Ahir, Guardian of Malor – Chapter One: The Guardian

Cheers and applause filled the park as Ahir walked hand over hand around the lip of the fountain in the park. The crowd is really into it today. Wait till they see what comes next. Bar’bou, a monkey wearing a red vest with yellow trim and a red hat tied to his head, jumped up and down, screeching and clapping his hands. Then he picked up a red ball the size of a cherry tomato and threw it at Ahir. Time to dazzle them. Ahir quickly moved from standing on both of his hands to just one as he caught the red ball with his other.

He wobbled briefly, looking as if he would fall backwards into the fountain, and the crowd gasped. He regained his balance and the crowd cheered even louder than before as he held the red ball up for them to all see. Bar’bou picked up an orange ball and threw it at Ahir as well. Ahir acted startled and tossed the red ball into the air, catching the orange one and then the red one, holding both in the palm of his hand. “Bar’bou, what are you doing you mischievous little monkey?”

Bar’bou screeched at Ahir and picked up a yellow ball. Ahir waved his arm at Bar’bou and shouted,  “No no, Bar’bou! Do not throw another ball at me!” The crowd burst into laughter. Bar’bou threw the yellow ball and Ahir quickly sent the red and orange balls airborne as he caught the yellow one. The yellow ball joined the the other two in the air once more as Ahir began to skillfully juggle the three balls. The crowd applauded and cheered and began to throw change and bills of money onto a blanket that Ahir had spread out on the side walk.

Bar’bou picked up a green ball and a blue ball, and threw them at Ahir, with a short pause in between throws, adding more balls to those that Ahir was already juggling. These were followed by an indigo and a purple ball. Ahir juggled all seven balls with his one hand, the crowd went wild and sent change raining onto his blanket. And now, the real money maker, Ahir thought before giving each of the balls an extra hard toss into the air and launching himself off of the fountain and landing on a bench located a short distance away.

The balls arced through the air to land one at a time in Ahir’s hands. Ahir continued to juggle the balls, this time with both hands. The crowd cheered and applauded wildly, smiles on every face. Ahir smiled right back at them and the crowd gasped as a second set of colored balls joined the first. Ahir continued to juggle the fourteen balls for a short time, and then a look of concentration crossed his face as he went from juggling fourteen colored balls with two hands, to juggling seven balls in each of his hands forming two near perfect rainbows. He had two red balls circling in his left hand, and two green ones circling in his right hand.

The crowd continued to applaud and cheer, but one or two members nudged the person next to them and pointed at Ahir. This spread through the crowd until everybody had noticed that Ahir had mixed two balls up. Ahir smiled at them and without pausing sent the two balls from their place in the circuit to their proper place in the other. After a short while, Ahir caught all fourteen balls amid wild cheers and generous donations from the crowd. Ahir pocketed the balls and bowed to the crowd. Bar’bou jumped up and down and started screeching and clapping his hands. Ahir looked over at him and Bar’bou nodded. Another one? Why now? I had the crowd right where I wanted them.

Ahir turned back to the crowd and bowed to them. “Thank you for coming out today ladies and gentleman, I’m afraid that is all I have for you today, but I will return to this location tomorrow, so tell your friends and look for me around Malor at any of my other show locations.” The crowd called out for more tricks as some members began to break up and move away from the fountain. Ahir scooped up the money with some help from Bar’bou and placed it into a gray and blue back-pack with a cloth bound bundle sticking out of it. Ahir rolled up his blanket and tied it so that it would hang under the back-pack, put it on, and put Bar’bou onto his shoulders. “Where to my friend?”

Bar’bou pointed to the right and Ahir began to jog out of the park and down the sidewalk on Alpine street. “How far is it Bar’bou?”

Bar’bou frowned. “Less than a mile away and it is a rather sizable portal this time. Ahir, are you ready for this?”

Ahir smiled at Bar’bou “Not to worry, the bigger they are, the more in my favor the situation is. Just you watch, I’ll take that monster out and close the portal faster than you can eat a banana.”

Bar’bou crossed his arms and glared at Ahir. “I believe I have made my dislike of bananas known. Honestly, just because I have taken on this simian form does not mean I indulge in the same gross habits as a monkey. If you want to compare your success to the rate in which I would consume that putrid piece of fruit, you may be in some real trouble.”

Ahir kept his smile on his face, but it was forced. I hope I can handle this. They seem to be getting bigger and stronger every time.People called out to Ahir as he jogged past asking when his next show was, and he waved back. “Just look for the crowds and you will find me my friends.”

Ahir jogged past a four story building and Bar’bou pointed to his right. “There! The portal is in that parking lot!” Ahir skidded to a stop and turned to face the parking lot. Ahir saw a light blue shimmering in the air halfway across the parking lot. It formed a ten foot by four foot area in the air, a few inches above the ground.  Ahir took his backpack off and pulled the cloth-wrapped bundle out. He set the backpack on the ground and leaned it up against the building. Ahir pulled on the red string, undoing the knot and opening up the white cloth to reveal a sheathed sword.

The sheath was a plain dull brown, slightly curved and about as long as his arm. The hilt of the sword however was something special to see. It was skillfully made from gold to look like two arms reaching out to form two hands, wrists together and hands forming the cross guard with a red stone between them. Ahir gripped the hilt and pulled the blade out of the sheath, revealing a long, steel blade with a faint golden glow.

