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BATTLE OF BROTHERS

5


“Ethan!” My brother called “Ethan, get up!

I knew when I opened my eyes I would no longer be on the ship, just like the king and queen vanished. Sorcerer LaCroiux had transported them somewhere using his powers. I also had a pretty good idea where Rainer and I ended up…Cadieux Castle. “Retrieve the stone, Ethan,” LaCroiux’s words echoed in my head. He would have to send us back to the castle for me to retrieve the last emerald of power. I was alarmed at what I saw outside the castle when I opened my eyes…a battle!

“Get up, NOW!” Rainer yelled as he pulled me up off the ground.

My eyes were definitely wide open. The castle was under attack. Sorcerer LaCroiux had given me assistance in the form of hundreds of wolverines and a few large trolls. The Elven Warriors valiantly defended the castle, as did our father. He was directly in the middle of the battlefield fending off two or three wolverines at a time.

“We have to help father!” Rainer said as he continued to pull me toward the action.

I personally didn’t want any part of this battle. I wanted to find a way through it and into the castle. Searching through the groups of Elven Warriors and wolverines, I found a path to the back gate. Rainer stopped me.

“Where are you going?”

Do I zap him or play along? I wondered. Then I remembered that I would need his help to enter the room where the emerald was hidden so I played along. I picked the first wolverine I saw and blasted him in the back.

“Great shot, Ethan!” my brother cheered.

A smile crept across my face. I blasted two more. It felt good. Don’t shoot the elves. I reminded myself. Besides they would be my servants soon.

I suddenly realized that my father, brother and I had formed a triangle defense so no enemy could sneak up behind us. We were easily fending off LaCroiux’s mighty henchmen.

“Rainer! Ethan!” our father called. “I need you both to get to the castle.”

I immediately began searching for the safest route.

“I can help, father!” Rainer replied.

“I need you two protecting the princess.”

That seemed to be all Rainer needed to hear, and we were off toward the castle. Once we reached the back gate we slipped inside and quickly found the princess. The castle shook as the monstrous trolls hammered away on the walls with their meaty fists trying to punch a hole through the stones. Fortunately, this castle was well built and would keep them at bay long enough for me to steal the emerald and end this insanity.

The young princess was crying when we arrived, and her uncle Cragon Cadieux was in the room. I gasped at the sight of him.

“Thank goodness you have arrived. I fear for the princess’s safety,” The strong, young elven prince claimed.

“Yeah, sure,” I muttered, but no one seemed to hear me.

“Why are you not with my brother?” The prince questioned.

Like you don’t know, I sarcastically thought. The prince sure seemed to be laying this act on thick. He knows exactly what happened on the boat, and outside the castle. He’s behind it all. But, he doesn’t know how I’m going to ruin his well thought out plans.

The castle shook violently again and again. With each thunderous boom, the princess cried out. A young elven girl named, Grace Tallon, held her against her chest attempting to sooth, Princess Merran Cadieux…who was now the rightful heir to the throne.

“Rainer Whizzenmog, how will your father stop this attack?”

Rainer ignored Prince Cragon. He appeared to be in deep thought, maybe trying to figure out his next move. I could almost feel his torment while he helplessly waited in the castle for the battle to end outside.

“We are losing the battle!”

“NO!” Rainer screamed. He was panting heavily trying to control his rage. I had never seen him like this before. He appeared torn.

“We have a secret weapon that could change our fortune, Rainer.”

I immediately knew exactly what the prince was referring to…the last emerald.

“It is truly our only hope,” Prince Cragon pleaded.

Rainer snapped his head at the prince and looked him up and down struggling to maintain eye contact. My brother was fighting within himself whether to open the hidden chamber and release the power within the emerald to save the castle, or hope that our father could stop the onslaught before it was too late.

That is when I decided to enter the fray with the good prince…for now. I calmly placed my hand upon my brother’s shoulder. “Rainer, you have already failed father once tonight.” I said reminding him that Sorcerer LaCroiux had kidnapped the king and queen under his guard. “Don’t do it again.”

