COPYRIGHT 2004 M.L.

COPYRIGHT 2015 M.L.

The Elf That Met His Equal And More Part III: The Old Tower

[Copyright Michael Llenos 2010-2014]



In the center of the town of Zanzabar, at a street-side cafe on the outskirts of the Senate-House, Governor Dundlebraak was sipping his coffee with a guilty pleasure and a grave countenance. He looked over at his companion sitting across the table from him. “You should really try these jelly filled donuts,” commented Dundlebraak, as he took a saucer of milk and poured the white liquid into his hot drink.
“No thanks,” was the curt response spoken by a red haired, white-freckled, male elf from the other end of the table, who didn’t look up from reading his papyrus news paper titled: ‘The Zanzabarian Press’. He continued to read his papyrus scroll while being apologetic at the same time. “The toast I ate was a bit too much for my digestion this morning…”
“Suit yourself, Morty,” the governor said dismissively. He was still fatigued from his long, twenty mile trek to Zanzabar, which he started with his friend and comrade, an elf named Kuwer Troddleblog, a little over a day ago—from that fortified, populated urban center named Grynhall Town. Being inside Zanzabar, for the first time in his life, Governor Dundlebraak thought the experience was quite unique. Zanzabar was twice as big as Tyrinia (his town of residence and employment) and the walls and gates that surrounded Zanzabar were twice as high as Tyrinia’s. Plus, the southward view out to sea was stunning. Dundlebraak guessed Zanzabar would have tropical-oceanic, breezy, blue skies for most of the year. And at present the weather didn’t look like it was going to change for quite a while.
The governor grabbed a piece of custard-baked toast from the plate in front of him. He began to munch on it. Dundlebraak was wondering just how long Kuwer was really going to be in the Senate-House, as Kuwer was bringing to the fore something that he thought shouldn’t be taking so long to hear or even that long to debate.
Morty, the elf, put down his papyrus paper as he noticed something moving towards him out of the corner of his eye. “There is our dear elf-friend coming now, governor…. I’m sure he has made everything right again for the realm of Ruundra!”
"We shall see…" Dundlebraak thought, as he turned to the side and spied Kuwer coming towards them both with a kind of eerie composure.
Kuwer Troddleblog walked up to man and elf as fast as he could manage in his red, ceremonial Senate-House cloak. Up close, Kuwer looked grim and it looked as if he had some news that wasn’t going to be any good for Grynhall Town or Zanzabar.
Morty winked at Kuwer. “What’s the news now, Kuwer? Whatever it is, I hope its happy news!”
Kuwer looked at both companions quite vexed.
“What’s wrong?” asked Dundlebraak, as he placed the rest of his custard-baked toast back onto his plate.
Kuwer replied disappointedly. “The cowardly senate has decided not to send any troops to relieve the siege of Grynhall Town.”
“Why did they decide on that?” Dundlebraak asked inquisitively.
“Why else governor?” retorted Kuwer, as he almost spit on the ground in anger over the senate. “They want to save their own skins! Do you blame them for that?”
“I don’t!” teased the governor who was now also a bit upset. “Well, at least they have safety in mind!”
Morty the elf was curious to know more. “What was the reason for their passive-military stance?”
“Oh, it’s not a passive-military stance,” Kuwer declared with a bit of irony in his voice. He took off his Senate-House cloak and placed it on one of the café’s empty chairs. Kuwer stretched his arms around as he yawned. “They just want to save their own heads from being chopped off by the people. They also want to play it safe so they can get elected again at the end of the year.” Kuwer took a deep breath. “I told those senators that they had a major war coming to Zanzabar, which has already engulfed most of Western Ruundra, and that they should send some kind of military relief to the citizens of Grynhall Town… ‘But we haven’t got any word for sure’, replied one senator… ‘And we don’t know if we can spare the men’, said another senator.’” Kuwer was trying his best to mock the senators. He continued. “Well that’s how the entire conversation generally went. It seems that the entire senate wants the army to man the town walls and keep those walls manned at full strength. The senate also wants Dundlebraak (and myself) to go with some senators and man the North Gate. When I heard that I couldn’t believe it, so I yelled in the Senate-House: ‘Well, goodbye Grynhall Town!’”
The governor pondered. “What about Captain Tiliya and her companions? Do you think she will be wiped out by King Polemeth’s army and that renegade Amazon warrior Bythia the Bold?”
“I hope not!” shouted Morty in anger. He chuckled as he swung his arm in an airy arc. “Zanzabar needs all the allies we can get!”
“I know one thing for sure, however,” reasoned Kuwer, “a hostile army is coming to Zanzabar, and what happens once they get here is not going to be pretty for any single one of us… Not you… Not I… For none of us!”

