|Three years had passed since Dorono set out on his quest
to save the lives of those he cared about, and also found out about his hidden
past. He had gone back to Zarrel Charmain's side, but with the pressing thought
of his mother and her invitation to him to learn of the magic's that he held,
he finally made the decision to travel back to find her again, and learn what
he could, leaving Zarrel Charmain with his promise of returning. Zarrel had spent
those years without Dorono training the skillful Zana Taru who was getting more
arrogant by the day. The Zafara assassin, however, was still famed as she even
"Let me go with you!" Zana Taru cried out to
me as I read out the letter summoning me to take a job.
"No," I said sternly back at her. "You are still
too young to be going off with me on assassinations. You'll get yourself killed!"
"But…" she started.
"The answer is no Zana. You will stay here with
your father, or else I will make you wait even longer until I allow you to go
with me, hear?" and I turned my eyes onto the grumbling form of Zana. She slit
her green eyes, and then crossed her arms, but at least she didn't yell anything
back as she stomped away. Her purple fur almost allowed her to disappear into
the foliage of the surrounding trees as she crashed past a bush.
With a sigh, I turned away and started to walk
off when a hand fell upon my shoulder. "Kirin," I said without looking up I
knew that the hand belonged to my life partner and one time best assassin in
the land, Kirin the green Zafara.
"Maybe you should let her go with you Zarrel,"
he said softly to me "The best way to learn is to try something out. Besides,"
he said letting his words drag, "You have always had a partner by your side.
Perhaps it would be better if you let someone, her, or maybe even me, come along
I smiled a wry grin up at him. "I have gone
before without a partner, and Tarnox didn't exactly fight or have to worry about
getting in the way. He had wings to fly away with, which Zana does not. I am
afraid that if I let her go, that she will do something rash and get herself
"I guess you know best…" Kirin said up to me.
"Though I still think you should bring someone along." And with this he turned
away. Probably, I guessed, to calm down Zana Taru.
I started to walk once again, and had hardly
gotten anywhere when yet another stopped me, and I smiled as he ran up. "Mother!"
Kowl yelled running up to me, and I messed up his hair.
"I am going to be leaving. Make sure to take
care of your father for me," I said, and smiled at his quick nod before taking
up one of his pitch-black paws. "Your sister probably feels bad right now, try
and make her feel better if you can. Now run along you!" I smiled as he skipped
He disappeared effortlessly into the shadows.
Even with the experience of living in the woods, I couldn't make him out due
to his pitch black fur. I could still remember when he had finally awakened
from that plague he and I had suffered through almost three years before. His
coat had been green then, but after the sickness something must have happened,
for slowly his coat darkened from the green of a forest to the pitch black of
night. Not a hair remained on him that was not black, and even his already dark
brown eyes seemed to have darkened.
That plague that had done that to him had been
a bad one. It had swept through all of Laxcorna, taking many victims, and there
was hardly a family that had not been touched by it, and most who did catch
the horrid thing had not survived to tell the tale. By some miraculous stroke
of luck, neither Laiondite nor the young heirs to her thrown caught the plague.
That would have caused utter chaos within the Kingdom of Laxcorna. The only
kingdom that I have any bit of care for, the only one that I have ever made
a treaty with, and the only one in which I have some true friends.
Dragging myself out of my thoughts, I started
onto the long road to the East where the employer who had summoned me lived.
More then once I wished for the quick speed, and the strong wings of Dorono
to carry me there, but with him gone far away, I was to make the journey by
After giving her plenty enough time to cool her temper down, Kirin started
to look for Zana Taru to comfort her about not being able to go along. Where
could she be? he thought to himself frowning as he looked around in all the
various places that she liked to hang about. "Kowl," he said catching sight
of the pitch-black Zafara. "Have you seen your sister?"
Kowl looked up into at Kirin. "She disappeared.
I don't know where."
Kirin put a hand over his face. "Oh no, she
better not have!" And he quickly jogged over to a bag in which he and Zarrel
kept some things that they did not carry with them on assassinations ignoring
the inquiring look of Kowl. He knew exactly what he was looking for as he searched
for the green and gold outfit, the blue pants, and the black cape with the golden
dragon embodied onto it that had been given to Zana Taru by the darkness Faerie
Tron Bonne. "I knew it," he said finding no trace of any of those items.
"Knew what?" Kowl asked.
"Kirin laughed. "Let's just say that your mother
is going to have one heck of a surprise." Then a little more quiet, "Oh, I hope
that she is okay…"
Dsupa the Halloween Nimmo stared over the rise of the snowy cliff on which
High Reaches was situated. He gave his blood red wings a soft flap as one clawed
hand inconsecutively reached up and rubbed the scar tissue on the membrane of
his wing. A little reminder of how much he despised the Eyrie Dorono, and the
younger purple Zafara whom he had learned was called Zana Taru, only daughter
of the famed Zafara assassin Zarrel Charmain. A grin opened across his face
as he thought of the fate to be awarded to them. He would make sure that the
Zafaras suffered, and at the same time capture that Eyrie for his master… Jown
the snowy Kougra warlord.
