The Circle Of Dragons
Book 1 – The Beginning of the End
By Garry Brown
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The fireworks were a nice addition to the end that Gorgan was about to receive. The world would be free and we would celebrate at the same moment. Emily was right. It was a nice surprise. Maxwell and I were standing either side of the Emperor. I nodded at Max and he nodded back. It was time. I drew the dagger. Its blade glistened with the light from the fireworks. It must have caught the emperor's eye long before then because within seconds soldiers stormed the room.
"Who are you to think you could end my reign?" The emperor smirked as he lifted my mask.
"Of course... it all adds up... The stepson out to destroy his wicked stepfather," He smiled wildly.
"My boy... this is no fairytale," He punched me in the face and I flopped on to the floor.
"And who are you? But my missing son... you will regret turning your back on me," he said angrily rubbing his fist.
"No father... you will regret turning your back on humanity," He said pushing the soldiers off of him.
The emperor smiled and made his way towards me.
"Throw Max in the dungeon... and as for this insect," He said lifting my chin.
I dazed in semi-consciousness.
"I've had enough of him... throw him... over the balcony," He cackled as he walked away.
I couldn't fight it off. Three soldiers lifted me and threw me over the edge. I fell for what seemed a lifetime. I must have rapped inside the drapes cause I slowed down before I crashed to the floor. I slipped away into the darkness my head-dripping wet with blood. The last thing I heard was the explosion.
I awoke in a daze. My head pounded with pain. A white dressing covered a cut on my head just above my eye. I didn't know what had happened. Who am I? Where am I? And how did I get here? They were just a few of the many questions running around in my head, around the pain. Through it all one thing made itself abundantly clear. I was a killer. I knew the art of assassination. I climbed out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I swaggered a bit. I must have been unconscious for ages. I dabbed my face with the flannel and looked in the mirror at the stranger peering back at me.
So this is me... huh?
The guy looking back at me had a childish quality in his facial features, almost innocent looking. I ran my fingers through my mousy blonde hair. I pushed my face around a bit. I didn't remember anything and trying just caused more questions. Where did I learn what I know? Why is it that THAT is all I can remember from my past? It just hurt my head.
The door opened and a tall balding man entered the room.
"So your awake? That’s good... How are you this morning?" He smiled and this just angered me.
I grabbed the man's throat and pushed him in to the wall.
"Who the hell are you?" I said angrily a slight growl in my voice.
In fear I let the man go and clutched my throat.
"I was hoping you might remember me... You have a very serious case of amnesia," He smirked.
"Don't give me that blank look...you are my most trusted assassin... I am your boss," The man smiled.
"I brought you up from a child and gave you everything and in return you do my bidding... that was the deal," the man picked up an apple from the glass bowl on the table.
"I was also amazed at your talent... and am happy to say that we have put it to some good use," he seemed too calm to be lying especially around someone with my skills.
"Anyway... enough gibbering... you must be hungry... Get dressed and I'll meet you downstairs and help you regain your bearings," This guy was the one to answer my questions.
For the next couple of weeks Rico told me of the thorn in his side known as ACID. The leader Maxwell needed to be eliminated at all costs. He told me about my past and my kinship with him. He had no reason to lie, especially to a trained killer in my state of mind. Everything was making sense, my knowledge of murder. The whole story fit snugly in to place. I stood up at the table as we ate dinner.
"I will do as you ask... I will kill Maxwell of ACID," I announced.
Rico Gorgan looked pleased. He wiped his chops and grinned.
"Good... GOOD... we will get right to work... if there is anything you need... don't hesitate to ask me... in person of course," He grinned wildly like a child who had just been told what he would be getting for Christmas.
Planning the assassination was very difficult. Not knowing anything about Maxwell’s past was what made it so. I used sources available to me to find out that ACID was planning another assault and I will be there to greet them. I grinned as several different ideas of murder crept in to my mind. At dinner that night I told Rico who was absolutely delighted. Rico stopped suddenly staring at my pendant.
“It can’t be… Can it?” he muttered.
“What?” I asked.
“Can I have that?” Rico asked reaching his hand out.
