The Story of Kasha Moonfang
Many nights had passed since Galgarrath's
fall from Kass Citadel. Dreams now haunt Kasha every night, whispering
and warning of the war to come. Premonitions haunt her every step during the
day. And something keeps tearing at her brain, some memory that she can't clearly
remember, but can never quite forget…
Moonfang, Jeran's faithful companion and Meridell's future gypsy Seer, paced
around her tent, far from her beautiful self. Her once smooth, lustrous fur
hadn't been brushed or washed in nearly a week, and was now dulled and matted.
Dark circles had formed under her eyes from lack of sleep. Most of her bangles
and bracelets had been misplaced or broken, and she didn't even care. She spent
her days in a dazed half-stupor.
"Ye're okay, child?" Jacob the Kyrii Seer asked,
placing his paw lovingly around the apprentice that had become like a daughter
to him. "Ye've seemed awfully distressed lately."
"Just worried about Meridell. Oh Jacob, every
minute of my sleep is riddled with nightmares! Every single minute! They all
seem to have two things in common; falling and fire."
"Mayhap ye're ripe for yer first vision, dear,"
Jacob said gruffly, straightening his rough, burlap-like tunic. "I remember
when I was yer age, apprenticed ter a middle-aged Moehog the same way ye're
apprenticed ter me. Fer a week afore my first vision, I couldno' get a wink
"You think I'm going to See something?" Kasha
asked, too weary to be excited. "Excellent."
"Ye'd best pretty yerself up a bit, dearie.
Here comes yer Lupe knight…"
Kasha spun around quickly and smoothed her fur
as Jeran poked his head through the tent flap. "Kasha?"
"Yes?" Kasha said, somewhat testily, having
a bit of difficulty with a cowlick near her left ear.
"A bit aggravated?" the Lupe-knight asked, laughing.
"That doesn't even begin to describe how I'm
feeling right now," Kasha groaned. "Ever feel like nothing is going your way?"
Jeran nodded. "All the time. Like right now,
for instance. We're having some trouble up near Hope River. I'm leaving at dawn."
"Dawn?" Panic welled up in Kasha's heart, overriding
her weariness. Jeran was marching off to goodness-knows-where to fight! He was
in danger! "Dawn tomorrow?"
Again, Jeran nodded. "But this doesn't have to
be goodbye, Kasha. I'll return to you, this I swear. And I want you to have
something." From his tunic pocket, he extracted a golden ring with a single
diamond adorning it, shaped like a crescent moon. Jeran led Lisha out of the
tent and into the sunlight, where the diamond cast a rainbow of colors over
her face. Those colors, that face, both seemed to hypnotize Jeran. Not for a
moment did he take his eyes off it, not even when he was in danger of tripping.
"Kasha, when this war is over, I promise I'll spend much more time here at home.
It'll be you and me. Spending our lives together."
Kasha flung her paws around Jeran. By now, she
was wailing hysterically. "Just be careful out there, okay Jeran?"
"I will," the Lupe-knight said, gently prying
the Lupess off of his neck. Holding her paw, he slipped the ring on her. "It
An obnoxious voice broke the moment. "Jeran,
you lazy lump! We need to get ready for tomorrow's trek!" A blue Wocky with
a crossbow waved at us frantically from a hilltop a few dozen meters away.
"Be there in a minute, Danner!" Jeran called.
He turned to face Kasha again. "I need you to stay safe here, Kasha. Wait for
me to return."
"I will," Kasha said through her tears. "I will."
Jeran ran off, leaving Kasha in front of the
tent, her skirt billowing in the summer breeze. "I'll wait for you… forever,"
she whispered, the wind stealing the words from her lips.
Jacob stuck his head out from between the tent
flaps. "Yer warrior will be back afore ye know it," he said in a poor attempt
to comfort the girl. Kasha said nothing.
Noticing his apprentice's silence, Jacob changed
the subject. "I found a rather 'andsome portrait of Lord Kass at the market
today. Some fool of a Moehog were selling it fer ten Neopoints. Don't it look
exactly like 'im, dearie?" He showed her the picture, depicting Kass as a proud
warlord with a giant purple sword leaning against his left shoulder in the proper
style of Kass Citadel.
