Princess of Erodaire III: Part Six
"Disappear? What do you mean, Rune?" I asked quickly.
Rune looked up at me, his eyes still filled
with his lostness and wisdom. He shook his head slowly and whispered inaudible
words. "Pah...what a fool I am. Old, crazy fool..." he whispered and started
to walk past me towards my room. "Young one, do you really want to know?" he
asked. "Do you?" he gave out another long, heavy sigh and continued to walk
forward, each of his steps falling stiffly onto the dirty rug.
I was left standing there, in the hallway. I
really wanted to know what happened to my mother; I need to know. But now that
I have a chance to answer all of my questions, I was scared. I was scared of
the truth. I had always known that the truth hurts; it's a fact that has plagued
my life since the beginning. My hands shook out of the confusion going inside
me. I did not know what to do.
"Your mother was a great Draik...beautiful.
Looks exactly like you...you look exactly like her. Pah...she was a fool. Crazy
old fool as well. Why him! Crazy, gone, fool...she didn't know what she was
getting into..." Rune said to himself, almost as if he forgot that I was there.
I turned around and walked towards him cautiously, almost as if I feared him.
"Do you mean...my father?" I asked slowly, carefully
watching every little move that Rune made. He glanced at me for a brief moment
before he turned his eyes to the window.
"Pah...yes..and no. They matched. They went
together perfectly. Peas and carrots, I always say. Peas and carrots...just
a pair of crazy vegetables, they both were. Inseparable, as well. She made him
laugh with her cleverness, he made her clever with his charm. Too bad...these
times...fearful. Saddening. Not perfect," Rune said, his eyes still glued upon
the windowsill, for he was not truly seeing out the window. It almost seemed
as if he was staring through the window and into the past.
"I have no idea what you speak of," I whispered
and stood by Rune's side. His eyes never flickered or blink once, almost as
if they were immobile to the outside world. He let out another shudddering sigh
before he glanced at me once again.
"Stories...such stories that I could tell you,
young one. Pah; but I can't. I refuse to!" he shouted and thumped his cane roughly
against the white rug, causing a puff of dust to float up before settling down
once more. "You look so much like her...her curiousity has passed down into
your eyes and words. And so has her love of blades..." and with a casual glance
he stared at the sash around my waist. "I know of the blade you have hidden
in there. Your mother used to do that as well, young fool."
My hand flew over the dagger instinctively,
like I expected him to reach out and take it from me any moment. I cleared my
throat once more. "Please...please tell me the stories. Why are they so...horrid
to speak of?"
Rune ignored my question; he just continued
to stare out the window, both blind and deaf to all else. He sighed once more,
and I could hear him whisper, "Pah..." under his breath. I shuffled my feet
slowly as a feeling of uneasiness started to settle over me. Glancing out the
window, I noticed the the sun had already reached it's peak, and that it was
starting to slowly descend from the sky. Time was starting to waste away...
"Rune..." I whispered cautiously and carefully
placed my hand on his stiff shoulder. He acted as if he didn't notice it, but
I saw his eyes glisten, almost as if he was crying inside.
"She lost her family at a young age...Aletha...your
mother," he said roughly, still ignoring my hand upon his shoulder. "Just after
she cracked from her egg, she was brought the doorstep of a young, apple-in-her-cheeks,
White Draik. The Head Maiden of Erodaire Castle at the time. Your mother. Pure
white as well. Snow white. So beautiful, she was." He coughed a few times after
that, but his eyes never moved from their fixated position. "I was the trainer
in the castle. I taught the new soldiers. Thrust! Stab! Attack! Three words
that I had always shouted. Always shouting. I always had to shout. Darn young
scallions. Never were they able to hear at all. Even when I shouted! Pah!" He
stabbed his cane into the white rug once more, and another dusty cloud flew
"My mother...Aletha...tell me more about her,"
I said in a steady voice, almost as if I was trying to order him to do so. I
didn't notice until now that I was gripping his shoulder with fierce strength,
so I quickly released my hold.
"She was always fascinated with weapons, Aletha.
As a child, she constructed her own wooden sword! Pah! Would you believe that?
And it was a wonderful sword as well. Sharper than some of the metal ones those
scallions had, it was. She was filled with fire, a will to learn to battle.
But it was back in the time when lady Draiks were not allowed to fight. It was
before the time of the Erodaire Deathdealers...before the time everyone had
to learn to fight to be able to survive.
So, every morning, she would be under the eyes
of the Head Maiden, for Aletha, dear Aletha, was her apprentice. Quite a good
one at that, as well. She did everything so thoroughly, and she made the best
Chokato Pie I've tasted in many moons. But by night...she was different. Every
night, I would hear her sneak out of her room and into the barrack of the castle.
