Night Walker: Part Five
King Skarl stared down at Kara and me, a disgusted look
in his eyes. "Well," he said huffily sitting back on his throne. "If there's one
thing I do not tolerate it's thieves. You shall be severely punished for attempting
to seize what is not yours." His eyes glittered wickedly.
My upper lip curled, and before I knew it, I
was laughing. Laughing so hard that tears came to my eyes and ran down my cheeks.
The source of my merriment I will never know, I just kept laughing so hard my
Suddenly a paw slapped me hard across the face.
I looked up putting a paw over my stinging cheek. My gaze met the fiery eyes
of Jeran, the Meridell champion. The armor clad Lupe was looking at me oddly.
He went to Skarl and whispered something in
his ear. The King's eyes widened, he turned to his champion. "The Night Walker?
Are you sure Jeran?"
Jeran nodded looking back at me. "It can be
no other," he said firmly. I fidgeted under his gaze. King Skarl shifted, then
"Members of the council, we shall withdraw to
the meeting room to discuss this case." Skarl waddled over to a side room, several
other pets following him.
I sighed heavily and, having gotten tired of
standing, sat down on the cold stone floor. Jeran continued to watch me, then
he shook his head and with a soft chuckle followed his Lord into the meeting
room. Our fate was to be decided, Kara looked terrified, but I for one was not
scared. That was a mistake.
I soon grew bored, it was taking them a great
deal of time. I noticed suddenly that the guard whom had first caught us was
standing near me. The Draik looked eternally saddened. His eyes were downcast,
his ears dropping. I cleared my throat and asked and asked him., "What's your
He was startled by my question. "What? Oh, I
am the Lord Darren of Everpeak." He sighed wearily.
"You seem sad," Kara observed, coming to sit
next to me.
Darren eyed her for a moment. "Sad is an understatement,"
he replied. "I am devastated. My only daughter has been taken from me." Kara
and I both stiffened.
"A-and are you a wealthy family?" I asked, my
voice hissing through my teeth.
Forgetting who he was speaking to, the Lord
answered plainly. "Oh yes, I'm also a distant relative of his Majesty." Darren
looked up, his eyes shining with held back tears. "King Skarl has tried everything
to find my daughter, and the other missing children of the nobles, he could
find nothing." Darren dropped his head.
I opened my mouth to say something, but the
meeting room door swung open and Skarl swaggered out. "It is decided," the King
announced. My fur bristled and Kara moved closer to me. "You must do a quest
for me, if you succeed you have my royal forgiveness."
My lip curled and I snarled. "I would rather
die than fight your battles for you, Skarl!" The Skeith's face turned a nice
shade of crimson and he sputtered with rage.
But Jeran put a paw on Skarl's shoulder. "My
Lord allow me to explain it to them privately." The King nodded jerkily, still
too furious to speak.
Jeran led Kara and me into the meeting room
that Skarl and his council had occupied moments before. The Lupe didn't say
anything to us for a moment, then he turned to us. "You for sure have heard
of the great famine that plagued Meridell do you not?" We both nodded. "Well"
Jeran said, beginning to pace. "Before the famine, Meridell was a mighty and
glorious kingdom. Meridell had a treasure that was her pride and joy."
"What was it?" Kara asked, her curiosity getting
the better of her.
"It was a great crystal that glowed with the
internal light of the stars. It's called the Beacon of Meridell, it rested in
the highest tower of this castle. And even in the farthest villages in the realm,
you could still see the Beacon during clear nights." Jeran sighed looking sad.
"Then one day, the Beacon just disappeared, and the famine followed soon after.
"This was many, many years ago. The famine lasted
for three centuries, and my Lord King Skarl inherited the throne in the last
years of the famine. The orb of Darigan saved Meridell, but it destroyed Darigan."
Jeran shook his head. "That was before I got here, in Skarl's first years of
"But why am I prattling on about history when
I'm supposed to telling you your quest?" the Lupe chuckled darkly. "Anyhow,
your task is to find the Beacon of Meridell and return it here. To it's tower
that lies here shrouded in dust and cobwebs." He finished to a ringing silence.
