The Story of a Silent Prisoner
My name is Daer Farill.
At least, it once was, for now my new name is simply Clop.
Now, I reside in the Citadel Dungeons, forced to play a game called cellblock to appease the warden, Master Vex. I am not unhappy, however. Ever since Kass was overthrown, I have been fed more wholesome foods and fresher water, and yet I still wish for freedom, ever wondering when Lord Darigan shall release me from my cold, unforgiving cell.
I write my diary now, for two reasons. One is because I cannot speak, and two is because I want others to know of my plight, and what happened oh so many years ago that robbed me of my life and speech...
I was once a noble, brave protector of the Darigan Citadel before its destruction. Children ran around, enjoying themselves, and I was eager to play with them, and help them should any get hurt or bullied. They loved me, and I loved them back.
It was two days before the Meridell raid. Everything was calm, tranquil, and I was standing before Galgorroth, who was my overlord.
“How are the borders of our fair citadel?” he inquired, and I felt myself smile.
“As good as they will ever be. You seem so worried...”
“Of course. Morguss warns us all of impending doom... I fear the worst.”
“Is that why you fortified our borders with more guards?”
I felt myself laugh. How cruel indeed that Galgorroth’s wisdom was to be justified two days later! Suddenly, however, a young Blumaroo came forward and tugged the hem of my cloak. She was holding a small plushie Yurble and sobbing quietly. “What is wrong, Rinn?” I asked her.
She hugged her soft toy and I saw tears come afresh. “I had a nightmare about big white creatures with knights upon them, armed to the teeth, charging through the citadel and burning my house!”
I waited patiently until she finished crying and then smiled. “Cheer up, it was only a nightmare. And besides, with all of our patrolling guards,” I waved my hand to the citadel walls, “it is simply impossible that any white warriors will attack us.”
Nonetheless she cried, and after calming the girl down, I returned her back to her family, giving her one of my old toys to enjoy. That seemed to cheer her up, but ever since she spoke, I felt great foreboding enter my mind, and took a glance at the citadel. Oh fair Citadel, what could ever try to overthrow you?
The following day was filled with even more foreboding. Lord Darigan tried to calm everyone, but Morguss’ strange claims were ever disturbing and spread throughout the town. The market place, ever booming with people buying their wares, was unnaturally quiet. And still the guards reported nothing, so I foolishly let my own guard down.
The day after was the day of the raid. Since nothing had happened prior, most of our people were calmer and more willing to get out of their homes. It was my break from patrolling the fortifications and I was resting peacefully under the shade of a tree on a hill that overlooked the market.
It was not long before I heard cries of dismay. In an instant I was up, squinting at the gates. The guards were shouting and the gates shuddered with a dull thud that rolled over the town like thunder.
In seconds, the gates splintered and a horde of white and silver poured into the citadel like a tide. I grasped my sword and lunged to help my people as they ran from the knights, realizing with horror that all the omens were correct. There were eight knights in total, and they used a battering ram to break into the citadel. How it was possible for them to build one right under the shadow of the gates was beyond me, but when I heard cries for help, I did not think, I acted.
One knight, a Kougra in dazzling armor wearing a livery of red and blue, charged towards me, knocking me off my hooves. Such an attack! I quickly managed to get back up and waved my blade before the face of the white Uni steed, watching with grim satisfaction as she reared, sending the Kougra knight sprawling. I quickly turned to see some houses burning, and two of the guards chasing after a knight who was crying out to retreat, holding a shimmering orb in the crook of his arm.
I thundered after him, but the Uni steed was experienced and too fast. I only managed to hit the flanks of an escaping knight, watching it stumble before regaining itself and running out.
I was stunned for a few moments before I heard screams. Houses were on fire! I managed to spot a bucket and filled it up with stream water before running to put out the furious flames. I spotted a Grarrl running out of one with some possessions before it collapsed. I was too late.
They had done the unthinkable.
After everything was over, I assessed the situation and discovered that no one was killed, though there were too many wounded in the assault. How could they?
It was not long before word came out of the target of the raid. The legendary Darigan orb, the one thing that kept our lands peaceful and plentiful, was stolen! At first I thought nothing of it, and spent my hours rebuilding the homes that had fallen and burned, but then we began to realize that a strange aura of darkness had spread out before us.
The once glorious land was now tortured and food was difficult to come by. Stealing became all too frequent, and Lord Darigan had retreated into his private quarters. All of us were worried for his health, and it was after a talk with the guards that I decided to pay him a visit, hoping to learn more about what was going on.
For some reason, he had asked Galgorroth to prepare the forces and make them strong. I decided to ask the Grarrl about Darigan, but he was just as confused as I was, and told me that I was to stay as far away from him as possible. Since Galgorroth was my superior, I was forced to accept the order and trained with the guards into a powerful fighting squadron.
Then it happened.
We all knew that Morguss was planning a powerful spell, but we did not think of it too much. I, for one, was curious, but under strict orders I kept training. It was early afternoon that the darkened clouds, which were once open to reveal a beautiful expanse of blue, became more tormented. A few shudders, like those of an earthquake, rushed over the citadel, and we were worried.
A few hours later, a huge quake shuddered under our feet and sent us to the ground. The walls were sinking! Our whole squadron watched with horror as the walls disappeared into the earth, and it was only after a while did we realize that it was not the walls that were sinking, but the entire citadel was being lifted from the ground!
