Night Walker: Part Six
I couldn't speak, I just stared in open mouthed amazement.
It was a city. The buildings were all made of shining blue crystal that glowed
brightly, illuminating the huge cavern it rested in.
I was looking down on it from an alcove, a path
slowly wound it's way down to the buildings beneath me. I don't know how long
I stood there staring at the glowing crystal. Finally I broke out of my trance
and started scanning the city. At the center I spotted a great twisting spire
that rose almost to the roof of ht cavern. A great portion of the light was
coming from the top.
I started determinedly down the slope and began
carefully winding my way through the city streets. The stone was slippery under
my paws, worn smooth with ages of travel. It took me a while to find the base
of the tower. It was a lot bigger than it had looked before and I stared up
the great height, mustering my courage to climb it.
"Night Walker…" hissed a voice behind me. I
whirled around and let out a small whimper. There were at least fifty ghosts
floating behind me, all random species of pets. They all stared at me, the crimson
eyes glittering. I sank back against the tower wall, there was no way I could
fight them all.
An old Aisha ghost came forward and leered at
me. "Thief, you will pay for entering our domain. We were once thieves too,
until this place cast its curse upon us." His voice sent rippling cold through
An ancient looking Kyrii cackled sinisterly.
"Oh I see your mind Zafara, honor and friendship." Several others joined in
the laughing, their cruel echoing cries rang in my ears.
The Aisha frowned. "Honor, friendship, courage,
such things are not the way of the thief."
Something within me flared. "Then maybe I'm
not a thief!" I shouted. "Maybe I'm a knight of Meridell! Maybe I live by those
virtues." I was being reckless, shouting things that just flew into my mind.
"Perhaps I've just come here to reclaim what was stolen long ago!" There was
a stunned silence, then the Aisha bent low to the ground and growled.
"You want it? Then take it!" I didn't reply;
it was a challenge, I lived for challenges. I whirled around and leapt at the
stone tower and began scampering up the side. I heard the ghosts let out little
noises of shock and outrage.
I tuned out their voices as I raced up the side
of the tower. The top came more suddenly then I had expected, as I hauled myself
over the edge of the tower. Looking up I saw the Beacon resting on a deist,
it was a rhombus shaped crystal, colored a clear sky blue. Squinting through
the light it gave off I hurried forward and seized it. The Beacon flashed brightly
as I touched it then went out, as did all the light of the city.
I wrapped the Beacon in my cloak and put it
under my arm ready to run back down the face of the tower. It was then that
I realized I could still see, a light was coming from somewhere above me. I
looked up and froze, my eyes widening in shock. An infinite number of ghosts
were above me, swirling in a great maelstrom of pale, green-tinged light. I
sat down hard. Terror filled my body, clamping down on my heart and making my
breath come short.
They were winged Neopets, Eyries, Unis, Pterii,
and Draiks. The ghosts soared and glided above me, twining their pale bodies
through the air. Through my fear I realized how graceful they were, the embodiment
One of the ghost Eyries glided down and landed
in front of me. I swallowed and stared determinedly into his eyes, trying and
failing to banish my fear. He regarded me for a moment then spoke in a soft,
echo filled voice that sounded as if it were ages away. "It has been a long
time since flesh and blood walked here." I only managed to squeak in reply.
The Eyrie sighed, "Our disdain has passed though we were very angry when our
rest was disturbed by a band of Neopets who broke into our city. They began
using it as a cache for their stolen goods. We could not have our great city
treated that way. But they have paid their price." He waved a transparent paw
back toward the ground. "The ghosts who confronted you when you first came,
are bound to their fates by a curse laid down by us." He sighed, looking sad.
I frowned. "You saw that? How?"
The Eyrie nodded. "Indeed, I did see it, I watched
you come in through the lower gates and walk amongst the lost souls of the pets.
We all watched you, many wanted to attack you, but they were overruled." The
ghost's dark crimson eyes got a definite mischievous twinkle. "They wanted to
see how you'd fair getting out. We'd figured you'd found out how to open the
entrance, like the pets who came before you. But ghost blood, now that is rare
I shifted uncomfortably. "It was a gift from
The Eyrie snorted in disgust. "Gift, it is a
curse, young thief as you will soon find out. The fact that you survived having
ghost blood for so long suggests a mighty strength of heart within you. But
the yearning to join the rest of us ghosts will be forever in the back of your
mind, you shall have one paw in the world of life and one in the world of the
ghosts." The Eyrie fell silent and I just stared at it in astonishment.
"Is there anyway I can ever stop hearing that
call?" I asked in a shaky voice.
