Savak: The Medallion - Part Two
Through the fading light, Savak could just see the tops
of the trees of the Haunted Forest. The sun was drawing closer to the horizon,
and Savak was starting to wonder how much longer he could run. He was tired. He
was hungry. It was a long way between Neopia Central and the Haunted Forest. The
young Lupe was a bit surprised about how quickly he covered the distance. But,
now that the forest was in sight, he started to wonder where the pack was exactly.
At the top of yet another hill, Savak stopped,
nearly collapsing with exhaustion. Panting, he looked around him. Aside from
the forest to the west, there were endless hills all around him. The pack could
be anywhere. It was all he could do to keep himself together. After a short
rest, Savak pushed himself to his paws. Yelling for the pack would be useless.
If they weren't nearby, they wouldn't hear him. A howl carried much farther.
The only problem was, Savak had never howled before. But he knew he couldn't
run for much longer. He had to try. Taking a deep breath, Savak lifted his nose
to the sky, and sang a single, lonely note.
It came naturally enough. He was surprised how
easy it was, and how easily he could change the tone. Ceasing his howling, Savak
listened closely for an answering howl. When none came, he howled again, the
same, lonely note.
Savak cut his call short when he heard his name.
He turned around to see, far to the northeast, a single Lupe standing at the
top of another hill. It was Kosek! Nearly overcome with relief, Savak ran to
Kosek. Sure, the Lupe distrusted him. But if he was here, Jessie and Gerthen
had to be too! When he reached Kosek at the top of his hill, he spotted the
other two Lupes crouched at the bottom, eating the catch of the day: a few small
"Savak!" Kosek said when the young Lupe made
it up the hill. "What…Where's Murgoh?"
For a moment, Savak just looked down the hill
at the scraps of food piled between Jessie and Gerthen. He hadn't had a bite
to eat for days. But he had more pressing matters to deal with. Shaking thoughts
of food from his head, he turned to Kosek.
"Murgoh's caught in a trap!" he exclaimed. He
sprang impatiently toward the north. "That way, not far from Neopia Central!"
"A trap?" Jessie asked, running up the hill,
Gerthen at her side, munching on the remnants of his dinner. "What kind of trap?"
"A-a cage!" Savak said. "I couldn't get him out.
It came up out of the ground and trapped him inside!"
"Where is he?" Gerthen asked after swallowing
his mouthful of rodent.
"Like I said," Savak said. "To the north."
"Take us there."
* * *
The Neopian Plains were cast in the dim light
of a half moon. The sun had long since dipped below the horizon by the time
the pack reached Murgoh's cage. Savak stood aside, shifting impatiently from
paw to paw as Jessie examined the cage. After circling it three times, she sighed
sadly and sat down in front of her trapped leader.
"I don't see how I can get it open," she said.
"I think it's locked shut."
"So he's at the mercy of whoever put that thing
there?" Gerthen asked.
"I'm afraid so," Jessie replied. "And from the
scent of this cage, Murgoh wasn't the only Lupe to be caught in this thing."
Looking uneasy, Kosek padded closer to the cage.
"So what do we do now?" he asked. "Do we leave him here?"
"We can't!" Savak exclaimed. "He's the leader!
We need him!"
"Savak," Murgoh said calmly. "There's nothing
you can do for me. There are times when life moves on, and leadership passes
from one to another." With that, the white Lupe removed the medallion from around
his neck. As Savak watched, Murgoh's fur stared changing color! Slowly, it faded
from white, to silver, then to a graying red.
"Wha…how…?" Savak started. He was interrupted
by a deafening sound. Before Savak knew what was happening, Kosek fell to the
ground, a small tube sticking out of his side! Another shot rang in the air
and Gerthen collapsed.
