Three years after joining up with Mel D'Alkirk, Dyne and his friends must face an ancient enemy, unlike anything they've ever encountered before: the evil demigod Amalek, who once led Zophar's dark forces. But Amalek's power is too strong for any human to withstand, and Dyne must earn the title of Dragonmaster to save Lunar and fulfill his destiny.
AUTHOR'S NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Once again I would like to thank all of you on the Shrine To Ghaleon Message Board for helping me out with my fanfic research. It really means a lot to me, because I really want to get this right. If you're reading this right now, it means that you most likely enjoyed "Comrades In Arms, Volume One," and that also means a lot to me.
This volume of the "Comrades In Arms" trilogy is probably going to be the most difficult to write, and I'm willing to bet that if I take any heat for "historical inaccuracy," it's going to be for this volume. I haven't played "Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete" yet, so when I was writing this, I didn't know how they were going to change Lunar's history. By the time I found out, I was almost finished, and I'd gone to far to turn back, although I was able to work a little bit of it in. I claim artistic license, and to all you purists out there, I apologize if I screw up any of Lunar's history. If you would like me to clear something up for you, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, here's a little trivia for you: if any of the chapter titles sound familiar, they're all based on Shakespearean quotes. Since the title came form one such quote ("Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!" from Julius Caesar), I wanted all the chapter titles to do the same (don't ask why; it just seemed like a good idea.) Also, if the name "Amalek" sounds familiar, it's from the Bible. Amalek was the name of an evil tribe (some say descended from Esau, the evil brother of Jacob), who ambushed the Israelites when they had just left Egypt. The name "Amalek" has been associated with evil ever since. I figured that made it an appropriate name for a villain.
Again, thank you all for your support. Enjoy!
He had almost lost track of how long he had been sealed away. His prison was a dark void that he could not see out of. Movement itself was almost impossible. But I can still remember, he thought. I can still hate. And I WILL escape this cursed prison. Even if it takes me a thousand years! And then I shall have my revenge on Althena and all of her children!
But anger and desire for revenge burned too strong within his dark heart to wait any longer. If he could not strike down Althena's children himself, he knew someone who could, and who had done so to many of them in his time. Focusing all the energy he had managed to store throughout his imprisonment, he sent his thoughts across time and space.
"Amalek," he whispered.
Master? The voice echoed through his head. I have not heard from you since you hid me away during The Great War.
"It has indeed been too long, my most trusted vassal. But now, Althena and the humans she cares for will know our power once more. They have grown soft and weak with her coddling. You shall have no better time to strike then now."
At last! How I have waited for this glorious day! I only wish you could be there to witness my triumphant vengeance and Althena's ultimate defeat.
"When Althena's power is vanquished, and the bonds that hold me here are shattered, I shall be able to look upon your great masterpiece with my own eyes. Do not fail me."
As you command...Master Zophar.Chapter One: Perchance to Dream
No, thought Dyne. He's too powerful. I can't stop him...but I must...
He charged once more at the menacing, red-cloaked form, but was struck down again. The figure looked down at Dyne and laughed scornfully. Dyne reached for his scimitar, but a powerful magic bolt rendered him completely immobile.
The shadowy figure laughed again, and its cloak seemed to spread. It kept spreading out until it covered the whole sky, and blocked out the light of both the sun and the Blue Star. Blood started to rain from the sky, and Dyne watched in horror as he saw people all around him, screaming in agony as they shriveled into nothingness. A beautiful woman appeared, looking down upon the carnage with an unbearable expression of sorrow on her face. The figure laughed again, and fired a magic bolt at the woman...
"NOOOOOO!!!" Dyne screamed, as he woke up, released from the haunting nightmare. He bolted upright in his bed, covered in sweat and gasping for breath.
A nightmare. That's all it was...just a nightmare...wasn't it?
He tried to go back to sleep, but the nightmare still haunted him. Then he felt a strange sensation on his hand. He noticed that The White Dragon Ring was shining brightly, for the first time since Quark had given it to him. Was his nightmare really just a bad dream...or a premonition of things to come?
The next morning, Dyne joined Ghaleon, Lemia, and Mel in the dining hall of the Darkfire. The three of them were enjoying a hearty breakfast.
