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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 23rd day of Hunting, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 64 > New Series > The Zafara Assassin 3: Upon the Wings of Fate - Part One

The Zafara Assassin 3: Upon the Wings of Fate - Part One

by meratocat

Sometimes the real ones who make things happen are not the heroes, or the villains, or even the assassins. Sometimes it is the partner who saves the day. The partner, the one who is usually looked down upon as the weakest of the group, can sometimes become the hero. So here is a tale of the Zafara Assassin, Zarrel Charmain's partner, and the quest that he undertook in order to save the ones he cared for.

Book 1: The Tale of an Eyrie
    
I opened up my eyes, but not to the bright sunlight, but to the jabbing that I was suffering on my left side. "Quit poking me Kowl," I said to Kirin and Zarrel Charmain's youngest, a small green Zafara who was about four years old.

     "Ahh, wake up. I want a ride," Kowl said. Ever since they found out that I could carry their mother through the sky, Kowl and his older sister Zana Taru started to bother me to take them on rides.

     "Go play with your sister Kowl," I said as I stretched out my paws, and let out a huge yawn.

     "He can't," Kirin said walking up to me, his cape slightly moving with the breeze. Kirin had not changed since I had met him. He still wore the same style of a green tunic, and he still had his blue handled dagger, which was tucked away in his leather belt next to his gloves. Kirin and Zarrel Charmain were life partners. Not partners like Zarrel Charmain and I were, partners in the job, but a different sort of partnership.

     "And why can't he?" I asked prancing up to Kirin. I had grown a whole lot bigger since I had first met Kirin. Now I stood at an equal height with him. I may not be as big as the black Uni twins, but I was still big enough to hold both Kirin and Zarrel Charmain without any problems.

     "He can't Dorono, because Zarrel is out training Zana Taru," Kirin said.

     "Training?" I asked, "But Zana Taru is only seven."

     "That is what I said, but you know Zarrel Charmain. She wants Zana Taru to become the top assassin someday--" But Kowl interrupted us.

     "I want a ride, please," Kowl said tugging at my leg, looking up at me with his icy blue eyes that he had inherited from Zarrel Charmain.

     "Okay," I said finally giving in, "I will give you one quick ride."

     "Yay!!!" and with that, Kowl tried to scamper up my leg, and with a smile, I picked him up in my paw, and hoisted him up to my back.

     "Hold on to my mane," I said, stretching out my green Eyrie wings, and then I took off into the air with Kowl laughing in sheer joy of flying. I soared high above the treetops, the afternoon sun warming my back, and the wind on my face. I let out a screech for the heck of it, and then I circled over the trees looking for Zarrel Charmain. I spotted her red coat down below next to Zana Taru. I landed next to them, Kowl jumping off my back, and running over to Zarrel Charmain, hugging her, before I could even recover from my landing.

     "Mother," Zana Taru said, crossing her purple arms. "Tell Dorono to take Kowl back home, I want to learn more."

     "Have patience Zana Taru." Zarrel Charmain said, lifting Kowl up into her arms, "A good assassin must know how to wait patiently." Then she turned to face me, "Dorono, has something come up, or did you just want to disturb me," she said with a smile.

     "Choice number two Zarrel Charmain." And we laughed. Zarrel Charmain and I have always had a good relation. Well, unless you count that one time with Jown the snowy Kougra, but that is a different story.

     "Well, since you're here Dorono, could you be useful?"

     "What do you want me to do?" I asked ready to help my partner.

     "Take Zana Taru and Kowl home to Kirin. I got an urgent letter from an employer asking of my services about ten minutes before you arrived, and it would be quicker if you took Zana Taru and Kowl home then if I had to walk them all the ways there."

     "Who is it this time?" I asked Zarrel Charmain.

     "I am not too familiar with this employer, but I have heard of him before in our travels. She is Umbra the white Aisha. She lives in the East if I recall correctly. Well, anyway this is enough talk, for I have to get going. Dorono, you can meet up with me after you drop off the two rascals." And then with a smile, Zarrel Charmain was off slinking through the woods, her trusty pack over her shoulder, and her green handled dagger in position to be withdrawn whenever necessary.