Recognition seeped through Kasha's veins like
ice. Her half-sleeping eyes flew open in shock.
It was him. The person in the memory she couldn't
It ran through her head like a movie. She was
three years old, living with her family in the village of Sylvalun, whose name
literally meant "Moon Forest." "Where moon-mages grow like fruit on trees,"
the locals said. Kasha's family had been no exception. Her mother was a healer-mage,
with the most extensive herb garden in Meridell. There wasn't a wound she couldn't
fix, no ailment she couldn't cure. At least that's what her father boasted.
He was a pure-white Lupe with violet eyes, a wise Seer and keen-eyed archer.
He bragged that he could hit an apple off the shell of a Turtum from four-hundred
meters away. Blindfolded. Whenever he said this, her mother had laughed and
said that he might be able to shoot apples but given a knife and a pie crust,
he couldn't cut them to save his life. Then there was Jonathan, only a pup.
He was starry-coated like his mother, but had the same violet eyes as his father
and Kasha. They lived in a humble house made of wood, but enough to keep the
worst of the cold out. Those had been good times. Until that night…
It was the night of the dark moon, a time when
the magic of most of Sylvalun's villagers was weak. The stars were the only
heavenly witnesses to the events of that night. A band of raiders, led by a
Wocky with a scar over his left eye had raided the village. Using dark magic
and vile cunning, they got past the village walls and into the village. Any
building that stood in their way got the torch. Any person who stood in their
way, peasant or noble, male, female or child, was destroyed. How Mother had
wailed! But Father kept his cool, notching a bolt to his crossbow and ushering
Mother, Jonathan and Kasha out of the house. "Use this rope to scale the wall."
He had whispered. "Take the children and go. Time is of the essence. I'll join
you as soon as I can."
A shadowy figure leaned against the wall of the
house, listening to all that happened inside. Swiftly and silently, he drew
his sword, a huge and fearsome violet blade with a gold handle. A wicked grin
lit up his face. He was an ambitious mercenary, hired by the scar-eyed Wocky
to help take care of some of the more troublesome villagers. This villager certainly
seemed troublesome. The figure snuck around to the back of the house and carved
a hole into the wall with his sword. Sensing trouble, Father turned his attention
from the front door to the back wall. Unafraid of the figure, he drew his bow…
And never got a chance to let the arrow fly.
Mother and Kasha kept running, with Jonathan
nestled in his mother's arms. The figure pursued them, though his reasons for
pursuing them were is known only to him. Whatever his reasons were, he followed
them. Sensing his presence behind her, Mother picked up speed, clinging onto
little Jonathan so tightly, Kasha feared she might smother him. Unfortunately,
Mother tripped over a fallen branch. Within seconds, Kass was upon her and little
And Kasha kept running. Running through the burning
village. Running through a hole that had been blasted into the city wall. Running
across miles of fields. Running from her past, running from her pain, with no
one but the wind to dry her tears…
Meanwhile, the raiders had finished their devastating
work in the village. They loaded all of the villager's valued possessions onto
their boat. The shadowy figure stepped into the firelight. It was Kass. "We
got a nice little load, didn't we, Kass?" the scar-eyed Wocky asked. "And more
gold means more power, eh?"
Kass nodded. "Then the power is going to be mine."
Taking Kasha's father's bow, he slew the Wocky right there. The simple-minded
raiders were none the wiser. "You're all under my command, now!" Kass had shouted.
He had taken command of his first army.
The edges of Kasha's sight blurred and refocused.
She was back in her tent, lying on the floor. How did I get down here? She thought.
Out loud, she said, "Jacob… I remembered… I didn't think…" She started to stand,
but Jacob's paw pushed her back down.
"Easy, my child. Ye don't feel dizzy? Like the
tent is spinning?"
"No," Kasha said with a bit of confusion. "But
I was a child… it was like a dream… no, more like a nightmare. But it was real!
So terribly real!"
Jacob clapped his hands with excitement. In
his joy, he didn't seem to notice his apprentice's distress. "I think ye Saw
something from the past! Excellent! What was it that ye Saw?"
Kasha told him about her glimpse of her childhood.
