Sand Daughter: Part Seven
Also by smurfafied1800
It was hot and humid everywhere. Rehkek moaned, shifting
slightly, and found that he was trapped in… cloth? The Kacheek shifted uncomfortably
to a more comfortable position and felt his surroundings. Yes. Cloth. The young
bounty hunter cursed his stupidity for getting caught, and called out. No one
answered his call for a while, then a Skeith's knife cut through the top of
the bag, detaching it from its hold.
Rehkek fell to the ground, moaning. He recognized
the Skeith as a member of Seht's camp. He looked around, his eyes slowly adjusting
to the bright scene, and inwardly sighed. He was at Seht's camp. "You've had
your little nap," the Skeith growled. "Now Seht wants a word with you." Rehkek
reached for his weapons to find that they had been confiscated. He cursed under
his breath as the Skeith led him roughly to Seht's tent. The larger pet tossed
the Kacheek into the tent and turned, abruptly thundering away.
"Well well, Rehkek," a cold, familiar voice
hissed, and Rehkek flinched. A scaly paw descended on his head and snagged his
fur, pulling him up and forcing him to come eye-to-eye with his master.
"You've failed me, Rehkek," Seht hissed, his
voice laced with contempt. "The punishment is death... by my means of torture."
Immi trudged along in the sand, glancing nervously
at the pets who had "politely chosen to accompany" them. They were mostly bland
looking - colours ranging from brown to yellow were the most common. In a scary
way, they all looked like Rehkek. Could these guys work with his boss?
she thought nervously. If they did, it would be the end of her in a few hours.
Strangely enough, Immi didn't really feel like she was going to face her death
in a while. She missed the bounty hunter that had kidnapped her in the first
Immi was more worried about Khirelle than she
was for Sand. The desert Usul seemed to be getting along fine, giggling madly
and babbling about sand to the hunters, who in return kept their distance. Khirelle
was so frail and with her hurt ankle, Immi was worried that the bounty hunters
would dump the Aisha and Sand, having Immi. She was their target, right? "I'm
sorry," she muttered under her breath, though she knew they couldn't hear her.
"It's my fault you're all suffering."
"We're here," a Shoyru said up ahead, pointing.
Immi could see a number of tents scattered around just seconds away if she ran.
Though they were simple tents and nothing more, a chill ran down Immi's spine.
The brown Kyrii who had led the archers earlier grabbed Immi by the scruff of
her neck, dragging her to a larger tent. "Keep the others here," he ordered.
"Seht might make use of them later." He dragged the whimpering Immi to the tent,
twisting her scruff cruelly every time she slowed down. I hate you, she
mentally hissed. I want you all to die.
Bandits running away from her. Grabbing the
sword, simply snapping it in two.
Immi blinked. What was that? She'd seen a vague
picture of pets running in every direction, though the leader didn't escape
her grasp. The Kacheek grabbed her head, moaning. The Kyrii twisted her fur
again. "Stop that," he hissed. Immi snarled back in his direction, suddenly
wrenching free from his grasp. The power that had suddenly inhabited her dissolved,
and she stared blankly in confusion. The Kyrii, annoyed enough with the Kacheek
girl, grabbed her roughly and shoved her into the tent quickly, as if scared
to touch her.
Immi knelt on the sand, surrounded by the subtle
glow of sunlight seeping through the creamy canvas of the tent walls. The warm
light didn't comfort her in the least. She shivered, frightened by herself for
a moment. What had that been? A memory? If it was, Immi was hesitant
to recall it. She felt as though everyone now viewed her as some kind of menace.
But why? What was she capable of?
She was numb to the pets that entered and left
the tent, tossing Sand and Khirelle in with her, binding their wrists together
with coarse rope. She wanted to know where Rehkek was - Immi found herself thinking
that he was here in this camp as well, but they hadn't brought him here with
the rest of them.
Behind her, Khirelle was whimpering. Because
of the rough and inconsiderate actions of their kidnappers, her ankle hadn't
been spared, and she was unable to massage it with her immobile hands. Immi
felt guilty for dragging her along - all she had wanted was some company, some
guidance though the desert. She had never wanted to see the innocent Aisha harmed
Sand seemed to be in a sort of trance. For once
she wasn't babbling about the substance that had been the root of her name.
