Let Darkness Fall: Part Three
“There is nothing but pain for you here...”
The whisper swirled around him in the dark, and became three voices, belonging to a cloaked trio that stalked toward him.
The one in the middle, the powerful Gelert, raised a sword menacingly. He swung the blade within an inch of the Eyrie’s head, then turned it and offered it to him hilt-first.
“Take it, and make those who hurt you suffer.”
“Get away!” he cried, covering his eyes and backing away. But they remained in his sight even then.
“Take the sword,” hissed the ghastly Skeith. “Use it, and take back what is rightfully yours!”
“You were great once,” said the Faerie, walking forward with sinister majesty. “You could be great again. The power is yours to take!”
He wailed, “Just leave me alone!”
Their laughter rang in his ears.
* * *
“Nooooo!” He shot up in bed, startling Illusen, who was standing in the doorway.
“Another nightmare? Are you all right?”
“No, I am not all right!” He put his head in his hands. “What’s happening to me?”
The Earth Faerie was silent. Then she said, “Maybe this will cheer you up. I think you’re strong enough to be up and about.”
“Thank you!” he exclaimed, relieved that he could leave and hoping that the dreams would end once he was occupied.
Illusen held up a bundle of red and blue cloth. “You can wear this so you fit in better.”
Nightmares forgotten, the Eyrie rejoiced in the light of the new day.
* * *
“Lord Darigan should be returning tomorrow,” said Galgarrath.
“Oh good,” breathed Jeran.
With Kass loose in the castle, Illusen not knowing anything was wrong, and Lisha not speaking to him, the knight had gone to the Darigan Citadel as a temporary refuge.
“It was kind of you to come all the way up here just for lunch with me. I don’t have many friends other than Lord Darigan and Vex.”
“Well, count me in,” said Jeran with a smile.
A shout came suddenly from outside the tower they sat in. “Darkness is coming!”
“What was that?”
Galgarrath glanced at the window worriedly. “A Lenny who claims to be a soothsayer. He’s been doing that nonstop for the past few days.”
“Beware! Beware! Darkness is coming!”
Jeran shivered. Was it a coincidence that a warning should come while Kass was on the loose? He doubted it.
“I suppose you’ll have to be leaving now,” said Galgarrath.
“No, actually. I have no pressing business in Meridell. I could stay longer.”
“Great! Want to find Vex and play a game of Cellblock?”
As they crossed the streets on the way to Master Vex’s dungeons, a voice cried, “Sir Jeran!”
The Lupe turned and saw a Darigan Lenny running towards him. “Sir Jeran, you must help him! You must go back to Meridell!”
“Help who? Why?”
“You must save him from his fate! Keep him in the light!”
Kass. He was talking about Kass. He had to go back and help Kass.
He tried to kill you... He killed your people...
“Why? Why me?”
“He will listen to you! You saved him; he trusts you!”
He is your enemy... He will try to kill you again...
Galgarrath was watching the exchange with bewilderment.
“If he’s truly not evil, he won’t need my help!”
“He is scared! He’s fighting, but they’re winning!”
He’s a threat. Even more so if he’s being enslaved to The Three again. There’s only one way to deal with such a threat...
“He’ll bring destruction, won’t he?”
“If they turn him again, yes! You must help him!”
“You must stop him before they fully have him!”
Stop him... There’s only one way to stop a threat like that.
“Yes... Yes, I will stop him!”
Jeran ran past the soothsayer and leaped upon the Uni that had brought him to the Citadel, filled with only one intention.
Stopping Kass... for good, this time.
* * *
Galgarrath stared after Jeran. “What was that all about?”
“Oh, it’s worse than I feared,” wailed the Lenny. “Beware! The darkness is almost upon us!”
* * *
The Eyrie had joined in the swordsmanship practice taking place in the castle courtyard. After an hour of dueling, he had made a name for himself as a master of the blade, and had been made an honorary knight.
By then he was getting tired, and when thoughts of showing his true skill against some of the others came into his mind, he bade them all farewell and went inside.
The thoughts were disturbing. He had the frightening impression that they were linked to the trio of his nightmares. However, he couldn’t help admitting that the idea of being a great warrior of immense wealth and power appealed to him. He rather fancied that he was the ruler of some lost kingdom.
