|Art by andany|
I awoke the next morning to find a strange female Airax
staring right at me, and sure enough, I bounded up with a start, and would have
struck her had Tarnox not landed on my shoulder at that time.
"What! Who? Why is there an Airax here!" I yelled
out as Losland smiled.
"She, well I met her last night. Says her name
is Losland, and she would like to go with us for a bit."
I looked down at the Airax. This just didn't
seem right. I didn't trust the Airax at all, but as I looked into Tarnox's pleading
eyes, I sighed. "Okay," I said, and then my expression darkened. "But you just
try anything!" and I made a swiping motion with my dagger. Losland had gotten
Teragra stumbled through the forest in such a hurry as he had not been in
for ages. His Airax Losland had returned to him during the night, telling him
of the location of the assassin who was not a he, but a she instead. All
the easier to get, Teragra thought to himself as his pants snagged on a
fallen log. He grumbled. It better be worth all this toil in order to get his
hands around the Zafara's neck. He would not have competition if he could do
anything about it.
Another day spent walking and talking to Losland and Tarnox left me ready
to sleep at nightfall. "On the morrow," I said smiling. "On the morrow we should
find Aplano's castle, and then we can deal with him." I closed my eyes, along
with Tarnox, so we did not notice as Losland made a mental note of Aplano, and
then took off to find Teragra, and tell him of what she had learned. So as we
awoke the next morning finding Losland asleep next to us, we had no suspicions.
"Off we go now," I said, and then I went off
at a brisk walk with two Aires flying along behind me. Within the next three
hours, we caught our first glimpse of Aplano's castle, though it still took
another hour before we were near enough to make out the archers upon the outer
"How will we get past that?" Tarnox asked looking
up the many feet to the battlements where pets paced back and forth, holding
bows in their arms like they were ready for a war.
"I don't know," I said lying down. "We'll think
of something later, after we rest ourselves. I don't plan to storm a castle
in the middle of the day."
Tarnox nodded, "Good plan." And Losland agreed
as I closed my eyes, and took a small nap.
I awoke at dusk, and as night settled into the
world, I prepared myself to go. Throwing my pack over my shoulder, I looked
up at the archers, and then put it back down, pulling from it a fine looking
dress of a noble woman. I pulled it over my head, covering my whole tunic, and
then after straightening out my hair, I walked up to the front entrance of the
castle, and called out in a clear-high voice. "Oh, doust thou have a room for
a maiden lost out in the night?"
I was looked down upon by a Scorchio. "Yes lassie,
I do believe that we have room for you. Please come inside." And he lowered
the drawbridge for me, and with an unseen smile, I entered with an Airax upon
"Milady," a Draik said bowing to me as I walked
inside. Upon his head was a silver helmet with bat wings on the sides. "Allow
me to introduce myself, I am lord Aplano, the head of this magnificent castle."
And I tried really hard not to grimace as he kissed my wrist. "Please allow
me to show you to a room." And so, the very one who I was to destroy lead me
on a tour of his castle, and took me to a fine room in which to sleep.
"I see that you like Airaxes," the white Draik
said looking down at Tarnox and Losland.
"These two have accompanied me for many days,"
I said with a wry smile.
"I personally like the Horus better, but I do
not have the time to take care of one, let alone two," he said, and then smiled
back. "Well, I had better get going."
"I thank thee for being so kind as to offer
thy services," I said doing a little curtsy.
Aplano smiled, and then bowed as he walked from
the room. "If you need any help, you can find my chambers down this hall to
the left. May you have a good night," he said, and then slowly closed the door.
I lay back upon the soft mush bed that was in
the room. The whole thing was so easy that I would have laughed out loud if
I hadn't know better.
The next few hours went by with me sitting within
the room, keeping awake, and waiting for a chance to leave the room, a chance
that came around midnight. Pulling off the ladies dress, I tossed my bag over
my shoulder, and went down the hall to the left. So soon I stood right outside
Aplano's personal chambers with a dagger in my hand, and the will to complete
I quietly walked through the door, and slid
across the room as a shadow. I felt as if even the shadow Usul herself would
have been proud as I snuck up to the side of Aplano, and pulled out my dagger.
Just one quick swipe of the blade, and all would be over. He would die without
a sound, and I would have my chance to escape.
I looked out the large window at the moon, and
then as its light reflected off of my blade, I swung it down into Aplano, and
turned around. Wiping off my blade, I thrust it back into my belt, and then
walked to the exit of the room. "Let us go," I whispered to Tarnox as I picked
the silver helmet up from a bedside table, and then we walked out.
"Hurry!' Losland hissed, flying up to me. "There
are some guards walking this way. I do not believe that they know of what happened,
but it is best to pretend that they do, and make haste out of here!"
As I heard the clink of metal armor coming up
the hallway, I disappeared down a side passage, and ran down it. I was almost
at the exit when a large shout, and a sharp horn bit into the night. Apparently,
the guards had checked in upon their lord. I quickened my pace as I saw the
door ahead of me. Any second now, guards would rush in to block off the exit,
and unless I made it through by then, I was in trouble.