"Tranquilizer guns!" Jessie exclaimed. "Savak,
The young Lupe did so without hesitation. He
cleared the first hill before he heard another shot. He could only imagine Jessie
falling to the ground. For a moment, he considered going back. But he realized
such a move would be pointless. He had to get away unless he wanted to be caught
At the crest of the next hill, Savak spotted
the river he and Murgoh crossed earlier. If he could cross that, he could probably
get away. The problem was he had to get there first. He didn't look, but Savak
could hear he was being followed.
Another shot rang as he approached the river,
and the young Lupe felt a sharp pain in his neck. A moment later, he started
feeling drowsy. The river was just ahead. He lumbered forward, never stopping.
He couldn't keep his eyes open. He felt that he lost his footing. As he fell,
he felt something envelop him. His hearing was muffled. He couldn't breathe.
But he couldn't do anything about it. He no longer had the strength to move,
and all he could do was sleep as he felt himself carried along in the current
of the river.
* * *
Coughing and sputtering, Savak pushed himself
wearily to his paws. He could barely stand, but he was alive! Opening his eyes,
he found himself glaring to the east at a rising sun. It was morning.
Shaking himself, Savak tried to collect his thoughts.
Last night's events were foggy, but it was all coming back to him. Murgoh's
cage. The tranquilizer darts. The river. At this point, it was obvious he fell
in the river and drifted downstream. Who knows how far he drifted before he
was deposited on the bank. And now, here he was, a single red Lupe, alone on
the Neopian plains, with only half a clue as to where he was.
Sighing sadly, with his wet fur spiked out all
over the place, Savak started the long trek upstream. Hopefully, he could find
where he fell into the river before noon, and then find his way back to the
cage, if it was still there.
As he walked, Savak had plenty of time to think.
The future of the pack looked grim. As far as he could tell, he was the only
member who wasn't captured last night, and he didn't know who was capturing
Lupes, or why, or even where they were taking them. Then when he fully realized
what all this meant to him, it was all he could do to keep himself together.
For the first time in his life, Savak was truly alone, with no one to run to
Angrily, the young Lupe shook these thoughts
from his head and trudged on. He had to find a way to find the others. Gerthen,
Kosek, Murgoh, and especially Jessie. He was still in this determined state
of mind in midmorning when he finally caught stale traces of his scent on the
riverbank. It was mixed with a scent he'd never smelled before, possibly his
pursuer. Savak smiled briefly. He'd found where he fell in much sooner than
Turning from the river, Savak followed his scent
trail across the hills to where Murgoh's cage was. When he reached the crest
of the last hill, Savak sat down, gazing sadly at an empty dip in the landscape.
He knew it would probably be gone long before he got there. After all, who would
tranquilize three Lupes and capture a fourth in a cage just to leave them all
More weary than he was before, Savak nearly stumbled
down the hill, hoping to find a trail he could follow. At the bottom, the young
Lupe started circling around, hunting for any traces of metal scents, Lupe scents,
or even that scent he couldn't identify. The fact was, along with those scents,
he detected several more he'd never smelled before. They were all confusing,
but he was sure that they were all probably the scents of his pack's captors.
Then, unexpectedly, Savak found himself standing
over a glinting piece of yellow metal. It was Murgoh's medallion! He must have
dropped it when they dragged the cage away. Immediately, Savak knew he could
never leave this behind. This was the pack's symbol of leadership. They needed
this medallion. Ruefully, Savak realized that, being the oldest member of the
pack not captured, he was now the leader. The thought saddened him. But how
else was he going to carry the medallion unless he put it on? If anything, he
could give it back to Murgoh when he found him.
With a little patience, and a great deal of determination,
Savak finally managed to nose the gold chain over his head. Once it was on,
the young Lupe barely noticed his pricking fur as he yawned, his body stating
his exhausted state. Savak couldn't imagine going any farther without getting
a few winks of sleep. And considering where he was, here was as good a spot
as any to get some rest. Circling around, Savak curled up where he was, and
tucking his nose into his chest, he quickly fell into a restful slumber.
If he had been more awake, Savak would have noticed
that his fur was paling from a rusty red to pure white.
To be continued...