A tear formed in Rainer’s eye. “Let’s go!” He gave in.

I instructed Grace to lock the door from the inside and hide until we returned. Something I had no intention of doing. Prince Cragon and I followed Rainer as he ran through the castle to the secluded wing where the emerald was hidden. He opened the secret doorway and we entered. I reached for the glowing green gemstone, but it magically lifted into the air and over my head. When I turned around, it was firmly in the grasp of my brother’s paw. He sternly glared at me. Prince Cragon’s face lit up with excitement at the very sight of the emerald.

“It’s astonishing,” Prince Cragon commented. A reflection off the emerald shown in his eyes.

I caught myself staring. It had grown uncomfortable in the small room, when the prince reached out for the emerald. I don’t think he realized he was doing it. The gemstone was drawing him to it. Rainer pulled it away. I saw an opportunity and snatched it from his grasp. We all began to struggle attempting to pry the emerald from one another’s grip. I freed it, when Prince Cragon punched me square in the snout. My eyes instantly began to tear, and I dropped the emerald. My brother snagged it using his wand and was off running. I zapped the prince with a freezing spell for socking me, and followed Rainer into the hallway.

As I turned the corner, a flash of light blinded me. Then I saw my master. He stood across from me with Rainer between us trapping him. By now, he had probably figured out that I was not playing on his team anymore, but if he wasn’t certain, I was going to make it crystal clear.

“Give it to me, brother.” I demanded.

Rainer responded by pointing his wand at me. He began to back into the wall feeling LaCroiux’s presence creeping up behind him. We converged on my brother. Rainer frantically swung his wand between us, pointing it at me, then LaCroiux and back again.

I reached out for the emerald and Rainer swatted at me. When our paws collided I felt a warm sensation again as the orange light reappeared. This time I heard a loud snap and everything again went black.

When we reappeared, I again found myself in a familiar place, but I knew that Rainer would not recognize our location. We were deep within the Wolverine Forest…my new home.


It was eerily quiet within the forest, as it should be since most of its inhabitants were currently at the castle. A calming sensation settled into my previously rigid body. I felt my paws relax and conform to the dirty forest floor. Inhaling deeply, the aroma of the forest zoomed through me. An evil smile overtook my face. One I couldn’t resist even if I tried. I now realized that only my brother stood between me and the emerald. Sorcerer LaCroiux made certain of that by sending us here alone.

“Rainer? Where are you, my brother?”

I listened to the forest talking to me. Birds chirped, leaves rustled against the slight breeze. Then, a sound. Something produced only by another stepping on a twig. I spun around. My wand at the ready

“I don’t want to hurt you, Rainer. I only want the emerald.”

A rustling sound rose from my left. “Never!” Rainer yelled as he ran toward me. He leaped and crashed into me, knocking my wand into a pile of leaves. We rolled along the forest floor throwing punches, which is an odd way for two wizards to settle anything, but our brotherly spat went much deeper than just this emerald. I grabbed hold of Rainer’s fur and flung him against an exposed root. He yelled out in pain as I pinned him down.

“Where is the emerald?”

We were both breathing heavily. He struggled to free himself. “I have hidden it in the woods. You’ll never find it.”

Angered, I slammed his head against the ground. The ground trembled as my powers began to boil. As a wizard, I needed my wand to channel my powers into use, but as a sorcerer I was free to twist the elements around me.

I began to laugh. It was unexplainable. There was no good reason for laughter at this moment, but I couldn’t control it. Fear had taken over Rainer’s face. He had begun to realize just how much danger he was in.

“How could you do this, Ethan? How could you betray your own family?”

“My family?” My laughter ceased and was replaced with rage. The swell of emotions caused me to tear down a nearby tree. It crashed to the ground only a few feet behind me. “You ask me how I could betray my family? This family? I was never a part of the Whizzenmog family, Rainer. Our father never accepted me for what I wasn’t.”

“And what’s that?”