“This? Sure,” I handed over the pendant without hesitation.
He looked at it wildly.
“It is… it’s the final stone… the one I’ve been searching for all this time,” he squealed.
“Come with me… I want to show you something,” he gestured for me to follow him.
We walked in to the hall and through a door under the stairs. The basement was dank and dreary. Flame torches that hung on the walls were the only means of light.
“Come… It’s just down here,” the walls were made from large stones.
“What is this… you want to show me?” I asked inquisitively.
We came to a large steel door.
“They are in here… and they are the most amazing things,” he explained.
He opened the door using a secret number combination. The light from inside spilled in to the dark tunnel.
The room was almost bright white. The scientists were unshaven and looked like they hadn’t slept for weeks. A grey haired old man ran up to master Gorgan with an excited look on his face.
“You have something spectacular for me I hear” the man had the typical mad scientist look and something about him made me shudder.
“That’s correct Lederhosen… This is the final gem,” Rico pulled the gem from his pocket.
“Excellent! Now we have all nine and the translators are near to completing their task,” the scientist laughed under his breath.
“Yes, we are nearing the beginning of the end,” Rico cackled and scientist looked me dead in the eye.
“Don’t I know you?” he asked with a puzzled look on his face.
“I don’t….” before I could reply Rico butted in.
“You know nobody… You’ve been working down here for years,” Rico chuckled and put his arm around the scientist’s shoulders.
“You’d better get back to work old friend… I need the destination of the chambers of hell,” he pushed the scientist with a commanding nudge.
“Yes of course… you’re right… you’re always right,” He fixed his glasses and turned away.
“Of course I am,” he chuckled and turned to me.
“Come… I have much more to show you,” he grabbed my arm and continued to show me around.
For the next couple of days I spent my time planning the perfect way to dispose of Maxwell. I had been working so hard on planning the job that I had began to feel very confined. I decided I needed to get out and get some fresh air. I walked out of the manor and strolled in to the town. The town was battered with war and poverty. The emperor certainly wasn’t looking after his people. A small child fell to the ground nearby. I dashed over and picked him up.
“You okay?” I asked.
His dirty face showed a grateful smile. I looked around, but couldn’t find anybody coming for him. I looked down at him and my heart filled up.
“Where’s your mother… Little boy?” I asked, concerned.
His head drooped to the floor.
“She works at the local brothel… children aren’t allowed in there… so I wait for her here,” he mumbled.
I looked up and saw the bright lights of Wally’s Brothel and bar.
“What’s your mother’s name?” I asked the boy.
“Siobhan… Siobhan Dooley, sir,” he mumbled under his breath.
“Come with me,” I said grabbing his hand.
He came without a fight.
We walked towards the building and stood outside.
“She’s in here?” I said pointing in to the doorway.
“Yes sir,” he replied as he sat on the floor.
I tapped him on his head.
“I’ll be right back,” I said as I wondered in.
The brothel was full of beautiful semi-naked women. All of them for sale as it had noted on the door. I strolled over to the bar and sat on a stool. The barman noticed me and came right over.
“Good day sir… would we be here for some company or just a social drink?” he enquired.
“I’m actually looking for a certain maiden who I hear gives men like myself the nights they have longed for since men were men,” I replied.
“Really? … And who might this maiden be?” he asked now intrigued.
“Her name is… Siobhan,” I said remembering what the boy had said her name was.
“Well sir… if you are right and I’m sure you are I would be glad to let you have her for the night, but unfortunately she is busy with another punter,” his face drooped in mock of me.
“Well that’s a shame because I was about to offer you all this money for her services,” I said slinging the bag of coins on to the bar.
The barman gasped and his jaw dropped. Drool slipped on to the floor.
When he regained his senses he leant back on the bar as if to stop himself from falling.
“I’ll get her right away kind sir,” he dashed off up the stairs to get her.
As I sat there I could hear talk of a terrorist group known as ACID.
I began intrigued by the conversation.
“Talk tells that the gang are hiding in the village of travellers,” one said.
“Impossible… Hundrel is just a tale… a myth… there’s no such village,” the other spat.
