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A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Four


by ikkin_with_attitude

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In front of Meridell Castle, King Skarl's forces stood, ready to be sent to attack Darigan at any time. The Three's plan had worked quite well- there was no shortage of willing fighters in Meridell, at least not after the news about Jeran. Now, all Skarl had to do was announce the new commander of Meridell's forces, and the fighting would commence.

     Skarl again walked onto the balcony from which he made speeches. "Despite our tragic loss of Jeran, our finest knight and commander, the other day, this fight cannot be abandoned! For Jeran's sake, we must fight on!" Skarl declared. "So it is with sorrow and anger that we must chose a new commander for Meridell, one who has seen first hand what it takes to command and carry out Jeran's position as nobly as he himself did. One of our beloved Jeran's fellow knights and closest friends, Sir Danner, is therefore a perfect candidate for this position. His heroism against Kass, fighting and enduring against enormous odds, served as his preparation to take this great and noble position. This time, however, the odds are in our favor! Follow Sir Danner, and your enemies will flee before your swords! Failure is no longer an option! Now, Sir Danner, receive your army!"

     "As you wish, your Majesty!" answered the excited Wocky. He finally held a position of importance! "Now, troops, we mount and fly to the Citadel!" Each of the knights mounted an Uni, and readied for their flight to the Citadel.

     Lisha, meanwhile, was trying to find a knight who would be willing to carry her up to the Citadel. She just had to find Jeran! Unfortunately for her, however, most of the knights were unwilling to put a young lady in harm's way, especially Lady Lisha. Just when she was about to give up, however, Lisha found a knight willing to bear her- a young Aisha not much older than herself, whose experiences in the war with Kass made her understand poor Lisha's situation perfectly.

     "Ready? Take off!" Danner called. Lisha was terrified as she flew up to the Citadel- not only was she terrified of heights, but she had never seen real combat before. As she flew higher and higher, she realized how foolish her plan was. How would she find Jeran in the middle of a battle? Would he even be able to talk to her? And how was a young Aisha like her, still a child, supposed to survive in battle with nothing but a toy Rod of Ultranova to protect her?

     In the Citadel, Jeran made his report to Darigan. "I was unable to locate a proper point of attack, my lord," Jeran said, trying his best to speak the appropriate term of respect without sounding sarcastic, though he found it nearly impossible. "Anywhere we attack, it would effect the innocents of Meridell, which would likely call the wrath of the rest of Neopia on us. However, I did find out something interesting..."

     "What is it, you fool of a Lupe, believing that we can win a war without anyone being hurt? Did you accidently trip one of Meridell's potato farmers and cause him to stub his toe?" the Citadel's ruler replied crankily. He had expected Jeran's insistence on the full protection of Meridell to have evaporated by now.

     "No, my lord," spat Jeran, no longer trying to keep his tone neutral. "Kass is alive!"

     "What?!" yelled Darigan. "How could he be alive?! I saw The Three dispose of him myself!"

     "I honestly have no more of an idea about why Kass is alive than you do. Why should a 'foolish Lupe' know better than the high and mighty Lord of Darigan Citadel?" Jeran asked sarcastically.

     "Why didn't you take him up to the Citadel?" Darigan asked, his voice cold. "Even a foolish Lupe such as yourself should have realized that I might want to speak to him!"

     "Actually, it is strange to tell," said Jeran. "Kass was being cared for by a young Usul named Sally, who almost seemed as if she knew you. She knew you were good, at least, a fact that few in Meridell are willing to accept. Do you know her?"

     Darigan's face softened. "Why yes, I do. She fed me until I was strong enough to fend for myself. I owe her my life. If she wants to keep Kass as a pet, it wouldn't be right for me to deny her."

     "My lord, Meridell's forces are closing in! Estimated time of arrival is ten minutes! We must prepare for an attack!" screeched the voice of an Eyrie Guard from outside. Jeran ran for the door, but was stopped by Darigan as he reached the doorway.

     "You cannot fight like that," he told Jeran. Jeran looked himself over- the only thing he was wearing was a poorly sewn Darigan tunic. He had lost even the chain mail that he was wearing before his transformation, and he was unarmed. He followed Darigan willingly into the armoury, where Darigan started searching out weapons for him.

