Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 107,594,495 Issue: 215 | 4th day of Storing, Y7
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Escape: Part Five


by firedragon9078

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"Lycaon?" Valrigard whispered.

    The only answer was a threatening step forward. He looked behind him and, upon glimpsing a large tree, he ran for it. Unfortunately the tree wasn't as large as he had thought. Valrigard hung for dear life onto the tallest branch that would hold his weight but the werelupe gave a bloodcurdling howl and leaping snapped his teeth only inches away from his nose. He held on tighter but as the werelupe leapt at him again he decided to see if the branch above him would suffice. Shakily he stood up, backed against the tree's trunk, which was very reassuring to have at his back, and reached up to shake the tree limbs above him. As he did so the werelupe let out a menacing snarl that startled Valrigard. For a second his vision swam and he let go of the tree; he gasped, and then hurriedly sunk his claws into the trunk.

    "Are you in need of assistance?" came a strong voice.

    Valrigard almost let go of the tree again. Sitting leisurely upon the branch above him was a girl. She was dressed in a dark blue tunic and boots, and wore a leather belt that held up a short, metal sword. Her hair was dark brown and her almond-shaped eyes were the intelligent green of a cat's. On her back fluttered a pair of dark blue wings. Valrigard blinked, "So this is a faerie," he thought. The faerie smiled, looked down at the werelupe below him, and said, "I can see that you do. I have got some things to help you."

    She looked down at Valrigard and a careless smile showed on her face, "Which will you choose, the silver sword or the silver shield?"

    Instantly two items appeared in her outstretched hands. In her left she grasped a beautiful, long silver sword. Emeralds and rubies adorned its handle and gold lettering was embossed upon its side. "It must be worth a fortune!" Valrigard realized. Then he saw the blade; it was sharper than freshly broken glass and gleamed with a deadly light. Imagining what it would do to Lycaon was a repulsive thought, and he shivered. In the faerie's right hand she held a large silver shield, it was completely plain on the front and was dented in several places, as if it had been used many times before. Valrigard hesitated, thoughts of the battles he could win with the sword flashed through his mind, and euphoric fantasies entered his thoughts. He could become a king in some distant land with the wealth the sword would bring. But he determinedly shook them off and pointed to the shield. The faerie gave him a broad smile and said, "Well done," then handed him the shield and vanished as quickly as she had come. Valrigard took the shield and, when the werelupe leapt again held it down below his branch. As Lycaon met the shield he instantly dropped back down onto the ground with a whimper of pain. The werelupe growled and snarled but did not jump again.

    

    It was dawn by the time Lycaon stopped prowling in the nearby woods. Valrigard hadn't got much sleep, but at least I'm alive, he reminded himself. He carefully climbed down from his tree and approached the Lupe cautiously, holding his shield out in front of him. "It's okay," Lycaon stated with a small smile. "I'm sorry that I kept you up all night."

    "You didn't keep me up all night," he said, which was partly true, he'd dozed off for about fifteen minutes sometime after midnight.

    Valrigard looked at the ground awkwardly. "You know, maybe we can ask the Faerie Queen to…"

    Lycaon just nodded and started walking towards the cloud. About half an hour later they were both standing under the very edge of Faerieland. Valrigard raised his eyebrows in confusion. "How are we supposed to enter a land that rises hundreds of feet in the air?"

    Lycaon shrugged. "I never thought of that."

    Valrigard looked around him slowly and in the distance, something caught his eye. A group of pets stood on a platform, talking and laughing, and facing them was a fire faerie. The next minute the fire faerie raised her hands and everyone vanished. Valrigard stared and, with a nod from the lupe, started off in the direction of the platform. When they arrived the faerie smiled and, in a slightly bored voice asked if they were going to Faerieland. Valrigard nodded. The faerie waved her arms and his stomach seemed to lurch, everything became fuzzy, and then suddenly everything felt normal again.