“Bar’bou, watch my back for me while I go and take care of this portal.” Bar’bou jumped down off of Ahir’s shoulder and onto the top of his backpack. Ahir started to cross the lot cautiously to the blue shimmer in the air. Where did it go? It usually takes them a while to to cross over, and a while longer for them to adjust to being here, so it couldn’t have gone far. Something that would need a portal that large can’t be hiding that easily. Ahir stood right in front of the portal and he pulled his arm back to swing.

Bar’bou pointed up at the top of the building and shouted, “Ahir, behind you!” Ahir dove to the side, rolled and jumped back up to his feet, his knees bent, sword arm behind him holding the blade pointed forward, his left arm in front of him in a guarded position. Then it landed on the pavement with a loud crash, sending cracks spider-webbing out away from him through the blacktop. Ahir’s mouth opened up in shock and his blade dropped from his hand. How am I supposed to fight that?

Before Ahir stood a nine foot tall skeletal behemoth, with three long bone arms, the third one sprouting from its chest, each arm ending in wicked claws. Its long, reverse-jointed legs ended in hooves that continuously stamped impatiently at the ground, a long cracked tail twitched back and forth, and split about half it’s length down into three tails. It’s head sat upon a short neck, and was similar to the skull of a horse, except all of its teeth were replaced with sharp fangs.

The creature spoke, its voice similar to a stale wind passing through dead leaves on a tree. “You are the one that stopped the others? Then you will be the first one of this world to feel my wrath!” The creature swung a clawed hand at Ahir. Ahir recovered from his shock and did a backflip, narrowly avoiding the creature’s claws. I need to get my sword back if I’m going to be able to beat this thing. How am I supposed to do anything against this thing?

Ahir put a confident smile on his face that he didn’t feel at all, and said boldly, “What is your name, creature? The others were kind enough to tell me their names before I finished them off.” Ahir ducked another of the creature’s swipes, and then rolled forward, avoiding being squashed by the creatures third skeletal arm. He came out of his roll and grabbed his sword. He swung the blade at one of the creatures arms that was reaching down for him. His sword bit into the creatures bone, cracking it halfway up the forearm. The creature reared back and bellowed in pain, one of its clawed hands grasping his injured wrist.

Kal’diz’s eyeless sockets glared hatred at Ahir. “So the stories about the Gladio Protegat are true? Your blade was actually able to wound the mighty Kal’diz! You will suffer greatly for that, human!”

“Ahir. My name is Ahir, and with this blade, none have been able t-” Ahir’s reply was cut off by a woman scream. Ahir turned to see a woman faint and fall to the sidewalk near Ahir’s bag. When Ahir turned his back, Kal’diz’s tail shot out and wrapped around his legs, and pulled him up into the air so that Kal’diz was staring into his face. Kal’diz’s reached out with its right hand and took away Ahir’s sword.

“I think that without this, you won’t pose much of a threat, Ahir.” Kal’diz flicked his tail and released Ahir, sending  him flying across the parking lot. When Ahir neared the ground, he reached out with his arm and pushed off into a flip, allowing him to land on his feet. Ahir ran across the parking lot at Kal’diz.

Bar’bou jumped up and down excitedly on top of Ahir’s backpack. “The sword, Ahir! You won’t be able to hurt him without the sword!”

“I know that Bar’bou, but I need to get it back first!” Kal’diz reached out with his middle arm to try and grab Ahir. Ahir jumped over the hand, landing on top of the large bony wrist, and then jumped from it to Kal’diz’s raised right arm and punched his wrist joint. Kal’diz roared in pain again and dropped the sword. Ahir dropped after the sword, grabbing it before it hit the ground. He landed on the ground and Kal’diz lunged at him, his mouth open wide in preparation to bite into Ahir. Ahir gripped the hilt of his sword with both hands and brought it through Kal’diz neck, severing his head from his body.

The head and body both fell to the ground, and began to break down into dust before they hit, and blow away in an unfelt breeze. Ahir smiled and walked over to the portal and thrust his sword into it. The portal collapsed down around the point of the sword, glimmered, and disappeared. Ahir swaggered over to Bar’bou, picked up his sheath and slid his sword back into it. “Another portal closed, another of your people stopped, and once again, Earth is safe because of me.”

Bar’bou jumped off of the backpack and landed on Ahir’s shoulder. “Yes, yes, a job well done, Ahir. Now what about this female who witnessed your confrontation with Kal’diz?”

“Same as always, call the paramedics and tell them where to find her.” Ahir looked more closely at the woman’s face. “Wait, I recognize her. She was in the crowd today at the park.”

Bar’bou gripped his chin with his hand. “Yes, I believe you are right. I think this girl attends every day. Think she saw you well enough to identify you?”

“Hard to tell, Bar’bou. I was a little distracted by Kal’diz to notice how much she saw before passing out.” He reached into his backpack and pulled out a water bottle, unscrewed the cap and splashed a little on the woman’s face. Her eyes opened up, she sat up, and wiped the water off of her face. “Are you alright ma’am? We found you passed out on the sidewalk.”

“Ahir! I followed you here because I wanted to see where your next show was. Then you were fighting that big skeleton monster thing…” she paused and looked around the parking lot. “Where is it? What happened to that monster?”

Ahir and Bar’bou looked at each other. Bar’bou nodded and Ahir looked back at the woman. “It’s kind of hard to explain, but if you will come with us we will explain everything Miss…?”

“My name is Trixie Ameliason. What did you mean by we?”

Bar’bou chimed in, “That is one of the explanations that will be provided forthwith.”

“That monkey just talked.” Trixie’s eyes rolled back into her head and she fainted again.

“Great, Bar’bou. You couldn’t’ wait to do that until after we got her home? Now I have to carry her the whole way.”

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