The Eyrie's eyes flashed. "Only when you overcome
it through sheer force of will."
"Who are you?" I demanded suddenly, "and where
is this place?"
The Eyrie watched me thoughtfully for a while
before replying. "I have no name, it has been lost in the deep folds of time.
But this city, we shall always remember it's name, for it is our sanctuary.
It was our home when we were driven from the skies so long ago by wars. The
details of the event have been lost, but the name of this city is Salus, meaning
"Are there any other cities like Salus?" I asked
"Once there were, but most were destroyed. If
any others still exist they aren't known to me," the Eyrie replied.
I drew in a deep breath and asked quietly. "This
crystal" I held up the folded wraps of my cloak. "May I take it?"
The Eyrie nodded its head. "Yes, take it if
you wish. It was the last key to the legacy of this city. Sadly we do not know
the story, or we would have held onto it like we held onto its name. In the
times when we were alive, the stone gave us light."
"You mean you didn't build Salus?" I asked before
I could stop myself.
The Eyrie shook his head. "No, we found it.
No one has any idea where it came from. Listen thief, before you go, I have
something I want to give to you." My fur bristled and the Eyrie laughed, an
echoing sound. "No special powers, merely a tool." He reached up and traced
a design in the air with a pale claw. Mist filled the outline and I recognized
it was a dagger. The blade solidified and the Eyrie held it out to me. "Here
you are my friend, a blade of Salus. May it serve you well."
I reached up and took the dagger, it vanished
in my palm. "When you have need of it you may summon it at will." The Eyrie
bowed his head. "Now I believe you are anxious to leave this long dead place.
I have but one piece of advice to give you." The Eyrie's eyes darkened, "No
matter what happens don't give in to the pull of the ghost blood." He cocked
its head. "I suppose you wish to leave now? It is no matter, I am honored that
I was able to bestow upon you one of the lost blades of my kind. I hope in the
future that you shall find it useful. Good luck to you," he paused before adding
quietly, "Night Walker."
I left Salus with my mind whirling. Who was
that lost race of Neopets who dwelt in the city of crystal. Salus... sanctuary,
I smiled slightly and stopped. Summoning the dagger I examined the silver blade.
It fit my paw as if it had been forged just for me. The hilt was black, a dark
stone set in the pommel. The blade was silver with shards of electric blue tinged
in the metal. Engraved into the extremely sharp blade was a dragon twining itself
down the length of the dagger. I stared at the dagger fondly then looked back
the way I'd come. I unsheathed my normal dagger and left it leaning against
the tunnel wall. Looking back at the dagger the Eyrie had given me I whispered,
"I dub you Salus, bear the name with honor." The blade glowed slightly as I
flipped it over and sheathed it at my wrist.
I walked up the end of the tunnel and pressed
my paw against it to go through. To my surprise the rock groaned and shuddered
open. I slid out of the open door, which closed behind me with a snap. I looked
around, Kara was nowhere to be seen. Frowning I waited for a few moments then
a series of things happened in very quick succession.
There was a yelp of pain and a scream. "Leo
Run!" a loud curse, and two large Grarrls seized me from behind. I didn't move
waiting for the situation to reveal itself. Those who thought they had outsmarted
their enemy usually gloated about it. So I figured I'd find out what was going
on then. And sure enough a sleek shadow Peophin slid from the bushes and grinned
"Well, well, well, we meet again Shade." He
must have expected me to spit or scream or something, because Aaron looked surprised
when I didn't move. There were a few moments of silence then Aaron got strait
to the point. "Give me the Beacon or your little friend will pay for it." He
motioned with one hoof and a mean looking Wocky came forward restraining Kara.
He looked very battered and the green Zafara was writhing manically in his grip.
I felt a low humming fill my body, I concentrated
on it as it spread from my toes up through my chest, my fingers tingling. I
felt a grin slide across my face as a thin, green-tinged, pale glow surrounded
me. I saw Aaron staring at me in horror, then threw back my head and roared
with laughter. My voice echoed strangely, I felt all my being sliding away.
No! I thought slamming my thoughts back into place. But I kept laughing in that
same insane way. I couldn't stop.
Aaron backed away as I calmly withdrew my limbs
through the grip of the two Grarrls on either side. Still laughing I picked
up the Beacon still embedded in the folds of my cloak, which I'd dropped when
the Grarrls had grabbed me. "You want it?" I asked my voice hoarse and dead
sounding. "Come get it." I withdrew the Beacon with a flourish, it was still
dark in my paws.