I stared at Jeran for a long time, Kara was glancing from me to the Meridell
Champion and back. Jeran's face was impassive, he was waiting for something,
waiting for what my reply would be. A reply that I considered very carefully.
Finally I squared my shoulders. "Alright," Jeran
looked at me with surprise. "I will try to recover the Beacon of Meridell, if
I can. I'll need information though, I haven't a clue where it is."
Jeran shrugged. "Neither have we, you've taken
on the impossible Night Walker, I wish you luck in that." The knight turned
and left the room. I stared at Kara for a moment and she smiled shakily.
"Well, I guess we don't really have a choice,"
she said quietly.
I shook my head. "Kara, I'm sorry I dragged
you into this, it's my fault," I sighed. But Kara glared at me.
"Your fault? It was my idea to get you to find
the kidnappers!" she shouted.
"And I said I would!" I snapped back. "And I
still hold to that, so I will find this 'Beacon of Meridell' so we can get out
of this dismal place and get DarkBane!" Kara nodded without replying. Neither
of us realized that we had an eavesdropper.
"Well I suppose we should go and start looking,"
I said ripping the Kougra Wing Collar from my neck. "We'll have to leave these
with someone more trustworthy this time." Kara nodded and removed her own collar.
Together we left the room talking quietly. We both knew that we were heading
to the Waltzing Whinny again.
The drapes of the meeting room shifted, and
a shadow Peophin slid from behind them. Aaron's eyes glittered and he grinned
evilly. "So the mighty Shade is working with Takara," he murmured. "I love the
sound of that crystal," the Peophin cackled, "and it shall be mine and no other's"
The water neopet shook his mane. He regularly
eavesdropped on Skarl's court, to see what the latest gossip was. But this was
more juicy than he could have ever imagined. The Beacon of Meridell…it would
be his. His perfect white teeth bared in a grin Aaron left the meeting room.
Darren saw the Peophin slide out of the meeting
room. No one else was there; all the courtiers had retired to the banquet hall
for lunch. The green Draik frowned as he watched the shadowed pet slide away.
Something wasn't right about the Peophin. Quietly the Lord followed him.
Once again, Kara and I found ourselves at the
Waltzing Whinny. Though I had no idea who to ask about the Beacon. Kara didn't
have any ideas either. I stared moodily at the ceiling above our table. Kara
was gazing absently at her drink. We didn't really know what to do.
It was then that one of the waitresses Kayla,
a pretty Ixi, came over to us. "Here now Shade," she said putting her hooves
on her hips. "I've never seen you like this, what's up?" I sighed.
"We're on a quest Kay, to find something called
the Beacon of Meridell."
She raised an eyebrow. "We?" I flushed and shifted
uncomfortably. "Well" Kayla said flipping a dirty hand towel over one arm as
she picked up our empty mugs. "I suggest you go to Illusen's Glade and see if
you can find the Swamp Ghoul. He's been around forever, and probably picked
up a few things."
I smiled gratefully at her. "Thanks Kay, we
didn't know where to begin." I turned to Kara. "Wait here a sec, I've got to
go pay for this." As I slid out of my seat and past Kayla I heard her mutter
"Not like him to be taking on a partner. The
Night Walker works alone." That made me even more uncomfortable. I could have
abandoned Kara anytime, but I didn't. Why not? There was no gain in our bargain
for me. I sighed and pushed the thoughts to the back of my mind to deal with
Illusen's glade was dark and eerie at night.
A thin mist hung in the trees, draped over the boughs like ghosts. Suddenly
the Swamp Ghoul appeared in front of us.
It grinned. "You're never safe... not from the
Swamp Ghoul," it hissed, voice slightly slurred.
I rolled my eyes. "Right whatever, I need to
ask you a question." The Ghoul blinked its wide misty eyes. It stared at me
for a few more moments then hissed.
"You are ghost blood." I nodded and a wide grin
spread across the Ghoul's face. "That is so rare, very well then ask me your
I let my breath out, it hissed through my teeth.