* * * * * * * *

The North Gate was metallic, gothic looking in fact, and seemingly cruel to behold. More so if you wanted to enter through the North Gate but were barred from doing so, or were trying to overcome it as a painful obstacle in your way. Four stories tall, the portcullis was the largest one of its kind in all of Western Ruundra. You could shoot an arrow through one of its iron grid like spaces easily; however, someone had to be close to the other side for that to work, and you would have to be careful in avoiding any kind of defenses just for being that close to its metal workings. It was easier to be calm while challenging the guards on top of the North Gate than to size up the North Gate by itself. Jeer at the guards all you want, it was a much harder thing to think disrespect for the gate’s concrete, iron superstructure.
Kuwer Troddleblog was the first one to spot the small group of horsemen traveling towards them at a gallop. “I doubt they’re a reconnaissance force,” commented Kuwer to his friend Governor Dundlebraak. “There are only four of them and they're in plain sight.”
Dundlebraak agreed. “They may want to arbitrate,” he said, noticing that there was something familiar about the horsemen as they came closer and closer towards the gate.
A human senator, by the name of Sir Dorty, was the next to voice his opinion. “I think it’s an enemy scouting unit that has become lost. What do you think Colonel Morty?”
Colonel Morty, the elf, was puzzled like the rest. “I haven’t a clue, senator.”
Kuwer shook his head in disbelief and confusion at Morty. “I can’t believe they made you a high ranking officer!”
Morty laughed back at his friend. “And I can’t believe they made you a Knight of Zanzabar, Sir Troddleblog!”
“I can’t help that I’m such a wonderful person in the eyes of the senate,” cried Kuwer who sounded somewhat insulted by Morty’s remark.
Governor Dundlebraak shook his head from side to side. “And I cannot believe they didn’t make me into anything at all!”
Dorty smiled at Dundlebraak’s comment. “Are you really that greedy for power Dundlebraak? You are already a head politician of a truly famous and noble town of Western Ruundra. What else more can a man want?”
Colonel Morty laughed. “He may want some more rank for his already overly ambitious career!”
“Of course, I would,” replied the governor, “and maybe your job to go along with it!” No laugh came out of Morty this time.
Kuwer’s eyes became very big when he noticed that the four horsemen were wearing a particular type of armor that was only worn by Amazon warriors.
“Do not fire on these soldiers!” yelled Kuwer to all of the archers on top of the gate and nestled on its adjoining walls. He explained out loud, as he stood up on top of the North Gate from his hiding place. “They are our allies!”
Senator Dorty had his doubts. “Are you sure of this Troddleblog?”
“I’m more than sure,” responded Kuwer confidently.
As soon as they were in shouting distance from the North Gate, the four Amazon warriors came to a complete stop. A woman’s voice echoed from the Amazon troops in the plain. “Is that you Kuwer Troddleblog?”
“Yes, it is Captain Tiliya!” Kuwer voiced ecstatically. “What the heck are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be helping with the defenses of Grynhall Town?”
Tiliya didn’t look insulted, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t offended by Kuwer’s remarks. “What do you think elf? Battles are fought either by winning completely or by losing all? It was Mayor Bluemon himself who was of the opinion that I come here with my three surviving companions and give you some important information. This information shouldn’t be given to everyone nor just anyone, which is why we must keep it confidential and I must tell it to you personally!”
Senator Dorty turned to Kuwer. “If it means saving all of Zanzabar, then the governor and you better get to it Kuwer!”
“Open the gate!” Kuwer yelled out to a group of elven pages standing on the ground behind the portcullis’s main winches.
The pages on duty saluted Kuwer and began to open the heavy gate entrance from its rest on the green, weed covered grass. Tiliya and her small squad of mounted warriors trotted their palfreys forward, traveling under the now open portcullis of the main gate. Once inside they dismounted from their horses and Tiliya and her companions saluted Kuwer and Dundlebraak as they came running down the side stairways that led up and down the crenel like superstructure of the North Gate. Kuwer beat Governor Dundlebraak down to the bottom.
Kuwer clasped arms with Tiliya and she gave him a big hug in return. She was the first one to say anything after their long embrace. “Kuwer,” she began as she turned and spoke to Dundlebraak as well, “we need to go to Zanzabar’s central library as soon as possible!”
“Of course,” responded Kuwer, as he turned towards the governor. “Where else would we need to go?”
Governor Dundlebraak was also intrigued when he heard this. “Yes, my dear elf, where else should we take four Amazon warriors but to the central library of Zanzabar? Where else, of course?…”

