Shades of Darkness: Lights in the Shadows - Part Three
"I don't really have too many memories of my early childhood,"
began Tal. "I just remember being in a small room with only small wooden objects
to play with and a small straw bed. The door was kept locked at all times. Jak
only came in to feed me. Other than that, I was ignored. Our house was underground
out in the forest, so nobody but Jak even knew about me. I was a shadow Zafara,
like Jak at the time.
Then, when I was older, around the age of nine,
Jak left on a trip. He told me he was leaving for a few days and that I would
be allowed to roam around the house as long as I didn't go into his study or
went outside. If I did so much as even open the study door, I would be locked
up in my room until grey hairs started to grow on my head. I agreed, as I had
never been anywhere besides my small corner of the house. Jak left some food
out for me, but other than that I was on my own.
A week after Jak left I grew bored. I began to wonder
why Jak didn't want me in his study; after all, there were only books in there
and Jak never taught me to read or write. So one night after I had eaten I snuck
into the forbidden room.
I was only half right. The study was mostly full
of books, but there were also many other horrible things that I will not even
describe. I was about to run when one book caught my eye. It glowed black and
the title was written in magic runes. I didn't know at the time, but dark magic
text books want you to read them. They are an evil all by itself. They can bewitch
you and even control you. But this one did neither. It made me literate in the
language of Runes. It wanted me to read it. I looked at it and was able to read
the title through the book's 'help,' Dark Curses of Neopia and How to Use
Because I lacked anything else to do, over the
next few days I spent almost every moment I could reading that book. I couldn't
actually do any of those curses, but I liked to still say the words aloud, to
actually be able to read something.
A week after I had found the book Jak came home.
He walked in on me as I was reading it. His face turned from its usual evil
stare to infinite rage. He ran over to me, took the book from my hands, and
punched me in the jaw. I felt a range of anger and pain at the moment. Without
even thinking I shouted two words at him, flamma hairia, which meant
'Fire Hair.' I don't know how I did it but fire shot from my palm and I set
Jak's fur on fire. But to my amazement, Jak didn't get mad. All he did was yell
a variety of colorful language and dowsed his fur with water. But he didn't
get mad. In fact, he was happy.
Jak realized I had a talent for magic, even though
I wasn't an Innate user. He began to teach me the Dark Arts. By the time I was
twelve I could hex, curse, bewitch, and even destroy almost anything that came
across my path.
When I turned fourteen Jak began to teach me
the ropes of being an assassin.
After I had successfully completed my training,
Jak gave me a job. I was to assassinate the king of a small kingdom in Meridell.
I succeeded, and soon I began to get jobs without Jak's help.
At the age of sixteen I was one of the most feared
assassins in Meridell. Once I was hired to destroy somebody they were as good
Jak began to sink deeply into world domination.
He wanted Neopia for himself. He offered me half the planet if I helped him.
I accepted. We spent most of our time learning the most difficult dark magic
possible. Soon we moved out of our house and into an old abandoned castle that
we made our fortress.
Before we were to begin our first invasion, something
terrible happened. One of Jak's spells backfired. Jak survived it because of
his power, but I took the full blast of it and fell into a coma. Jak mistook
me for dead and threw me in the lake that was near our castle. But he did not
know that there was a river leading off of it that led a few miles south. A
river that led right to Azlan and was their only source of water. I think the
only reason that I didn't drown was because I had magic in me. Magic can keep
you alive for a period of time, even if your body is ready to shut down.
I was told later that Azlan patrol guards found
me and brought me to their hospital, where I was revived. For weeks I had no
clue where I was, or even who I was. I was kept in the dark, until one day an
Island Zafara entered the ward. I assumed he was just visiting family, as three
other Zafaras where in the ward at the time. But he ignored them and walked
over to me.
"You look like Storm," he said.
I just stared at him with a blank face.
"You don't know? You don't remember being here?"
I shook my head.
"Well then I guess I should start from the beginning,"
said Raphel. "First of all I'm Raphel, Emperor of Azlan." I shook his hand and
then Raphel grabbed a wooden stool and sat down on it next to my bed.
"Way back about ten years ago there used
to be a cloud Zafara in this village by the name of Storm," Raphel told me.
"Or at least that's what we called him; he never told us his actual name. His
little group of friends made it up after he came here seeking safety when barbarians
destroyed his former home. Storm was a powerful magician, a very powerful one.
He created storms whenever we needed rain, thus earning his nickname. He was
also one of my closest friends.
