Shadowchild: Part Seven
The next morning, I awoke yet again to a knocking on
my door. I didn't want to answer it - I didn't want to deal with other people
right now. I was so confused from yesterday's events. There was so much that
I didn't want anyone to know; things I didn't want to share.
The polite tapping soon turned into a firmer
I didn't care if it was one of my friends, the
landlady, or even Tyrin himself.
"Come on, Sissles, open up! I know you're
all depressed, so quit sulking!"
Dayne. I decided to not answer - maybe she'd
believe I was still asleep. I glanced at my clock - eleven in the morning. I
sighed. Dayne knew as well as I did that I never slept in that late.
"Y'know, if you stay in there all day, you're
gonna get all miserable, go insane, and jump out the window - it happens!"
I groaned, but not loud enough for her to hear
me. Just go away, I thought, I don't want you here right now…
There was a pause, as though she had stopped
to think. Then, "OH MY GOSH, ARE YOU DEAD?? YOU DID JUMP OUT THE WINDOW,
DIDN'T YOU! OH - MY - GOSH!!!"
I winced - I had to answer the door now…
"I'M TOO LATE, AREN'T I?? YOU'VE ALREADY DONE
I dragged myself out of bed, eager to quell
Dayne's panicking, and opened the door. "I didn't jump out the window, okay?"
"YOU'RE STILL ALIVE!" She threw her arms around
me in one of her usual overstated hugs, then backed off after a few minutes.
"Heh heh, I guess you're more in control then that, right?"
"I'm not stupid, if that's what you mean," I
grumbled. I really wasn't in the mood to be humoured.
"Sorry." She sighed and looked over my shoulder.
"Well can I at least come in?"
"Sure," I answered. "You can help yourself to
cookies or whatever you came for."
In the next second her hand had closed over
my shoulder. "Nope - I came to see you. I mean, it was obvious that you were
all down in the dumps after you fought the kid and I wanted to make sure you
were okay - I am your best friend. It's my job. Now you sit down and
I'll make your breakfast!"
I grudgingly took a seat. "What are you, my
She poked her head out of my kitchen, looking
perturbed. "Just trying to help out - you better appreciate it!"
I didn't make any kind of retort and leaned
back on the couch. Actually, I felt a little more at ease with Dayne coming
over here, showing her concern for me. And now that I thought about it, Terzin
and Aly were probably equally worried, although they were out of reach in the
world of the WindRoads.
Moments later, Dayne came into the sitting room,
bearing a tray laden with a large bowl of steaming oatmeal, sprinkled with pink
sugar. I picked up the spoon lying beside my meal and began to eat.
"I would've never guessed you had coloured sugar
in your house - ha, pink!"
"It's for cakes," I explained, mumbling around
a mouthful of my food. I was pleased to discover that Dayne was quite talented
when it came to homemade breakfasts. "The last time I used the pink stuff was
"Oh ya, you like loaded the batter for that
thing with butter - it was all moist and weird."
"Yup." I barely suppressed the smile that raised
the corners of my mouth. Dayne could make me feel better just through a friendly
After I'd finished, we sat there, not saying
much for a few minutes. But, as I'd thought, it didn't take long for Dayne to
break the silence. "So… what's wrong?"
"Why were you all sad yesterday? Like, did something
happen during the fight?"
I hesitated, inviting the quiet back into the
"Come on Sisslio," she urged, "If you
don't tell me, your bestest buddy, how are you gonna get it off your chest?"
I had to admit, there was truth in her words.
I had to be strong while facing my new threat, not hopeless and indecisive as
I was at this moment. I began. "You were right before," I sighed, "Frey used
the friendship I have with Aly as a source for Tyrin's life. He told me."
Her emerald eyes widened with interest, but
she remained respectfully silent.
"I just can't believe Frey could have been so
vile as to turn something good like that into someone who is so fascinated with
destruction. I didn't know anyone could be that terrible." I hung my head, feeling
as though I'd already been defeated. "I hated him so much, and the Storm broke
loose because of how I felt. Does that…" I was unsettled by the question I was
about to ask. "Does that make me like Frey?"
I stared at Dayne, whose face was a mask of
"That's so crazy of you to even think that!"
she continued. "My gosh, you're nothing like her! Last time I checked, you weren't
all power-obsessed and evil and junk!" She'd stood up now, and only continued
her rant. "I mean, I was really ticked off at that kid too, and I didn't even
know that he was a mishmash of all these messed feelings!" She paused a moment
and her words became less of an exclamation and took on the tones of a truly
concern friend. "Don't start thinking like that; I bet Frey wanted you to get
all mopey like this, get depressed, let your guard down, and then she'd get
her revenge and stuff. She didn't want you to be in any shape to fight him,
and wanted you to doubt yourself. That makes sense, right?"
I let her words sink in and forced a small smile
upon my countenance. I had to believe that Dayne was right. It was one of the
most serious and truthful things she'd ever said to me. But there was still
something else I had to say. "I don't want to fight him," I told her. "And not
because I'm scared. I'm tired of killing, and the way I see it, he doesn't know
what he's doing. He's reasonless - what happened with you and him proved that.
"I can't slay someone who doesn't know why they're
doing what they're meant to do. I could barely slay Frey, and she was so heartless
and hateful. Still, I couldn't feel anything but pity for her."
Dayne sat back slightly and sighed. "Wow. You
sure are in control with your emotions, Sissles. Then again, this is coming
from a girl - I'm supposed to be moody and all that junk. It's just, I wouldn't
be able to feel sorry for her. Well I dunno, maybe I could, but I'm not in your
position so I don't know what it's like.
