Old Friends and New
I nodded at Kirin as we approached the outer outskirts
of Laxcorna. The sun hadn't yet risen and the occupants were all asleep, but
they would wake up soon. I was sure of that. "Kowl, stick by me," I said and
he bounced his was over to my side.
"Where are we going? Is Zana going to be okay?"
He has asked that second question countless times already.
"Zana will be okay. I swear on all the stars
and on my heart that she will be Kowl," I said not allowing myself a single
tear. "As for where we're going. Let's just call it an old friends house shall
Kirin gave me an odd look, "You mean Corinth's
cottage? But that's a ways from here."
"I know," I said softly. "I'm taking a visit
to Wintroq first."
"Oh," Kirin said and went quite again. Wintroq
was my brother, the last member of my former family-former life-that was alive.
Vernok, our conquering father was slain by that hands of none other then my
brother Wintroq, his son, in a fierce batter that earned Wintroq high status
in the Laxcornian army.
"There it is," I said pointing up ahead at a
small cottage. Like Corinth, Wintroq did not much care for living inside the
walls of Laxcorna and instead owned a cottage outside in the vast fields surrounding
the city. I quickened my pace a stride as we neared it and grinned to myself.
I had not seen hide or hair of my brother for a good many years.
I smiled to Kirin slightly and then knocked
on the door five times and took a step back. I heard a bit of scrambling inside,
and a voice called out from inside "I'll get the door!" What surprised me the
most was that the voice was… feminine.
The door opened up and a female Christmas Zafara
was there. She had on a basic tunic with a sword less sword belt overtop and
brown leggings. Her massive white wings were folded behind her back. Even through
the basic attire she was beautiful.
"Is Wintroq home? I must speak with him," I
said not taking my gaze from her eyes.
She gave me what I think was a scowl "What would
an assassin want with him besides ill-conceived plans to be carried out." In
an instant she pulled out a dagger, which I blocked with no trouble at all with
mine. She attacked a couple more times with me blocking each attack with a flick
of my wrist.
"For your beautiful looks you're a nice fighter,"
I said smiling before capturing her hands in one fluid motion. "If I wanted
to destroy him I wouldn't knock on the door." With a soft laugh, I twisted past
her dumbstruck look and into the house.
"Zarrel!" Wintroq said and I turned just in
time to have him embrace me in a large hug, which knocked the breath out of
"Let's save that for later," I said gasping,
and the Christmas Zafara scowled.
"Wintroq! What in the fiery inferno is going
"Shaeila," he said letting go of me and letting
me gain my breath back. "Don't scowl like that it ruins your face. She is nothing
more then my sister. Zarrel," He said turning back to face me, "meet Shaeila.
I met her a while back." He said all this while grinning deeply.
I gave a quick bow to her, "Zarrel Charmain
at your service." I gave a quick wink to Wintroq. "Heh, I commend you on your
choice." He just blushed.
"Wait just a second here!" Shaeila said "You
mean to tell me that your sister you've told me about is really Zarrel Charmain!
The best known assassin who destroyed Pailoth those many years ago."
"I made up for that by saving Laxcorna from
"But wait! No, that was Corinth and Laiondite!"
"Both really good friends who know how to keep
the city off of my tail with a nice lie."
Shaeila turned to look at Wintroq as if expecting
him to say it was all just a big joke. He just stood there with a large grin
on his face. Shaeila turned away grumbling.
"And here I thought it was bad enough to learn
that Vernok was his sire."
I let out a soft chuckle when I heard a knock
from outside the door. "Oh yeah, I forgot to let in your other guests Wintroq."
I walked over to the door and opened it up to let Kirin and Kowl come in.
"Where's Zana Taru?" Wintroq asked me looking
about for sight of her purple fur.
I sighed and the sudden good mood I had been
in after seeing my brother had worn off. "Wintroq, I wish that my visiting you
could have been with good news, but it is not. The reason that Zana Taru is
not here is the very same reason that I am here." With another sigh, I told
him the whole story.
Shaeila approached me her ears lying backwards
with sorrow. "I'm terribly sorry Zarrel. Not only for what has happened to you,
but for attacking you at the door."
The corner of my mouth lifted a tad bit and
I turned my gaze back to Wintroq. "Wintroq. I am not asking you to help me at
all. This is all I ask of you. The journey up the mountain to Jown's fortress
is very dangerous and likely to be lined with members of his army. Without Dorono
at my side they will have no reason not to kill me on sight. Also Zana is likely
to be guarded tightly. The chances that I won't make it out are high, and I
just wanted to make sure that if I don't return that you will take care of Kowl
for me. I'll be leaving him with Corinth, but I want you to take care of him
if Kirin and I do not return."
Wintroq laid a hand on my shoulder. "Don't worry.
I know that you will get Zana and yourself out of there alive. No one can bring
down the Zafara Assassin. But I will take care of him if anything happens to
I gave him a light smile and then turned my
back. "Well I'd stay for more chat, but I have to go. Zana is waiting for me.
Come on Kirin, Kowl!" I said and then headed for the door. I let Kirin and Kowl
out in front of me, but before I left I turned and called out "You make a good
match for him Shaeila!" And with a wink and a laugh as Wintroq blushed again,
I shut the door behind me. "Now we go to Corinth's cottage. Come on, we'll go
by way of woods." And with that, I led them back towards the forest.
