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Blade of Fire, Blade of Ice: Part One


by danama

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     Far up high in the cloudy Tower,

     Blade of fire, blade of ice,

     Lies a Blade of immense power.

     Blade of fire, blade of ice,

     Two sides their magic casting

     Blade of fire, blade of ice,

     In a battle everlasting,

     Blade of fire, blade of ice.

      The blade sat innocently in the light that seeped through the purple clouds of Faerieland. It had a hilt fashioned simply from gold, but that was not its most striking attribute. The blade did not reflect the light that flashed at it, but seemed to emit a radiance of its own, which pulsed from both of its edges. Neither possessed the honest qualities of steel. Instead, one edge was a fiery blade of flame, the other a glistening edge of ice. The two elements seemed to be fighting each other within the blade, battling ferociously to be the victor. It was a battle that had started with the magical forging of this blade and had been going on ever since. For centuries this war had been taking place, with neither side triumphing. Both were balanced and neither had any advantage over the other. Now the fire would seemingly devour the ice, but in the next instant the ice would encase the fire in a sparkling prison of clear crystal. And so the battle raged on.

      There were other items in the Tower. Some magical Faerie Fog, trapped in a small bottle, prevented from escape by only the cork that wobbled dangerously as the Fog sought to free itself. A blue plushie, modelling into the likeness of the infamous Jelly Chia. Other items and weapons, some mystical, most magical, all of them worth far more than most Neopians could afford if they could find the Tower itself.

      The faerie who had been assigned to the Tower was new, and ignorant of its ways. She had no idea that, left alone for even a minute, the strange artefacts of the Tower could wreck extreme havoc. She had simply assumed that she was to guard the Tower against intruders and thieves. The thought that she was to guard the Tower against itself never entered her mind.

      The Jhudora Doll that stood in the shadows stepped forwards, a malicious glint in her eyes. She moved her hand, her lips mouthing a spell. The cork in the bottle of Faerie Fog struggled for a minute before relenting. With a small popping noise it flew out. The Fog immediately moved towards the Fire and Ice Blade. Within moments the blade was surrounded by pink mist.

      A flash of light, and then the blade slowly creaked apart. Out of it leapt first a fire Draik, who immediately made for the door, pursued closely by an ice Draik. The unfortunate watch-faerie was taken completely by surprise. She was knocked unconscious as the fire Draik rushed past without bothering to stop by and help. The ice Draik glanced down at the victim but decided to pursue the other Draik instead. Spreading their wings, both Draiks took to the sky, the Draik of flame leading with the ice Draik hot on his trail.

     *

      Soon the tale of the Fire and Ice Blade had spread far and wide over Neopia. The watch-faerie was not blamed - everyone was too busy trying to avoid the Draiks, whose legendary hate for each other had caused a battle that was so fearsome that it had destroyed more lives than one. And it was not over yet. As the two fought each other the power of the battle often caused magical explosions that destroyed crops, buildings, and even occasionally lives. And still both of the Draiks lived, neither giving up on their ancient feud.

      But as great things are wont to do, the battle raised a lot of questions. For how long would this madness last? Why had the battle started? How had it managed to go on more so long? And most importantly, who were the two Draiks that seemed to hate each other so?

      As with all mysteries, the Neopians soon began making up answers. It was commonly said that the two were brothers who had committed some kind of crime against each other. It made sense, too - those who had been unfortunate enough to see both of them always said that the two looked identical, other than the fact that one seemed composed of ice while the other was pure fire. Thus did the two who had sprung from the magic of the Fire and Ice Blade become known throughout Neopia as the Brothers.

     *

      So far and wide did the tale of the Brothers spread, that even the inhabitants of the water world, Maraqua, heard of it.

      The Maraquan Draik who had been sitting down on a rock half buried into the sand polishing his blue, serrated blade looked up at his King, the blue Koi known to all as Kelpbeard, who had brought the news to him.

      "Brothers, you say? One of fire and one of ice, both released from a blade that was being guarded in Faerieland... " the Draik murmured, looking down at his blade. "It cannot be... "

     His King, however, was not listening. He had had his share of troubles in the past - all too glad was he that this new trouble was coming from Faerieland. Not only was it above the sea level, but it was also happening in the faraway clouds of Faerieland, a long, long way above land. Kelpbeard knew that this distance between his own world and the place where all of the action was happening meant that his kingdom would barely be affected by the news in any way, and he was pleased. Little did he know that, while the releasing of the Brothers meant nothing to him, it would play a big role in the life of one of his greatest warriors.

      "My lord," the Draik said formally, bowing to his King. "I request leave from the Kingdom for a few months. I have important business to attend to."

      "Business, Swordmaster Talek?" Kelpbeard was surprised. "What business have you that would occur outside of Maraqua?"

      "What, I cannot tell you," the Swordmaster replied. Talek was wise enough to know that the King would never permit him to leave Maraqua if he knew what the Draik was planning. "But I must leave. It is of vital importance."

      "You speak of importance. What can be more important than your staying here in Maraqua, defending its citizens? Talek. If you leave Maraqua, you travel into Neopia. Into the World Above Ground. There, battles are fought, wars waged for no reason whatsoever. You will most likely be caught up in some foolhardy fight, with a risk of being seriously injured or even dying. Who then will protect Maraqua?"

      "I know not. I do know, however, that Maraqua is not under any threat right now. I must go up. How can you say to me that what I wish to do is of no importance? It concerns the whole of Neopia. My King," Talek said, looking Kelpbeard in the eye, "if I do not go and do the deed that only I can perform, many lives will be lost, and Neopia will fall into a steady decline. Though you do not wish to acknowledge it, Neopia does include you and your Kingdom. Should Neopia fall, Maraqua will follow close behind."

      "This has to do with the tidings I brought to you, does it not? The Brothers... they are related to you in some way." Though Talek did not reply, the King could see that he spoke the truth and ploughed on. "If that is so, you will be in danger from the moment you leave the water. No. I will not let it happen."

      "Whether you let it happen or not, it will happen!" Talek shouted, furious with his King's selfishness. "Whether you permit me to leave or not, I will go!"

      "Do not talk to me like that!" the King shouted back. "You are my subject, and as such I forbid you to go!" He slammed a fin down on the nearest rock with a mighty THWACK! Talek involuntarily moved back a pace at the sound. He picked up his sword from where he had been polishing it before.

      "Do not try to stop a Swordmaster, Kelpbeard." Talek spoke these words dangerously, aggressively calling the King by his name, something which he had never done before.

      "Do not tell a King what he can and cannot do," Kelpbeard countered. "And do not disobey him. I have told you that you are forbidden to leave my Kingdom. Therefore you should obey and stay here."

      "I will leave and you cannot stop me!" The Draik advanced, brandishing his blade.

      "Guards!" Kelpbeard shouted. Talek swerved around. To his dismay he saw two Maraquan Grarrls advancing. "Arrest the Swordmaster for treason!"

      "Do so at your own peril," warned Talek, holding his sword in front of him. The Grarrls stopped, confused. They had seen Talek in action before and did not want to be opposed to him. But they also did not wish to be out of favour with their King.

      Talek took advantage of their hesitation. Not bothering to throw a look back, he began to swim swiftly towards the surface. To the World Above.

To be continued...

 
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