Calls sounded from either side of me, but I
still made it past the door before anyone could get to me, but then, the drawbridge
started to rise. As the calls behind me grew stronger, and the drawbridge slowly
moved on its way upward, I let out a big breath, and then started running.
My feet skidded upon the bridge as it raised,
but I still managed to make it to the end, and make my leap of faith across
the moat before the drawbridge became impossible to climb, and so I made it
out of the castle while the guards were still inside, at least until the drawbridge
was lowered again.
An arrow hit the ground next to my side, and
looking up, a whole volley was fired at me. I may have been safe for the moment
from warriors with swords, but not from bows. I ran. I ran as hard as I could,
feeling my lungs burn as I dodged the arrows that madly flew at me, all wanting
to strike me upon the back, an almost fatal wound.
Tarnox and Losland had problems too, swerving
in their flight to avoid arrows. Tarnox looked at Losland as an arrow went through
her large tail feathers, startling her, and then as another was about to pierce
her pack. "Losland!" he screeched, ramming into her, and sending them both out
of reach of the arrow.
So as all three of us finally reached the safe
haven of the woods, Losland turned to Tarnox. "You saved my life…" but before
she could say more, the drawbridge was lowered all the ways, and warriors started
to pour out.
"Time to go!" I said, running off into the night.
It would be easy to ditch the guards within the woods. We were going to make
We were much deeper in the woods, and three
hours had gone by when Losland turned to face Tarnox. "You didn't have to risk
yourself for me," she said to Tarnox. "You could have been killed."
"And so could you," he said, and I just smiled
as I saw how the two Aires looked into each other's eyes. It seemed that Tarnox
had become twitter patted with the female Airax. "Losland," Tarnox said softly.
"Yes," she replied.
"You are the most beautiful Airax that I have
ever met." And as the two Aires smiled at each other, a loud crash was heard
behind me, and a large Lupe jumped out from the foliage where he had been hiding,
and he wrapped his great paws about my neck, and tightened.
"Hate to break the moment, but I do believe
that this Zafara has made a death wish when she crossed Teragra Alano BloodSword."
I sputtered for air as he tightened his grasp.
"Fly away Tarnox! Losland! Escape now!" and then Teragra squeezed tighter, cutting
off any more words.
"Don't worry Airax, you're next!" the orange
Lupe said, and Tarnox stepped out in front of Losland.
"You'll have to go through me first to get her
you big bloke!" Tarnox yelled quite bravely putting himself up as a shield between
Losland and Teragra.
Teragra BloodSword started to laugh, and as
he did, he loosened his grasp giving me some air, and then he stared down at
Tarnox, and the cowering Losland. "You don't understand, do you Airax? You see,
Losland is working for me!" and then he swatted at Tarnox who was thrown into
a tree, and knocked down, then Teragra started to tighten his grasp around my
neck once more.
"Tarnox!" Losland yelled flapping over to Tarnox
as he sat up.
Tarnox slit his eyes at Losland. "You betrayed
us," he hissed. "You are nothing but a traitor and a liar -- I don't know what
I ever saw in you!" and then he jumped into the air, and dive-bombed Teragra.
"I will not let you do anything to Zarrel Charmain!" he yelled as his talons
scratched at Teragra's eyes, forcing him to let go of me. I fell down sputtering
and gasping for air.
The Lupe assassin pulled out his sword, and
screamed out, "You will die for that Airax, and he swung his sword at Tarnox
as he turned in his flight.
"NO!" Losland yelled jumping in front of the
blade, so instead of going through Tarnox's head, it went through her wing,
completely severing it.
"Stupid Airax," Teragra muttered, and then he
prepared another blow at Tarnox, but that blow never came, for I had regained
myself enough to pick up my dagger, and throw it. Right into the back of my
"Losland!" Tarnox yelled landing next to the
stricken Airax. A tear dripped down his face.
"I'm s-so… s-sorry…" she said, and then with
a final breath, Losland closed her eyes, and lay still at our feet.
"Losland," Tarnox whispered as a tear fell down
his face, and then he turned away from my caring eyes.
"It is okay," I said to him three days later as we neared Teralk's fortress
to collect out pay. "There wasn't anything that you could do," I said. "She
did that because she loved you."
Tarnox looked into my eyes with his all watery.
"It is just that last thing I said to her. I called her a traitor, and a liar.
I shunned her, yet she gave her life for us." A tear fell down his face, which
I wiped off.
"You cannot give up," I said. "The reason that
she did that was so that you could continue to live. Which is what you should
do, for her." And I smiled up at Tarnox, who in return smiled back at me, and
we continued this all the way to Teralk's fortress.
"So you have completed your job," Teralk said grinning at both Tarnox and
me as I handed him the bat-winged helmet. He handed me the bag of Neopoints,
and then started to motion us out, but seemed to change his mind.
"Zarrel Charmain," he said. "I do believe that
I can use you in the future, and so take this as a token of you being an assassin."
And he handed me a deep blue cape with a golden skull pendant, which I took
into my arms with care.
I unfolded the cape, and placed it over my head,
smiling as the cloth rippled down my back. So as I walked out of Teralk's fortress
that time, I smiled proudly as my cape moved in the wind. I had at last become
a true assassin, and my biggest adventures were sure to come.