* * * * * * * *


The central library of the town of Zanzabar was huge. Twice as big as the library at Grynhall Town, the Zanzabar library was open to everyone in Zanzabar each day for a twelve hour period starting at 8 AM in the morning. And although most of Zanzabar was getting ready for war with Grundaar, and its Amazonian mercenaries, there were still some people working and reading inside the library as if there was no war going on at all. Now, at about 11 AM, a strange group of people entered through that library’s main entrance. The group comprised of several Amazon warriors, an elderly man and a young elf. They came to the library looking for the weapon that could fight the approaching army of Grundaar, and their terrifying weapon called the magic drum. The weapon that could destroy the magic drum was not anything like the drum itself, but rather a book called: The Complete Historical Records of Zanzabar. This was the book that Captain Tiliya said would be able to destroy the magic drum. This was the same type of book that Tiliya found was missing from Grynhall Town’s library. It was checked out by Bythia the Bold as noted by the Grynhall Town library’s main book check-out roster. It is Captain Tiliya’s belief that this book holds within it the key to defeating the magic drum.
Looking around at how huge the library was, Governor Dundlebraak was once again in total disbelief and shock at how large a town’s library could be, and at all of the numerous books that could decorate its many shelves. He turned towards Kuwer and said: “Now this is the kind of building we should have in Tyrinia, Kuwer my friend. There are just so many books here in this library!”
Kuwer laughed out loud at the governor’s comment. “But how would you get any work done in Tyrinia if you spent all day reading such books?”
The governor laughed back at Kuwer and said: “What do you mean by that, my dear Troddleblog? That’s all I do but read books all day anyway!”
“If that’s the case then you are one lucky politician, Dundlebraak!” And although Kuwer was going to make a comment on what responsibilities a politician should have to his or her place of residence, he saw that Dundlebraak was now extremely interested in some large rectangular dressers he walked up to, that were towards the middle of the library’s main hall. “See something, governor?” asked Kuwer, as he walked up beside him.
“Yes I do,” replied Dundlebraak, who was in a state of utmost curiosity as he began to open the drawers of the center wooden dresser, searching through tiny little yellow cards that were arranged alphabetically inside the drawers. The governor turned towards his elf friend and explained. “I think I know what this is... I think this is what is called a card catalog.”
Kuwer agreed with his conclusion. “You’re correct Dundlebraak. We do call that a card catalog. I remember someone telling me once that you can use it to find whatever books you’re looking for. However, I’ve never used it since I don’t stray far from the fictional section of the library each time I come in here.”
“I pity you,” replied Dundlebraak stoically. “I’m sure you can save a lot of time using this card catalog for whatever book you are looking for.”
Kuwer scoffed at the governors suggestion. “Pity away,” Kuwer retorted. “It’s not like I’m going to waste my time using that card catalog when I don’t have to.”
Dundlebraak took out a card that from the card catalog and handed it to Kuwer. “You see this card Kuwer? This card contains all of the information we need in finding The Complete Historical Records of Zanzabar! Read it and weep!”
Kuwer read the information on the card carefully than handed it back to Dundlebraak feeling a bit disappointed. “I guess I am now corrected,” Kuwer groaned. “However, I warn you not to take this card catalog business too seriously. Just imagine how many wasteful hours went into organizing it! Not to mention having to write out with pen and ink, every card.”
“You mean,” smiled the governor, “how much precious time and delightful hours went into accomplishing it?!” Dundlebraak smiled at the elf and winked at him in a friendly gesture. “Common, Kuwer, let’s get to aisle forty-two and find that book before anyone else does.”
“Lead the way,” said Kuwer, “you lead the way!”
Both Dundlebraak and Kuwer arrived at aisle forty-two very swiftly. The book, The Complete Historical Records of Zanzabar, was a hard bound copy with over 1,000 pages in it. It was a very heavy and a very large book. Both man and elf took the book and placed it on an empty desk sitting just on the outskirts of aisle forty-two.
Opening the book, Dundlebraak quickly went to its Table of Contents, which led him directly to the chapter that contained references to the Knight of Zanzabar that would one day be the prophesied hero that would save Zanzabar from a large invading army. Dundlebraak’s eyes got wider as he read the information contained in the book’s pages. “Kuwer, look at this passage here. Read it!” The governor pointed to the bottom of page 244. Kuwer began to read it:

“A great host shall come from the east…
It shall travel far…”

“Not that passage!” blistered Dundlebraak. “Read the verses right under it…”
“Oh…” mumbled Kuwer, a little frustrated with himself for reading the wrong passage. He began to read out loud:

“A knight is a knight…
The title could be for anyone…
However, not everyone can wear the true armor…
If your knight dances the dance of the crazy hands-wave…
You will truly defeat the instrument that is brave!”

After reading and listening to the five lined passage both Kuwer Troddleblog and Governor Dundlebraak were at a total loss as to what that prophecy could mean in reference to themselves, Tiliya, or her troops; and anyone else that was living in the town of Zanzabar, not to mention the whole of Ruundra. “Well, what does this mean, governor?!” cried Kuwer. “I have no idea!” responded Dundlebraak in despair.
Just as they were about to close the book, Captain Tiliya made a loud cough from behind both man and elf who turned to her in surprise. “I couldn’t but help hearing you read that passage. I know what that passage means,” she said confidently. “It means that you Kuwer Troddleblog are the knight in that passage. You and you alone can defeat Bythia and the magic drum, which is the instrument that is brave. But although you are knighted because of the Senate-House of Zanzabar, you still do not own a suit of armor…”
“Well Kuwer”, said Governor Dundlebraak, “I think we should pay a visit to the armory.”
Kuwer took a deep breath before saying: “No, Dundlebraak, we are not going to the armory. Captain Tiliya’s interpretation just now made me remember an old myth concerning a type of golden armor located in a building in the southern portion of Zanzabar. That building is called The Old Tower. The golden armor is a special armor hidden in a large wooden chest at the top level of The Old Tower. The armor has giant golden claws. It’s the only armor, from what I’ve heard from old Zanzabar tales, that a person can wear and still do the special dance of the ‘crazy hands-wave.’ However there is one catch…”
“What’s the catch?” asked Tiliya.
“The catch is,” replied Kuwer, “that this is an armor that can kill anyone who is not the prophesied knight of Zanzabar. I could die just by touching it!” Then came a silence among the group that seemed to last forever.
“Well,” voiced Captain Tiliya, breaking the silence. “What are we waiting for?”

