."
As he walked his mind turned from doubt to grim determination. He could bring her back, there was no doubt about that. If he pushed her far enough into sorrow and desperation she would see the true path once again. The path which ran alongside him.
But as they left the room a small Dragonfly flew out of the shadows near the ceiling and quietly followed them, casting only a quick glance back at the immoveable Spyro.
Meanwhile Meltor stood upon a rock in the large main cavern and watched as Demetrius and Infernio descended to the forges down at the bottom.
He felt nothing but disgust for Demetrius, but he could not avoid admiring the strength of the army he had created. They had fought against the forces of Warfang in open battle and dealt heavy damage to them.
But the retreat had been a mistake in his eyes. They could have defeated the Guardians for good and taken Warfang, he was sure of it! If Demetrius had not focused on his own interests, everything could have been over now, Meltor was sure of it!
And now he would wait for ancestors know how long before attacking again!
Meltor could not allow it, he could not wait! He had already waited far too long for the blood of those who destroyed his family and continued to be a blight upon this world, he would not wait longer.
Meltor heard footsteps behind him and looked behind him to see Lith´iru walking out of the tunnel behind him.
"How is Frigitor?" asked Meltor calmly letting none of his frustration show.
"His wounds were only light, he is almost completely recovered already" said Lith´iru with a smile.
"And you are feeling all right too?" asked Meltor genuine concern in his voice.
Though Lith´iru and Frigitor had at first only been tools to him, they had over the years become quite dear to him, reminding him that there was still some good left in this world. As much as he wanted his revenge, he also wanted to make sure they survived this so their child could have the life he was never able to give to Zilaru.
He bowed his head in pain as he remembered his adopted child who had died to save him.
"Are you all right?" asked Lith´iru concerned.
Meltor raised his head and pushed the memory aside for now. He had to stay strong, so he could get revenge for himself and Zilaru.
"How does it look for the others?" asked Meltor. "Are they ready for battle?"
"While we lost quite a few in the battle, the support from the elementally infused warriors kept casualties to a minimum so we are still over three dozen left" said Lith´iru and then smiled devilishly. "Are you planning to finally strike at Demetrius?"
Meltor smiled and nodded. "I have studied him and his Iron warriors and I think I know how to get control of his army once he is out of the way. But we will need the help of the captured Dragonesses."
"We can free them at a moment's notice, but I am not sure how many will fight with us. Many are
broken from what they have been through and don't seem to pay much heed to what happens around them anymore" said Lith´iru. "But some will support us."
"That is alright. Even if they don't fight with us they should cause a distraction and keep some of the Iron warriors busy while we do what needs to be done" said Meltor.
Meltor turned around and walked towards tunnel. "Spread the word and make sure everyone is ready. We strike in the evening morning. Then we will finally remove that blight from this earth. Can I trust on you to stand beside me when I face Demetrius?"
"Off course. Me and Frigitor have your back no matter what happens" said Lith´iru passionately.
"Thank you" said Meltor with a smile, but at the same time he silently promised himself to protect Lith´iru and her unborn child. He would not bear the burden of a lost future once again.
At the same time Craz was hurrying back through the corridors. He ignored the Iron Statues he passed by, having learned that it was only the one known as Infernio who was aware of anything really. But he carefully avoided the few dragons as he headed for the prison cells.
He reached it undetected as he had done many times before and quickly found Erthra´s cell. She was as usual lying on the ground and only raised her head a little as she saw him enter. She looked terrible with a lot of dirt covering her before smooth scales and her claws were worn and in some cases completely broken off from her constant attempts to destroy the chain which held her or claw her way out.
Her belly had also gotten noticeably larger since Craz had last been there and there was little doubt that it would soon be time. He only hoped his sister and the forces of Warfang would attack before it was to late
"Any news?" asked Erthra slowly her voice barely audible. She had been calmer in the last few days than when Craz and his sister had found the place, less
out of her mind for lack of a better phrase. But it seemed to be calm brought on by fatigue and hopelessness not clear thoughts.
"Warfang has succeeded in repelling the assault from what I could gather, but it seems it was not easy for them" said Craz even as he settled down in a corner of the cell and brought out his dairy as well as some of the maps of the lair he had been working on. He did not tell her of Spyro, she needed not hear such dark tidings as things was.
"Does that mean they could be on their way?" asked Erthra immediately a bit of hope finding it ways into her eyes for once.
"Yes I am sure they are on their way right now. My sister would make sure of that" said Craz forcing himself to smile. "This nightmare will be over any day now."
He quickly and crudely put down the things he had learned on the paper and then put away his stuff and flew over too Erthra. Landing on the top of her head he gently started removing the filth from her horns and scales.
"They have to save my child" said Erthra quietly before she laid her head upon the ground and closed her eyes.
"They will, they will" whispered Craz gently. "And don't worry, I will be here with you no matter what happens."
"I know you will, my friend" whispered Erthra and continued with a bit of optimism. "We will go back to Warfang together right? We will forget this place and I will raise my child in safety
yes, that is a good dream."
She fell asleep and Craz sighed deeply. He wanted to help her, keep her hopes up. But he could not deny that it was getting bleaker with every day that passed. And then there was those dragons who seemingly plotted to fight Demetrius soon
Erthra had seemingly ignored them, being only focused on her child, but Craz feared what might happen if they really tried to bring down Demetrius. Would Erthra remain safe in such a case?
He lay down upon her back to rest himself and forget such worries for a time. At some point he fell asleep however and he knew not how long he had slept when he was suddenly woken as Erthra´s body shook suddenly.
He awoke almost instantly as a loud pained noise escaped her.
"Erthra!" he exclaimed immediately as he could hear her heaving for breath. "What is wrong!"
now!" exclaimed Erthra even as her body shook in obvious pain. "The
egg. It is time
Craz froze. It could not be now
it could not be now! The forces of Warfang were not here yet
But not far away from there another dragonfly suddenly shivered as a chill ran down her spine.
"Is something the matter?" asked Vynin who had felt Jacira's sudden sharking.
nothing" said Jacira sounding unconvinced herself. "Just the chill of the night."
"I am sure he is okay" said Vynin figuring that Jacira was thinking of her brother.
"He better be" said Jacira.
"How close are we?" asked Cynder who flew beside´s her daughter at the head of the hundreds of dragons from Warfang who were heading towards Demetrius lair.
"We will be there by morning if we continue through the night" said Jacira with raised voice to overcome the sound of the wind rushing by.
Cynder nodded and looked behind her. She could see the three guardians also nod in recognition that they had heard it.
Vynin also looked at her mother and he gaze automatically went to the black crystal which hang around her mother´s neck.
Her mother noticed her gaze and shook her head. "It is a weapon against Demetrius, I will say no more."
Vynin sighed. It was the same answer she had gotten every time she mentioned it. Instead she turned her attention towards her own back where Hunter was sitting with Gravi.
"How is he?" asked Vynin gently.
"Sleeping peacefully" replied Hunter quietly with a smile.
Vynin and then turned her gaze forward. But as she did that she saw Tironar among the other dragons. For a moment their eyes meet and Vynin felt anger well up inside her. Once this was over she would make Tironar pay for what she had done, that she swore.
She looked ahead again and into the darkness. Snow covered mountains already loomed above them just ahead and Already everything was becoming a little brighter. Soon it would all be over for better or for worse.