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||You are on Week 212
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Two Hundred and Twelve Ends February 4th
"I'm afraid the rumours are true, m'lord," Galgarroth said as he entered Lord Darigan's chambers.
Lord Darigan looked up from the maps and notes piled on his desk. "I was afraid of that," he said, sighing.
The Darigan Grarrl looked to the floor, disappointed that he hadn't been able to bring his lord better news, and had instead placed even more worry upon his shoulders. "Isn't there anyone--?"
"There is one, but…" Darigan put his hand to his mouth, contemplating if it was truly worth the risk. He then stood and shook his head. "I feel I have no choice in the matter. Come with me; I will speak to him myself."
Confused but ever-loyal, Galgarroth followed Lord Darigan down the winding path of stairs that led to the far tower, which housed prisoners of the citadel.
Master Vex was surprised to see Lord Darigan enter the room, and hastily bowed to his lord. "Are you in need of my service, m'lord?"
Darigan nodded grimly. "I've come to see Barallus. Lead me to him."
Master Vex gasped. Behind them, amongst the dank cells, they heard the maniacal laughter of the most dangerous prisoner the citadel had ever dared to hold captive...
Author: Clop clop clop|
Date: 28th January
...Master Vex cautiously led Lord Darigan and Galgarroth down through the dungeons. Each cell they passed held a more wretched prisoner than the last, and each one looked hastily away as Darigan passed.
At last they came to a cell at the end of the passage, from which emerged the broken notes of some long forgotten song. Vex looked carefully up at his master before turning the key in the lock. With a loud creak the door swung open, and the song stopped. Swinging from a mess of chains, his body bound by ropes and iron, Barallus stared at the entrants with gigantic, rosy eyes. His tiny pupils focused on Lord Darigan as he swung back and forth like a pendulum, his bonds jingling in the darkness.
Darigan stood in front of the Korbat and motioned for his entourage to leave. Master Vex and Galgarroth obeyed without protest. Darigan then turned back towards the prisoner and spoke quietly.
"Barallus, prisoner of secrets, you have been sworn to secrecy by me, Lord Darigan, and your life has been spared on account that you might be of aid to us someday. That day has come."
Barallus swayed back and forth, staring deeply into the eyes of Darigan. The Korbat beat his wings and smiled crookedly. "Dari-Dari-Darigan, I know secret of time far gone! But you use me like a pawn, Dari-Dari-Darigan!" He once again broke into an insane fit of laughter, while Darigan tried to control his temper.
"Barallus, you are very important to us, and you are much more than a pawn. Do you remember when you were my most faithful servant? Do you remember the battle, all those years ago?"
The Korbat nodded as he swung, still giggling.
"Do you remember what our final hope was during that war?"
Barallus' chains jangled noisily as he pulled himself to a stop. He flapped his wings to steady himself, dangling in front of Darigan. "The one who save us... her..."
"Yes, Barallus." Darigan nodded. "You remember the faerie. She ended the battle, but also told us of the future. She said you were the one who could..." Darigan paused, thinking for a moment. "Barallus, if I release you, will you help me?"
Barallus nodded viciously. "'Lease me, help you! 'Lease me, help you!"
"Vex!" Lord Darigan called. "We're ready."
Master Vex entered with Galgarroth and looked up at the tiny Korbat, who had resumed swinging. "Y-you mean to release him, m'lord?" the warden asked.
"Yes. We need him," Darigan said grimly.
Master Vex caught the Korbat in mid-swing and turned a key in the lock around his midriff. The shackles fell off, and Barallus shook himself until he was completely free. With a mad cry he took off and circled once around the room, then made a crazy dive for the door. Galgarroth leapt at the Korbat and grounded him.
"Must be free! No more darkness!" Barallus cried, flopping around under the Grarrl's great bulk.
Darigan approached the struggling Korbat and pulled him out by one wing. "You are still under my orders, and you will obey me... or face the consequences!" he said, surprised at how harsh his voice became. Barallus was cowed, though, and stopped struggling. Darigan continued, "Now, we must go to my study and discuss this..."
