Whiteout: Part Three
Whiteout: End of Time
I stood outside the wooden door that led to Arrazaddan's
study, my paws hesitating on the doorknob. The memory of my first meeting with
Arrazaddan was not one I would like to repeat. But if I knocked on the door
then there could be a rehash of the kitchen incident with Captain Nivo and Arrazaddan.
Oh, breadsticks, I thought to myself, this is very important. It's
life and death! I'm sure he'll understand … I hope.
With that, I reached out and knocked on the door.
There was no reply.
I knocked again and yet there still wasn't any
reply, not even a grumble. Curious, I turned the knob and entered the room.
The study was very much the same as I had left it a week ago: cluttered, dusty
and bone-chillingly cold. I waded through the pile of papers and scrolls, picking
up a few books in the process before depositing them on a nearby shelf, as I
headed for the table at the back of the room.
Finally reaching it, I immediately spotted the
infamous diary, the one that belonged to Arrazaddan, situated atop a copy of
the 'Book of Ice Magic'. Deciding against touching it, knowing full well
the security features placed on it, I looked around for any signs of the Draik.
"Hello … Arrazaddan? Are you here?" I called
out expectantly, hoping for an answer, but none replied. Only the sound of the
howling winds answered my call. Scratching my head, I sat down upon the plush
chair behind the table and leaned back. Where could he be? I asked the
walls quietly, rocking carefully on the old chair's back legs. Where did the
old Draik go every day? Certainly not outside, I reckoned.
Poor Arrazaddan, he was always so nice to me.
Well, he did seem less nutty around me anyway. A few nights ago, in this very
room, he'd once told me that Captain Nivo was not always his grumpy self. A
long time ago, Arrazaddan had made an error in one of his experiments and ended
up on an island in the middle of the ocean. Arrazaddan's teleportation spells,
the Draik told me proudly, were attuned to the place the selected codestone
came from, thus the desert island error. Without any other codestones to travel
back, he was stuck. Then Nivo came along and offered him passage back to the
mainland. It was his first time walking back home, I remembered the Draik as
saying. We both had a laugh at that.
Then I remembered. Arrazaddan was out when I
first arrived and it was only when I opened his diary had I heard him upstairs,
screaming. Arrazaddan must have another codestone painting up there, I reasoned.
I think I'll go upstairs and have a look. Still, I wondered thoughtfully,
Arrazaddan said I couldn't go to the upper floors. I'll just have to risk
it. I hopped lightly out of the comfortable chair and headed towards the
As I shut the door to the study behind me I thought
I saw a shadow in the corner of the room. Intrigued, I quickly reopened the
door and peeped in. There was nothing there. Shrugging, I closed the door and
The stone stairs curled like a Cobrall on a stick,
turning in ever tightening circles. After about four flights of stairs, I finally
reached a landing. Gasping from the long climb, I walked up to a door facing
the landing and rested against it. As soon as I caught my breath, I turned and
knocked loudly on the door. The door creaked open slightly on the third knock.
Funny, doors weren't usually left ajar in Arrazaddan's tower. Hearing no sounds
of movement within, I carefully pushed open the door and entered the unknown
"Wow," I thought aloud to myself as my eyes took
in the sight before me. Codestones of various types floated in midair throughout
the circular room. Six cupboards flanked the chamber walls and were occupied
by various jars, each with some strange liquid or sand of different varieties
floating within. The floor in the centre of the room was occupied by large concentric
rings carved into the stony floor with a circular pane of green glass in the
middle. And the roof was a solid window of stained glass.
I craned my neck left and right, trying in vain
to look at everything at once. So this is where Arrazaddan spends his days.
I wonder how much he's spent to redecorate this place? I asked myself in
amusement. Shrugging, I wandered over to the centre of the chamber and curiously
inspected the green glass.
I gasped and jumped back in shock, for within
the crystalline surface I saw a large cavern, the riggings and masts of a huge
ship staring back at me. A pirate ship! So this was the Black Quiggle. But surely
a ship that size couldn't fit within this tower, even in the basement. Then
it hit me. Of course! The green glass panel was just another portal that led
to where the Black Quiggle was kept! And all this while I thought that Captain
Nivo and his lot wandered in from the cold like I did.
