It has been exactly eight years, two months and seventeen days since we
left Zarrel Charmain standing next to the young Dorono watching the sunset.
She has continued to live life as she said as an assassin, taking her jobs from
whoever paid the most. She has continued life as the Zafara Assassin...
I STOOD OUT in the darkness listening to the hoot of an owl. Even though it
was dark outside I loved to watch all of the stars twinkle in the night. "Zarrel
Charmain, come in out of the cold. You'll catch fever out there." My mother
walked over to me. She picked me up, and then started to tickle my belly making
me laugh. "Besides it is much too late for young Zafaras to be awake."
"Aww Mum, just five more minutes," I pleaded
hoping to be able to stay awake.
"Nope," she said, "It is bed time right
now." And she softly poked my nose.
"Four more minutes?"
"Three more minutes?"
"Two more minutes?"
"Uh, one more minutes?" I tried once more.
"Still no my little Zafara. Let's go in the
Mother carried me inside of the house, small
though it was; it was toasty warm even though it was winter. Mother carried
me to my room and set me in my bed. She then picked up a small toy carousel.
She twisted it up, and then set it on my bedside table. Soft music issued from
it, and while that happened the three small Unis decorated with ribbons on their
backs danced in circles.
My mother smiled at me, "Good night Zarrel Charmain."
And she walked out of my room turning off the lights. I watched the carousel
as it spun to the music gradually it slowed down with the music, and then it
stopped completely, but by then I was already asleep.
THUMP! I woke up to the slamming of the door,
and I knew that it had to be my father. I got up out of bed, still in my clothes,
and walked up to the door listening for the voice of my parents. The spattering
of the rain against the window, with the occasional sound of thunder drowned
out their voices a little, but listening closely I could catch some words.
"I told you dear that I was desperate… either
that or ourselves… sorry!" I heard my fathers voice say.
"I will never… her up. She is our only daughter…
NO!" My mother yelled.
"IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU SAY, I AM TAKING
HER!!!" I jumped back at the sound of my father yelling. It terrified me when
he yelled, for he could get very mean, and because of the fact that he was talking
about me a huge shiver went down my spine.
As I heard the sound of my father's footsteps
coming towards my room, I scurried under my bed. The door to my room swung open,
and I watched from under my bed as he marched across my room, and then he yelled,
"WHERE IS SHE!!!" and he swatted my Uni carousel off of my bedside table, breaking
it. One of the toy Unis rolled down the floor towards me, but before I could
reach out to grab it my father steeped on it. I stared at his shoe placed right
before my face smelling the wet plastic and leather of the boot.
"I don't know where she is," my mother
said striding into the room. I saw her eyes glance down at me, but just as quickly
she looked back up at my father. I shivered at the thought that she might tell
him where I was hiding, but I knew that she wouldn't give me away.
"Don't lie to me, you know where she is,"
my father said between clenched teeth. He walked up to my mother and raised
his hand. "Tell me." But before he could strike down I scuttled out from under
the bed, jumped on my father's foot, and bit him. "Aargh!! You little…" and
he swung his foot forward flinging me off. I flew past my mother into the hall
hitting a wall, and falling to the ground.
My father then started to walk towards me, "Don't
worry Zarrel Charmain, nothing bad will happen to you." But the glint in his
eye said otherwise, "I am just going to hand you to the nice Krawk outside,
because father owes a debt." I cowered against the wall as he came closer, but
suddenly my mother jumped out in front of him.
"I will never let you have her." And with that
she grabbed me, and ran out the door past a Krawk and several other pets.
I looked over my mothers shoulder as my father
burst out of the door, "Get her, she is taking the child!" and the other pets
jumped up and ran for my mother and me.
The rain had soaked me through to the bone in
seconds of my mother's perilous running, and the perusing pets were getting
ever closer to us. "Zarrel Charmain!" my mother said said, but before I could
answer she said, "No matter what happens to me don't ever let your father get
"Why?" but my mother didn't answer.