"Storm was well known in this village and
started a family here. You were his first and only child.
"Then, when you were about two years old,
your mother died when she was struck by lightning during a giant storm. So then
it was just you and Storm.
"Almost a year after your mother died, Storm
was destroyed too. But not by lightning, it was an assassination. During the
night, one of the neighbors heard a crash in Storm's house. She ran over to
find Storm lying in bed, a stab wound in his heart. Standing over him was a
Zafara, black as night, otherwise known as Jak, the Living Shadow. She screamed,
and Jak quickly grabbed you and disappeared. I considered you dead until guards
found you the other day on the riverbank."
I was both angry and upset after his speech.
I was angry at Jak for destroying my parents and making my life miserable. But
I was mostly angry with myself for doing what I had done. So, I blurted straight
out to Raphel that I was just as evil as Jak is. I told him my whole story,
every little detail included. I also told him Jak's plans to take Neopia for
himself. But he did not get mad; all he said was, "I have an idea."
I was to go back to Jak and act like nothing
was wrong. But I would destroy Jak's plan, bit by bit.
Jak was building an army by gaining followers,
as well as recruiting all kinds of dark creatures. One night I snuck a powerful,
fast acting poison into their food. Half the army died, and what ones did manage
to live could barely lift a finger.
Before Jak went out on his weekly trip to make
sure things were going well at the camp, I snuck Gatea Feora into Jak's drink.
It's a magic sense duller. So when Jak found out that all his troops were dead
or very sick, he couldn't create more because he was drugged. It basically makes
you forget how to do a spell, and if you can remember it, nothing will happen.
It only works for a few days at the most, but that was fine with me, because
as soon as Jak went to bed, it was time for part three.
I was to assassinate Jak. I crept into his room
while he was asleep, dagger at my waist. But I would not use it unless I had
to. I would try and destroy using magic first, and then if that didn't work,
I would use the dagger.
Jak's room was dark, but that still didn't block
out the shining blade of a sword that was pointed at me.
"What are you doin', boy?" growled Jak.
I drew out my dagger just in case. "Nothing,
I just remembered that I had left something in here earlier."
"What a pathetic lie," growled Jak. "Okay Mr.
Liar, tell me why all my troops are dead? Tell me why I can no longer conjure
any spells? Tell me why you're in here with a dagger while I'm asleep?"
I slashed at him, but missed. Then Jak slashed
his blade across my right cheek. It wasn't that big of a wound, but the pain
was so bad that I keeled over screaming. I was hit by Jak's Ader Sword. He forged
it with the strongest dark magic in the universe. As my heart wasn't evil, it
made the pain worse than getting hit by a normal blade.
I knew I wasn't going to win, so I ran. I ran
all the way out of the fortress with Jak trailing behind me. He didn't want
to alert the guards; he wanted to finish me off himself. But he never got to.
I was faster then he was. I escaped from Jak's treachery and ran back to Azlan,
as I had nowhere else to go. Nobody would look at me without fleeing. So I confessed
to Raphel that I had failed, but he did not punish me. He said I had done enough;
I had destroyed most of Jak's army, stopping his invasion. Next time Azlan would
be ready. He handed me an orange paint brush for my work, so I could cover up
my old colors. I have lived there ever since."
He looked down at the ground, and then said,
"I'm going to get more firewood." Then he walked off.
I looked over at our supplies, where an ample
amount of firewood lay.
"In other words," said Shadowlance, "He wants
to be left alone."
I pulled out my sleeping bag and fell asleep.
Raindash woke me up early the next day. "Tal
wants to get going as soon as possible," she said. I was grumbling about being
tired as I rolled up my sleeping bag. Tal was cooking breakfast on a small fire.
"We got to get going' early," he said and handed
me a sausage. "We need to get where we're going before nightfall."
After all four of us had eaten we saddled Raindash
and Shadowlance and rode north till we came to an intersection. One rode led
to the east, and the other north towards Mt. Spectrum. Tal turned towards the
"Wait!" I said. "Isn't Mt. Spectrum that way?"
I pointed toward the north.
"We're not going to Mt. Spectrum yet," said Tal.
"First we have to gather all eight Keystones of magic. You see, on top of Mt.
Spectrum there is a door in the ground. You can't open that door unless you
have all the Keystones of each different magic type. It's the only way in, and
it keeps inexperienced magic users out. Inside is where you will face you final
I just nodded and followed him. "Tal really does
need to explain things better," I mumbled.
To be continued...