“It’s true… I’ve seen it… 40 miles to the north of here,” another shouted in a drunken state.
Thanks for the information.
The barman yelled as he kicked a naked middle-aged down the stairs.
“Get the fuck out of my bar… you dirt bastard!” he shouted after the scared man.
Wally then turned to me and smiled.
“She’s ready for you now, sir,” his grin was smarmy and untrustworthy.
I got up and walked up the stairs. I entered the first door I came to. A woman lay on the bed wearing only a see-through nightie. She lay provocatively across the covers. I stayed true to my task and I grabbed her clothes from the floor and threw them at her.
“What are you doing?” she shouted in surprise.
“You’re coming with me,” I replied staying strong.
“Like hell I am,” she shouted throwing her clothes to the floor.
“I need this job to keep my house and to feed my child,” she shouted bounding over to me with her breast hanging out.
I turned away.
“I know… he’s outside,” I said softly.
I rummaged through my bag and pulled out another bag of money… this is for you… it should be enough to get travel out of here and buy a house in a nice town far from this shit hole,” I threw it to her and turned to her.
“Your boy deserves better than this… You deserve better than this,” I said walking towards her and picking up her things.
I handed them to her and she took them from me.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked.
“I’ve had a really good day,” I replied as I led her to the door.
We walked down the stairs and towards the exit. Wally then began to stir in his seat.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” he shouted.
I turned to face him and pushed Siobhan onward.
“She’s leaving,” I replied.
“Like hell she is,” Wally grunted and four men stood up and walked over to me.
“These guys are gonna bust you up,” Wally laughed.
I turned around again to be pulled back and spun around. As they did I pulled out my blade and sliced in to one of the men. Blood splashed everywhere and the bar became silent. I put my sword back in to it’s sheath as the others backed off and exited the brothel. The boy and his mother were hugging.
“Thanks a lot, sir,” the boy smiled.
“Don’t mention it,” I smiled and walked back towards the manor knowing that I had done a good deed and that I was able to finish my plans the following day.
I woke up bright and early to prepare. With regards to the amount of money I had spent… I told Rico that I had paid for information on the whereabouts of ACID’s hideout. My plan was to infiltrate the hideout and poison Maxwell whilst he slept. During the day I visited Hundrel village, a sad little escape for those with criminal backgrounds and the perfect place for rats to be hiding. I stayed at a small Inn in the village and prepared for my attack. As I set up my gear I heard a commotion from downstairs. I opened my door a jar and saw what resembled Maxwell at the bottom of the stairs with Scarlet Vogue and two others I had never seen before.
“I just had word that he’s still alive,” Maxwell said just loud enough to hear.
“I don’t know the exact circumstances, but we will soon enough,” he continued.
I watched as they walked behind the bar and disappeared out of sight.
“So the hideout is in the Inn,” this was going better than I had hoped for.
That night I crept out of my room and snuck behind the bar. The room had barrels of booze taking up the entire room. I looked around and noticed a trap door under some kegs. I pushed the barrels to one side and opened the door silently. I looked down into the darkness and I could see a faint light emanating from deep within. I crept down in to their hideout and snooped around. It was a maze of twists and turns and it travelled deeper in to the earth. I peered in to one room and saw Maxwell sleeping silently on an army bunker. As I stepped in to the room an alarm sounded.
I dashed out and back up in to the bar area to make my escape. The door had been locked automatically by the alarm.
“There’s no escape!” Maxwell grunted as he raised his weapon.
I turned to face my pursuers.
“Cole… It’s you… thank god,” The bulky guy sighed with relief and they all lowered their weapons.
“We thought you might come back here,” the brown haired girl smiled.
“What makes you think I would fall for your stupid scheme?” I questioned.
“What are you on about buddy? …Are you okay?” Maxwell seemed concerned about something, but I saw right through the act.
Maxwell walked towards me and grabbed my shoulder.
I plunged my sword in to his torso. This seemed to really shock him. The pain knocked him to the floor. The others quickly stood in alert with their weapons at the ready.
“No don’t …without him …we would have already lost,” Maxwell ordered the others back.