"Wow! So did they live happily ever after?"
"Ah, Dyne!" said Mel, seeing Dyne enter. "Glad you could finally join us! Breakfast is served."
Dyne smiled weakly as he took a seat, and just stared absent-mindedly down at the table.
The three exchanged looks. In the three years the four of them had been together, never had they seen Dyne so quiet -- or turn down a meal.
Lemia gave Dyne a worried look. "Are you all right? You look awful."
It was true. He looked slightly pale and haggard, and he was trembling.
"I heard you screaming last night. Was it a nightmare?"
"Yes," Dyne said. His voice came out like a hoarse whisper. "But it seemed like something more...like an omen...I'm sorry. I just don't know how to explain it."
"Dyne...your Ring..." Ghaleon whispered.
Dyne looked at his Ring again. It was still glowing. "I don't know what it means. It started glowing right after my nightmare." And he told them about the dark figure and the woman, and the destruction he had foreseen.
"What does this mean?" wondered Lemia.
"We should go to Althena's Shrine," Ghaleon said. "Maybe they can tell us something."
"From where we are, it'll take a week at top speed to get there," Mel grumbled.
"It doesn't matter," said Dyne. "Something big is happening, and I feel that I may be a part of it. It could be part of the destiny Quark foretold. I must know."
The group agreed. "Navigator!" roared Mel. "Set a course for The Katarina Zone!"
Dyne's nightmare kept returning every night of the weeklong journey to Althena's Shrine. Each time, it seemed more intense. But the red-cloaked figure kept getting clearer as well. The face was human, male, with one blue eye and one brown eye. The symbol of an eye with a sword run through it was engraved in silver on the breastplate of his dark armor. But it was his expression that truly gave him the malevolent aura: utterly devoid of pity, reveling in the misery and death he was causing.
He also saw the woman clearer. She was amazingly beautiful, with long, blue hair, and shining sapphire eyes. She wore a pink dress with silk ribbons that were a pure shade of white. She haunted Dyne as much as the dark figure, even when he was awake. He even joked to himself that the nightmares were worth it if it meant getting to see the woman again.
On the last day of the voyage, Dyne was standing at the bow of the ship, watching as the Darkfire headed towards the Katarina Zone. He could see the Goddess Tower in the distance, and Vane in its endless protective orbit around the Tower. He suddenly started thinking about the woman in his dreams.
He noticed Ghaleon coming up to him. "Dyne? Are you okay?"
Although Dyne felt stupid going on about his dreams over and over again, he needed to talk to someone about them. He had known Ghaleon longer than anyone else in his life, and felt he could trust him. He told Ghaleon about what he was starting to notice about the dark figure of his dreams, and the beautiful woman.
"Strange..." Ghaleon said after hearing Dyne's description.
"The dark figure you describe...and his symbol...seem familiar. So does the woman...could it be...?"
"What? Tell me!"
Ghaleon shook his head. "No. I can't be sure. I don't want to steer you down the wrong path in case I'm mistaken."
"You KNOW I hate it when you do that!"
"Start to say something and then say ˇ®forget it.' I trust your judgment. So just tell me, okay?"
Ghaleon sighed. "Well...it's just that the woman you describe...reminds me of the Goddess Althena."
Dyne's eyes widened as Ghaleon's words sunk in. Was Althena in danger? And what was he supposed to do about it?
What could he do?
"You'd better tidy yourself up," Ghaleon said. "We'll be at Althena's Shrine pretty soon, and you'll probably want to look presentable."
Dyne nodded and went back to his quarters. After shaving several days' worth of stubble of his face, he looked at himself in the mirror. He smiled as he thought of what the eleven year old boy he was when he began his travels would think of the twenty-two year old man he was now. His dark hair was medium length, and hung loosely over his shoulders. His face was handsome, earnest, and well tanned from years of outdoor living and sea travel. His green eyes were still bold, impetuous, as they always had been.
He changed into a clean set of traveling clothes that were in better shape than his others: black shirt, tan pants, olive green cloak, leather boots, and a blue baldric for his scimitar slung over his shoulder.
