The Curse of the Orthana by Nick Tamboia

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Chapter 12: The Black Ax

Jadis was not the only one to have spies.

We did, and from what they reported to us, over the next few weeks the girl, Alia lived with Jadis in her fortress and there, Jadis convinced her to use her magic to help them defeat their enemies and in the event that the man, Kane returned.

Alia did not fully believe all that Jadis told her, but agreed to help the Witch Queen, mostly because she was afraid that Kane would return.

In the beginning it was unclear if the girl would be able to use her magic to craft the dragon scale into any weapon at all, and when the girl had seen it, she was amazed by its size.

“A Dragon Scale,” she asked as she looked up at Jadis.

“One I need you to use your magic on to make weapons for us,” Jadis told her. 

So Alia had tired. Her first idea was to make a sword, because she recalled Kane carrying one, and after thinking about it for a long time, imagining one in her mind, she focused her attention on the huge dragon scale as she held her hands up in front of it, not actually touching it, as something told her not to touch it at all, as that would be very bad.

“Its’ powerful,” she whispered.

Jadis and the others stood to the side, watching.

Closing her eyes, the girl thought, “sword.” 

From the dragon scale there came a cracking sound, as if a giant stone had splintered, and a flash of blue light. 

A large sword shaped blade formed in the surface of the dragon scale and floated into the air.  Jadis had warned the girl that touching the weapons she made might cause death, so Alia next used her magic to cause the metal near the boy that sat on the bench to form it into a hilt, and attached the black sword blade, and then floated it across the room to a troll.

“Take it,” Jadis ordered the troll.

Hesitating the troll reached up and took the sword by the handle. His eyes were closed as he expected to burst into soot and ash as soon as he touched it, but to his amazement, he didn’t. After a moment he held the sword up and smiled.

Over the next week, working for a few short hours a day due to Jadis fearing that the power of the dragon scale would kill the girl—not that she cared if that happened, however she wanted the black ax before the girl died—Alia crafted several weapons for the witch. She made more black swords, daggers and black daggers.

Between working on the weapons for Jadis, Alia stayed in a room under her fortress, where Jadis had told her she had to stay for her own safety. 

“We’re keeping you hidden, incase this vampire, Kane shows up,” Jadis had told the girl. “You are too valuable to us, and we can’t have him hurting you.”

Alia didn’t believe that, and was fully aware that she was a prisoner, and long ago, had started trying to come up with a way to escape.

Her escape came in the form of Rusty the Dwarf, who she befriended. He would often visit her when she was in her room, and the two would talk. Rusty was at first interested in hearing all about Kane, but as time went by, he found him listening to stories of Alia’s life before she had come to Narnia. Hearing about her childhood adventures playing in the forest and making friends with animals warmed the Dwarfs heart and he began to soften, and eventually he might have been loved her, which was why he did what he did.

When most of the scale for the Dragon of Darkness was gone, turned into weapons for Jadis, thanks to Alia’s abilities, Jadis came to her and told her she needed the girl to make a special weapon for her. “I need you to craft for me, for the last of the dragon scale, a black ax.”

“An ax?” Alia was confused by this. “For what?”

“A weapon of great power,” Jadis had replied. “To destroy an enemy of ours. Do you think you can do that for us?”

Alia had hitched her shoulders up and down and said, “sure.”

“On the morrow then,” Jadis told the girl. “Get yourself some rest.”

Rusty had been nearby, as he had wanted to visit the girl again, and even had brought her a snack to eat before she slept, but when he had seen Jadis leave the room, he hid.

As Jadis walked by him, followed by the dire wolf and an ape, Jadis remarked, “once we have the Black Ax there is no need for her. I think I shall turn her into a statue. She would make a nice addition to those in my throne room.”

Rusty was very upset by this, and had slumped down in the shadows and actually cried. Eventually he had crept over to Alia’s door and unlocked it, and entered with the snack for the girl.

Alia had realized he was upset and asked the Dwarf why, and he eventually told her the truth as he thought it was only right. “After you make the ax for her, she will turn you to stone and put you in her throne room.”

To Rusty’s amazement, Alia sat there on her cot, eating the snack and simply said, “I know.”

“You know,” Rusty looked up at her, shocked. 

Alia glanced up at him and nodded her head. “Everyone has enemies. Jadis has some, I would think.”

Rusty looked at her and slowly nodded his head, wondering. 

That night, Rusty snuck out of the fortress and in the woods met with one of our spies, a fox and told him everything that Jadis was planning, after which, he went to see spies for the Goblin King.

The following day, as she had said, Jadis came to get Alia and led her to the dragon scale, asking the child to make her the Black AX. 

“Okay, but I need wood and some metal and some cloth to make the handle for the ax, and something to hold it in,” Alia had told the witch. 

“Of course,” Jadis had said with a fake smile on her face, and then ordered those guards to go and collect up what the girl requested, after which she looked back at Alia and smiled. “I will be in my throne room, bring the Black Ax to me.”

“Yes,” was all Alia said with a nod of her head.

With another fake smile, Jadis turned and left, which was a mistake as Alia was now alone in the room with the dragon scale. 

Using her magic, she quickly moved all the weapons she had previously made, into a cart that she had asked be put in the room a few days before. In groups of three or four, the daggers, arrows and black swords floated over to the large wooden cart and rested in them. Once that was done, the girl ripped a strip of cloth from her dress and using her magic, turned it into a huge blanket, which she tossed over the top of the weapons, and then used her magic to move the cart over toward the two wooden doors. 

She then peeked out of them, seeing the guards starting to return with the objects she had requested, but that was not what she was really interested in. 