* * * * * * * *



The Old Tower looked dilapidated and gothic-like. It was by all means the meanest, spookiest looking building in all of Zanzabar. One hundred and six feet high from ground level, it was also one of the tallest buildings in the entire town. And if one looked at The Old Tower’s northern most side long enough, one would think the building was slanted a little to its left. Everyone in Zanzabar knew that The Old Tower had a guardian that lived in a small house at its eastern side. This guardian held the key to the north facing oak door that stood as a barrier for the innards of the tower. This was the man the companions had to get through to get to the tower. And none of the six knew what they had to ask the guardian to get access to The Old Tower.
Captain Tiliya was the first to chime in. “Well at least there is no gate to get to The Old Tower.”
Kuwer was probably the most skeptical of all six companions. He retorted to Tiliya, “There still is a gate! He’s called the guardian of The Old Tower.”
“Oh, please,” stated Tiliya, who was feeling a little annoyed over the fact that Western Ruundra was too much of a man’s world. “Women should be the guards of important buildings; men should look after their domestic dwellings.”
Governor Dundlebraak almost choked on his own saliva as he laughed and sneezed at the same time. “That is the strangest thing I have ever heard you say, Amazon!”
One of Taliya’s Amazon subordinates chimed in: “What is so strange at what she said wimp? Women in Western Ruundra don’t even have suffrage!”
“More the merrier,” chuckled Kuwer. “All of your Amazon philosophy makes women go nuts.”
“More the merrier then,” retorted Taliya.
“You Amazon women have no sense of shame!” declared the governor with a deep sense of conviction.
“Enough of this!” cried Captain Taliya. “Not only can we kick your butts but it would take just one of my soldiers to do the deed. Let’s stop the bickering and go up to the guardian’s house and see if he’s home.”
At that, all six companions enthusiastically walked up to the guardian’s home porch, which was just seventy feet east of The Old Tower grounds. They all yelled: “Is anybody home?”
The door to the guardian’s home began to creak open little by little until what appeared to be a robbed elderly man with a long white beard stepped out onto the dwelling’s front porch.
“I am home,” dictated the elderly man. “I am the guardian of the Old Tower.”
Kuwer went up to the man and held out his right hand in a friendly gesture. Shaking the guardian’s hand he began: “We are here, guardian, because we need access to The Old Tower which you are caretaker of. We have to defeat a Grundaarian army that is headed to Zanzabar. They want to destroy all of Western Ruundra with a new instrument called the Magic Drum, and they want to wipe out our town of Zanzabar.”
“Just like in the Historical Records of Zanzabar!” mumbled the guardian, who was suddenly a bit awestruck. “I never thought that the prophecy would come true in my lifetime!”
“Then you will let us have the key to the Old Tower?” asked Kuwer.
The guardian took a few awkward steps towards Kuwer, holding Kuwer’s arms in his hands. “Are you the so called knight and savior of Zanzabar?” he asked Kuwer.
“Yes, I am he,” Kuwer tried to say without bravado.
The guardian then smiled at Kuwer and his companions. “Then I will do as you ask of me. Let us go to The Old Tower, O’ hero-knight of Zanzabar; you have much work to do!” And with that all six companions began to walk back to The Old Tower with the guardian of the building leading the way.
Once at the front entrance, the guardian unlocked the huge oak door with a key he took out of his front shirt pocket. He opened the door wide then turned towards all six companions and said: “It is not worth it for all six of you to lose your lives in this place. Only the true knight of Zanzabar, the knight of prophecy, will be able to touch the special golden armor at the top floor of The Old Tower. I will not go inside myself, as I am of no use to anyone in combating the dangers that lurk inside. I suggest only the true knight of prophecy enters.”
“But guardian,” asked Captain Tiliya a bit perplexed, “are there any dangers that one would have to face before reaching the top floor of The Old Tower?”
The guardian sighed at Tiliya’s question. “Yes there is. Out of all the people and elves I have ever seen enter The Old Tower, over the years, only one was able to escape unharmed. He was a senator of Zanzabar, and he entered the tower with two squads of spearmen. They were all wearing heavy chain mail when they entered, and they were all heavily armed, carrying spears and crossbows. The senator, who asked that I keep his name in secrecy until the day I die, was only spared annihilation because he was the last one to enter this tower of destruction and ruin. I believe there is some evil that lurks within the tower. However, I have never seen this evil but have only heard it whenever brave men and elves have tried their luck at achieving the quest of the golden armor. I will never enter this tower of shadows. For the day I enter it is the day that I shall die….”
One of the Amazon warriors that accompanied Tiliya shouted: “But we, guardian, are not your average soldier who is man or elf… for we are Amazon warriors of Eastern Ruundra! We are the Tigers of the Field of Battle, and we will never surrender in the face of our enemies!” With that said all three subordinate Amazon warriors yelled out a terrifying war scream of Aaahua! Then they took out their Amazon daggers, that were hidden in sheathes under their belts, and gave Tiliya a salute with their vows of service to the death in their native Amazon tongue.
One could easily tell that Captain Tiliya was proud, and was very satisfied, to have such loyal warriors for companions. Turning toward Kuwer, she drew her dagger, and said: “We shall accompany you up to the top level Kuwer!” But looking at Governor Dundlebraak she said: “Battle is no place for soft men. You, Governor Dundlebraak of Tyrinia, will wait down here with the guardian as we make our way up to the top floor.”
“Whatever you say my dear Tiliya,” murmured the governor, feeling a bit shocked and cowardly at the fighting prowess that these Amazon warriors were displaying. “Whatever you feel works best…”
Kuwer felt a bit of pride in all of the Amazon camaraderie. “Then follow me, Amazon soldiers of Ruundra,” he yelled out loud, “and let our victory begin here and now!” And with that the elf, Kuwer Troddleblog, and his four accompanying Amazon warriors, stepped inside The Old Tower and began to ascend its staircase up towards the building’s top floor.

