Chapter eleven: in which the group reaches Trioden, learns a few more important spells, and receives news from the crows
Brie had secretly (and carefully) led the students back into town, making sure there were no ninjas around. All of the ninjas had left, vanishing like the wind, so Falling Stars was peaceful once again. However, the Rebel’s threat was far too great, so they would not be staying in Falling Stars for long. Brie bought a covered wagon drawn by a large dinosaur-looking beast called a Triceradar. It looked like a Triceratops, but with long legs, split toes, slightly longer horns, and blunt spikes sticking up from its back. Its body was forest green with a yellow underbelly, and its horns were silver. The beast snorted, ready to head for the next town.
“Hop in the wagon, we’re going to Trioden!” Brie cried, slapping the reins. The Triceradar reared up (only about 2 feet) and trotted down the old dusty road.
“I wonder what the landscape will be like,” Desmond said, resting his head on the edge of the cabin.
“It’s not as amazing as you might think,” Creole informed him. “Sure, the hills in the area are really tall and there are small islands that float above the land, islands that some people live on, but it isn’t super impressive.”
“Well, that’s pretty disappointing,” Samson grumbled. “Marleybone is a lot cooler than where we’re heading.”
“In your opinion, maybe, but Trioden is located at the bottom of a really tall hill, right at the edge of the Nightopia island!” Brie said.
“So it’s basically on the edge of the island? Like on a cliff or a plateau?” Danielle asked.
“The plateaus are located to the west of where we’re going,” Brie told her. “Other than that you’ll be seeing mile after mile of hills, illuminated only by the night sky of the Spiral and a few sparse Saturna trees growing here and there. There are hardly any flat plains in the Trioden region; only hills and flat-topped plateaus.”
The tarpaulin that covered the wagon bounced a bit as the Triceradar began to walk on the bumpy surface that was the beginning of the hill landscape. After about 10 minutes, the forested town of Falling Stars fell away, and the endless hills of Trioden came into view.
“Why are there so many hills?” Sumatra asked, confused.
“The mountain in Falling Stars, better known as Mount Silver, was actually a volcano. When it erupted, much of the lava and molten rock and dusty debris fell to the right of the entire island, hardening and forming the vast hills of the area.” Brie said. “The plateaus were formed by the metamorphosis of a legendary but extremely rare creature called a Tyrai monster.”
“Whoa, what is a Tyrai monster?” Danielle questioned Brie.
“These flightless dragons have no wings and resemble the raptor aztecosaurs, but they can grow to be at least 40 feet tall, some even as large as mountains. They often have long spiraled horns sticking from the back of their heads and their large size prevents them from being able to travel far on tiny islands. When they get to be 5 years old, they dig up a huge hole in the ground and bury themselves. After about one more year they claw their way out, and by that time they’ll be at least 27 feet tall, and will keep growing after each meal until they reach 40 feet in height.”
“That sounds really scary,” Creole responded. “I’ve lived on this island for 14 years, because that’s how old I am, but I’ve never seen some monster like that!”
“Well, they are very rare,” Brie told him. “Like I said, their size makes it hard for them to travel on small islands. However, Nightopia is large enough to support a small population, but the beasts wouldn’t have far to go. Also, you have to consider what they’d eat-they’re meat eaters, and one could devour an entire town!”
“Forget what I said earlier,” Creole corrected himself. “That is a lot scarier.”
“I haven’t seen any either, but that doesn’t mean they’re extinct,” Sumatra said. “There could be one buried under one of these hills, metamorphosing at this very minute!”
“Stop scaring me!” Creole snapped, glowering at Sumatra. “It’s bad enough that our friends have been kidnapped; we don’t need to worry about a giant monster either!”
“He’s right about that,” Desmond agreed. “Just change the subject, Sumatra. We can’t worry about a monster when our friends matter more.”
“Ok fine, but if one erupts out of the ground when we reach Trioden, don’t come crying to me,” she said with a shrug.
The wagon rumbled on through the bumpy hills, the Triceradar running on its long toes up and over the many hills but keeping to the dirt path. Tons of hot air balloons, a few airships, and small rafts and skiffs flew overhead, taking the easy route to the city. Samson suggested that they all play I-spy as they travelled, but with only hills and a couple of sparse bioluminescent trees, the game wasn’t so exciting.
“I spy something with my little eye…something that is…green!” Samson yelled, his eyes lighting up.
Danielle poked her head out of the tarpaulin. “Is it another hill?” she asked, bored.
“Uh…no! Definitely not a hill, I assure you!” Samson stuttered, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Trioden City!” Desmond cried, pointing out the wagon.
“No, it’s not Trioden city, because cities aren’t green,” Samson scolded him. “I thought you’d know better, Desmond!”
“Look out of the cart, genius,” Desmond said, still pointing. “I wasn’t even playing I-spy with you. I’m talking about the actual city!”