Immi wondered if the Usul's predictions when she had first met her, however
vague, were somehow true and connected with what was going on. Perhaps Sand
had, in a deeply buried string of sanity, known that this was where they would
end up all along.
It could have been an hour later, or it could
have been five minutes; Immi had no idea. The Kyrii returned, holding the entrance
flap of the tent open for the dark form of a lithe, brawny Shadow Krawk, ornamented
in a variety of jewels, gold, and other such finery, including a nose ring,
girded betwixt his nostrils. He turned his cold eyes on Immi, who felt as though
their wicked depths had speared her heart. "I entrust my finest bounty hunter
with bringing you to me and the job gets accomplished by ordinary scoundrels,"
he muttered scornfully. "But that's not the issue here."
Immi wouldn't let him continue. "Where's Rehkek?"
she choked, although her fearful heart told her that interrupting such a puissant
individual was most unwise.
The Krawk's eyes narrowed with a mixture of
amusement that his prisoner would interject so boldly and malice, revealing
to the Kacheek that her captor had a torturous, vile fate thought up for her
in the depths of his malicious mind. Nothing but icy evil emanated from him,
the one who had sent Rehkek so far to capture her. "I am Seht." He stated this
so simply, and without any kind of title such as "Lord" or "King". But he didn't
need one. The sound of his name uttered through his yellowing fangs had more
than enough impact, and his voice seemed to cling to Immi's senses, as though
she had heard it ringing through her mind before…
"Rehkek is with another patrol of my followers,"
he continued, explaining calmly. "He has yet to be dealt with. He has failed
the mission I assigned him, and must therefore be punished." He paused, as though
he expected the Kacheek girl at his feet to inquire as to the type of punishment.
Immi remained silent. "You shall carry out this punishment."
"Me…?" Immi breathed. What was he talking about?
Why on Neopia would he have a worthless prisoner punish one of his trained henchmen?
"Yes, you. I didn't bring you here to kill you,
girl. I told Rehkek I wanted you for dead because it would rest in his simple
mind rather than the countless legends that are entwined in your history."
Immi was confused, and not only that, angry.
She wasn't going to hurt Rehkek, and Rehkek wasn't simple-minded! "What are
you talking about? I'm not special, there's nothing you could want me for! There
aren't any legends about me! You're crazy! You're more twisted than… than…"
she glanced around and spotted Sand. "HER!" Sand, in turn, gazed at her with
glazed eyes, a glob of drool rolling out of her mouth.
"You only think that," the Krawk said coolly,
"But you're wrong. Your history reaches back quite far, and your ancestors were
nothing short of magnificent..." He fixed his cold eyes on her, causing her
to flinch. "It's a pity I wasn't born into your lines, because I know all about
it." Before Immi could question him, Seht began speaking more, his voice just
daring her to interrupt.
"Your ancestors were the first desert people
to survive and build a thriving civilization. They were extremely powerful,
unstoppable, and in a way, immortal. They were some of the first pets to create
magic, and they used it to extend their own lives for a vast amount of years."
He sighed almost wistfully, as if it was a pity that they had done so.
"But," he continued. "They had one enormous
flaw. Their magic was untamed, unnaturally powerful. And, in an attempt to create
a protector for themselves, they unwittingly sealed their fate." Immi was suddenly
breathing much faster than before. Her heart was seemingly beating at a million
miles per hour, threatening to batter itself out of her chest.
"They created Aker," Seht hissed, barely audible.
"And when expecting the beast to protect them, they were killed instead. Aker's
power was amazing, and my theory is..." his cold eyes fixed on her, looking
almost hungry. "That using the last remaining descendent of the royal line,
I will gain full control over Aker." Immi stared at him, terror consuming her.
"This is impossible," she whispered, trembling.
"This is weird, stupid..."
Sand moaned, uttering choppy words. "Aker...
Sand Daughter... Lion..."
Seht grinned evilly. "I see what your friend
is anticipating. Now," he hissed, putting a claw to Immi's forehead. "Your royal
blood will tame Aker, and punish dearest Rehkek for his flaws."
Immi felt unimaginable power lacing through
her, and Seht grinned. "Kyrii," he ordered, and the white Kyrii walked in. "I
want our dear girl to look nice for killing Rehkek - how about those ceremonial
robes we found at the city?" The Kyrii nodded, and left. Seht sneered as he
watched Immi struggle under the power, "You'll destroy the bounty hunter, first."