He turned, and marched back towards the main
barracks of all those under his charge. Most of them were still sleeping he
noted with yellow eyes slit like that of a cats. He cursed under his breath
at Jown's creatures. When he was in charge of his own group, every creature
was up at the crack of dawn, no complaints issued out. Jown's lazy creatures
that had been put under his command had spread their bad habits to the rest
of his troops like a parasite. Dsupa growled. Yet again, he thought that perhaps
joining up with Jown had been a bad idea, while at the same time a voice in
the back of his head reminded him that he was forced. He snuffed the life out
of that thought, because no one made decisions for Dsupa but himself!
The Halloween Nimmo looked back over at the
awkwardly set up tents, and the pets sleeping within. He grinned a toothy grin
as he whispered some commands to one of the more trusted members of his troops;
A Kacheek by the name of Sanglaw who had been with him from almost the beginning,
before Jown. Sanglaw nodded at the told words of his master, and then ran off
to wake up the rest of the camp. Dsupa scowled. His current charges may be lazy,
but he would soon drive that out of them, and they would be hurrying to obey
his every order.
"Dsupa?" He turned to look at the speaker, and
saw a shadow Shoyru, who blinked large brown eyes at him.
"What?" Spat Dsupa to the Shoyru, but then as
he saw a hint of fire in the pupil of the Shoyru, he knew that it was not just
any creature here to bother him. "What is it you want?" he said in a better
"Master Jown requests you to see him," the Shoyru
said with a soft bow. "I will take you to him." And he jumped into the air.
Dsupa nodded, and with a few strokes of his wings he was into the air next to
The Shoyru lead him over to a large, well-guarded
tent some distance from the rest of Dsupa's camp in a camp of its own. The Shoyru
landed outside of the tent, and with a movement of his hands, he motioned for
Dsupa to enter. "Jown awaits you Dsupa."
Dsupa crossed his arms behind his back and then
advanced towards the tent. The guards had been expecting him, and thus did not
even twitch a muscle as he passed, yet they stared relentlessly at Dsupa, who
in turn slit his eyes back at them, and then quickly straightened up his head,
making the many golden rings pierced to his head spikes clink together. Then
without looking back or to the side, he entered into Jown's tent.
The darkness of the tent struck Dsupa, and he
had to wait a few moments for his sight to adjust enough to see the inside of
the tent. It was large, and full of various maps and charts, and all other things
that a warlord would have ready for his use. Also, leaned up against the corners
of the tent, a few pikes, glaives and a deadly looking scythe lay ready for
use against any who may try and attack Jown. Dsupa bet that any one of the guards
he had seen outside of the tent were deadly masters at using the weapons.
Dsupa was struck up with his thoughts enough
to not notice the white form of Jown as the Kougra silently crept up to him.
Even though he was pure white, he still managed to go almost unseen in the darkened
tent as he crept right up to Dsupa. "How are things with finding that Eyrie
Dsupa practically jumped at the sudden words
of his master, but years of intense military training, and command kept him
from even twitching a muscle as he answered Jown. "I have sent several spies
to investigate, and no word has been heard of the Eyrie for almost four months
now, though we believe that he will return sometime."
"How can you not have any better information
for me?!?" Jown lashed out at Dsupa who felt some sweat bead up on his face.
"It is that cursed Zafara assassin and those
others whom are her family. Every time one of my spies gets close enough to
get any real information out of her, she catches them, and I have one less spy
to help in our cause." Dsupa then straightened up. "However, I have something
planned for her that will get her out of our way, and perhaps bring that Eyrie
to us at the same time," he grinned.
Jown sheathed his claws, and grinned darkly
up at Dsupa. "This is why I made you second in command. Unlike those other idiots,
you can actually think for yourself every once in a while. Tell me what it is
that you have concocted for the assassin.
A grin lit the Halloween Nimmo's face as he
explained to Jown what it was he had planned. "And if all goes well we will
forever be rid of Zarrel Charmain, leaving us free to sway Dorono to our purpose,
and then we can go along with our master plan." Free of the Zafara assassin…
that thought sounded really good to both general and warlord at that time as
they then settled into pulling out the kinks in their plan.
I yawned as I folded up my sleeping mat, and placed it back into my pack of
provisions. I had walked a full day to get as far as I had, and still had a
few hours of travel ahead of me before I was to reach my employers residence.
Not wanting to take the time to make a fire,
I pulled out a couple of cold omelettes from my bag of provisions. As I ate
one myself, I started to call Dorono over to eat his share or the meal, but
then with my mouth half open… I remembered. I replaced the omelette into my
pack. I had grown very used to having that furball travel with me, and so not
having him felt like I was missing a part of myself. So with a large sigh, I
prepared myself to travel the rest of the way to my employers.