Samson looked at where he was pointing and realized the truth. “Oh, you meant the actual city,” Samson mumbled, his ears and tail drooping. “Well, at least we’ve made it.”
The Triceradar pulled the wagon over the tallest of all the hills, and it dashed down to the base rather quickly. A half a mile ahead was the city of Trioden, an olden-style city with wooden and brick buildings and cobblestone streets. The city was much smaller than both Nightopia and the legendary city of Akhra, but like Akhra there were a few stone bridges that connected the tallest buildings, about 7 stories, together.
“The oldest part of the city is where we are going,” Brie informed the students. “That area doesn’t have a whole lot of citizens, and those who do live there are kind people who mind their own business and who are polite.”
She slapped the reins again, and the Triceradar veered sharply to the left, trotting over the cobblestone streets and past the newly built buildings.
The wagon entered the old part of the city, where the wooden buildings were very aged and some rotting a little. Tall street lamps kept the place illuminated, and hardly anyone was outside except for people’s mounts and a few flocks of wild scarakeets. Brie pulled the wagon up against the only brick building in town, which was a small inn, and told the students to hop out.
Danielle jumped out last and looked up at a nearby streetlamp, which was 14 feet tall. “Geez, a lot of things here are pretty tall.”
“That’s simply because people have no need for ships in this part of town,” Creole told her. “They can simply ride or walk here, and it saves windstones and fuel and prevents serious pollution.”
“The environment here is really pretty, so people want it as nice and natural as it was before anyone ever lived here,” Sumatra added.
“Come on inside children, I’ve bought four rooms and one recreational room for us,” Brie said, poking her head out of the doorway. “Better get started on our lessons if we’re going to save the others.”
The students followed her inside and were greeted by a crystal chandelier, dark green floral wallpaper, and a few potted plants stationed next to the doorway of the recreational room. A short man in a uniform stood behind the front desk of the inn, looking a little bored. He gave Brie the room keys for everyone before going back into his bored trance.
“This way kids, follow me!” Brie said, waving her paw and bringing the students into the recreational room. Except for a long table and 9 chairs, the room was basically empty.
“This is pretty average,” Samson commented, looking around.
“What were you expecting, an elegant ballroom?” Desmond asked.
“Well, yes, sort of,” Samson replied. “I didn’t think it would be so empty.”
“Enough talking, and let’s get started!” Brie exclaimed.
Everyone in the room except for Brie practiced on former spells that they learned, mostly the glowing ball of light and Valor’s Armor. Sumatra flipped through her father’s book before stopping on a certain page.
“Listen to this,” she announced to the others, putting the book on the table. “I found the spell on how to summon your immortal matrix!”
Everyone gathered around her as she began to read. “Everyone’s inner matrix is different; no two are the same creature. Even the smallest of matrix-the rat, mouse, vole, rabbit, fox, rattlesnake, rat snake, and cobra-are very powerful, and they can use their powers with much force. Summoning the matrix is often the hardest part, for some matrix will only come in a time of need, and are “accidentally” summoned by the host or owner’s mind, in an unintentional way.”
“So how do you summon a matrix?” Samson questioned out loud. “Do you just summon them in your brain or something?”
Sumatra examined the page one last time and nodded her head. “Basically, yes-it doesn’t say any other way,” she answered him.
Sumatra closed the book and walked into the center of the room. She sat down cross-legged, careful not to mess up her skirt, and closed her eyes tightly, her forehead wrinkled a bit as she thought. Suddenly, the flattened v-shaped horn on her forehead began to glow a white color, and the white light escaped from it. The light swirled in front of her before settling on the ground and taking shape. The light morphed and transformed into an egret, with long slender legs and an s-shaped neck.
I am Evenor, egret matrix of Tumult Redd, the bird spoke. Who are you, young sage?
“I’m your new master, Sumatra Inuit Redd,” Sumatra answered respectfully. “I summoned you here in a time of crisis.”
What may that crisis be, young master? Evenor asked.
“My father and two friends of ours have been kidnapped by the Rebels, who are actually after us,” Brie told the matrix. “I am currently in charge of these young students, and we need the help of the matrix to stop the Rebels for good.”
Evenor walked around, eyeing each student but then stopped abruptly in front of Danielle and Desmond. You two twins…you are part sage; I can sense it in your blood.
“We’re not just related to any sage,” Desmond said. “We’re related to the warrior Omak, and our matrix is Ramhorn, the golden impala.”
I can sense that from you as well, Evenor chirped. I know Ramhorn personally, and I’ll tell you this: he can’t just be summoned simply. He comes only when he is needed most, and only he determines that time.
Suddenly the door opened, and the flock of purple crows came flying in, all cawing and chirping and flapping their wings in a hurry.
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