“But Max?” the girl screamed.
“Just go inside and stay there …I’ll be okay …I promise,” Maxwell gargled on hid own blood.
I stood over him the power running through my body. Maxwell turned to me and stared into my eyes.
“You’re not Cole,” Maxwell sighed.
“No shit Sherlock!” I replied as I wove the sword in to his neck, cutting off his head.
I fled the village immediately to tell Rico the excellent news of my accomplishment.
He smiled wildly like the cat that got the cream.
“Good work my lad …now everything is going my way,” he shuffled around with his fingers as he spoke.
The sound of the phone ringing interrupted his perfect moment.
“What!” he shouted.
“We’ve done it …we know where the location of the Chambers of Hell is,” the voice said.
“Excellent!” Rico could hardly contain himself.
He began jumping with joy.
“We will begin the journey tomorrow morning once all the necessary arrangements have been made,” the voice continued.
“Carry on,” Rico was absolutely giddy.
“We should get some rest… we have a big day tomorrow,” Rico said suggestively.
“Okay …Goodnight, sir,” I said as I walked up to my quarters.
As I slept a voice disturbed me in my dreams.
“Cole … Cole … Cole Aramthos,” it said as I stirred in my sleep.
“Who is it? …Show yourself!” I shouted in to the darkness.
“Do you not recognise me …It’s me Maxwell,” he said.
“Maxwell …Why do you torture me whilst I sleep,” I asked.
The image of Maxwell became clear and he looked just how he died only his head was attached and he was wearing white clothing.
“To help you to remember” he explained.
“You are Cole Aramthos …my friend since childhood,” he said.
“Impossible,” I grunted angrily.
“Is it …what about these memories,” Maxwell faded and a vision of two children playing on the grass appeared from nowhere.
A child sat alone only ten foot away through a hedge. He watched as the other two children played together. A ball rolled towards the boy. One of the children ran to the hedge and crawled under it. The boy tried to hide, but was too late.
“Hey there,” the child said.
“Uh …umm,” the boy hesitated.
“Who are you? …What’s your name?” the child asked curiously.
“Uh …umm,” the boy answered.
“Don’t you know?” asked the child.
“Ye …yes …my n …my name is Cole, sir,” the boy answered.
So that’s me as a child …I don’t remember that!
“Hey Cole …I’m Maxwell and that back there is my brother Jaxx …we are both sons of the great emperor Rico Gorgan,” the child explained.
And that boy is Maxwell, but he said he was Rico’s son …why would Rico have his own son killed?
“That’s simple,” said Maxwell as he re-appeared.
“The reason he wanted me killed was because I had turned against him …look,” he said pointing in to the distance.
I could see a man strapped to a stainless-steel table with men in white coats operating equipment around him. I stepped closer to the vision. I was shocked at what I found.
“That’s me strapped to that table,” I said in question.
“Yes …this is also from your memory,” Maxwell replied.
A crash was heard as the door to the laboratory blew open. Diving in to the room were three figures, Maxwell and two people from the inn.
“Yes, Emily …and the other one is Mikal …another friend of yours,” Maxwell commented.
I watched as the three of them freed me and carried me out of the laboratory.
“You saved me,” I cried.
“Of course we did …you were our friend …and you were in trouble,” Maxwell touched my shoulder as a tear trickled down my cheek.
“Cole …I have something important to tell you,” Maxwell turned serious.
He leant towards me and held my shoulders with both hands as he stood opposite me.
“Cole …I don’t mean to put all this pressure on you, but …Cole you are the chosen one,” he explained.
“What do you mean?” I asked confused.
“Well …an ancient priest-hood known as Caloncade fought to imprisoned nine evil dragons in to nine different coloured jewels …one of which you had around you neck when you first came to Hundrel village,” he continued to explain.
“Before his imprisonment Tragor …the leader of the circle of dragons vowed that he and his companions would arise once again in ten thousand years,” he said.
I soaked it all in.
“However the Caloncade made their own vow …and with their last breath, they prayed to the gods that a saviour would be born to battle the circle …you are that saviour,” Maxwell then disappeared.