* * * * * * * *



Almost total curtain covered windows and large murder holes in The Old Tower’s walls gave the adventurers enough light to make their way along the stone staircase without needing an artificial light source, which was great for all five warriors since none of them brought a torch with them anyhow. The staircase made a hollow noise every time it was stepped on by one of the companions. Up the five companions ascended until they came to what they saw was a large wooden platform, spanning the middle of the tower. The elf and his four Amazon protectors didn’t like what they were playing host to. The staircase did continue upwards to the top level though it was surrounded by nothing but air and what looked like a metallic guard rail that was missing in some places along the path. The companions immediately observed that the next level (over 40 feet above), which they believed to be the tower’s highest level, was hidden from view by a variety of large tattered curtains hung from the middle area of the top most wooden level above.
“I wish I had a weapon,” commented the befuddled elf as he gazed upwards at the dangerous ascension that needed to be trekked if he was ever going to find the golden armor of Zanzabar lore.
The Amazon leader shrugged at Kuwer’s comment. “A man can be useless even with a weapon. I hope for sure that you are the prophesized knight of Zanzabar, Kuwer Troddleblog,” she voiced winking at Kuwer.
Kuwer didn’t know what to say to calm Captain Tiliya’s fears and his own at the same time. He stoically tried to sound collected as he voiced his opinion: “None of you need to ascend any farther. I believe pain and suffering is just beyond this staircase leading upwards. Besides, Zanzabar is my town that I am a citizen of. There is no reason why anyone else should risk their life for the sake of the people of Zanzabar.”
“Hey, elf,” replied Captain Tiliya, “do you want to make us all cowards because of your talk? Besides I believe that King Polemeth wants not just to conquer the area of Western Ruundra but the entire world. So this is not just your fight but the fight of all true Amazon warriors everywhere.” She paused then continued: “So stop your weak speech and lead us to the next platform!” At that all three of Captain Tiliya’s subordinates gave a silent but force full nod to Kuwer which meaning was clearly to move on.
Wow, thought Kuwer, these women are really some of the meanest cold blooded killers of all of Ruundra. Nothing scares them, he realized. Nothing at all.
With Kuwer leading the way, and Captain Tiliya second in line, all five companions continued to ascend the stone staircase as it wound its way up the inner sides of The Old Tower.
At the top of the staircase, and behind a portion of the highest length of the curtain, was a broken wooden door that laid across the opening of the top-most level of The Old Tower. A noise like snoring was heard from inside the room. Kuwer quickly and quietly moved pieces of the door frame away, and he moved further into the room to spy what was making the snoring noise. And there it was! The large wooden chest of the golden armor! Sitting right in the middle of the room, the chest was closed but it didn’t look like it needed any keys to open it up. Kuwer quietly turned to Captain Tiliya and her warriors and gave them the okay signal to continue on.
However, as he was about to begin moving noisily towards the middle of the room he spotted what was making the noise. A giant, ten foot long, rat was sleeping at the other end of the room. This rat had canines the size of a large cat and had claws—on its four feet—that looked sharp enough to put any knife to shame. Kuwer immediately gave the hold signal back to the Amazon party, doing so with a tight left-fist shaking in the air. The elf backtracked quietly to Capain Tiliya who was wondering what the elf was looking at. Kuwer whispered in her ear. “The chest is in the middle of the room… but there is a giant killer rat at the other end of the room… the chest looks like it doesn’t need a key… however, how the heck are we going to get past that giant rat? I suggest we head back down the stairs, to the tower’s main grounds, and get some back up!”
But that was all Tiliya needed to hear. She immediately signaled to her Amazons to huddle together and she whispered quietly that they had found and located the chest and that there was a giant rat at the other end of the room. She turned to Kuwer and said out loud: “Kuwer, we, Amazons, are willing to sacrifice our lives for the sake of our people and our kingdom! That giant rat is the only thing between us and ultimate victory over those who mean to destroy us and our families back home. What I am about to do you will appreciate at a later time when peace reigns again in the land!”
With that Tiliya motioned to her three Amazon companions with a yell and taking out their daggers they immediately ran past Kuwer, and headed straight for the giant rat that now seemed to be awake. The giant rat, shocked that anyone would be bold enough to enter its lair, got up and began to plunge at the Amazon women with its sharp teeth and blade-like claws. It made a piercing cry as it attacked one Amazon warrior and bit her in the leg.
Kuwer lost no time as he ran towards the chest with a large amount of adrenaline pumping in his blood. He opened the chest with one movement of his hands and spied the golden armor with its long golden claws. The armor was separated into three parts: the claws, the golden torso and two leggings. Kuwer didn’t think he would be able to put on all three items with the short time that his Amazon friends were buying for him by battling the giant rat. He heard a great pain of death coming from one of the Amazon warriors. Captain Tiliya looked back from battling the monster and yelled out: “Kuwer, get you and that armor out of here!”
But Kuwer yelled back, “I need someone to carry the claws and leggings! I can only take the torso in one trip back down!”
Captain Tiliya yelled at her most healthy Amazon subordinate to accompany Kuwer back down the tower’s only staircase. The Amazon woman yelled back to Tiliya an A-h-u-a-a! And then she quickly got out of the fight with the rat, limping a little, and hurriedly picked up the golden leggings and claws of the golden armor. “Come on, elf! We don’t have much time!” With that both warrior and elf took the armor and quickly ran down the stair case, with Kuwer leading the way.
When they reached the middle, wooden level, both elf and warrior did not hesitate to continue running down the rest of the staircase to the bottom floor and the door leading to freedom.
Not knowing if the giant rat was killed or victorious, both Kuwer and his Amazon helper finally sprinted out The Old Tower’s oak door as fast as they could manage while carrying the special armor. As they jumped out onto The Old Tower’s grassy grounds, both Amazon and elf released the armor to the ground; they sprawled onto the field, trying to catch their breath while looking back behind them.
“Shut the gate now!”
“Not yet!” cried Dundlebraak, who happened to be carrying a large cross bow, with the help of the guardian, that was aimed at the opening of the tower’s entrance. ‘
Kuwer was puzzled at what they were trying to do. “There is a giant rat behind us!”
“The more the merrier,” complained the governor.
Suddenly, what sounded like human steps coming down the stairs, turned out to be a giant rat that was poking its face out the left side of the entrance.
T-W-W-A-A-A-N-G-G! The large, constricted, brass bolt left its housing and struck the large monster-rat dead center between the eyes. “That was a mission!” yelled Governor Dundlebraak, as he and the Old Tower’s guardian started hooting and doing their victory dance.
“Mission my foot!” yelled Kuwer. “Did you ever know what it was like in there? It was pure chaos!”
The governor smiled. “Do you like the cross-bow, Kuwer? Our friend the guardian had this kind of firepower locked away in his home.”
“Pretty nifty stuff,” replied the guardian. “Don’t you two think so? So where is everyone else? Are they coming down?”
“They are dead,” replied the Amazon as she collapsed on the ground from all of her bodily wounds.
The sobering effect from her words was almost as tragic as her passing away. Kuwer looked at the guardian angrily. “Aren’t you supposed to take care of this place guardian? That’s some sort of pest problem you have in there!”
“I apologize,” said the guardian very apologetically. “I didn’t know they were all dead…” There came a silence.
“And so didn’t I,” remarked the governor. There was a longer silence that followed. Governor Dundlebraak finally cleared his throat a bit and then began. “Listen, Kuwer, as tragic as this situation may seem, we need to get you and that golden armor to the North Gate as soon as possible! When you were gone, we heard a town crier going through the streets ringing the war-bell. You need to put on this armor and we need to go. The guardian has chosen to stay here and watch over the gate entrance. Now, can you walk?”
Kuwer wiped some sweat on his forehead and a tear dribbling down his right cheek. “I can,” he finally said, picking up the golden armor and starting to put its pieces on.
“Great!” responded Dundlebraak. “We need to hurry, elf. We need to take you and your armor, and we need to hurry as fast as our feet can carry us! Let’s be off!”
After Kuwer put on the last part of his armor, which were the golden claws, the guardian passed Dundlebraak a water canteen, giving his good luck to both of them. Then the two companions, after drinking some water, started off towards the main road of Zanzabar that would lead them to the North Gate. Now Kuwer felt a heavy weight over his shoulders that was not the armor’s fault. This weight was a feeling of responsibility, for the lives of everyone in his home town, which he had never felt before in his entire life.