     I walked up to Kowl and Zana Taru who was standing with her arms crossed, "Let me guess," she said, "Mother wants you to bring us home, because of that job request that she received."

     "Correct," I said, "Now climb on, for I have to hurry back to your mother." Then with a grown from Zana Taru, I lifted both of them up to my back, and was in the air, and on my way back to our home.

     As I landed, and got the kids off of my back, Kirin looked at me, and then sighed. "Another job?" and with a nod from me he walked up to Kowl and Zana Taru, "I guess that I am stuck with the kids again." I heard him mutter as I took flight once more. We took turns watching the kids, Kirin, and I, while the other one of us went with Zarrel Charmain. The odd times when Kirin got a job offering, I usually was stuck watching the little rouges, but today I was on partner duty, and had to help Zarrel Charmain.

     Soon, I caught up with Zarrel Charmain, and I landed next to her, brushing up a cloud of dirt. Zarrel Charmain coughed, and then waving her hand in front of her face said, "Next time land farther away from me, Okay Dorono."

     I laughed at Zarrel Charmain, and then asked, "Do you need me to fly you to Umbra's place, or can you walk?"

     "I can walk, thank you," Zarrel Charmain said. If there was one thing that I was proud of her about was the fact that she didn't abuse the fact that I could fly. So with a smile, and a nod of my head, we continued thought he forest.

     We reached Umbra's place just as the moon came up. Umbra lived in a wooden castle-like fort. The walls towered above Zarrel Charmain and I, and with the last of the suns rays shinning down upon the fort; it looked magnificent. Zarrel Charmain turned to look at me, "Dorono, watch your step, and what you say in there. Umbra is a sorceress, and if you displease her, she will turn you into a Lupe, and force you to guard her fortress."

     I shivered at the thought of being turned into a Lupe It wasn't as if a Lupe was bad, but no wings! I could not live without them, for I lived to feel the rush of the wind in my face, and to hear the swish as it tries to catch up to me. "Dorono!" A nudge from Zarrel Charmain woke me from my thoughts.

     "Sorry, I will pay attention," I whispered back to her as we walked up towards the entrance.

     We walked up to the front gate of the fortress where two Lupes stood guard, one fire, and the other green. The green Lupe walked up to us, and started sniffing. He sniffed Zarrel Charmain's boots, and then reared up to sniff at her face, and then he turned to the fire Lupe "No deceptions. She is fine." The green Lupe then walked up to me to start to sniff. He stuck his muzzle into my fine coat of fur and feathers, and I dug my claws into the soft dirt as he did so. Then the green Lupe sniffed out, sending a few of my feathers astray. It took self-control not to growl at the Lupe as he sniffed me, for I hated being this close to another creature that I did not know. Finally the Lupe stopped his sniff brigade, and turned to the fire Lupe, "The Eyrie is also fine. They both may pass."

     The fire Lupe nodded, and then turned to face Zarrel Charmain and I, "Follow me. I will lead you to Umbra's personal chambers." As we silently followed the Lupe, he started to speak. "I am sorry for keeping you waiting out at the front gate, but it is Umbra's orders that we check all pets that enter to make sure that they are really the ones sent for, and not an impostor that could have been sent for Umbra. You know that times are really hard with the Laxcornian-Gerake war just ending."

     Zarrel Charmain just nodded, "I understand." I looked up into her eyes, and saw the glint of hatred that I knew was sent towards the mention of Gerake. Zarrel Charmain's father, Vernok was the overlord of Gerake, until he was defeated in bloody hand-to-hand combat from Wintroq, Zarrel Charmain's brother... his son. With Vernok's defeat, the war was over, but not without it's costs. The lands were filled with many villains who still fight in the name of Vernok, and Wintroq almost lost his life. He suffered many wounds, but the worst was that he got a big slash down his right, lost his whole left ear to Vernok's sword. Slowly, though, for the war was over, peace was returning to the lands between Laxcorna and Gerake.