Suddenly I heard a noise behind me. It's one
of the pirates! Quickly, without another thought, I jumped onto the glass
circle. As expected, my feet glided through the watery surface and I felt myself
falling rapidly through the same icy passage as the other portals. Suppressing
a shudder, I steeled myself for the landing. Then the icy feeling disappeared
and I lurched forward, landing on all fours. I looked up immediately and and
came face-to-face with Captain Nivo. It was not a face I expected.
The look on his face betrayed his surprise. I
looked around quickly and saw the other crewmembers frozen in their tracks.
Dan and Murray, their mouths agape, dropped the crate they were carrying with
a loud thump. Shin looked dumbfounded and Mary looked positively aghast at seeing
me here. A cold wind blew and I turned around to find Ferrod right behind me,
a sinister smile on his face. A strangled sound suddenly drew me back to Nivo.
There was no denying the look of anger on his
"What are yeh doin' 'ere?" Nivo hissed as he
made a move in my direction. I moved back a step and bumped into Ferrod. I squeaked
and leapt aside as the Kougra made a grab at me. I backed up ever slowly as
the pirates moved closer towards me, until I felt the cold, slimy wall of the
cave at my back. I was trapped!
"Well, Capitan? What do you think now?" said
the Kougra, his honeyed voice dripping with malice. Captain Nivo rubbed his
"Please … please, I meant no harm. It's … it's
and accident. I didn't meant to -" I stammered in desperation.
"Captain, please, she doesn't know anything 'bout
us," Mary suddenly interjected.
"Shut yer trap!" Nivo snapped forcefully. Then
he fixed me with a steely gaze. "So, yeh finally know 'bout us. Now wha' am
I going ter do with yeh?"
"B … but I didn't mean to come here," I said
hesitantly. "I told you it's an accident. I'm not … I'm not trying to interfere
with your operation."
"Ah ha! Capitan, she knows about us after all!"
Ferrod exclaimed. I stared at him incredulously, then to Nivo.
"But … but I already told you -"
"I'm sure she's tellin' the truth, captain,"
Mary added quickly.
"Quiet!" Captain Nivo shouted. His hand moved
to a scabbard on his right hip and I gave an involuntary shudder. "I think this
'ere Kacheek knows all 'bout our plans to use Arrazaddan, don't yeh?"
Please, not me. I didn't do anything wrong!
I don't know anything! I'm telling the truth! I begged silently, for my
mouth had suddenly gone incredibly dry and I wasn't capable of even a croak.
"Err, captain, suh," Shin said abruptly. "Perhaps
this ain't the right thing ter -"
"I know what I'm doin' so shut yer yap," Nivo
snarled. "And yeh too, Mary." He added, seeing as the Zafara was moving towards
"But captain, she's scared out of her wits -"
Mary tried to reason but Ferrod cut her off.
"And why are you trying to protect the girl?"
the Kougra growled accusingly. "Perhaps you're in league with her."
"You know I am not -"
"SILENCE!" Captain Nivo shouted. He pointed at
me with his left hand and drew a gleaming scimitar with the other. "Yeh've caused
me a lot of trouble an' lost time. I'll be glad ter be rid of yeh, girl. Don'
worry, I'll make it quick."
Then, before I could even move, the Nimmo darted
towards me with the speed of an arrow. I backed up against the cold cave wall
and closed my eyes, letting the cold chill of the cave wash over me, praying
for it to be over. Then I felt my body go cold all of a sudden and I heard Mary
scream, her voice suddenly very distant. This isn't so bad, I told myself,
my eyes still wrenched shut, I don't even feel a thing. Hmm? Don't feel a
I quickly snapped open my eyes and saw a thick
wall of ice directly in front of me, so thick that all I saw of Nivo was a blurred
form. Arrazaddan. I heard Nivo roar in frustration and suddenly a cold
gust of cold wind assailed me. I felt something cold brush my shoulder and I
turned abruptly to see Arrazaddan standing beside me, a worried look on his
"Ye all right there, Samantha?" he asked concernedly.