I hesitated briefly deciding whether or not to answer truthfully, then I did, “You, Rainer. I was never as good and strong as you.” I summoned more roots from the ground. They burst out tossing dirt into the air, which landed on Rainer’s face and body covering his reddish-orange fur. I directed the roots to entangle his body and hold him to the ground.

“I will find the emerald, Rainer.”

“Why are you so angry?” Rainer questioned.

I scoffed at the thought that he was unaware of the reason. “Do you remember the night I left? What you did to me? Humiliating me again! The look in our father’s eyes that night said it all. I knew that I would never be as good as you in his eyes. That was the day he choose you, Rainer.”

“That’s not true.”

“LIAR!” I screamed so loudly that the chirping birds leapt into the sky and flew away. “Liar,” I repeated in a whisper.

“He was crushed when you didn’t return, Ethan.”

“Well…father won’t have to worry now, because when I find that emerald, I am going to be the most powerful sorcerer in Mistasia. And you will call me King.”

Rainer didn’t respond. He just stared at me shocked, like I had just slapped him in the face.

“Now where did you hide the emerald, Rainer,” I asked while searching around the forest.

When I turned my back, a bright blue flash caught my eye, followed by a snapping. I turned to see Rainer had broken free and escaped into the forest. I followed him forgetting about my wand in the leaves. It didn’t matter. I had left that life behind now. I was a sorcerer and in this forest there were all the weapons I would ever need to defeat my brother.

First, I pulled the ground up under his feet causing him to trip. Rainer gathered himself and ran again. Next, I snapped a nearby limb free and flung it like an arrow. My brother blocked it with a charm and continued to flee. He hid behind a large tree, but I just yanked it from the ground, roots and all, before tossing it aside with a tremendous crash which crippled at least two more trees nearby.

Rainer attempted to slow me down with a freezing spell, but I pulled the dirt before me up like a shield. It froze, but I kicked my leg through and continued stalking him.

“Give me the emerald, Rainer!” I demanded.

Rainer started to run again, but I had had enough. A tree branch lodged into the ground blocking his path. He turned to the right and another landed in front of him; then two more encircled Rainer in a wooden prison.

“There’s no escaping this forest, Rainer!” I stuck my face between two branches. “For so long, I envied you. Now, I pity you. I will not ask you again.”

Rainer pointed to a bush located between two trees just a short distance away. Underneath, I could see a green glow. My heart began to quicken as I reached underneath and grabbed hold of the solid stone. I pulled it out and focused on the object in my hand. It was green in color, but was not the emerald…just a mere rock.

“Rainer!” I yelled in frustration, but when I turned around he was gone again. He had escaped from my trap and disappeared into the forest. I closed my eyes and knelt to the ground. Placing my paw along the forest floor I calmed myself. I could feel the vibrations flowing to me from my right side. I dashed off in pursuit.

The forest quickly thinned and I found myself at its edge. Before me was a clearing. In the distance, Rainer ran for the shelter of a small house. I dashed toward him running faster than I had ever gone in my life. Just before I reached him, Rainer gripped the emerald tightly in his hands and was chanting something.

I didn’t have the time to reach him, when the ground began to tremble. I skidded to a halt. That was when I noticed our family’s crest upon the large wooden door. This was our old family home from centuries ago, before we became the protectors to the king. The land had claimed most of the house; only this door remained visible under the green vines, and tall grass.

The emerald began to glow brightly in Rainer’s palms. The wooden door began to change. It started to swirl around and around. Flashes of light spun at great speed. Rainer glanced at me for a single moment and then jumped into the portal. He had vanished.

I had to follow. I ran the short remaining distance and jumped, crashing into the decaying wooden door. I burst through into the dark and dirty room behind. The portal was gone, Rainer was gone, and most importantly…the emerald was gone with him.

I was crushed. My hope for greatness had just vanished before my eyes. I pulled myself out of the wreckage and stepped out into the grass. Standing at the edge of the forest was my master, Sorcerer LaCroiux. Fear overtook me.

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