     Before I even knew it, we had arrived at a large door covered with carvings of trees, and strange writings that I did not understand. The fire Lupe pushed the door, and with a loud creak, it moved inwards, then as soon as our tails had past the doors line, the fire Lupe shut the door with a loud slam. I straightened up, and carefully folded my wings up against my sides. I held out my tail, and I put my ears slightly back, ready to approach Umbra the way an assassin should. I eyes Zarrel Charmain, and saw that she had already prepared herself.

     The room was enormous, and there were all sorts of strange statues put up. There were several large paintings up on the wall, and one especially caught my eye. It was a painting of a dark blue Aisha wearing a black dress lying on a bed of silk. The thing about the painting that caught my eye was the Aisha's staring green eyes. They seamed to watch us as we walked across the room towards a chair that faced the other way. We guessed that Umbra would be in the chair, but she wasn't. When the chair did not move, and no one got out of it, Zarrel Charmain walked up to it, but gave a surprised "What?" when she saw that the chair was empty.

     "I thought that you would be here soon." We both turned and saw Umbra walking up to us wearing a long black dress just like in the painting.

     "How did you get behind us?" Zarrel Charmain demanded.

     "It is not something hard for a sorceress to do." Then she let out a small smile, "But let's forget about that, and get down to business." She wavered her paw in the air, and mumbled a few words. Suddenly from above her head, a vision of a Meerca appeared. By the Meerca's looks, and clothing, I could tell that he was a lowly peasant, and would be no problem for Zarrel Charmain and I. "This Meerca is called Fraable. He currently resides out in the small village of Keeth. I want you to capture him, and bring him back to me... alive. That Meerca has irritated me for the last time," Umbra said, clenching her fists. Then she calmed down a bit, and the vision disappeared. "Fraable will not be easy to catch, so I offer you 5,000. Currently I am not in the mood to haggle with you, so don't even try it."

     Zarrel Charmain looked on steadily ahead, her gaze never changing, yet by the gleam in her eye I knew that she, like me, in truth thought that 5,000 Neopoints for the capture of a peasant was better then any of us had expected for the job. "I take the job Umbra," Zarrel Charmain said.

     "I expect you to hurry back assassin. Don't take to long." And Umbra said those last words with a devilish gleam in her eye. "You may take your leave." So with a deft bow, Zarrel Charmain started on her way out the door with me following.

     "Well, we sure got out of there with a decent price," I said to Zarrel Charmain as we walked out the fortress, and started on our way towards Keeth.

     "That is true Dorono," Zarrel Charmain said with a smile. "So let's make the best of it, and try and get our job done soon.

     "Good point." And we continued our walk through the forest. "Zarrel Charmain, how far away is Keeth anyhow?" I asked my partner.

     "Well, if I remember correctly it is about a three hour walk."

     "Then it will be a twenty minute flight. Hop on," I said bending down as to make it easier for Zarrel Charmain to get upon my back. Zarrel Charmain smiled, and then she hoisted her leg over my back, and took a strong hold upon my mane. "Ready?" I asked.

     "Ready."

     "Here we go!" and I jumped into the air flapping down with my wings lifting the two of us into the clear sky. I flew higher and higher, until even the trees looked like a large green carpet underneath us. The sun was directly above us, shedding its radiant glow upon our backs. Even the birds were below us as I flew fast and hard towards Keeth. I flew hard for not even twenty minutes when we saw the first signs of civilisation.