Suddenly my mother yelled, and fell to the ground,
tossing me from her arms. I looked at her leg where a dagger lay embedded, "Mother!"
I cried. "We have to go, they are getting closer!" but my mother looked at me,
her face was soaked from the rain with splashes of mud on it.
"Go Zarrel Charmain. Leave me, and save yourself."
"Not this time. Go now." And with one last look
at her tear stained face, I ran off into the dark forest.
I didn't get to far before my feet turned me
around. I just couldn't leave my mother out there… I couldn't. I started running
back towards where she had fallen, but I was too late. I reached the spot just
in time to see my mother being carried off in a wagon led by two Lupes. I stumbled
backwards into the mud. Why couldn't I have just been faster? Why did I ever
leave my mother in the first place? Fear had seized me, but I wouldn't let it
happen again. I would storm up to my father, and keep him from causing any more
I ran off towards my home glad that my older
brother wasn't going to be back home for a week. I didn't want him being caught
up in this. It was my battle.
I was so hard pressed in stopping my father,
that I had not realised that the rain had stopped falling. I ran through the
forest, its branches rubbing against my back. I ran all the ways up to my home,
but what I saw shocked me. My father was nowhere to be seen; yet I knew that
it was him who had done it. Our home was ablaze with fire crackling in the dark
night. But that wasn't the worst of it.
I listened to the screams of the villagers as
they ran from there homes dragging what belongings that they could. My father
was evil enough to set the whole village on fire. I just stood there in shock
to terrified to do anything, but what could an eight year old do anyway.
I stood there watching as the last house collapsed
in the burning inferno that my father had created. It was then that I walked
out into my village. I looked into the last of the burning embers of my home,
and could not help but let a tear drip down my cheek.
Almost every home was the same with just burning
embers to remind anyone that something had once been there. Though there was,
of course, the occasional house that was still mostly together, and it was from
one of those houses that I heard a cry.
At first I just thought that it was just my imagination
working up, but then I heard it again, but this time louder. "Helpth… Hurthy."
The voice was slightly muffled, but it was real.
"Stay there! I will help you!" I yelled, and
then without thinking I jumped into the building. I closed my eyes as far as
they would go with me still being able to see, and I covered my mouth to try
and black the thick smoke. I made my way around the fire, and towards the voice
closer and closer until I saw right in front of me an Airax. The Airax was breathing
heavily, and I was still trying to figure out if it were he who had called for
help when he talked.
"Please help! My wing is trapped, and I can't
escape from the fire! Please!" The Airax said, for there was a book on top of
"Don't worry Airax!" and I pushed the book off
of his wing and picked him up. Suddenly from above the ceiling started to grown.
It was going to collapse. Holding the Airax firmly in my arms, I ran as fast
as I could towards the door of the house, and I burst out of the door just as
the ceiling collapsed.
I sat down thinking I was safe, but then a yellow
Shoyru walked up to me. I gasped, for I recognised him as one of the pets that
had been with my father. The Shoyru grabbed my shoulders and started to shake
them, "Wake up Zarrel Charmain! Wake up…"
I bounded up out of bed, my heart was beating about one hundred times a second.
There right in my face was my friend and partner Dorono the green Eyrie. "You
were having another nightmare, weren't you Zarrel Charmain."
"Yes," I said still feeling a cold sweat, "It
was the one where I found Tarnox, and… and lost my mother. I just don't understand.
I never used to have nightmares!" for they had started only about two weeks
"Well, because of the fact that it is almost
morning I think that you should just stay up. It beats any more nightmares."
I nodded my head, for he was right, and I slowly got up out of bed. I put my
belt on, carefully making sure that my dagger would not fall out, and then I
walked over to my fire pit, and started up a fire for breakfast. I put a ham
over the fire, and slowly rotated it as not to burn any side. Soon, after I
was satisfied that our ham was cooked, I took it from the fire and set it on
"I hope that you are hungry Dorono, for most
of this is for you," I said while slicing off a couple of thin pieces for me,
and leaving the rest for Dorono. I had finished my share in no time, and satisfied
with what I ate I licked the juices of the ham off of my fingers. Dorono then
spoke with his face still in his food.