I was still laughing maniacally, my head thrown
back. The Beacon burst into life in my paw and began pulsing with pale blue
light. There was a sound of thundering hooves and a procession of knights mounted
on unis burst out of the bushes.
It was pandemonium, pets scattered in all directions
as the knights dashed after them. The unis reared flailing their hooves and
screaming their fury. And I was just standing in the middle of it, laughing
my head off. Pale green light whirled around me in thin creepers casting shadows
of rippling silver across my body.
Kara came striding forward, she seized my shoulders
and shook me hard. "Leo! Snap out of it!" I didn't hear her, my throat caught
and I couldn't stop laughing. Suddenly Kara slapped me hard across the face.
"Get a grip on yourself Leoht_ShadowLight!" she hissed. I stopped laughing and
gazed at her dazedly. The light around me vanished and the silver faded from
"Is he alright?" a familiar armor clad Draik
asked coming forward. I stared blearily at Darren then began to shake violently
as strength flooded from my body. I collapsed in a heap, still trembling. The
world whirled around me and I swirled into darkness.
The night was quiet and the fire had sunken
to dying embers. Kara was sitting by the motionless figure of Leoht. Darren
came forward and, having discarded his armor, sat down next to Kara without
"Will he be alright?" Kara shook her head, her
eyes were shining and her throat was constricted. She shook her head again,
and stroked Leoht's paw, which she held in her own. Darren put a clawed paw
on her shoulder. "It'll be alright," he told her. Kara made and indistinct noise
in reply. Darren picked up the small wooden box that held the Beacon within
it and called over a stout Pteri. "You're the fastest messenger Canarth, will
you take this to his Majesty?" The Pteri nodded and took the box. He saluted
before flying away. Darren turned back to Kara, "What happened?"
Kara swallowed and found her voice. "I really
don't know, Leo…" she broke off shuddering at the memory of the Zafara's laughing
"Leo?" Darren asked interestedly. "I thought
his name was Shade?" Kara shook her head, not answering. With a sigh Darren
got to his feet and called his captains to attention. "I want the whole lot
of you to march these prisoners back to the capital."
"And you sir?" asked a nervous looking Quiggle.
"I shall remain here with Kara to see if I can
be of any service."
A Uni tossed her head. "And what of the Night
Walker? Will he survive?"
Darren shook his head. "I honestly do not know,
make haste now friends, I shall be back soon." They saluted and began filtering
away into the trees, dragging what prisoners they had with them. Darren returned
to Kara's side.
"I caught that scheming Peophin listening in
on your plans so I decided to follow him," he informed the green Zafara who
looked lost and alone. At his words she nodded solemnly but didn't speak.
There was a long silence when Kara finally said.
"You know when you first caught us, we were getting ready to go after the ones
who've been kidnapping pets. I was a victim of those horrible people but Leo
rescued me. He was later betrayed by those he had rescued and sent to the jails
of Neopia Central. My owner bailed him out, and I asked him to help me stop
the kidnappers. He agreed and we were retrieving Kougra wing collars so we could
fly to Cyan_DarkBane's fortress. He's the one who's behind all of this."
Darren looked startled. "Why didn't you tell
the king this?"
Kara turned to look at him. "Tell me truthfully
Lord Everpeak, would you believe those who had just been found in the King's
treasury were there because they had an honorable cause?" Darren dropped his
gaze and shook his head. Kara let out her breath in a ragged sigh.
Darren leaned back and stared up at the sky.
Suddenly his eyes were filled with tears and when he spoke his voice was choked
and filled with anguish. "My daughter, Syealla, is all I have left." He looked
at Kara. "I can't let her go Kara, I can't let DarkBane make her live through
her greatest nightmares." Darren shuddered.
Kara placed a comforting paw on his shoulder.
"Darren, that's what we're trying to do, stop DarkBane. But..." she looked back
at Leoht, her voice trailing off.
Darren put his own clawed paw over Kara's. "Don't
worry Kara, he'll be alright. I just wish we knew exactly what happened to him."
Kara felt comfort in his touch. She sighed and looked back at Leoht. The blue
Zafara shifted and began mumbling. His voice jerked over the octaves. He began
sweating profusely and twitching.
Suddenly the Zafara sat bolt upright, his eyes
wide and fearful. Leoht stared at Kara with a gaze that simmered oddly. "If
we're going to do something about DarkBane, we had better do it soon. By tomorrow
night it will be too late." He choked. "I - I saw it in dreams, the machine
is complete, but I don't know what he's waiting for. We can't afford to lose
Darren leapt to his feet, his eyes blazing.
"Then I'm going with you," he announced and produced the Kougra wing collars
from a bag that had been left behind.
To be continued...