She was thoroughly freaked out, but Jacob seemed thrilled. "Ye'll be a great
Seer in no time, Kasha m'dear! Just like yer father. Though I ne'er knew 'im
personally, I had heard a lot about IM I just ne'er thought he was yer father.
Though you do look a striking lot like IM Artemis Apoll, I think they called
IM The Violet-Eyed Seer. In any case, dear, do ye want ter try crystal gazing
"All right," Kasha said; still not totally enthused.
"Terrific!" Jacob and Kasha dragged a crystal
ball out of one of the dustier corners of the tent. Kasha dusted it off with
her sleeve and watched in fascination as sky-blue and lavender mists swirled
around inside, shimmering softly in the sunlight that shone through the tent.
"Concentrate." Jacob whispered. "Put yer whole will into yer concentration.
The mists will enchant ye; try ter lull ye inter sleep. Don't resist. Don't
His voice grew faint to her as she put her whole
mind into the crystal and its swirling mists. Her mind seemed to become a strand
of violet and white mist in itself, writhing through all of the other strands,
picking them apart and searching for their secrets. Some of the strands pulled
together and formed a mirror. For the briefest moment, she saw her own refection
in the mirror, a lovely Lupess in her late teen years. Then, her reflection
was distorted, changed. It became a male Lupe in his early thirties, strong
and bold, wearing a rough leather tunic and carrying a shiny gnarled crossbow.
His eyes were a vibrant shade of violet. Just like hers. The picture in the
mirror changed again, to show the formidable face of Lord Kass. A voice was
singing, an enchanting, and lovely song. The voice was like the strings of a
harp, melodic, soothing. Yet what it foretold sent shivers up and down Kasha's
"Darkest of conquerors Like a tiger lies Determined
to bring about Meridell's demise."
The picture rippled and changed to show the valiant
Jeran. A dangerous gleam twinkled in his eye as he drew his sword.
"Foreigner, warrior, Noble knight comes to
save. He's a brilliant star shining, A Champion so brave."
The mirror rippled again, only this time, Jeran
remained in the picture. But his sword changed to a gold-colored blade with
a dazzling sun on the hilt.
"Broadsword a-flashing Created from the rays
Of sun fiercely burning From magic it is made. "Wielded by Sun-Spirit Gloriously
bright. It longs to free Meridell With its dazzling light."
Again, the mirror rippled, showing Jeran and
his Sunblade facing Kass and his terrible violet broadsword. Kasha gasped involuntarily.
They were going to battle! The voice rose to a huge crescendo.
"And in the final battle He makes a great sacrifice. All freedom comes
With a terrible price…"
The picture changed again. A cliff. Kass stood
on top of the cliff, cackling in triumph. Jeran… Kasha's Jeran clung to the
edge of the cliff. That dangerous gleam was replaced by desperation and sorrow.
Then… he fell…
"Warrior fallen, Warrior true. The one who won freedom For me and you…"
"No… NO!" Kasha woke with a start, cold sweat
covering every inch of her body. "All a dream… only a dream…"
"No, my child!" Jacob squealed gleefully. "A
vision! Yer first real and true vision! Aren't ye happy?"
"I wish I could be…" Kasha said, her breath
coming in short, panicked gasps. "But I can't." Before Jacob could ask, she
fled the tent, threw herself on the ground next to the moon-symbol painted on
her tent and wept like a child. Why did fortune have to be so cruel?Why?
Angrily, Kasha tore the ring off of her finger and gazed at it for a moment.
By now, the sun had already set and the silvery light of the rising moon bathed
Meridell in its gentle, cool luster. A million stars lit up the heavens, symbols
of hope in the gloom and darkness. Holding the ring up to the skies, Kasha compared
its sparkling brilliance to the real moon and stars. Immediately, everything
in the atmosphere seemed dull and boring.
What a fool I am. Kasha thought. Imagining
that the ring Jeran gave me is more pretty than the heavens.
But no, another side of her said. It is more
beautiful. Because he gave it to you. And he promised to spend his life with you.
However long his life may be.
In that moment, Kasha felt more despair than
she had ever felt in her sixteen years of life. Happiness, once within her grasp,
had slipped out and left a terrible, aching void that could never be filled.
Her joy had fallen…
To be continued...