"You hardly eat anything Zarrel Charmain, no
wonder you're so skinny," he said chuckling.
"Well if I ate as much as you do I would become
fat, and tell me who would hire a fat assassin."
After we had both finished eating I sat down
by Dorono's side. It may have been about eight years since I had found him,
but he still was not at his full size. He probably was about two-thirds as tall
as I, but he could grow to be as big as Herupah and Decorah, the black Uni twins.
A fluttering of wings, and a loud chirping made
me turn around. There on a tree branch was an Airax. I sighed remembering Tarnox,
but before I could think any more about my departed friend, the Airax landed
at my feet. Around one of the Airax's feet, there was a rolled up piece of paper.
The Airax extended its foot, and I slipped the paper off of its foot, and then
with a happy chirp the Airax took off leaving Dorono and me with the paper.
I unrolled the paper which turned out to be a note asking for my service, but
before I could read any more Dorono was at my feet trying to get a glimpse of
"What does it say Zarrel Charmain?" he asked
"It says that my service is requested of by
Makum. And it says to get to his place as fast as possible. Well Dorono, it
looks as if we have yet another job. We shall leave right away," I said. Then
picking up my pack of provisions I set off in a northward direction towards
Dorono and I walked side by side past the trees
whose leaves were turning a golden brown colour for fall was here. The birds
in the trees chattered as we walked below them, but other then that we heard
nothing that suggested of danger.
The sun was set high in the sky by the time I
reached Makum's fort. It didn't matter how many times that I saw the fort, but
each time I saw it I thought of Teralk, and what his men did to Tarnox. Even
so I still had a job, which came before fears. I walked up to the front gate,
which was blocked by two Shoyru holding spears. The green Shoyru lifted his
spear when I approached. "Zarrel Charmain I presume. Makum told me to lead you
in once you got here. This way." And he then led Dorono and me inside.
"It is a great change to be recognised for once,"
I said to Dorono, quietly enough for just him to hear, "Usually the guards ask
me who I am, and only speak two words a sentence." But I then hushed myself,
for we had reached the door that led to Makum's chambers.
"Makum shall be waiting for you inside,"
the Shoyru said before scuttling back to his position at the gate.
"Remember to keep your stature Dorono,"
I said to him standing up straight and looking stern eyed the way I should before
opening the door. The door let out an agonising grown as I pushed it open, but
I didn't let that bother me as I walked along the crimson carpet below our feet.
Dorono walked up just the way I had told him to, with his tail held out straight
behind him, and his wings tucked neatly at his sides. He held up his head as
high as was possible, and he had his ears slightly back just the way he should.
So we walked up to Makum looking exactly the way assassins should.
"Zarrel Charmain and… Dorono. I have been waiting
for you two," the red Shoyru Makum said grinning. "It has been awhile since
I last laid eyes on you Zarrel Charmain, the best assassin in the land. If anything,
your reputation has become better. I have a job offering that requests of your
talent. I want you to destroy the Kiko lord Chagen, for he is trying to stop
my expansion. 2,000 Neopoints, for this will be a breeze for an assassin of
your talent." Then he looked at me ready for me to raise the price.
"3,500 NP," I bargained.
"2,700. No more," Makum said sternly looking
me in the eye.
"Deal!" I said. "I shall come to accept my pay
when my job is finished."
"A perfect price for the best assassin in the
land. Lord Chagen lives in Gerake. His castle is in the upper parts of the village.
Now I shall look forward to your return Zarrel Charmain, but for now you can
take your leave," Makum said, and with a nod to show that I understood
I walked out the door with Dorono. The green Shoyru at the front gate opened
the gate for me as I walked through, and then Dorono and I were on our way to
Gerake and the dangers that it held.
To be continued...