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For Fame and Fortune II:The Lonely Path

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There were flames everywhere. The very sand was aflame. The air was filled with a sickly green smoke that burned his lungs. Through the smoke and the roar of the flames he heard the sound of a bow stretch and the twang of it’s release. He heard something cutting through the air and spun around, an arrow barely missing him.

He heard a sickening thud as the arrow buried itself into flesh. He turned to see the startled expression on Josla’s face as she fell, her hands clutching the arrow in her chest.


Again an arrow cut through the gloom. He easily dodged the projectile, again hearing a wet thud. He turned in time to see Kasal fall, an arrow lodged in his back.


Suddenly the dragon loomed over him and breathed a plume of fire in his direction. Instinctively he grabbed Samual and thrust him into the flame, using him as a shield.

And then there was darkness and the three stood before him, glaring at him with angry eyes.


Drogan thrashed about for a few moments before waking in a sweat. His eyes darted about the room until they stopped on Estirias. She sat near the window, busy polishing and sharpening her wings. This was a more mundane pair then the ones broken during their battle in the desert. Her purse was not as deep as it had been and her values had shifted slightly.

Drogan had asked for the broken wings and she gave them to him gladly neither knowing nor caring what he planned to do with them.

Now she sat still, those terrible glowing eyes fixed on him in the darkness. Those eyes that revealed nothing, offered nothing. She stared at him with no expression on her face and those eyes full of white fire.

Sometimes he could almost doubt….

But then as if reading his mind, she would dim her fire, showing him the emotions that lay beneath. He wondered if it hurt her to do this, for she could only seem to manage it for brief periods.

She always assured him that was not the case but he had his doubts. She was so willing to sacrifice herself for him.

As always, his breath was taken from him by the power of her emotion.

Her fire returned and she regarded him silently for a few moments before speaking.

“You punish yourself far too much.”

“The past, the memories. I can’t seem to escape them! Mistakes I have made and things I have done. I wish to forget but I am cursed it seems. The memories will not leave me. My dreams taunt me—they tell me that I will keep repeating my mistakes.”

“Drogan, you will have to find your own way, your own peace. I can not walk your path for you, but I will walk it with you. You are a warrior, a gladiator. It is all you have ever known—”

“And what worth is a gladiator who no longer wishes to fight?”

“You have other choices. If your axe no longer longs for the taste of Orc blood, then perhaps it might prefer to cut trees. The choice is yours.

“Listen to me my love. I have business in Fairies Crossing that should last a week. I am going to escort a small group of farmers there and perhaps deal with some bandits in the area. I would like to take you with me, but you are not in the proper frame of mind right now. It would be dangerous for you.

“Stay here, in Porto and wait for me. I will return soon. But for now, I will hold you until you fall asleep.” She walked across the room and sat on the edge of the bed, forcing him to lay his head in her lap. He closed his eyes as she stroked his blond hair and allowed herself to smile.


Drogan regarded the young man before him with a mixture of amusement and distaste. He was a muscular young man with wild eyes and a quick tongue. He seemed amiable enough, but there was something unsavory about him. Drogan could not put his finger on it.

He lifted his mug slowly and took a sip of ale. Deliberately taking his time; studying the young man before him. “What is it that you want of me?” he asked as he lowered the mug to the table.

“Three days ago I was hired to capture a dark mage who has taken refuge in a nearby cave. I took 5 warriors and a mage with me and only I survived his attack. “Was looking for more talent to finish the job—but when I heard that Drogan had come to Fairies Crossing…Well, sir you are a legend across the Southern Region. And who better to handle this problem?”

“Famous am I?” He laughed lightly as he ran his fingers through his hair and stroked his broad chin. “Once, fame and fortune was all I sought. Now, my needs are simpler. I no longer live the life of a warrior.”

"And so do you live the life of a coward, content to let your Seraphim do your fighting for you?

Drogan smiled sadly.

Estirias, where are you? It’s been almost two months since you came here and I am no closer to finding you.

“I apologize, master Drogan, Sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me; I speak without regard for the feelings of others. Let us just forget about this conversation. I just thought that you might want to do this job because….Well if your Seraphim friend had gone mad and started hurting good people, I’m sure you would want to bring her to justice. I just figured that the three of you should attend to your own.”


Chosen chuckled at Drogans look of confusion. “So you really did not know that the mage in your party survived? He returned from the desert a changed man—much darker in spirit. Now he preys on the good people of Fairies Crossing.”

Drogan abruptly stood, nearly spilling his drink. His jaw clenched and his eyes were intense as he stormed out of the bar. He stopped at the door without turning.

“Meet me here tomorrow morning and take me to the cave.” He left without another word.

“So be it.” Spoke Chosen.


The next morning found Drogan in the bar with a large bundle tied across his back. When asked about it all he would say on the subject is that it was something important to him.

Chosen let the matter drop.


The cave was at the northernmost part of Fairies Crossing, West of the Southern end of the bridge. The two walked silently through the brush until they came upon the entrance. Without delay, Drogan entered the cave, followed by the young warrior.

Inside was total blackness. He could hear slow breathing and could smell blood and sweat and waste. He could see two pale lights, closely spaced, that appeared to disappear and reappear with a rhythm. It was like the blinking of eyes….Seraphim eyes!

He turned toward Chosen and was blinded as a lit torch was thrust into his face. With a grunt of surprise he rolled into the darkness and removed the bundle from his back.