As Raven had told her, Alia had kept most of her magic a secret from Jadis and the others, especially her magic ability to grow plants, and over the last few days had been slowly making plants outside of the doors grow, tall weeds and vines, which she looked at, making sure no one had cut them yet, as she needed to use them.

When the guards were before the door, Alia went back to the table where the remainder of the dragon scale was, and pretended to be looking at it, concentrating when the men entered. 

They sent the items she needed down on the table beside the girl and then waited and watched.

Alia did in fact craft the Black Ax that day, using her magic to create a huge, double bladed battle ax, which she attached to a handle made of metal and wood and leather. 

“Excellent work,” one guard said as he looked at the Black Ax as it floated in the air. “Our Queen will be delighted.”

The other guard stood nearby, a pig like creature who stood upright like a man and was picking his snout, uninterested in what the girl had done.

“Thank you,” Alia said as she smiled at the man guard. “I am really sorry about this.”


Alia used her magic to shove the man, hard, as she had done once to the Witch Hunter. The man didn’t just slam into the wall, he actually crashed right through it.

Even as this happened, the pig guard sprang up, pulling out his sword as he glared at the girl. He made an attempt to swing it at Alia’s head, but Alia was faster and shouted, “vines grow!”

Before the guard could realize what had happened, the vines she had been slowly growing on the outside of the door, crashed through it like the tentacles of some enamors beast, coiling around the guard as the grew larger, lifting him upwards and smashing him through the ceiling.

Not waiting or watching that, Alia shot the Black Ax into the cart and then pointed at the closed doors, which promptly exploded outwards. 

Alia had just pushed the cart toward the opening, when a figure suddenly appeared in front of her. With a startled yelp, the girl leaped backwards, and then relaxed. It was the Dwarf, Rusty.

“You really didn’t plan this out all that well,” he told the girl. Behind him was a pony which he and Alia hitched to the cart with the Black Ax and weapons in. By that time several guards were rushing toward the stable where they were. 

Seeing them, Alia walked out into the opening before the stable doors, her hands held out at her sides and she shouted, “grow!”

The plants that were on each side of her suddenly spouted to life, transforming into a wall of densely packed vines and brush that stretched several feet up into the air.

Just as this happened there was a loud trumpet like sound, followed by a boom. Alia gasped at that, watching as a volley of arrows came flying over the fortress wall. “What?”

“Goblins,” Rusty said with a smile. “Come on, we need to get to the gate.”

The two leading the horse and cart through tried to make it to the front gate, but this became difficult as a battle was erupting all around them, with goblins and orcs attacking the outer wall of Jadis’s fortress, huge boulders and arrows flying over it, smashing guards and Jadis’s men. 

Then before them, the wall exploded inwards as a huge stone giant came stomping into the fortress, swinging a huge stone club left and right, smashing it into Jadis’s forces.

Behind it, goblins and orcs poured into the fortress, firing off arrows, swinging swords.

“This way,” Alia shouted and led them away from the fray down an alleyway to a section of the outer wall. No one was here, and after looking around, the girl turned back and smiled at Rusty. 

“What,” the Dwarf said from where he sat on the pony. “It’s a dead end.”

Alia, remembering what had happened when she had first used her push magic when she had come to Narnia, thrush her left hand out in front of her, palm up. The wall before her exploded outwards, sending shards of stone and huge chunks of rock into the forest field beyond. “There. Let’s go.”

Rusty let out with a whistle of amazement as he shook his head, impressed by what he had just seen. The fortress outer wall was a good six feet thick and she had blasted through it as if she had pushed her hand through tissue paper.

Once beyond the wall, they made their way down the sloping hill and into the forest, leaving the massive battle going on between Jadis and the goblins behind.

The two had not made it far with the cart of weapons pulled by the pony, when they were surrounded by goblins, and a large, green skinned orc. 

“Dang,” was all Alia said to that as she held her hands up, not to surrender but to use her magic, but Rusty stopped her.

“Hold, friends,” Rusty shouted. “We had a deal, your king and I.”

Alia snapped her head around and glared at the Dwarf. “Deal?”

The orc riding the warg slowly approached them as he looked at the cart. He was huge, muscular, with large pointed ears, and odd, blue colored eyes. Glancing from Rusty he looked back at the cart, while the warg growled at Alia and the Dwarf.

“Weapons,” the orc growled.

“In the cart,” Rusty replied. “Just as I promised.”

“You promised?” Alia was shocked. “What? Why?”

Rusty spun her around and held her by her shoulders. “I had to get you away from Jadis. I had to, Alia. I had a daughter once. She and my wife were killed in a flood, nearly ten years now. It turned my heart to stone and I thought I would never love and care for another thing in my life. In my anger and grief I joined Jadis, but it was a mistake. I see that now. Since I have met you,” he fell silent and shook his head. “You remind me so much of my daughter, Alia. I couldn’t let that witch kill you. I had to get you away, so I made a deal with them, the weapons for our lives.” 

Alia thought that over as she relaxed. 

“They agreed to help me free you in return for the weapons,” Rusty told her, and then looked back up at the orc. “They are yours, Alaster. Take them.”

The orc leaned over and pulled the cloth aside, seeing the weapons, including the Black Ax Alia had made, beneath. Smiling he motioned to the goblins, who unhooked the pony and worked a large wooly rhinoceros to the cart.

“Go,” the orc grumbled as he looked back down at Rusty and Alia. “Go before we decide to take you too.”

“We need to get you to the watchtower in the south,” Rusty said as he walked over to the pony.

“Watchtower,” Alia echoed as she watched the goblins and orc leaving with her cart full of weapons.

“Aslan’s forces are gathering there,” Rusty told her. “You’ll be safe there with them.”

Reluctantly, the girl let herself be put on the pony and led away by Rusty the Dwarf.

By nightfall they reached our fortress where the Watch Tower still stood.