Date: 31st January
“...Study, yes, to study we go,” the Korbat hissed obediently. Darigan glared at the prisoner before motioning towards Galgarroth. The Grarrl immediately held both of Barallus’ wings in a vice-like grip. Satisfied, Lord Darigan signaled for them to follow him as he moved to exit the dank dungeon.
Galgarroth pulled the Korbat up so that he could face him. “I don’t understand what you could possibly know, but if you try to escape, I’ll have no qualms about hunting you down,” the Grarrl growled. Barallus only giggled.
“Barallus know, he know much,” the Korbat replied, fixing Galgarroth with an empty look. “Know much about you, too.”
The Grarrl made a motion to smack the Korbat with one gauntleted fist, but he was interrupted by Darigan’s voice.
“Come Galgarroth, we don’t have much time.”
The Grarrl sneered at Barallus, who had a lurid smile on his face, and marched out of the cell, the Korbat dangling and swinging from his left claw. Master Vex bowed slightly as the Grarrl pushed past him to follow Darigan’s retreating back.
A few moments later, Barallus was perched quite innocently atop a small, wooden stool, humming to himself. Lord Darigan was seated in his personal chair behind his cluttered study table, his hands resting on the armrests. He turned his head to face Galgarroth.
“Leave us, Galgarroth,” Darigan declared, fixing the Grarrl with a steely gaze. “I wish to talk to Barallus in private.”
“But m’lord, this prisoner could be dangerous,” Galgarroth protested, but he stopped when he saw anger flare in his master’s eyes. “Yes… yes m’lord. I take my leave then.” The Grarrl bowed and turned to leave the study, throwing Barallus a suspicious look.
“No worry, Galga,” Barallus whispered as the Grarrl moved past him. “All secrets safe with Barallus.” The Korbat finished with an inane giggle.
When the doors to the study had shut behind Galgarroth, Darigan leaned forward in his chair and put his hands together atop the ancient desk. When he saw that he had Barallus’ attention, he spoke in a low, clear voice.
“Prisoner of secrets, tell me what the faerie told you. Tell me the secret of..."
Date: 1st February
Barallus giggled. "Yes, yes," he said, "very very important secret, very important. Faerie tell that Citadel go! Citadel gone!"
Darigan struggled to contain his impatience. "I have already heard the rumours about the destruction of the Citadel," he said. "What I need to know is how to stop it. Well? Did the faerie tell you how we could stop the devastation? Or how the Citadel is to be destroyed?"
Barallus shrieked. "Tell!" he cried. "Yes, she tell! Tell very much, yes!"
"Well, what did she say?!?" Darigan snapped. The ragged Korbat cringed behind his wing as if he were awaiting a beating. Darigan took a deep breath and calmed down. "Well?" he continued in a milder tone.
Barallus squeaked shrilly, "Citadel crash and burn when attacked from within! Yes, oh yes! Crash and burn, crash and burn! Burn burn BURN!!!" His piercing voice rose as he recalled what the faerie had said.
"Who will attack the citadel?" Darigan asked impatiently.
"Itself! Itself!" the prisoner said. "It attack itself!"
"How?" Darigan asked, slightly stunned.
"Fire burn, fire burn, fire burn! Fire come from..."
Date: 1st February
Lord Darigan curled his clawed hand into a fist; this was getting nowhere, and his notoriously short temper was about to get the better of him. "ENOUGH!" he roared, slamming the fist down. The Korbat whimpered pathetically, cringing into a trembling, sniveling bundle.
"Stop talking in circles!" Darigan commanded forcefully. "Citadels don't spontaneously combust! Someone must start the fire, and I want to know who it will be! Will you tell me, or do you want to see the inside of that cage again?"
Barallus let out a hysterical sob. "No... no dark places! He doesn't like dark places, Barallus doesn't, no, no, no... He tell kind lord who starts fire, yes, he tell..." His pleas died away into incoherent mumblings.
"Well, who?" Darigan hissed, fighting to keep his voice level.
"Faerie say... she say..." Barallus took three rapid breaths, trembling madly, and opened one eye. "Faerie tell me... you start it!"...
Date: 2nd February
..."Ridiculous!" Darigan roared, throwing his arms into the air and bringing them back down onto his desk with a loud slam. "What would drive me to burn my own citadel?!" he growled angrily, grabbing the Korbat by the cuff of its neck.