"So the bottom line is, Frey turned good stuff
into a bad person, and you hate him for what he is, but you don't have the heart
to fight him because he doesn't understand what he's doing?"
"Yeah," I replied. "That just about sums it
She was then silent again before responding.
"Well I've gotta be honest - I have no advice for you. I can handle rip-offs
at stores, and I can handle friendship problems, but I can't help you with facing
your new mortal enemy." She tried to put a note of humour into her voice, which
I couldn't help but appreciate.
I leaned back, suddenly feeling relieved and
as though a burdensome weight had been lifted from my body. "That's okay," I
assured her. "I'll figure something out."
"My work here is done!" Dayne said with enthusiasm,
standing up. "Be happy, Sissles!" She headed for the door but turned before
she got there. "Oh, one little thing. If you want a teensy bit of advice I'm
sure about, break that whole thing to Aly a little… I dunno, carefully. I mean,
if she knows that she helped create that dude, she'll be out to pound him in
like two seconds."
"Thanks," I murmured, inwardly acknowledging
that she was right.
The door closed and I was left on my own again.
Standing up, I strode over to the kitchen window and opened it. Outside, the
morning light was dulling to a midday sky, palest blue at the horizon, then
a wide, soft streak of white clouds, and above this, a darkened blue, a touch
of purple evident in its hue. What was I going to do about this? It seemed that
Frey had finally created an obstacle I couldn't overcome, no matter what I did.
Frey: the mage who had been consumed by her
desire for the Storm. She had never been able to let go of her dream, and even
now, after her life had ended and the Storm slipped out of her grasp, she still
hounded me, merely for revenge. Was her determination to be admired? Perhaps
it was; I couldn't think of anything at this moment that I would commit my entire
existence towards, value above all else, protect forever, and never give up
on… at least not right now. If only the thing Frey had prized had been something
good like her friendship with Tasson - something her lust for the Storm had
And now Tyrin had entered the world - oblivious
to his history, except for his connection to two of Frey's enemies, somehow
convinced that I was his parent. Why had Frey even chosen us to assist in her
final plan? It had all been an act of passionate desperation, the simple fact
that Frey would never lose to anyone.
I suddenly had a wish forming in my mind: if
only Tyrin knew about Frey. If he did, would he be repulsed by what she'd done
to herself and those around her? It seemed unlikely, but if he did, maybe it
could awaken some sense of judgement, if he had free will at all. What I had
said to Dayne was true: I would not kill him. I couldn't - being forced to slay
Frey had hurt too much alone. I wasn't going to add another name to the list
of enemies who had died by my hands. Aside from Frey, League members had also
perished because of me. Tyrin was little more than a child, and even if he was
nothing but a mass of twisted emotion brought to life by Frey's undying malevolence,
it didn't seem to me that he deserved a blade through his heart.
Still, I had to find an answer to this somehow.
I couldn't let Frey or someone connected to her hound me for the rest of my
I asked Dayne to come with me through the WindRoads
so we could speak with Aly and Terzin all together about what I had failed to
speak of the previous day. I was unsettled as we made our way through the woods,
half-expecting Tyrin to leap out of the foliage in a second assault, but luckily
the only signs of movement I noticed was the rustling of leaves in the summer
breezes. Still, my hand was constantly hovering over the Windscythe's hilt.
We reached the familiar oak tree safely, even though instinct urged me to shoot
random glances upwards and over my shoulder from time to time.
Dayne hopped down into the hollow and I followed
quickly after. In a short time we had made our way through the hidden barrier
and then navigated the tunnels until we reached the crossroads of mystical breezes
we had traversed so many times before. As usual, I clasped hands with Dayne
and willingly stepped into the rushing gales, which carried us along as though
we had been swept up by a river. The welcoming feeling of exhilaration washed
over me as I soared between worlds, making me feel whole, yet unreal.
But a few seconds along, I realized that it felt
strange… different, and not in a good way. The winds suddenly became more violent,
tearing at my fur in harsh gusts. I felt Dayne's hand tighten on me for fear
of being blown down the wrong passage by the unnatural tension. I felt cold
sweat running down the back of my neck as I felt the dark winds closing in on
us. What was happening? The Roads seemed almost…afraid.
I realized why: Tyrin. It had to be. Because
he had passed through here, he must have affected the Roads. It didn't make
much sense to me, but I knew it was true. The turbulent corridors were speaking
to me, crying out, and choking me in their panic. The Roads had never known
such a defiled presence as Tyrin, even though Frey had created him, just as
she had discovered them.
I could barely breathe now, the swathes of air
binding me, not knowing me for being the Windstorm they had welcomed before.
"STOP!" I cried, "LET ME GO!"
But the winds wouldn't listen, and only increased
the speed of their wicked dance.
Sweat was coating my palms, loosening my hold
on Dayne. My fingers tightened desperately; I didn't want to be separated from
her while I was surrounded by terror.
The winds continued to pry us apart.
"Sisslio?" Dayne called, "What the heck's happening?"
"I don't know!" I called back, even though I
had a vague idea. This was no time or place to discuss my suspicions about Tyrin.
All I wanted to do was get out of here alive. And I had to make sure my best
friend survived too.
The pathways were uncontrollable, and I strove
to stay calm, strove to think of something to get through safely. What could
I do? How could I tame this? I had no ideas, just kept clinging to Dayne, who
was mute with fear as I was. I couldn't see, I couldn't breathe… the world was
one savage, raging tempest. I panicked, wondering what would become of Tyrin
and everything else entwined with my fate if I died…
And then Dayne's hand slipped away.
To be continued...