     Darigan found an armour set as black as midnight and as strong as diamond and handed it to Jeran. "Shadow Armour," he explained. "It was part of a set given to Darigan before we found the Orb, a present from the Dark Faeries who lived on the other side of Neopia, and contains a great deal of their power. Do not fear it, however, as these particular Dark Faeries were not the evil troublemakers that Dark Faeries are always portrayed as- they were outcasts, and were friendly towards Darigan."

     The Citadel ruler moved off while Jeran changed into the armour. Though it looked a great deal too large for him when Darigan was holding it, it fit perfectly, and seemed to give him increased strength as well as great flexibility. He followed after Darigan, who handed him a sword.

     "The Sunblade, a sword forged from the very beams of the sun by Light Faeries. Though it was also given as a gift, none could be found in Darigan worthy enough to handle it. However, when you walked into the room, it began to glow, something it has never done before. I believe that you can wield it. And take this, too," Darigan said, holding out a scabbard. "It was made by Air Faeries specifically for the Sunblade. No other scabbard can hold it. Jeran secured the scabbard to his belt, and placed the Sunblade into it.

     "A horn made by Water Faeries. When this horn is blown, the allies of the one who blew it will hear it and come to their aid, in spite of fear or anything else holding them back. This will be useful if you need to gain the attention of my forces." Jeran smiled. Finally, something that would help him to keep Darigan's forces from destroying Meridell. Darigan, however, had more weapons for him.

     "And finally, a bow and arrow set. The bow was made by Earth Faeries, and any arrows shot from it will always hit their intended target. The arrows were made by Fire Faeries, and catch fire in the air. There are more of them then it looks, but they can run out, so be careful," Darigan said.

     "My lord," the Eyrie Guard from before said, "we're under attack!"

     "Get out there and protect the Citadel!" Darigan yelled. Jeran took the last weapons from Darigan and ran out the door, finding that Meridell's knights were about to land. He thought for a moment- what would be the best way to detain these forces? In a moment, he realized- nets! He blew on his new horn, calling the attention of the Darigan forces.

     "We need nets! If we trap the knights, they can't fight!" Jeran called.

     "Who are you, to order us?" asked a captain, a large Darigan Krawk.

     "No one," Jeran said, "but you can't deny that trapping your enemy is a good idea."

     "We already have nets set up," the Krawk said grumpily, "but it almost seems as if you care about what happens to Meridell."

     "I do," said Jeran. "Nonviolent methods are always preferable."

     "Yeah right," said a Skeith. "I'm hungry. I want something to eat. And fighting your way won't get me any food!"

     "Listen to the fool," said the Krawk. "We prove his methods wrong, and he doesn't bother us. Then you'll get your meal. Besides, Darigan spends half his resources feeding you Skeiths! Just use the catapults." Using the catapults, the Darigan forces launched nets upon the arriving Meridell forces, capturing many of the knights. The annoyed Darigans followed their Captain's orders, and everything went, in Jeran's opinion, rather smoothly.

     The first real troubles came when Darigan ran out of nets. The rest of Meridell's attack force were free to attack, and Jeran's plea for nonviolent methods precluded the normal method of launching arrows at them. Danner was confused- why wasn't Darigan attacking him? All Darigan had done was launch capture nets, and even those had stopped. It almost seemed as if the Darigan forces were trying to save everyone, something Danner knew he could use to his advantage, if he was willing to put up with the moral implications of such a decision. Hoping to test the waters and not wanting to risk his whole force, Danner sent a dozen archers up to menace the Darigan defenders.

     Seeing this attack, Jeran knew he had to think quickly. If any Darigan was attacked, nothing would stop the rest from retaliating. Jeran had to draw their attention from the main defensive force. "Hold your fire," Jeran ordered both his allies and opponents. "I propose a challenge!"

     A shockwave passed through Darigan's forces. If a knight declared a challenge, he and his opponents were to attack only each other, and to be free from interference from the rest of the warriors. The Krawk Captain realized what Jeran was doing. "I can't believe it," he said. "That fool would face off with twelve archers himself to protect them from us! Who is he?"

     The head archer looked down at Jeran. "You want to fight all twelve of us? You've just signed your own death certificate."

     "I politely disagree," Jeran said. "If I thought I had any chance of loosing, I wouldn't have challenged all of you. I know Meridell's archers," he smirked, "and they leave something to be desired."

     "Why you!" the archer yelled. "Fire on the fool!" Twelve arrows were fired at Jeran, who stood entirely still, letting the arrows whizz past him. One, however, was aimed well, but Jeran caught it.