* * * * * * * *



From the vantage point on top of the North Gate, there appeared a large army made up of around 20,000 men and women getting ready to storm Zanzabar. Kuwer Troddleblog guessed that at least 5,000 of those troops were Amazon warriors and that the rest of them were King Polemeth’s soldiers. This total counting up was horrendous, if one reasoned that the guard at the North Gate was only a few hundred strong and the total population of Zanzabar was not more than 20,000 men and elves together.
Centered in the middle of the army, in its command position, was King Polemeth with his royal guard. Bythia the Bold, and her Amazon troops, seemed to be on the forward position of Polemeth’s left flank. The object laying out nearby and in front of her—and her princess guard—was what appeared to everyone who saw it, to be the famous magic drum.
“So that’s the magic drum?” Kuwer asked Governor Dundlebraak.
The governor smiled at Kuwer then said: “Well, at least you know you are the true Knight of Zanzabar! It seems the armor hasn’t killed you, Kuwer, at least not yet!”
Colonel Morty, the elf, who was overseeing the defenses of the North Gate, thought it was high time to get to the point. “So, Kuwer, do you know how to do the dance of the crazy hands wave?”
Kuwer couldn’t help but snort. “You know, Morty, that’s the first time anyone has asked me that. I will tell you the truth of it. I HAVE NO IDEA!!!”
Not putting up with any kind of low morale thinking among his subordinates, Senator Dorty, who was standing next to Colonel Morty, had to say something to boost morale back up. “You know, Kuwer Troddleblog, who cares if you can do that stupid dance or not? You traveled far from your home town of Zanzabar in your quest to save all of Ruundra, you dealt with evil nobles and blood thirsty Amazon women, you were able to find out what the correct interpretation of prophecy in The Historical Records of Zanzabar meant, you were made a Knight of Zanzabar by the senate, and above all you were able to be the victor of the Golden Armor of The Old Tower, that nobody in all of Zanzabar was able to put on and escape with, with their life intact. So please, Kuwer, be happy about something!”
After hearing that, Kuwer couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “I guess you’re right Senator. I should be happy about something. If I am going to be happy about anything when I first started this quest, it’s that I am still in one piece...” More serious now Kuwer looked at the army ahead of him and continued. “However, Senator, I still have no idea how to do the dance of the crazy hands wave!”
Governor Dundlebraak was about to say some words of encouragement to Kuwer when something caught his eye. He pointed towards the northeast section of the enemy combaters. “Look there Kuwer! Bythia is moving the magic drum closer to the wall. I think she means to use it!”
”Oh, great!” shouted Kuwer. “Now, how am I supposed to stop her and that drum?”
Bythia began to strike the drum with a large mallet she had in her hand. The drum made a large booming sound that began to echo and re-echo with each hard hit against its tightly shaped skin. The earth began to shake in front of her, and the northern wall of Zanzabar started to shake and shift under the stresses caused by the now fluctuating foundation. And although everything in front of Bythia was shaking it looked like everything behind that Amazon was peaceful and unaffected by the noise.
As the shaking increased, loose pieces of wall began to fall off of the northern wall’s façade. The shaking, now tumultuous, began to become unbearable for everyone at the North Gate and at its flanks, even for a person's ear drums.
It was then that Governor Dundlebraak yelled out: “We’re all going to die!”
But no one heard him. Everyone at the North Gate and its surrounding walls was trying to get down to the parade grounds inside the town and away from the walls as fast as they were able to run. Kuwer seemed to be stuck on the North Gate’s ledge basically oblivious to all of things going on around him, trying to undo the hung up glove that he didn’t want to take off unless absolutely necessary. Dundlebraak realized that Kuwer’s right glove was caught in between two crenel stones on top of the gate’s battlements. The governor was about to reach out and help Kuwer when he felt himself sliding backwards.
Then miraculously Kuwer was able to untangle himself from the wall, and then he looked back and saw Dundlebraak about to lose his footing as the North Gate was falling apart all around them. He stretched out his right armored hand to Dundlebraak.
“No!” cried the governor, as he fell backwards with the falling façade that was beneath his feet.
“I’m in some deep trouble now!” yelled Kuwer. His feet gave way beneath him and he lifted his hands into the air to grope for anything to stop him from falling to the ground. Then the North Gate made a huge crashing sound as it and most of the northern wall, which flanked its sides, fell tumbling down to its crushing destruction.
As the dust of the destroyed northern wall, and its North Gate, began to settle slowly to the ground, there was not any noise being made from the magic drum anymore. It was a very peaceful quiet that echoed throughout the dusty wake of the northern wall’s destruction. Kuwer, still in his armor, was still alive, or as far as he knew. He was not pleased at all that he wasn’t able to do more than what he already did so far to stop the Grundaarian invasion of Zanzabar—which basically amounted to almost nothing at all.