Rehkek struggled under the hold of the other
pets, but it was futile to fight them. The sleeping potion was still wearing
off, and he was drowsy, hardly in condition for a fight. His thoughts were on
the Cloud Kacheek that had become his friend, when the very girl stepped out,
dressed in ceremonial robes. Her eyes were slightly glazed over, but at the
same time bright, as if she was trying to maintain herself. She looked just
The incident with the bandits.
Seht followed after her, eyeing Rehkek coldly.
"Hello, Rehkek," he said coolly. "Your punishment commences - feel the power
Rehkek barely had time to react when Immi lunged
at him, paws aimed for his throat. The Spotted Kacheek barely dodged the attack,
staring at Immi in disbelief. "What...?"
Seht laughed loudly. "Kill him!"
Deep down in her subconscious, Immi screamed.
"Don't!" she screamed at her body, but it hardly listened. She only succeeded
in hesitating for a moment, then lunging at him again. "Don't kill him!"
Seht noticed the hesitation. "Why do you hesitate?"
he questioned, smiling slightly. "Don't you want revenge on the pet that killed
What remained of Immi felt disbelief course
through her body, which was no longer hers. "What do you mean…?" she mentally
whispered, although Seht could not hear her.
But she already knew - the other Kacheek, that
child she had encountered on the night of her parents' demise… it had been Rehkek.
It was their fault! It was their fault her parents were dead! She peered through
the mists of Aker and Seht's control and saw the Spotted Kacheek she trusted.
Had it really been him? Had a child been filled with so much hate to be capable
of killing her family? It couldn't be true - Seht had to be feeding her lies,
making her want to complete her terrible task.
But the face of the child assassin… Rehkek's
face… her memories flooded throughout her brain quicker than she could deal
with them. It couldn't be the truth! She wanted to badly to deny it,
but there was no fooling herself. Rehkek and that boy from long ago were one
and the same.
And still, she hesitated - but not for long.
In her mind's eyes, the head of a great Kougra-like beast reared, and Immi knew
she beheld the face of the beast that her ancestors had failed to command. Its
fangs gleamed savagely; its claws scored stone, steel, and flesh. And now she
was capable of its ability to wreak perpetual chaos, destroy anything.
But not anything she wanted to. Only what Seht
wanted her to. Seht had the gift of possession - he could make the soul of one
creature enter into the form of another, and there was nothing she could do
about it. Aker's rage filled her, and against her own will, she flew at Rehkek
once more. The restless creature wanted to tear him limb from limb, strangle
him, anything to watch his helpless death throes. The ancient life within her
thirsted for blood, and she wanted to weep at the thought that her ancestors
had created such a horrific thing.
Rehkek felt cold sweat coursing down his neck
as he sluggishly dodged his adversary. Had he not felt so dazed, it would have
been easy enough to get out of her way. He had had no idea that Seht had been
planning this - that he was able to harness Immi's free will like this. And
he had mentioned Aker - the same Aker he had only heard about in legends? It
had to be. Rehkek wasn't entirely aware of the connection, but that was one
of the things that least concerned him at the moment. How could Seht have done
this to her? And how could he have turned on his own bounty hunter so swiftly?
In a split second, Rehkek had deemed his former master his greatest enemy.
"What did you do to her?" he cried as Immi continued
to pursue him, her movements and face as hollow as those of a marionette.
"What does it matter?" Seht shouted from the
sidelines mockingly. "You'll be dead in a matter of seconds, fool!"
The Kyrii at his side stared at the display
with a grim spreading on his face. "I wanna see some blood there!" He drew a
scimitar from his belt and tossed it next to Immi. Seht nodded at his fellow
The Cloud Kacheek's body turned, taking in the
sight of the blade before her. Like claws… sharp, deadly… this will spill
the boy's blood. Immi snatched it up with a greed that was not her own and
Rehkek could barely move and made a vain attempt
to shield himself with his arms as the blade came down, slashing through his
sleeve and leaving a laceration on his shoulder. He cried out as the steel met
his skin, unable to believe that the pet who had just struck him was the previously
annoying little girl he'd been sent to retrieve.