"I need to know where the Beacon of Meridell is." The Ghoul's eyes widened momentarily.
"Indeed? Well you know of that treasure do you
not? Follow your own instincts, and I trust you shall find it." It turned and
began gliding away.
"Wait a moment," I snarled. The Ghoul turned.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Exactly what I said," the Ghoul retorted, then
vanished into the mists. I sighed and sank to the mossy ground. I put my face
in my paws, I was just grasping at straws here. Blundering around hoping to
just find the right thing by trial and error. I tugged at my fur and gritted
my teeth, there was no way we'd be able to find the Beacon by just searching
anywhere we fancied.
"Leo," Kara said quietly and sat down next to
me. "It's alright, honestly we'll think of something." I looked at her and opened
my mouth to answer but I couldn't find my voice.
Moonlight had filtered through the trees and
glistened on her emerald colored fur. She was gazing at him intently her dark
navy blue eyes sparkling. I blinked; she seemed to be waiting for me to say
something. I opened my mouth, then I saw something that made my eyes widen with
"What?" Kara asked and spun around on her knees.
"What is it?" I got up and walked forward toward a large boulder. A wisp of
mist had blown aside and I'd seen a symbol carved into the face of the boulder,
a symbol that I knew well. I dashed up to the boulder and stared at it, Kara
right behind me.
"What is it?" Kara breathed looking over my
shoulder, staring at the carved Ganuthor.
"It's one of the international thief symbols.
That's the sign of one of the greatest thief circles ever." I glanced at Kara
she looked back and flashed a grin.
"Follow your instincts, huh?" Kara asked lightly.
I chuckled and shook my head.
"There were rumors that there's a big hideout
around here somewhere. It was a great use for smuggling Draik eggs, then something
happened I guess. All the thieves of the Gargoyle Ring disappeared. I'm guessing
this is the entrance, let's see if we can find a way in." We looked for a way
to open the door for twenty minutes to no avail.
Kara and I leaned against the stone staring
despairingly out into the quickly lightening trees. Kara turned to me. "Well,
it's up to you."
I blinked. "What?"
Kara rolled her eyes. "Well, seeing as you've
got that handy ability to walk through things, and if that's the door, you might
as well go through and see if there's anything down there," she smiled grimly.
"The Beacon probably isn't there, but it's worth a shot isn't it?" she asked
I nodded, my throat rather constricted. "Yeah,
I'm sorry I have to leave you here--" She cut me off.
"Look just because my family is rich doesn't
mean I can't take care of myself. Honestly Leo, I am capable of sitting here,"
she said looking rather grumpy. "If only I had my battle dome weapons else I'd
blast that stone to pieces." I blinked at her taken aback by her straightforward
"Uh right, well see you in a bit, I'll be back
as soon as I can." I turned and slipped through the stone into the darkness
within. A light green tinged glow surrounded my limbs and body. I blinked and
the glow vanished as I came out of the stone and into darkness.
I fumbled in my cloak and drew out a round hard
stone. With a few whispered words the stone lit up almost dazzling me for a
moment. Blinking rapidly I saw that a set of well worn stone steps descended
down into the darkness. I drew a deep breath and began walking downward.
The walls of the tunnels were carved with strange
symbols and markings. Carvings of humans, faeries, pets, and other beings I'd
never seen before. My skin prickled and I felt the hair on the back of my neck
rise. Shivering slightly I tried to keep my eyes off the walls, and on my feet.
Abruptly I ran into something hard, rubbing
my nose I looked up. I had just run into a pair of large double doors. I blinked
and stared open mouthed at the carving laid full length in the doors.
It was a great dragon. It was in a sitting position,
its tail coiled tightly around its front paws. The dragon's eyes were set with
shards of obsidian, it felt as if it was watching me. Nervously I stepped through
Light struck my eyes and burned bright spots
exploded across my vision. I cried out and covered my eyes, dropping the glow
stone which shattered at my feet. I squinted through my paws and through watery
eyes discerned the most magnificent sight I'd ever seen in my life. The radiating
beauty of it of made me gasp in awe.
To be continued...