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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 1st day of Eating, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 106 > Continuing Series > Fates Entwined: Part Nine

Fates Entwined: Part Nine

by oily106

Luparn placed the tip of his father’s sword against the dark-hearted Draik’s throat. “I said draw,” the Lupe growled, his voice dangerously low. Mordeo’s lips worked noiselessly. A faint whimper escaped. “You must answer for what you’ve done,” said Luparn grimly.

     Mordeo looked into Luparn’s burning eyes and knew he would not win. He stood up and lunged desperately at Luparn. The flabby Draik was no match for the angry Lupe. Luparn dodged Mordeo easily.

     Mordeo cowered behind his rough throne, blubbering helplessly. Luparn pointed his sword at the helpless Draik and then relented. Even after all Mordeo had done, Luparn would not hurt a defenceless Neopet. “You will surrender?” he asked.

     “Yes, yes,” sobbed Mordeo. “Anything!” But then he felt a hard object pressing into his side and remembered the amulet Inclementa had given him. He heard her promise inside his head:

     “Strong as a Skeith, my sovereign.…”

     He wormed his claw into his pocket, fingering the opal amulet within, thinking hard. In a swift movement, Mordeo pulled the amulet out of his pocket and over his head. He stood triumphantly. “Ha! Fool!” he cried. Luparn took a pace back in surprise, wondering what trick Mordeo had just played.

     Suddenly, Mordeo sunk to his knees, pleading with someone. “No… please… Inclementa! No!” He collapsed face down on the floor. Luparn was approaching him cautiously when the Draik sprang up. He seemed to be possessed of an energy and power unsuited to his ungainly body. The opal amulet shone brightly about his neck. Luparn looked into Mordeo’s eyes… and found Inclementa staring back!

     Inclementa laughed. “Mordeo was a fool! I knew his greed would overcome him eventually! I kept my promise -- the amulet has made him strong, for now I dwell inside him!” She tap-danced Mordeo’s body across the floor. “He treated me -- me, a powerful light Faerie-- as his slave. Now, it is time for my revenge. He is my slave now -- his puny mind cannot compete with mine! Did you really think I’d stay in that pathetic little bottle, Luparn? Did you think you could trap me? I am Inclementa!” She moved swiftly, forcing Luparn to stumble back awkwardly. His old treacherous leg, the one injured in the Skeith hunt so many years ago, gave way under him. Luparn tripped and lay sprawled on the floor.

     Inclementa laughed merrily and brought her hands together. Just as she cast her spell, a figure stepped in front of Luparn. It was his father, Lupold. The spell caught Lupold full in the chest, throwing him hard against the wall. The shadowed Lupe slumped in the corner, his head sagging.

     “Father!” Luparn cried. And he felt the word tug at his heart. Rage filled him; because of Mordeo and Inclementa, he’d never properly known his family. Now, maybe he never would. He tried to struggle up to help Lupold, but Inclementa pushed him back down.

     Luparn lay still on the cold stone floor, the sword of his father lying uselessly trapped under his body. He was alone, his father unconscious in the corner, his brother Coltzan many miles away. Inclementa’s eyes danced. She moved Mordeo’s body forward, bringing the Draik's blank face close to Luparn and mocking him.

     “What is destiny, fate, prophecy, Luparn? Nothing. Light conquers dark-- so it must be. And so, Inclementa shall win over Luparn, and the prophecy of Jhunedra shall come to nothing. Where is your twin now?”

     Luparn stared into her eyes, defiant till the last. “As long as there is justice and good in Neopia, you shall not win.”

     Inclementa chuckled softly. “So brave, so noble. Hear now the prophecy of Inclementa, the Light Faerie… Neopia will fall before me! Now, Luparn, prepare to meet your destiny!”

     She concentrated, summoning a huge ball of light. Even as she made to cast it, a golden blur whirred past Luparn’s ear. Inclementa took a step back in surprise, her spell ruined, but Luparn recognised the object. He reached out his paw….

***

Many, many miles away, Coltzan III was marching at the head of his 10,000-strong army. They had left the Lost Desert and were speeding toward Meridell. Then Coltzan saw, hovering in the air in front of him, the golden scarab of Coltzan I that he had sent to his brother. It fluttered down into his paw, warm and alive somehow. Coltzan clutched it tightly.