Then suddenly Kuwer heard something that he had never heard before. It sounded like a huge cacophony of over 20,000 people laughing through the huge cloud of dust. It was subtle at first, then it turned into an uncontrollable loud insulting fit that was laced with taunts and hooting. For Kuwer, that type of situation was more than he could handle. Bad enough that Kuwer’s enemy just wiped out all of his and his allies northern defenses, but now the enemy was mocking him and his allies with uncontrollable banter.
Kuwer decided to do the one thing that he knew he was good at. The one thing that he believed he could still do well even with a full set of armor on: that thing was to run. So Kuwer got up and ran north east in the direction of the magic drum. The cloud of dust was still trying to settle over the area located just north of the North Gate and over where the rest of the northern walls once stood.
The elf ran and he ran his heart out. He stopped running and didn’t begin again for at least fourteen seconds as he tried to catch his breath and figure out where he was on the battlefield's plain. I’m looking for women’s voices, he said to himself. Yes, I hear them, he thought. I believe they’re straight ahead of me from where all of that ridiculous laughter is coming from. He paused and saw nothing. Then he paused again and tried to peer into the mist to try and see if there was anything that resembled a magic drum. And just to be cocky, Kuwer raised his gloves and did a dance like gesture as he moved them throughout the air. For some strange reason, there seemed to be a clearing of cloud that occurred after he had did his hands wave.
Kuwer looked farther into the mist and he saw what appeared to be a woman holding a mallet with a drum at her feet not less than fourteen feet away from him. And she had her back turned towards him. How foolish! Kuwer couldn’t imagine, even without seeing her face, a more beautiful antagonist than Bythia the Bold. That said, their little melee was about to begin.
Kuwer then ran as fast towards the magic drum as his feet could carry him. Bythia turned around and peered into the dust because she heard some kind of movement coming towards her direction. But Kuwer was too fast for Bythia to stop. The elf waved his armored, golden gloves in the air and at last plunged them deep into the hide-stretched portion of the drum’s top most area, losing his gloves in the process. Bythia, surprised at what had just happened to her most precious drum, threw her mallet behind her, turned the drum top side down, shaking Kuwer’s armored gloves off its contacts with the hide. Kuwer, fatigued, fell to the ground with a feeling of complete exhaustion, realizing that whatever he did accomplish he did so with the utmost strength that he could muster.
The Amazon warrior walked a few steps back and picked up her mallet and began to beat the drum in a variety of thunderous poundings. However, the next thing that happened she could never ever have thought of, because the entire army behind her and to her right, who were finally able to see what was going on between herself and Kuwer, started screaming and trampling each other in a fit of destruction. The earth shaked under Bythia and her allies, but it didn’t shake under Kuwer who was safe from the cavity that now was beginning to take shape before his very own eyes.
“Now die Bythia the Bold!” yelled Kuwer. “You created one of your biggest tactical errors! You hit the drum with your mallet on the other side of its top!”
Bythia looked at the upside down drum in aghast. “No!” she screamed at the same time that many of her Amazon warriors were also screaming in confusion as they succumbed in terror. And suddenly the sound of rushing water could be heard coming from the east. Kuwer, whose golden gloves were now off, took off his golden torso and golden leggings and ran towards the remnants of the North Gate as fast as he could run. He knew, by looking at the approaching water from the east, that he had to make it to the North Gate’s rubble if he was ever going to get enough elevation to escape that fast flowing onslaught.
The surviving men of the North Gate, now standing on top of the ruined walls of the town, were yelling and hollering for Kuwer to make his way onto the safety of the rubble. Kuwer, with just seconds to spare, scrammed up the rubble of the North Gate to its highest point, just as the water from the Western Ocean filled up the newly created cavity and fault lines of most of the northern plain--and a large portion of the land to its east.
A large cheer was heard from the Zanzabar men on the rocks and rubble around Kuwer who were most definitely pleased that he had survived his ordeal.
“Goodbye golden armor and goodbye Captain Tiliya and her close comrades...” said Kuwer, as he began to tear up when he finally realized what it meant in the prophecy concerning the army where “it shall dwell in the branches where the coastlines meet” and stopped by a Knight of Zanzabar. To Kuwer it was the most poignantly moving moment of his entire life.