She practiced night after night, hours on end. So it came to be she led two
different lives. Maid by day, warrior at night. No one knew about it until she
was your age, young one. When she was your age, the Head Maiden was replaced,
and she was thrown away from her apprentice status!" At these words, Rune stamped
his cane against the rug once more and scoffed. "Hateful, hateful, hateful.
Aletha was devastated, for without her apprentice status, she had no reason
to stay at the castle. It was a pity, for she had potential. A quick eye, agile,
smart, and full of laughter. So I did the next best thing. I adopted the poor
The next few months that I was with her, I taught
her all the ways of the most talented Erodaire soldiers and generals there was.
She learned many techniques, and her progress was incredible! Soon, the student
had surpassed the teacher, and I could not teach her anymore. She was still
a child as well! Imagine, a child who could overpower a full-grown Draik soldier!
Pah...she was quite a lass, I say. Quite a lass. After she learned all I know,
she needed something else to do, so she lied. She lied about her age to the
Head Draik Maid of the castle, and she became the castle's maid.
Cooking and cleaning, cooking and cleaning,
pah! That's all she did everyday until she finally grew from a child into a
blossomed young Draik. One day...she disappeared..." Rune sighed and looked
down, shaking his head. "Of course, not exactly, for I still saw her whenever
she came to visit at the dead of the night. But I was the only one she came
in contact with...besides the Dark Ones. She became associated with the Dark
"Dark Ones?" I whispered fearfully. "Do you
mean the evil denizens of Neopia? Vira, the winged Acara, and the Darkness Faeries?"
"Pah! No! None of those!" Rune shouted at me,
his eyes flashed with anger. "Your mother was not that disrespectful, Young
Andra! Not that disrespectful, not at all...the Dark Ones...a secret society
of Neopets who were bent on destroying the kingdom of Erodaire. She was part
of that clan. I did not know where her hate for Erodaire had come from...but...wait...I
do know. Such a terrible thing it is, my dear...terrible thing..."
"What was the reason, Rune?" I asked.
"Pah! Can't tell...can't tell now. Not at all,
not at all..." Rune said. "Soon, after her disappearance from the castle for
many years, she came back to it, and became a maid once more. But she did not
visit me anymore. She had forgotten about me," Rune sighed, and his eyes glistened
once again. "No. Not forgotten. Forced to forget. She was doing something. Something
dreadful. Something horrible. At this time, a new King had been declared, for
the last King and Queen were gone, and so were all the remaining heirs and heiresses
"Alastare? Was it King Alastare? But I thought
he had no brothers or sisters," I interrupted. Rune glanced at me, merry stars
dancing in his eyes.
"Ah! Still a young one, I see. Pah! Young people...foolish...so
foolish. He had brothers...and sisters! All adopted, though. All adopted. Horrible
King and Queen. Not enough sense to continue the royal blood line. Pah...Aletha...why?"
Rune closed his mouth and gazed down, and I swore that I saw a tear fall from
"I know the story..." I whispered slowly to
myself. "My mother...Aletha. She came back when my father - King Alastare -
defeated the kingdom of Lorezai, for the past King and Queen had perished, and
he inherited the throne. Aletha, a maid, she and my father became close after
she started to tend to my Alastare's war wounds. They were joined at the month
of Celebrating, and then I came along..."
"Right...you are right, dear Young Andra. You
know much, although 'tis foolish knowledge. Yes, a great story it was. After
Aletha and Alastare joined, she began to speak to me once again...but she revealed
something dreadful to me. Something horrible..." Rune shut his eyes once more
and looked ahead. "Horrible...her plan. Her dreaded plan. She was appointed
the job of ending the life of the current King...of ending Alastare's life..."
My breath stopped at that moment. I couldn't
breath, or think, and I believed that I wasn't seeing straight. I reached out
and gripped Rune's shoulder once more before he gave out another sigh. "What?"
I forced out in a whisper.
"Pah...she got herself into quite a mess. Imagine,
falling for the one you were meant to destroy. She couldn't do it. She cared
for him too much. Peas and carrots, I always say, they were like peas and carrots.
Without her other half, she would never be complete..."
"The Dark Ones...they told her to do this. They
were the ones who made the plan. Who are they?" I asked quickly, my hand still
held Rune's shoulder tightly. I was breathing in and out slowly, and this time,
I wasn't quite as shocked as before. "What were there names?"
"Names?" Rune said, and he looked up at me for
the first time. "Dear Andra, many names they go by. Many names...but they have
one official one. Dee...Oh...Ee...Doe. Deathdealers of Erodaire. Aletha was
part of the Deathdealers of Erodaire..."
To be continued...