     "What did I tell you?" Jeran laughed. "Poor archers, you are. If you listened to Jeran better, you would have had more practice. How lazy you are." Jeran took the arrow, and shot it at the head archer, hitting his bow out of his hand. "See? That's how it's done!"

     "Get him!" the archer ordered. "Teach him to taunt Meridell!" More arrows fired at Jeran, and again, Jeran remained unharmed, not even having to move. Jeran picked up some arrows off the ground, and disarmed more and more of Meridell's archers.

     "Give up now?" Jeran asked. "You no longer have bows, therefore you cannot harm me. I on the other hand, am still armed. Hopefully, you are all intelligent enough to realize your disadvantage." The head archer growled.

     "Retreat! We must tell Danner of this fool and his ideals. It could be of some advantage," the archer called. Jeran stood rather much in shock. Danner, the commander of Skarl's army? Of course it had to be someone that he knew, someone who he cared about personally. Jeran looked over the ledge into Meridell's forces. Darigan's forces were stationed on the second level of the Citadel, higher up than the Meridellian position on the first level. He watched as his friend Danner called for a full-force attack on Darigan's army. He reported this to the Krawk Captain.

     "Split up," the Krawk called. "We may be able to get a flanking position on them."

     "Can we fight for real this time?" the Skeith from before asked. "Hasn't that Lupe proven enough already? All he wanted was the glory from that stunt. Taking on twelve archers? Showoff..."

     "No, we keep following his ideals. I want to prove him wrong, not let him show that his way is just as good as ours. As I said earlier, it will shut the fool up. And fools are best left quiet. I'll go with the flanking force. That hero Lupe can lead the diversion. See his ideals survive a full assault..." the Krawk said.

     Jeran led half of Darigan's force into battle, meeting Danner's attack. Jeran himself wielded the Sunblade masterfully, rendering many knights unconscious before they even saw him. Danner himself met Jeran in battle.

     "So, you're the genius behind Darigan's brilliant new strategy," Danner said sarcastically. "What did you do, tell your troops not to harm us in any way whatsoever? How do you expect to win a war like that?"

     Jeran simply pointed behind Danner, blocking his blows effortlessly.

     "Oh, so I'm supposed to turn around, so you can drop your Mr. Morality act and finish me? I'm not an idiot. I learned my lesson from the best- my friend, Jeran!" Danner declared.

     "I would suggest you look behind you, my old friend," Jeran said. "We have your forces surrounded." Danner turned around, unbelieving. Meridell's knights were in complete disarray, trying to fight inside a circle of enemies, and failing.

     "I will gain safe passage for you if you leave the Citadel without attacking us. We will keep our prisoners, however. If you leave now, you will save Meridell much loss."

     Danner was entirely confused about why Darigan would let his opponents leave in peace, but he called his retreat anyways, and Jeran made sure that his word was kept, despite the anger of most of Darigan. Meridell escaped an attack fully unharmed, perfectly following Jeran's plan.

     After Danner's forces left, Jeran rounded up all of the captured Meridell knights, waking up all those who were unconscious. "You may leave here," he told them, "as long as you promise not to fight our forces again." As expected, most of the knights left, surprised to be let free. A young Yellow Aisha, however, stayed behind.

     "Jeran?" she asked, staring at the Darigan Lupe before her, who looked so different from the Jeran she knew. "Are you really him? Are you really alive? I can't believe it!"

     Jeran pulled his sister into a hug. "Of course I am," he told her. "It takes much more than the Darigan Citadel to finish me!"

     "But...what happened?" Lisha asked. "Why do you look...like that?"

     "Darigan did not trust me," Jeran answered. "He wanted to make sure that I wasn't a spy, or something. And I had to protect Meridell. Though if I realized that I would be turned Darigan, and that you would not trust me... let's just say my decision wouldn't be so hasty."

     "How are you protecting Meridell?" Lisha asked. "You're fighting against Meridell, not for it! And it would be nearly impossible for you to hold the whole Darigan army in check! It doesn't make any sense!"

     "Lisha, the whole conflict doesn't make sense. The Three are using Skarl, and they want to destroy both Meridell and Darigan. So, to protect Meridell, I must fight for Darigan, simply because Darigan is against The Three, and Meridell is under their control. I suppose it may not seem to be the way now, but in the long run, it will make sense, I hope. But I must go. I must answer to Darigan for my actions today.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» A Peace that Would Lst One Thousand Years?: Part One
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Two
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Three
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Five
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Six
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Seven
» A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Eight



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