He entered his land from above, descending from the air so that the sun formed a halo around him. The people cowered in fear, but when he landed in their midst, a gasp of recognition was heard.
A cheer started, and all the Neopets of the kingdom ran out, rejoicing that their king had returned. They shouted and danced in the streets. They bowed and fell prostrate and begged for his blessing, and he basked in their praises, lord of it all.
He snapped out of his glorious daydream, and asked a passing servant for directions to the library. It seemed obvious now that he had to find out who his tormenters were. They could stand in his way on his path to power!
Or maybe he could trick them, and then they would help him get there!
With all of his prudent fear forgotten, he raced down the halls to the library.
* * *
When Jeran reached Meridell, he hurtled himself off of the Uni and ran towards the castle, drawing his sword as he went.
Lisha’s yelled admonitions rang through his mind, and he wondered briefly if he was being influenced by The Three.
No. This is not Revenge. This is for the good of Meridell. If the kingdom weren’t in danger you’d not touch a single feather on his head.
Satisfied, Jeran ran with single-minded determination.
“Sir Jeran, that Darigan Eyrie really is good with the sword!” a voice cried.
“Fool! You gave him weapons?” Without waiting for an answer, he cried, “Where is he?”
“In the castle, sir...”
Jeran shot off, terrified of what Kass might do. There were innocents in the castle. His sister was there! He had to stop him!
“Jeran!” a voice cried after him.
Illusen. She didn’t know. He continued down the halls, ignoring her.
She caught up with him and circled around, grabbing him by the shoulders. “What’s wrong?”
“Get away!” he snapped. “I’ve got to stop him!”
“Jeran, you’re not making any sense!”
Jeran growled in impatience. He had to stop Kass! He couldn’t be allowed to run free while this stupid Earth Faerie asked questions!
“Get away, Illusen!” he shouted, bringing his sword up into her arm.
She released him and he pushed past her, not seeing the hurt, frightened look she directed his way as she sank to her knees with a bleeding arm.
* * *
The Eyrie sat in the library, surrounded by books. Open tomes lay to his sides, stacks of untouched books towered over him, and one lay on the desk in front of him as he frantically paged through it.
“Can I help you?” a hesitant voice asked.
He looked and saw a yellow Aisha, with thick red glasses. He recognized her to be Lisha, Jeran’s sister.
“I need information,” he said. “I must learn about a Faerie, and a couple of Neopets.”
“Well, there are several books about the Faeries.”
“Not this one.” He gestured helplessly to the books. “She’s never mentioned. I don’t know her name, only her appearance and that of her two companions.”
“Oh,” said Lisha softly. She went over to a shelf and pulled off a Neopedia volume. “You mean...” She opened to a page and held it out. “Them?”
The Three. He stared at their picture in horrified excitement. “That’s them!”
“You’d do well to forget them. They’ve caused kingdoms to disappear. They started two wars here, with their power over Lord Darigan and,” she hesitated, just for a second, “Lord Kass. If... if you try to work with them... They’ll give you all they promise, but you’ll end up obeying their every whim.”
“Why? Are Neopians so weak-minded? A properly worded agreement would—”
“No!” she cried. “They’ll end up the victors! You’ll lose your very soul to them!”
He shook his head. “I could outsmart them. I’m... I’m the lost ruler of a forgotten realm, you know,” he said, voicing his suspicions.
“You are not! And if you fell under their control once before, what makes you think—” She fell silent.
“What do you mean?” he demanded.
She was saved by a frantic whisper. “Lisha!”
It was Illusen, outside the library, looking terrified. The Aisha left, but the Eyrie’s thoughts were on a name that had struck a chord in his memory.
With an even greater passion than before, he began his research, this time looking for anything about a ruler called Kass.
* * *
“I seem to have done well with Kass.”
“And I with Jeran.”
“Now it is time to see what I can do with the king.”
The Three all laughed, and the Faerie smiled coldly. “With Kass on a mad quest for power and Jeran seeking cruel revenge, your added influence should be quite interesting. Chaos will rule over the land as it never has before!
“And now, let darkness fall.”
To be continued...