HORIZONS TRAVEL TO THE ASH-KING'S LAND
The Ash-kings dark and desolate land lay far away from Shimmeria across a great desert,a great
mountain range, a great forest and a great sea. Too far for Horizon to fly to upon Volvans back and so, in order to travel there swiftly, a gigantic silver bow, almost as tall as the crescent moon, and a gigantic golden arrow, almost as long as a moonbeam, were constructed by the freed people of Efra, laughing and singing as they worked, using the help of good witch’s magic
and after saying goodbye to his faithful Volvan and promising to return for him after his quest was completed, Horizon joined Levil and Rute the Lexicographer aboard the giant arrow which was hollowed out to carry passengers and the giant arrow was fired by the giant bow and when the bow string twanged it sounded like the peal of thunder and the giant arrow sailed cleanly over desert, mountains, forest and sea until it landed in the Ash kings land, burying its enormous arrow head deep in a sandy beach.
HORIZON AND THE CREATION GAME
While on the beach they saw a people with skins the colour of purple grapes with hair like green vines, laughing and singing and playing what looked like a game or sport involving an odd, oval shaped ball and one large goal.
“What is that game they are playing?”, Horizon asked the well traveled Scholar of Magic, Rute. “Why has it got only one goal and such an odd
“That is not a game”,answered Rute,laughing, “That is how these people reproduce. The ball is an unfertilized egg and the goal is a place where
the egg is fertilized and when that one egg is fertilized it will grow enormous like a house and when it cracks open an entire new tribe will emerge”.
And Horizon,looking again at what he thought to be a game now noticed that the ball was indeed a type of egg and that the two opposing teams
were two opposite sexes,one male and one female with the females defending the goal while the males attacked.
“You are witnessing a secret though”,said Rute,lowering his voice, “Because the procreation of these happy people has been banned by the Ash-King”.
“Banned?”, said Horizon,confused, “But how will these people survive if they cannot reproduce with this funny mating game”.
“Don’t ask me to explain his logic”, answered Rute, “The Ash-king is a lover of death and lovers of death see all procreation as vulgar and obscene because it is the ritual that brings forth life”, Rute shook his head in disgust at the Ash-kings perversity, “Wether you like it or not. It is a banned practice and if any of the Ash-Kings soldiers were to find out what was going on here then all these poor innocents
would either be arrested or killed”.
Suddenly,but without making a sound there appeared a group of riders on what looked like black stallions, but with black bat wings and mouths full of sharp vampire teeth, wearing suits of blood spattered, black armour and
blood stained, black, horned helmets on their heads.
Horizon was startled that they appeared so suddenly and silently and even more startled when a moment later he heard an immense thunder clap.
“What are they and what was that sound?”,asked Horizon of Rute.
“The Ash-kings cavalry”, said Rute, “They can travel faster than sound and that is why you heard their noise sometime after you saw them arrive. Their speciality is the massacre of large groups of helpless, unarmed people”.
Horizon now grew anxious about what would happen to the innocent beach dwellers if the soldiers caught them playing their mating game.
“Can’t you use your magic knowledge to save them”, he begged of Rute and Levil.
“There isn’t much time”, the two witches telepathically agreed, “but we should try”, and they focused their wills, uniting them into one, to save the innocent tribe from slaughter.
Suddenly there appeared in the air what seemed like a dense white fog, as thick as thatch on a roof and it was so thick that Horizon could not see beyond the end of his nose.
“Where did this fog come from”,wondered Horizon, “Is this your doing”,he asked Rute and Levil.
“It is a mind-fog. An illusion.”,said Rute “And if you see it then hopefully the Ash-kings
Horsemen will also see it and be lost in it”.
Happily, it seemed that the fog was working for, though Horizon could not see them, he could hear the vicious horsemen mount their vampire stallions and soon he could hear the thunder clap of those swifter than sound horses galloping away.
Horizon would have wanted to stay and protect the tribe of innocents further so that they could go on playing there creation game in peace but he knew that he could not afford to waste a minute more because he had to continue with his quest and,he reasoned, “If I were to defeat this cruel Ash-king, as I will probably have to, it will save this innocent tribe and all the persecuted and tormented people of this hellish Kingdom”. Thus Horizon moved on with his companions along a road that was ruler straight and black, as were all the roads in that land, into another place- a town.
HORIZON AND THE PEOPLE EATER
The land of the Ash-king was very different from Shimmeria or Horizons homeland of Giants and Gnomes. The air of the Ash-kings land was not clean and clear but often cloudy with black smoke and the buildings were not made of wood and stone but of iron and steel and concrete. The town that Horizon and his companions now entered was named Town 668V; a large industrial town with smog belching factories and highrise metal houses and, to Horizons horror, he saw that it was being terrorized by a creature, like a giant aardvaark, eating people the way that an ant-eater eats
ants from an anthill.
“Is that monster made by nature?”, asked Horizon of his companion Rute who was a well- travelled scholar of all magical things.
“No it is not”, said Rute. “All the monsters which you may see in the land of the Ash-king
are unnatural beings, either cooked up like his cavalrymen in cauldrons of mass-production or stolen from mother nature and turned into giant abominations. That people eater was no doubt an ordinary ant-eater before the Ash-kings witches got their grubby, meddling hands on it”.
Horizon had no idea how he could stop the ferocious People-Eater. Both Levil and Horizon tried to bring it down with various types magical artillery but the monster was too great and its body covered with armadillo like scales of armour plating, each scale as thick as a citadel wall. Only its mile-long,snout, with which it probed the windows and door ways of people’s houses, sucking them from out of their chairs and beds, was soft enough to wound with a sword .
Suddenly the long nosed beast saw Horizon and his companions and, with angry, glaring eyes, it turned its enormous suction power against them and all three of them felt as helpless as paper kites in a hurricane, Horizon clinging onto the nearest thing that he could find, which was a lamp-post and Levil clinging onto him by his boots and Rute clinging onto him by his sandaled feet and all three of them felt sure that it was now there destiny to become lunch for the giant man-eating aardvaark but,to their enormous relief, once they had been sucked, loudly screaming, into the belly of the giant aardvaark they discovered that it was not a animals belly at all but a mobile prison full of cages and prison guards with swords and poleaxes.
“This must be a way of capturing and transporting political prisoners to the Ash-Kings castle”, said Levil as they were, all three of them, locked into a cage by one of the guards.
“Good”, said Horizon, “Then it is taking us where I want to go”.