My nod could barely express the gratitude I felt towards him. "Good, I'll get
ye out off here. Just bear with me." The tone of his voice left no space for
objection. He suddenly grabbed my shoulder and an icy wind blew over me. Before
I could even shiver, I found myself atop the deck of the ship, the Black Quiggle.
A short ways below I saw Captain Nivo trying angrily to extract his scimitar
from the wall of ice that encased it.
"O'er here ye cowardly Warf!" Arrazaddan shouted
in a merry tone. I looked at him incredulously before I noticed the happy face
being replaced by a mask of anger. Arrazaddan seemed to be fighting against
himself, his face screwed up in concentration, as he turned towards me. Behind
him, I heard Captain Nivo shouting something to the rest of his crew before
I turned my attention to the Draik.
"Samantha, I don't have much … he he, isn't this
fun … time to explain. I need ye to leave … playtime's here … the same way ye
came in and … this is real fun … press the Main codestone to yer left. That
will seal the portal behind ye." Arrazaddan gave another short laugh before
continuing. "The portal going out of Terror Mountain is … won't tell you, won't
tell … behind the pile of sacks. Just push the Vo codestone picture." The Draik
grimaced as if in pain.
"Arrazaddan, I'm sorry," I said quickly. "I was
going to warn you about Nivo. He's just trying to -"
"Use me, I know," Arrazaddan replied clearly,
a wry smile on his face. "I have known Alastor for a year now and …" Arrazaddan
twitched involuntarily. "… and I know what he's planning. I was planning to
do something about but I was not in the right state of mind to do so. Haven't
been fer decades." I made to say something but he held up a clawed hand. "But
yer presence has helped me to stay myself, to clear me head, and fer that I'm
grateful. Ye are innocent in this mess, a mess I should 'ave cleared up long
ago. I wish I could repay ye but -"
"ARRAZADDAN! Yeh won't escape me this time!"
Captain Nivo had climbed over the side of the ship, right behind Arrazaddan,
followed by the rest of the pirates. The Draik spun around, his icy rod held
tightly in his right claws.
"Samantha, go NOW!" he yelled over his shoulder
before flying towards the Nimmo. I hesitated for a moment, looking apprehensively
at Arrazaddan, before moving in the opposite direction. Just as I approached
the edge of the deck I heard Ferrod's obnoxious voice.
"Ha, we meet again, Kacheek," the Pirate Kougra
said as he swung up onto the wooden deck. I retreated backwards as fast as I
could but the Kougra was bearing down on me as fast as any Kougra. Suddenly
there was a blue flash and Ferrod bounced back with a yell as a wall of ice
sprang up from the deck, splintering the wooden planking.
"Up the mast, Samantha. Hurry!" Arrazaddan shouted.
Without a second thought, I grabbed a hold of a nearby rope and swung onto the
"Get the girl!" Nivo screamed at the two twins.
Dan and Murray nodded and quickly and rushed to the nearest rigging. I knew
I could never outrun the seasoned Kacheeks.
"Argh, Mary, what're yeh doin'?" Dan suddenly
yelled. I felt the mesh of hemp rope tremble violently and quickly looked down.
Mary had swung onto the rigging right between the Kacheeks and I.
"Sorry, I can't let you hurt 'er," Mary said
into the twins' stunned faces. Then she turned to face me. "Go on Samantha.
I'll take care of this 'ere scallywags." In a flash, she slashed at the ropes
above her head. The twins screamed as they and Mary fell to the floor. I hung
on tight as the rope mesh swung towards the mast. Cringing slightly as I hit
the mast, I clambered up further. Finally I reached the top of the mast and
swung into the crow's nest.
Breathing deeply, I looked down past the platform
and saw Arrazaddan looking up at me. He gave me a smile and pointed a claw at
the mast. The mast creaked as its base was frozen solid. The wood splintered
and cracked dangerously as I hung on precariously on the top of the platform.
Then I felt another shudder and the mast started falling. I screamed loudly
all the way down and before I knew it I was thrown off as the mast smashed into
an icy stalagmite.