* * * * * * * *



The deluge, in the end, reformed into a very large watery-marsh just outside the northern limits of Zanzabar. Many believed that because of the magic drum's mysterious power that the magic drum and the magic armor, along with the remains of the drowned Grundaarian army, were never seen by any Zanzabar citizen, politician or soldier for the rest of time. Zanzabar and its salt-flat farms didn’t really need the protection of the North Gate and its walls anymore from the very fact that the watery-marsh made the territory of Zanzabar into a large peninsula. It's greatest military weakness was now in the direction of the cold, brimy sea--especially because of the fact that Zanzabar did not posses a large navy at that particuliar point of time. Soon Kuwer would become a much respected senator in the Zanzabar Senate-House, and so would Governor Dundlebraak, who was also able to survive the collapse of the North Gate, and told Kuwer that those people living in Tyrinia didn’t need him as much as Kuwer did. Dundlebraak’s reasoning being that Kuwer was a very dangerous fellow (even to himself) and that both of them should watch each other’s back for the rest of their lives by at least living in the same town with each other.
It should also be noted that as quickly as Senator Troddleblog and Senator Dundlebraak came to office, they went about marching the entire Zanzabar town guard to The Old Tower of Zanzabar, where they set fire to it and burned it to the ground--of course, only after they first buried the remains of their passed away Amazon friends. That was indeed their very first order of business. And they got to it as fast as their feet could carry them. But really as fast as their morals could carry them, considering the fact that--without the help of Captain Tiliya and her Amazon comrades, Zanzabar would now be in ruins and its citizen's lives lost forever.



The End.

THE ELF THAT MET HIS EQUAL AND MORE Part III by Michael Llenos

[Copyright Michael Llenos 2010-2014]