    

    He looked around and saw that he was standing on solid ground, but ground that was covered in fluffy white clouds! In front of him stood a small stall selling books. Lycaon was already asking the faerie that ran it for directions to the Faerie Queen. She pointed to a sign that read Hidden Tower. It took them a while to find it but when they finally did they were shown to a room covered in glass cases, cases that held objects so rare that Valrigard had never even hoped to see them in his life before. Standing by the window was the most regal faerie he had ever seen. She wore a long, silk, violet colored dress with purple armbands, and had a tiara of robin's egg blue sitting on top of her hair. Violet, gossamer wings sprouted from her back and in her eyes burned a noble light. Valrigard was suddenly very aware of his mud-caked scales and shredded wings, and Lycaon didn't look as if he was in much better shape; his matted fur stood out in every direction and he was covered in cuts and bruises. "Welcome, is there anything I can help you with?"

    Valrigard took a deep breath and, with an imploring look, stated that they needed her help. She gave them both a long look, taking in their ragged appearances, and smiled. "I can see this is going to be a long story."

    She bade them to sit down. Valrigard told his tale in detail this time; it was easier now that he knew Lycaon hadn't been locked away for being an enemy of Meridell, but he was still nervous. The only part he left out was the incident in the woods and the fact that there was something unusual about Lycaon. Valrigard wasn't sure if his friend wanted him to bring it up. At its closing the Faerie Queen looked thoughtfully into his eyes and he felt uncomfortably as if she was reading his mind. She nodded with a satisfied smile, "I can see that you are telling the truth, but you have left something out."

    She gazed at Lycaon curiously and, with a nervous cough, he explained his part of the story. When he finished she murmured "Lycanthropy…"

    Then, in a louder voice stated, "It can be cured but not now, time is short and Meridell is running out of it. Do you two know whose sword it was that was stolen from Meridell Castle? No? Five hundred years ago three sorcerers lived in the castle. These wizards told their king that they feared an invasion from Dragon Isle, the neighboring country. They asked permission to forge a weapon with the powers of all the mages and wizards living within Meridell. The king granted it to them. That day anyone with even the smallest magical talent was sent forth, to pour their power into a long sword, and to recite an incantation that the sorcerers had written. At dusk the ceremony was over and just as everyone was getting up to leave the sorcerers each took hold of the sword and chanted 'Knights die before you, wizards bow before you, and kingdoms fall before you.' At that every other wizard and mage in Meridell had their powers taken away and any knights that tried to approach The Three fell dead. Meridell fell to new rulers. Their reign was long and terrible but, eventually, it came to an end, and with it their symbol, the sword, vanished. For four hundred years nothing was known about it, but a century ago the sword was found again, and was kept safe in the dungeons of Meridell Castle. Along the blade of the sword was an inscription, the chanted words that had killed so many that night was written. There is a rumor that, along with the sword, someone has also brought the sorcerers back from the grave. Not much else is known about the sorcerers except for the fact that they had mastered shape-shifting, and that their favorite forms were that of a draik, a lupe, and a faerie."

    

    An eerie silence filled the tower and Valrigard shuddered. "Now," said the Faerie Queen and he looked up, "I am afraid that I cannot come with you, but I will send someone who can."

    She clapped twice and stood expectantly and, in a flash of dark blue light, a faerie appeared. "This," announced the Faerie Queen, "is Elsie."

    Valrigard blinked, there standing in front of him, was the same faerie who had given him the silver shield! Elsie looked at him and winked. The Faerie Queen smiled and clapped again and, after an odd stomach lurching moment, they were all standing in Meridell again, right outside of a small town.

To be continued...

Author's Note: What awaits Valrigard on the next league of his journey? Can Lycaon, the werelupe, be trusted? Have the sorcerers really been brought back from the dead? Find out on next week’s edition of Escape! Feel free to neomail any comments or suggestions to firedragon9078.

 
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Other Episodes


» Escape: Part One
» Escape: Part Two
» Escape: Part Three
» Escape: Part Four



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