I cringed as I slowly got to my feet and saw,
to my surprise, that I was only a few feet from the green glass panel, set delicately
into the snowy floor of the cavern. I heard the sounds of chaos behind me and
remembered Arrazaddan's words. Without another look back, I jumped onto the
glass circle. The watery surface swallowed me up and yet again bitter cold held
me in its grip. Then it left and I found myself once again in the codestone
chamber. I wasted no time, my eyes darting in every direction, as I searched
for the codestone Arrazaddan was referring to. Then I saw it; a Main codestone
suspended in midair, glowing a strange incandescent blue. I suddenly heard a
commotion behind me and, turning around, saw that the green portal was radiating
an intense white light that was growing brighter by the second.
I hesitated, my paw inches away from the Main
codestone. I knew that closing the portal would mean I would never see Arrazaddan
or even Mary ever again. But Arrazaddan trusted me with the task. I couldn't
disappoint him. Shutting my eyes, I touched the codestone.
The bright blue light vanished immediately and
the steady hum emanating from the green glass dissipated. I hurried over to
the green circle and stepped on it but the surface didn't yield. The portal
I stumbled backwards and leaned on a shelf. I
couldn't describe what I felt at that moment. I was elated and excited that
I would be home soon, that I would be free from this desolate highland. Yet
I was unhappy, to say the least, for what I had done. Had I left the portal
open maybe Arrazaddan and Mary could have escaped. I felt guilty for leaving
them, for, in those last moments, I had cared only of my own safety. They saved
me; they should be here, not me, a lowly Kacheek. I should go back. Maybe they're
Then I remembered. 'Ye are innocent in this
mess' Arrazaddan wanted to make amends for his mistake. He wanted to get
me to safety, to ensure I would no longer be involved with the likes of Captain
Nivo and Ferrod. To go back would only mean that I didn't appreciate his help,
to belittle his sacrifice. No, I couldn't do that to Arrazaddan and Mary.
I leaned back and stared at the crystalline ceiling,
listening to the howl of the snowstorm outside and the creaks around the tower.
With a sigh, I walked to the door and started down the stairs. If I was going
home I might as well start packing.
Later that day, I stood in the musty basement
below the kitchen. Before me lay an old curtain, two pile of sacks neatly stacked
on either side. I pushed aside the curtain and reached out to touch the picture
of a Vo codestone. A shimmering portal appeared where the picture hung a second
before and I quickly grabbed my backpack. There was no measure of excitement
in my heart. Gloomily, I put one foot forward towards the portal. Then I froze.
Twirling around quickly, I reached for a nearby table and picked up the book
lying upon it. I carefully held the book and brushed its title. 'Property
of Arrazaddan: Do NOT Disturb'. I moved my paw lower and brushed the dust
off the lower part of the book to reveal some additional words, written in Arrazaddan's
The title now read: 'Property of Arrazaddan:
Do NOT Disturb … unless ye are Samantha the Kacheek.'
With a smile, I looked at the portal and saw
the mirror-like images of Happy Valley lying before me, as calm and serene as
I had left it. I doubted whether I would ever see the tower again, but I knew
I would miss it, despite the things that happened here. Never once looking back,
I stepped through the watery surface of the portal.
A few months later
"Thank you for doing business. Please come again."
I watched as the Yurble hustled out of the shop
door, a wooden case with a treasure map within clutched tightly in her paws.
I set about dusting the counter and arranging some items when I heard the tinkle
of the bell hung above the door. I turned around to see a hooded figure wandering
about the shop.
"Can I help you?" I inquired, but the figure
just waved me away. The figure suddenly stopped in front of a display in the
corner. I noticed what the item was and hurried to the customer.
"I'm sorry, but that item is not for sale," I
said quickly, snatching Arrazaddan's diary off the display. "I'm kind of attached
to this piece." The figure cleared his throat.
"Oh, that's quite all right. It's just this 'ere
book reminded me of something I once owned."
There was something really familiar in the customer's
voice. The hooded figure turned and seemed to notice me staring.
"Is there something I could do for ye?" the stranger
asked. My jaw dropped.
"Arrazaddan?" The stranger smiled.
"I'm glad ye remember this old Draik, Samantha."
Feeling tears welling up in my eyes, I ran towards
the Draik and hugged him.
Author's Note: That's it. Feel free to Neomail me your comments, suggestions,
reviews etc. I welcome all feedback ... with a good basis in fact ^_^