"Kill him slowly," Seht murmured, and his voice
seared into Immi's mind. "Make him feel pain."
As the sword fell upon him a second time, Rehkek
made an attempt to save himself, grabbing for Immi's sword hand, gripping her
wrist tightly, striving with all of his remaining strength to keep it immobile
in mid-strike. "Immi," he gasped. "Stop. Don't let him do this to you…"
Her other hand came down in a violent punch,
knocking Rehkek to the ground. The Spotted Kacheek clutched the side of his
face but didn't break eye contact with his friend. "I didn't kill your parents!"
he panted, feeling drained. "I was an apprentice. My mentor was the one who
The scimitar painted a second crimson stripe,
this time on his side. She was relentless, or rather Aker was. Inwardly, Immi
couldn't stop screaming. "I DON'T WANT HIM TO DIE! I DON'T WANT TO KILL REHKEK!"
But no one could hear her.
Only the beast inside.
Please, she begged, tears streaming down
her face. Please... don't kill him... Aker was oblivious to her begging.
"PLEASE!" she screamed, sobbing. "DON'T KILL HIM! STOP IT!"
Why not? Aker hissed inside her head.
He killed your parents, nearly you... He of all pets deserves to die.
Immi knew that the monster was only using these thoughts to cover up for the
maddening lust for blood that it harboured. "Yes," Immi whispered in her subconscious.
"He did help to kill my parents... He nearly killed me..." Why was she defending
him, then? In a way, he did deserve to die...
"Rehkek helped me," she whispered. "He's my
friend." She used the last reserves in her strength to force Aker to hesitate
again, and looked at her friend. Rehkek was scared, as he leapt from place to
place in an attempt to stop her attacks, Immi could see fear in his eyes. She'd
never thought she would see that.
Immi closed her eyes, and for the first time
in a really long time, she tried to remember what had happened that night. Rehkek
had come to finish her. She'd been so scared. She'd wanted to finish it all,
right there, just end it. Ending it would've stopped the whole thing, right
from the beginning. She wouldn't have met Rehkek a second time. She wouldn't
have had to kill him right now. But, as the young Kacheek had advanced on her
with his dagger, the Defenders of Neopia had come to her rescue, and he had
fled. In a way, they had saved her and finished her. What use was it, to go
through all this pain...
New memories flooded back to her, but they were
memories that belonged to others. A grand city being mercilessly destroyed.
A monster, hissing out laughter at the site of wounded pets everywhere. Her
mother and father boarding a boat; the mother was holding a tiny bundle in her
arms. "You won't have to endure the pain," she whispered to her daughter. "I
won't let them hurt you the way they did us."
Immi was jolted from the memories as Aker landed
a long, deep slash on Rehkek's shoulder. The Kacheek crumpled, groaning in pain.
He looked up at Immi with sorrowful eyes. "I-Immi..." he whispered, resigned
to his fate. "I'm sorry..."
Something pulsed within Immi. Before she could
subconsciously question it, the pulsing began hammering inside her, faster and
harder than her heartbeat. "Stop it..." she whispered, the pulsing fuelling
her hoarse voice. Aker seemed to hesitate for a second. Seht noticed this, and
said almost urgently, "Kill him!"
"NO!" Immi screamed, power flowing through her.
"STOP IT! GET BACK INSIDE ME - NOW!" To her great surprise, Aker obeyed. The
beast withdrew, and Immi was herself. She stared at Rehkek before her in disbelief,
then at the blade in her paw. She was horrified at the sight of the blood. "Rehkek,"
she whispered hoarsely. "Did I...?" Rehkek didn't say anything, just clutched
his bleeding shoulder. Immi saw many other wounds lining his body, and tears
welled up in her eyes. "I'm so sorry..."
"So," Seht hissed, his voice dangerously malicious.
He spat on the ground with utter contempt. "Your will proves harder than I anticipated..."
The moment of drama was completely shattered
as Sand bounded in, her front paws bound behind her. "Well, duh! The Sand Daughter
triumphs over all!" She attempted a victory pose, but flopped over pathetically
in the sand. Everyone stared at her and she squealed. "The sand tastes so good!"
Immi barely heard what the insane Usul was saying.
She was overwhelmed by what had just happened and felt so happy… so happy that
it was over. Aker had left her, at last.
To be continued...