Barallus squealed and wriggled pathetically in Darigan's grip. "What she said! What faerie said! Barallus only tells! Only tells he does!" Barallus screeched, his tiny wings flapping around rapidly and occasionally whacking Darigan's wrist in an attempt to break free. "It hurts Barallus!" the Korbat whimpered, referring to Darigan's viper tight grip.
Reluctantly letting go, Darigan tossed Barallus across the room to relieve some anger, but to his disappointment, Barallus leveled himself and flittered around the room madly instead, shrieking words like "Bad Darigan!" and "Hurtful Darigan!"
Taking an angry and ragged deep breath, Darigan attempted to compose himself again before asking in a forced, level voice, "Barallus, what would drive me to burn down the citadel?"
Barallus stopped in mid-flight, plummeting to the stool before he spoke again. "Darigan will be tricked... yes, tricked." Barallus started, tilting his head slightly as he spoke. "Darigan will be tricked by something wicked."
"What wicked thing could trick me?" Darigan demanded, glaring at the tiny Korbat fiercely.
"Tricked you will be by the one will trick you, the wicked one who will trick you." Barallus replied, breaking out into a fit of giggles. "Darigan will be tricked by the one he least expects. Master will burn down the citadel!" Barallus ended with his voice rising into a high-pitched squeal and he flittered around the room again, chanting, "Tricked Darigan, burn the citadel, least expect, the citadel burns!"
Darigan found himself at the end of his patience again, his hands tightening into fists, but before he could lay hands on Barallus, Galgarroth suddenly barged into the room, looking very distressed. "M’lord, forgive my intrusion, but we’re under attack!"...
Date: 2nd February
…Darigan whirled around to stare at Galgarroth, his anger suddenly suspended by shock. “Attacked?” He bared his teeth, and Barallus -- though he was clear across the room -- settled down into a defensive crouch out of fear of how fierce the lord of the Citadel’s expression had become. “Has that thrice-accursed king from below sent his knights after me again?!?”
“No, sir!” Galgarroth was breathing heavily. “This foe is… i-it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen, m’lord.”
“Show me,” Darigan commanded. He might have possessed a temper of the most frightful sort, and perhaps he had been corrupted by power and deception in his life before, but he was wholly a ruler, wholly the king of his castle, and in this moment of crisis, he rose to the challenge fearlessly.
Galgarroth dipped his head respectfully, as if sensing the other’s determination. “Should we bring him?” he asked, glancing at Barallus, who was looking mildly stunned, blinking and shivering against the wall.
“Yes.” Darigan turned, beckoning for the other to come closer. Barallus hesitated once, but as Darigan’s eyes flickered and he gestured a second time, his movements jerky and firm, the prisoner obeyed.
The three of them made their way down a corridor that led to a ring of battlements, a small tower where archers had been set. “What manner of attack is this?”
“Our foes are… th-they look like wraiths, sir.” Galgarroth’s voice wavered slightly. “They appear and vanish like smoke, and confound blade and arrow as if they were mere toys.”
Darigan briskly climbed the stairs that led to the tower. “Our weapons are just going right through them?”
Barallus said nothing. He hesitated at the bottom of the stairs, as if contemplating freedom. It was not likely that loyalty stayed his escape; more likely it was the fact that terrors much more frightening than even his lord’s rage awaited him outside. With a shaky sigh, he hurried up the stairs.
Outside, a scene of a terrifying sort unfolded itself before their eyes…
Date: 3rd February
...There were those who called Darigan's Neopets monsters after what the diseases in the wake of the Orb's loss had done to them. There were those even among Darigan's minions who would not dispute this.
The creatures attacking them, though....
The wraiths were ghost-green and ghost-black; they looked like they were made of smoke and sickly cloud -- like Neopets, but half-evaporated. Some had forms twisted and drawn out; others were eerily beautiful... but deadly.
It was as if the clouds surrounding the Citadel had gone on the attack. Wraiths darted in, passing through weapons without harm, then becoming solid enough to use their own claws and teeth and blades on the panicking warriors.
More than once, Darigan thought he saw one of the Three, and there was evil laughter in the air.