Dorono flapped his wings set on his destination. Below him the twisted trees
and deadly marshes of the Swamps of Tisitan washed by. Perhaps on another day
his thoughts would have drifted to how he and Zana had flown over them and gotten
separated inside. He had been captured by a group of Krawks who had believed
him to be in league with Jown. When he finally had escaped with the aid of two
Krawk warriors and met up with Zana Taru he learned that she had been helped
by none other then a darkness Faerie by the name of Tron Bonne. Tron had gifted
Zana with her sword and tunic, that seemed to grow with her as it still fit,
before she left them.
As Dorono flew over an especially twisted grove
of trees he did not notice as two large purple wings spread underneath him.
The owner of the wings flapped upward and once in range of Dorono called out,
"Hey, what'cha doin in this neck of the woods again Dorono?"
He flailed his wings and spun around in the
air, "Tron!" He shouted as she nodded back to him, her dark purple hair waving
in the wind. The green streaks in it seemed to catch the sunlight in the same
way Dorono's green feathers did. She had on long black pants, and a baby doll
T-shirt. High heels adorned her feet, which made you wonder how she got around
effortlessly all day. She also had a carefree grin on her face. Her eye's were
however a blood red color, which was a common trait in many creatures veiled
"Where's that Zana Taru? She was with you last
I saw you guys. Though of course that was some three years ago," she said. Dorono
gave her a slightly sad look and she shook her arms about. "Wait a second! If
this is gonna be one of those 'long story' type of talks lets land on the ground."
Dorono couldn't help but give a grin as he followed
Tron down through the trees.
"There it is," I said pointing out a cottage from the shadows of the trees.
"Who's that?" Kirin asked pointing out into the fields.
"Why what do you know? I believe that that is
Corinth's son Erred. Wow he's sure grown up." She grinned at a rainbow Zafara
with a sword at his side. "He's eighteen now. A full knight if he took that
path." I took a step out of the shadows and motioned for Kirin to follow.
"Erred!" I shouted when we came within hearing
distance. He turned to look at me and then hurried over.
"Zarrel Charmain!" he said, his voice no longer
boyish, but now much more masculine. I haven't seen you in the longest of times."
He looked down at me with a wink "You're shorter then I remember though."
I gave a little snort at his comment then asked.
"Is Corinth around? I need to talk to him."
"Yes, he's inside with mother and Wherric."
I nodded and then followed him as he lead us
towards the cottage. He walked right up to the door and opened it. "Father,
Zarrel Charmin is here and she wishes a word with you."
I heard an instant scoot of a chair being pushed
back. "I'll be right there!" I heard Corinth's voice call out. I expected him
to be the one to greet me, but instead there was a flash of blue fur and I instantaneously
found myself in a bear hug by a now much grown up blue Gelert.
"Zarrel! It's you!" he cried and I pushed out
of his grasp. "Well, you've grown up Wherric. As have you Erred," I added looking
to the tall rainbow Zafara
"It is you!" I heard Corinth's voice say as
a hand was laid onto my shoulder. I mentally thanked the stars that no one else
tried to hug me I was inches towards poking the next person to do so with my
dagger. "How have things gone for you of late?" he asked.
"Direly," I replied slowly. "I'll tell you the
Corinth nodded and led me, Kirin, Wherric, and Erred to a table. Kowl just
walked off to take a look about. "Now what is it you need to say?" he asked.
I relayed to him the story of what had happened
to Zana, and once I finished I sighed. "I am asking you to take care of Kowl
while Kirin and I rescue Zana Taru from Jown."
Corinth nodded. "Yes, he can stay. I wish you
the best of luck in finding your Zana Zarrel."
"I'll come with you!" a voice shouted out before
Kirin and I had even got the chance to stand up to say our farewells to Corinth.
Erred rushed up looking all the ready to put up a fight.
"I don't need anyone else to come. Besides the
going will be very harsh." I said to Erred plainly.
"She is right," Corinth seconded me. "You will
stay here and train."
"I am a knight father!" he shouted. "I just
can not stand by while the young Zana is in trouble! Maybe you aren't brave
enough to go, but I am!"
I laughed at him. "Believe me, your father's
plenty brave. He was probably just slightly less green then you when he helped
save Laxcorna from Teralk." Kirin and Corinth chuckled along with me.
"Fine then! Have your way," Erred shouted pushing
the chair back and storming off towards his room.
"We were all like that when we were younger,"
Kirin said grinning. "You should have seen me, especially this one time." He
started to chuckle.
"Actually, I do believe you never told me that
story before," I said.
"I'll tell you some other time. For now let
us go find Zana Taru." He bowed to Corinth. "Thank you once again. We will be
back for Kowl if I can help it."
"Farewell you two," he said and then leaned
back in his chair.
Kirin and I said our farewells to a teary eyed
Kowl and then we left the cottage. The large mountain of High Reaches loomed
in the distance. Snow, which stood on it year round reflected the sunlight and
I took Kirin's hand in mine. "It's finally time to go. Let's go kick some Kougra
tail and get Zana back!"
To be continued...