Chosen used his torch to light several more mounted to the walls until the entire cave was brightly lit.

Drogan rose and returned to the center of the cave, his fingers untying the ropes that held the cloth on his package.

Sitting on the floor of the cave were Samual and Estirias. Both were bruised and bloody. A large chest sat on the floor between them. Without a second glance, he started to approach the two.

Drogan heard the sound of a bow being stretched and released. There was a slight whisper as an arrow sped toward his back.

He turned effortlessly, lashing out with his package. The arrow narrowly missed him….

He heard a metallic thud as the arrow bounced off of his package.

Chosen laughed like a child and clapped his hands. “Impressive! You truly are one of the great ones. For that I’ll allow you a few moments to speak to your friends.”

Estirias’s mouth was wrapped in cloth. He removed the gag, his hands lingering for a moment on her smooth skin He took a cloth from his pack and soaked it with water from a flask. He gently washed her face. She looked up into his eyes. Even through her fire he could see her fear.

He moved on to Samual.

“I guess you are not a black mage,” he whispered as he removed the young mages gag.

“Nice to see you again, Drogan. Sorry about Khorad—“

“That is for later, mage! Be certain that we will have words!” He lowered his voice. “But be certain that I will save you. He carefully opened the chest between the two and quickly slammed it shut.

“A young Cerabropod,” laughed Chosen. I could not have them using magic against me.”

“Why?” demanded Drogan as his hands clenched around the cloth-wrapped object in his hand.

“I am going to tell you a story and then I am going to kill you—all three of you.

“I come from a poor family, so poor in fact that to survive through a year of poor crops my father sold my older brother to a slaver. My brother was brought to an arena and became a gladiator.

“He eventually escaped and traveled Ancaria, seeking fame and fortune.”

Drogan felt cold inside.

“My brother’s name was—“

“Kasal,” finished Drogan.

“Wait!” shouted Samual. Is that what this is about? We all knew what we were getting into when we went out into the desert!”

Chosen’s bow was held loosely in his hand, arrow at the ready. Suddenly the arrow flew, his hands moving so fast that they were a blur.

Drogan, not having time to react, did the only thing he could think of. He stepped into the path of the arrow, taking it in the shoulder. His arm fell limply to his side. The bundle clattered noisily to the floor of the cave.

He sank to his knees, his eyes shut tight against the pain.

“Everyone must answer for their actions, Drogan. And you three, through your actions and inaction allowed my brother to die a horrible death.

“The arrows did not kill him. He was gravely hurt but he could have been healed.

“Not all of the Orcs are wild. The city folk are quite civilized actually. I spend a great deal of time in the city of Khorad Nur. But no matter how civilized they appear on the surface, they are still Orcs; they have the hungers and desires of Orcs.

“So imagine my shock and dismay to be eating dinner at the home of an Orc of great stature and to see the head of my own brother before me on the table. Can you imagine what that can do to someone!?” He paused to take a breath. “Interestingly enough, Khorad Nur is no longer the home of Orcs. Rumor has it that it is overrun by the undead. I went back there with twenty warriors with nothing to lose and we killed everything that lived there! And now I am going to kill you!”

“Wait!” whispered Drogan as he pulled the wrapping from his package, revealing a wicked looking axe. He grabbed the handle and pushed himself to his feet. The blade burst into flames.

“Is that…?”

“The legendary Faldamar axe? No, Chosen. This axe was made special, just for me. It was fashioned from the wings of a Seraphim. It was never intended to be used to take a life. It exists so that no matter how far she is from me, I will always have a piece of her near me.

But since you leave me no choice….

With blinding speed Drogan whirled and swung the axe in a wide arc that sliced the bonds from Samuel’s hands and then clove the chest, and the Cerebropod held within, in two.

With a shout of delight, Samual phased rapidly about the cave, firing low level fireballs at Chosen, taking him apart bit by bit. At length he cast an ice shard spell that cut him to shreds.

Drogan dropped the axe and turned his attention to Estirias. “We are even now, mage,” he whispered as he untied her.

“Very well, Drogan. But know this. I did do one thing for you that day in the desert. From atop my perch I could see everything. I saw your Seraphim fall before the flames of the dragon.—“

“He healed me.” Whispered Estirias. “Not much, just enough so that I could make it back to the town. I never said anything about it because I thought that what we could have would be more important than the gold we had sought. The gold he had found.”

Drogan sighed and then laughed. “As you said, everyone must find their own path. Our path will always be together. That is worth more than any riches that the mage found in the desert.”

“Well you can say that because you did not see what I found.” He began to laugh, ignoring the black looks aimed his way. After a few moments the other two began to laugh.

“But we do want our cut,” giggled the Seraphim.

Samual laughed even harder until he began to cry.

Esterisas rose and pulled him to his feet. “I am serious,” she whispered.



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9 hours ago, Smith5969 said:

Hi, I'm playing Gardens Inc 2 on my PC, Windows 7. When I play the game, my cursor won't move to the final 2 inches of the right side of the screen. I've uninstalled and reinstalled the game as well as shut down all other background programs, but still encountering the problem. I was able to get through the first stage of the game, but for the second, part of the course is to the right side of the screen. My cursor can't reach the resources I need for the course. The problem is the entire 2 inches of the right side of the screen. I can't proceed in the game past stage 2 without accessing the right 2 inches.

I'm sorry, I've never heard of that game.

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