He joined Ghaleon, Lemia, and Mel on the deck just as the Darkfire arrived at the continent's shore. "Is everything ready?"
"We're all set," said Mel.
"You're coming along too?" Dyne's tone indicated he wasn't at all surprised.
"Sure! If somethin' big's about to happen, I wanna know about it right away!"
Dyne grinned. "Anyone else?"
Ghaleon and Lemia immediately stepped forward. Dyne gave his three companions a warm smile, thinking about how close the four of them had become in their years together.
"Wait," Lemia said. "How exactly are we going to get to the Shrine? Mel is still wanted for piracy, so we can't dock in Meribia."
"No," said Mel, "But we can drop anchor just off the coast near Althena's Shrine, and use a lifeboat to land."
"Great," Dyne said. "Let's do it."
The four adventurers were unusually silent as they walked towards Althena's Shrine. Perhaps because it was they knew that Althena was right above them. Her Fortress stood on the top of the same mountain that The Shrine had been carven into.
At the entrance of the Shrine, a young lady dressed in white welcomed them. "Welcome to Althena's Shrine. May I ask what brings you here?"
"This," said Dyne grimly, as he held out his hand with the glowing Dragon Ring on it. "We need to speak with the Head Priestess."
The girl looked at it curiously, and then her eyes opened wide in shock as she recognized the Ring. Her classes at The Shrine had told her much about Althena and the Four Dragons. And if somebody came along wearing a Dragon Ring, odds were that whatever their business was, it was urgent. "By the Goddess! Please follow me." She quickly ushered them inside.
Despite their concern about Dyne's dreams, all of their worries seemed to fade as they entered the Shrine. The beauty and serenity infused them with a warm feeling of comfort, security, and peacefulness.
The girl returned. "The Head Priestess will see you now," she said. "Follow me."
The group followed the girl into the main chapel of the Shrine. An elderly but beautiful lady, wearing the white and silver robes of the Head Priestess, was waiting for them. Her face was gentle, but grim.
"Greetings," she said solemnly. "I am Lady Iseult, the Head Priestess of Althena's Shrine. Where is the one who bears the White Dragon Ring?"
Dyne stepped forward. She looked at him, and her eyes widened as she looked into his. "You...the green eyes...what brought you here?"
Dyne described his dream to Iseult, telling her as best as he could about the dark figure and the beautiful lady. Her face became increasingly fearful the more Dyne spoke. When he described the symbol on the figure's armor, she looked like she was about to faint. "Amalek..." she whispered in terror.
Ghaleon looked up sharply as he heard the name. He had heard it long ago, when he studied Lunar's history as a child in Vane. And he hadn't liked what he had heard about Amalek.
Dyne looked puzzled. "Who?"
Iseult sighed. "Thousands of years ago, during the Great War which destroyed the Blue Star, Amalek was the dark god Zophar's second-in-command, the general of his dark army, and his most faithful and vicious follower. Nobody really knows anything about him, except that he is a powerful demigod with an endless appetite for death and destruction. He was an exceptionally powerful warrior, and none could match him in battle.
"But during the last days of the War, the White Dragon of Althena challenged and defeated Amalek in single combat. Amalek was believed to be killed. Soon after, Althena and the Four Dragons were able to defeat and banish Zophar to the void, despite the fact that as a result of the battle, The Blue Star was destroyed, forever frozen until the day comes when it is to be restored."
"What does that have to do with here and now?"
"Perhaps Zophar saved Amalek from death and kept him hidden away to use against Althena one day. And that day may be at hand. Since Zophar is forever imprisoned within the void, he must rely on his faithful servant to do the dirty work for him."
Dyne frowned at the thought of such a disaster. "And if he does return?"
Iseult seemed even more shaken as she continued speaking. "Then Amalek will become even stronger that he ever was. He will reign death and sorrow on the people of Lunar, destroy everything Althena has created. No human, or even the dragons, can stand in his way."
Then she looked into Dyne's eyes and smiled strangely. "But all is not lost. There is one of great power who can destroy Amalek's evil. One greater than the dragon that defeated Amalek. And your Dragon Ring means that you are destined to become that one."
She approached Dyne and gestured at the Ring on his finger. "You must become...a Dragonmaster."
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