He drew in his breath with a hiss. "There must be a way to stop them," he growled. "There has to be some way to stop them!"
Smoke and shadow appeared just outside the window, just in front of his face, and lunged at him with a mad cackle. Darigan snarled, his vision blocked by black vapor, feeling it tear at his face and throat even as his own claws went through its body without resistance -- but then he flapped his wings involuntarily, for balance, and the wraith tumbled backward in the air, caught by the wind.
"Dark places," Barallus moaned, cowering back behind an exasperated Galgarroth. "Hates the dark places..."
Darigan turned toward him, eyes burning. "You may have finally said something useful, amazingly enough," he snapped. "Creatures of smoke and shadow -- we can fight them with air and light, but we need..."
Date: 3rd February
...something... the sun... or..." His eyes flashed triumphantly. "Fire."
Barallus giggled. "Tricked Darigan, burn down Citadel!" he said again.
Darigan scowled at the prisoner, deep in thought. "No, you stupid creature. I'm not going to burn down my own Citadel." He raised his voice and shouted, "Light the torches! Drive the darkness back!"
His orders were passed on along the lines, and torches flickered into flames as each soldier heard the message and shouted it on to the next one.
Darigan turned to Galgarroth. "Bring me a torch," he commanded. The Grarrl nodded briskly and turned to the nearest guard, picking up an unlit torch from a pile. He clasped a paw on the guard's shoulder and held the tip in the flame of the lit torch. When it caught fire, he waited for a moment to make sure it would not go out, then passed it to Darigan.
Darigan nodded a cursory thanks and looked back at the battle. Surprisingly enough, his soldiers were driving back the monsters, waving their torches in one paw, sword in the other. The monsters hissed, trying to swipe at them, but the guards, confident of Darigan's ability to think up a plan, fought back with all they had.
Darigan turned back once more. "Barallus. Is there anything else?"
The Korbat giggled.
"Barallus! We must know." Looming above the small Korbat, torch flaming, hand on his sword, Darigan cut an impressive figure. "If there is anything more, I -- I order you to tell me now."
Barallus giggled again. "The faerie..."
Date: 4th February
...is a ghost, too."
Darigan almost dropped the flaming torch. "WHAT?" he thundered. "Of all the things to leave out, you sniveling, doddering fool!"
The laughter vanished from Barallus' face, but it wasn't because of Darigan's anger. His beady eyes gazed at a point behind his master, and he was trembling uncontrollably. "She's... here..."
Whirling, Darigan held his torch before him, scanning the vicinity for signs of the faerie. Terror gripped him, and his stomach felt as if it had been turned to ice, and his knees to water. It was the faerie who had almost defeated him all those years ago... the faerie who had mysteriously retreated, but not before whispering a message to his loyal servant Barallus. She was back, to finish the job. It was his worst fears confirmed. It was his worse fears confirmed.
Fear turned to rage in Darigan's heart. The faerie had been responsible for Barallus' insanity; Darigan could remember when the Korbat had been both cunning and wise, prepared to serve him faithfully. Whatever had been in the faerie's whisper had poisoned his mind irreversibly.
He suddenly saw her. She was the foremost corporeal form, leading her ghostly army toward the Citadel. Their howls filled the air, and the breeze in the wake of their passing set the torches to hissing. As the flames guttered dangerously, Darigan set his eyes upon the faerie. "This is the end!" he proclaimed, running towards her ethereal form alone.
Upon reaching her, the cursed faerie stared at him with a maddening, superior grin. "Going to defeat me?" she asked in a mocking tone. Her leering eyes smirked at him amid translucent waves of hair.
Rage surged within Lord Darigan. The faerie had ruined his servant, threatened his rule, and taunted him even after becoming a ghost. Hardly pausing to think, he hurled the torch at her with all of his might.
It passed through her, igniting the tower that lay behind her figure. She grinned at him. "Why defeat you, when you could defeat yourself?" she asked, then began fading away. The last thing to disappear was her horrible, jeering smile.
Darigan roared in frustration as he saw that the area behind the faerie was lit with greedy flames. The Citadel was on fire -- the faerie had tricked him, after all!
A shrill sound echoed behind him; Barallus was laughing.
Date: 4th February
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