     “My twin is in need,” he said. He gazed at the scarab in his paw. “Luparn…” he whispered. “Take me to him!” The scarab glowed and obeyed its master.

     The army of Sakhmetians looked around in surprise. Their king had vanished, seemingly into thin air. Panic was setting in when Marinth, their commander, took charge. “We must leave our king to his own destiny! We cannot aid him now. For now, our orders remain the same. March to Meridell!”

     As fast as they could, the army marched.

***

The scarab flew into Luparn’s hand, the precious artifact nestling neatly in the palm of his paw. As he gazed at the golden scarab in wonder, its twinkling jewel seemed to reflect an image of his brother. Luparn felt a surge of power run through him. His twin was within him. He was strong….

     Inclementa perceived his change and her eyes blazed with fury. “So, you have changed too. That changes the game. And if you change the game, then I’m changing the rules….”

     The stone walls of the room melted away to be replaced by darkness. And in the middle of it was the light of Inclementa, twisting the eternal blackness into frightening shadows. Luparn stood on nothing, feeling the presence of Coltzan inside of him. Mordeo was but a slave to Inclementa’s will, but the two Lupes fought together, body and soul. Strength flooded their body. The scarab united them now, in their hour of need.

     The jeweled beetle flew to the hilt of Lupold’s sword, which the twins now wielded, and became transfixed there. Flickering flame wreathed the sword’s blade, illuminating the dark. From nothing, Inclementa drew her own sword, its pommel engraved with the ancient Faerie script. Its blade was edged with light, burning fiercely. The two ancient foes, destined to meet from times immortal, finally faced each other in battle.

     Luparn struck first, his sword moving swiftly. Inclementa’s sword met it. The adversaries fought fiercely, countering, parrying, striking, blow for blow. All sense of time was swallowed in the darkness and it seemed as though the fight must go on forever.

     But it was not to be destined to be so….

     Inclementa began to tire, her sword’s flame wavering and growing dim. The twins pressed her hard, forcing her onto her knees. With her energy draining fast, the cruel, soulless eyes of Inclementa looked up at the fierce Lupe in front of her. She knew she had lost. She spat.

     Luparn and Coltzan laid their sword at Inclementa’s breast, hesitating. Their destiny took hold of them. The scarab freed itself from their sword pommel, hovering patiently in the air. They had come so far and fought so much -- and now they’d reached their goal, the single focus of their lives.

     From behind them, a voice rang out. “And so, twin Lupes of royal blood will destroy the dark king and end the reign of terror. And Meridell will become peaceful and prosperous once more, and harmony will reign supreme.” It was the prophecy, as spoken by Jhunedra. But there came another part, which none had heard before:

“They who are two must become one,
For the evil to be undone.
But for evil’s end to be true,
They who are one must become two.
Thus will they achieve their destiny,
And finally fulfill the prophecy….”

     The brothers understood; the scarab struck. Inclementa screamed in frustration as she, along with Mordeo, was engulfed by the scarab. The opal amulet, the chain which bound Mordeo to Inclementa, dissolved, leaving behind the pale white jewel. The jewel flew into the air, falling back to become embedded in the scarab. The scarab began to glow, and the brothers felt themselves parting. A split appeared down the middle of the scarab, halving the opal jewel perfectly. The darkness disappeared and the twins were back in the castle’s throne room. In front of them, the scarab dropped onto the stone floor, its two halves tinkling separately. Each Lupe bent down and picked up one half.

     The prophecy had come to pass….

***

A gentle hand was placed on each of their shoulders. “Luparn… Coltzan… a destiny is not written in stone. It is a hard thing to bear and live up to. But you have chosen your own way, believing in what is right, and you have completed your destiny, and the prophecy has been fulfilled….”

     The two Lupes turned around to see the tall dark Faerie smiling at them. “But… Jhunedra….” Luparn held out his half of the scarab, sundered forever from his twin’s. “This was not in the original prophecy.”

     A shadow passed over the dark Faerie’s face. “Alas, I did not foretell this. Inclementa’s scheming reached further than I’d foreseen. Sometimes, your future is told for you; sometimes, you tell your own. You joined to defeat the dark ones, and now you must separate again. One shall be King of Meridell; one shall rule the Lost Desert.”