I walked on the dusty path through the forest
that led to my destination in a deep silence. Sometimes I wished for that silence,
but at that moment as I listened to the soft chirps of birds, and the rustle
of leaves as a small creature would scuttle away from my footfalls, I wished
for a voice to cut through the silence, or even the feeling of just traveling
next to someone that I knew and trusted.
With a light sigh, I dismissed these thoughts
and instead focused my mind on my coming assignment. The employer to which I
was heading, a spotted Kougra by the name of Kontour, I really did not know
much about. This was the first time that he had summoned me to work for him.
I had heard little of him, but the few tidbits of information that I had got
lead me to believe that he was a hard soul whom you did not want to get on the
bad side of. He was one of noble blood who owned a manor just outside of a small
village called Riverfront for the river that it was built around. It was just
East of where I currently was.
It was a little less than two hours of walking
when I finally reached the outskirts of the village of Riverfront. Kontour's
house would lie at the front of the village, and probably be the largest building
in the area I gathered from the knowledge I had of similar villages.
As an assassin did not just walk through any
village up to the manor of a noble, I had to disguise myself. If my employer
had just been a commoner, I could have perhaps simply gone up wearing my tunic,
and not attracting a second glance looking like a commoner myself, but as Kontour
was a noble, I would have to appear as more than a commoner to not rouse suspicion.
I took out a dress and slipped it on over my
current attire after first folding up my cape and placing it into my provisions
bag. I then took out a long blue ribbon, and tied up my hair to make it look
a little better before I was ready to go on.
The dress I had on was a light blue one, with
some embroidery, but not too much. It was the type of dress a noble of not too
high a rank would wear. It was just perfect for a small village like this one
I walked past the various creatures that lined
the streets with not much more then a second glance in my direction as I made
my way up towards the large home of Kontour. As I got closer I noticed the large
gate that surrounded his property, and the few guards who stood watch at the
entrance. I hoped that they knew that their master was expecting a guest, and
that they would know enough to let me in. Living in a small village, they probably
did not have much, if any at all, fighting experience, and so I could easily
fight my way out using my dagger if I had to, but I would try and avoid a fight
if I could. So as I approached the gate, I put on a nice smile, and walked up
to the guards.
"What are you doing here?" a Grundo holding
a pike asked me in a gruff voice.
"I have come to see your master Kontour. He
expects me I believe," I said in a sweat voice, still smiling.
"He does?" the Grundo said lowering his weapon
with a slightly baffled look on his face. I guessed that he was most likely
trying to decipher why his master would have summoned a lady to his house, and
I was starting to get impatient when another Grundo, a Faerie one, stepped in
front of the other.
"May I ask of your name, mistress?" he asked
politely, but by the look in his eye, he seemed to know who it was that his
"My name is Zarrel Charmain," I said. "Your
master asked me to come over to do a bit of work for him." I hoped that that
would be enough to get the guard who seemed to know of whom I might be to let
me pass. He grinned darkly, and I smiled back, knowing that he had understood.
"You may pass mistress Zarrel Charmain." And
then he opened the gates, and let me walk in.
The providence of Kontour was very large, and
it had a large, healthy looking garden lining the whole front face of his land.
Tall spiraling bushes, and flowering trees were surrounded by masses of flowers
in almost any color that I could name were at either side of the path I walked
to reach the front of the house, but I ignored their beauty as I took in my
surroundings. It never hurt to be careful of where you traveled, for negligence
could get a creature destroyed.
Soon the Grundo guards had lead me up to the
door of the house, and motioned for me to enter. "Thank you," I said giving
a swift curtsy, still playing the part of the maiden as the Faerie Grundo walked
inside, and stopped a passing servant, whispering a few select words into his
ear. The servant then nodded, and walked up to me with a slight bow as the two
Grundos started their walk back to their post at the front gate.
"I am to lead you up to Kontour Miss," he said,
and then turned. "Follow me." I followed him as he slowly walked up a flight
of stairs with a red velvet carpet going down its center. I rubbed my hands
against the wooden handrail, polished to the point where I could see my reflection,
and filled with various designs of flowers and vines. Plants with long drooping
leaves and flowers hung from the ceiling around me, emitting off a nice fragrance
as I walked by, and as I reached the top of the stairs with the servant I couldn't
help but think that Kontour must have had something for greenery.
"This way," the servant said opening up a large
wooden door, leading into a candlelit room. In one corner there was a very large
intricate bed with two small spiraling bushes at its sides. In the other corner
was a large wooden desk, and chair that was facing away from us.
"You may go now," a deep voice said from the
chair. "I wish to speak with our guest in private…" The servant bowed once to
the chair, and then once to me and then he quickly scuttled out the door, closing
it behind him.
"So… at last you have arrived as I had no doubt
that you would," said the voice again, and then the chair turned around to show
a spotted Kougra sitting in it. It was Kontour, the one who had summoned me.
"I welcome you, Zarrel Charmain… the Zafara assassin."
To be continued...