     "Find a spot to land Dorono, for that below up is Keeth," Zarrel Charmain called out over the rush of wind. There below us were golden-brow squares, and other shapes of roofs. Trees basically surrounded the village, making it a good place to hide, because if you didn't know it was there you could not find it unless in the air. I folded my wings to my side, and plummeted towards the ground. I loved the rush of wing upon my fur and feathers. Right before we hit the ground, I tilted back, and spread my wings out wide, slowing us drastically. My back feet caught the ground, and I trotted, and then stopped all together on the land. As Zarrel Charmain jumped off my back, I reached up, and smoothed out my mane. Zarrel Charmain put a hand upon my back, "It is time to do our job, but first we must change the way we look, for an assassin and her partner will not be welcome to a village."

     "Right!" I said, and as Zarrel Charmain dug through her pack, I studied my blade. It was a decent sized sword, which was given to me by the despicable Jown. He had brainwashed me into deceiving Zarrel Charmain and Kirin. I almost killed Zarrel Charmain that night. The memories still pierced at my heart, of me pushing my paw into Zarrel Charmain's throat ready to smother her. She forgave me... even though I was going to kill both her and Kirin. She is a true friend, I thought as I looked at the carving upon the blade of a Zafara standing next to an Eyrie.

     "Here we go!" Zarrel Charmain said pulling out a jacket made for an Eyrie. "Wear that Dorono while I wear this." And she pulled out a brownish dress. She took off her cape, and carefully put it in her bag, and then she threw the dress over her head. "I really hate dresses!" she said, sneering, while I put on the jacket so that it covered my sword and belt.

     "I'm not too sure. You do look more like a lady in a dress," I said teasing Zarrel Charmain.

     "At least I don't look like a furball wearing a bag," she said back to me.

     "You're right," I said, "You look more like a furball wearing a dress."

     "Hey!" Zarrel Charmain said giving me a playful swipe, which I avoided with ease. We were like that, always teasing each other.

     "Let's go find ourselves a Meerca," I said, starting to run off towards the village with Zarrel Charmain close on my feet. Keeth was bustling with creatures all trying to get to their destinations, so we had to slow down in order not to get separated.

     "We should ask some of the villagers if they have seen Fraable. Perhaps one of them knows where he resides. If they do it would really help us to find him." Zarrel Charmain said, "So let's start asking, and we will meet back here in thirty minutes."

     I nodded, and then we split up to start asking the villagers. I walked up to a merchant. "Have you seen or do you know anything about a Meerca named Fraable?"

     "I've heard of him, but can't say I've seen him."

     "Okay, thanks for your help," I said, and then turned down the merchant's request to try a free sample of his bread. I walked away from him, and tapped a female Kacheek on the shoulder who was washing clothes. "Do you know anything about a Meerca named Fraable?" She turned to look at me, and then with out answering, she turned around and started working again. "I'll take that as a no," I said, walking off to talk to more creatures.

     It was basically the same with every creature that I asked. It seemed that no one knew of Fraable. As I walked up to a young Wocky playing with a Puppyblew I wondered if Zarrel Charmain was having any better luck. "Do you know anything about a Meerca called Fraable?" I was really starting to get sick of saying that.

     "I don't know anything about him." And rolling my eyes, I turned around, and started to walk away, "Wait sir!" the Wocky yelled after me.

     "What!" I spat out.

     "Go ask the Babaa shepherd. He knows everyone in this village."

     "Thanks," I said. I was finally getting somewhere, but since the half hour was almost up, I had to go and meet Zarrel Charmain.

     "Any luck?" Zarrel Charmain asked me as I walked up.

     "I didn't find a single thing out about Fraable," I said annoyed.

     "Me neither."

     "But I did hear that the Babaa shepherd should know."

     "Then let's go," Zarrel Charmain said, and we started to walk off, but a Chia stood in our way. "Move it!" Zarrel Charmain said to the Chia.

     "Not until you hear what I have to say..." he started, laying a hand upon Zarrel Charmain's shoulder.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Zafara Assassin 3: Upon the Wings of Fate - Part Two

The Zafara Assassin 3: Upon the Wings of Fate - Part Three

The Zafara Assassin 3: Upon the Wings of Fate - Part Four

The Zafara Assassin 3: Upon the Wings of Fate - Part Five

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