     Coltzan felt his heart ache at these words. “So we are to be separated again?” he asked.

     She smiled apologetically. “Sometimes, you choose your own destiny; sometimes, destiny chooses you….”

     Jhunedra bowed to them. She summoned up her magic, her hands glowing with black fire. She turned round and lightly laid her fingertips on Lupold, their father, still unconscious in the corner. He began to stir and blinked. Luparn and Coltzan felt tears pricking their eyes. Jhunedra smiled at them. She paused and spread her hands wide.

     “Goodbye….” She disappeared.

     Luparn and Coltzan looked at each other and embraced. They had been apart for so long, and now they were finally back together. They heaved Lupold up and the trio rejoiced. But their work was not done yet. Just as they were pondering the problem of the guards waiting for them in the hall, they heard pawsteps. The three decided to run and stampeded down the corridor, bowling over a Desert Aisha.

     Bashfully, Coltzan stopped to pick up his chief commander. Marinth saluted. “Some magical aid was in order, sire, but we got here in record time!” Coltzan smiled and the four pets proceeded down the corridor to find 10,000 extremely smug Lost Desert troops, standing guard over a pitiful huddle of Draik guards.

     As Luparn, Coltzan and Lupold walked into the room, the army and the guards instinctively bowed. The regal stature and nobility present in the Lupes was obvious. Coltzan shoved his brother forward. “Hail, King of Meridell!”

     Luparn glowed red with embarrassment underneath his green fur as he surveyed the bowing pets. “Please!” he cried. “Surely my father should be reinstated instead.…”

     Lupold shook his head. “It is yours, son.”

     Luparn looked at Coltzan. “Go on, Luparn-- rule your people, as I will rule mine.”

     A pop in the air beside them punctuated the appearance of Kithar, Merlod, Sarkif and Gretana. Merlod looked rather flustered. “Inclementa escaped!” he burst out.

     Luparn nodded. “We know, Merlod. She’s been dealt with.”

     Kithar put her hooves on her hips and turned on Merlod. “See? I was right-- they’re fine. Always trust a Kau seer.” Merlod looked abashed.

     Reverently, Sarkif approached Luparn and bowed. His adopted son had grown and matured so much since he was a little pup, and he knew that before him now, he saw a wise and skillful leader. Gretana too was awed by her sons. She burst into tears and had to be comforted by Kithar.

     Luparn stepped forward and bowed to his people. “I promise I will rule Meridell wisely, in peace, harmony and prosperity.”

     Coltzan stood shoulder to shoulder with his twin. “And I swear I will do the same for the Lost Desert.”

     A resounding cheer shook the hall, the two kingdoms united under their two kings.

***

The two Lupes, one wearing the head-dress of the King of the Lost Desert, one wearing the crown of Meridell, embraced tightly. They had achieved their destiny and brought peace back to the land of Meridell.

     “Meridell’s borders will always be open, Coltzan!”

     “And the Lost Desert will always welcome you, Luparn!”

     A short distance away, Gretana and Lupold gazed at their two sons tearfully. They knew the twins would have to go their separate ways, but they were proud of their sons and what they’d achieved. Kithar and Merlod also watched nearby, with Sarkif, marvelling at the two Lupes.

     A family reunited; a land freed from tyranny; a destiny fulfilled….

     Coltzan took a step back and waved goodbye to his brother. He barked out an order to his army and, wheeling around smartly, fell into step. Family and friends both called out their goodbyes. The setting sun bathed the Lupes in a golden glow and the twins were forever apart.

     Separately, each of the brothers gazed at his half of the scarab, whispering to the air, “Must we be parted forever?”

     And from the air came an answer: “Your destiny is achieved…. Your purpose has been fulfilled…. But one day, by two others, the scarab will be reunited….”

     Each Lupe traveled back to his home and his kingdom, heading in opposite directions, with each step taking them further apart from each other.

     So it had to be… for now.

The End

Previous Episodes

Fates Entwined: Part One

Fates Entwined: Part Two

Fates Entwined: Part Three

Fates Entwined: Part Four

Fates Entwined: Part Five

Fates Entwined: Part Six

Fates Entwined: Part Seven

Fates Entwined: Part Eight

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