I gripped the earth with horror, and then spotted General Kass, one of the closest aides to Darigan, ordering some fearful workers to construct a fence around the circumference of the entire Citadel, before announcing that a new day had fallen upon us, and that it was our destiny to make war with the evil knights and their kingdom that so ingloriously took our property from us.
For five minutes I was mortified by the endeavor, before realizing that something was horrifically wrong. Lord Darigan was a peaceable leader who always chose a path untainted by war. How was it that he so suddenly decided to make war upon a kingdom we did not even know about?
I decided to find some answers myself, against the orders of my superiors. I sheathed my blade and snuck into Darigan’s quarters in the middle of the night, while the guards were changing their shifts. I slowly made my way to the room that was his own, but then I spotted a little side tunnel behind one of the statues that held up the ceiling.
My curiosity got the better of me and I entered the tunnel, which was, like the rest of the citadel, cold, wet and unforgiving, covered in cobwebs as if it had not been cleaned ever since the raid.
There I saw a little creature crouching, ear to the wall. “Who are you?”
The fellow seemed extremely startled, and I noticed that it was a little red Korbat. “Barallus is my name, sir, I did no wrong, sir, please don’t beat me, sir!” he said quickly, eyes wide with fear.
“What are you doing?”
Barallus seemed uncomfortable before finally speaking. “Eavesdropping, sir. On Darigan and Morguss, sir.”
My heart beat faster and I realized that this was my chance to finally learn about what was going on. “What have you learned?”
“Too much, sir.” Barallus looked upset.
“Can I join?”
At my words, the little Korbat beamed. “Yes, sir! Put your ear here and listen, sir!”
I did as told and listened in to the conversation, only to be greatly disappointed. “Good work, Morguss. You may have your leave now.”
I heard the door close and then a shuffle. “I did as told.” I heard Darigan say to no one in particular, and Barallus and I exchanged confused glances.
Moments later, we heard a dark hiss... or was it three? “Well done, Lord Darigan,” came a cultured voice. “Your ambition will make you conquer the pitiful land of Meridell.”
“Your will to accomplish revenge shall make you victorious,” said a female voice.
“And your greed shall make you great,” finished a deep, rough voice.
“I only do what I think is right for my people,” Darigan said quietly.
“But of course,” agreed the female. “All we wish to do is help you in your effort, for we care for your people and we want them to live peaceful lives.”
A gruff snort followed. “Yes. Now, the citadel has risen due to Morguss’ magic. Now we shall fall upon Meridell like a deathly shadow and punish them for destroying us!”
“And we shall assist you.” The three voices spoke as one.
“In the end, what is it that you want in return?” Darigan queried.
A silence followed. “We shall tell you when all has gone according to plan.”
Before anything else could be said, suddenly, the deep-voice roared. “We are being heard!”
My heart stopped. Barallus and I had no time to run. The wall fell down with a crash and I was flung back by the force. There, standing with wings stretched and a face filled with malice and a hint of surprise, was Lord Darigan, his hands alight with fiery magic. Behind him, in a pool of darkness, surrounded by energies most foul, were three spectral beings – a faerie, a Gelert, and a Skeith, with their ghostly bodies enshrouded by cloaks of shadow.
“These two strive to prevent you from accomplishing your revenge!” cried the faerie. “Destroy them!”
I cowered, frightened beyond measure, watching. Barallus was hidden behind me and I could hear him whimpering pitifully. Strangely enough, Lord Darigan paused his attack. “Why should I destroy them when I should imprison them instead?”
“A good idea, Lord Darigan. We chose you correctly, it would seem,” the Gelert said with a hint of a malicious smile. “Prior to our conversation, I sensed that this little Korbat was here first, and he overheard everything you and Morguss said. However, this Moehog only overheard our conversation. He knows very little.”
With a strong hand, Darigan pulled Barallus from behind me, and I watched as he tried his best to hold on to me but only succeeded in removing one of my foreleg guards before he was pulled up for us all to see.
In an instant he began to scream. “Waahh! Help me! Aaaahhh! Raaaaaaaaah!!!” I was too frightened to move, but both Darigan and the three beings clutched their ears.
“Silence him!” demanded the Skeith.
An arrow of magic was unleashed from the faerie’s fingertips and charged straight towards Barallus. The little Korbat was still screaming and waving back and forth in Darigan’s hand. Just as the arrow reached him, he lifted the ring of metal up and the arrow ricocheted towards me. I had no time to dodge it, and it hit me square in the face.
A burning fire filled my throat and I screamed raggedly, my body twisting as I felt my words become incomprehensible. When the fire died, I tried to call out for help, but instead my words turned into a garbled mess. I lost the ability to speak!
Lord Darigan glanced at Barallus, who was still hanging but had become utterly silent with fear. “Yes,” he murmured. “This one shall be kept under full lock and key so that he may never tell anyone of what happened.” In response, the little Korbat dropped my guard and whimpered.
“As for this one, he knows too much. He will be thrown into the dungeons as well.”
I tried to say ‘no,’ but all that came out was a pained groan.
“Good choices, Lord Darigan. We shall speak again later,” murmured the faerie, and in a thin, black mist, the threesome disappeared.
Moments later, two Techo guards appeared, and Darigan turned to look at them. “Take these two away.”
I remember being thrown in a dark dungeon. Already there was someone who was called ‘Number Five’ and he frightened me to the quick. He kept talking about Jelly World and banging his staff against the wall, or even his own head. The crazy Lupe was fully unaware of our presence.
It was not long before more prisoners came into the fore: and when I did not recognize them, I realized that the invasion had already begun. Unable to communicate with them, we devised a code. By creating a pattern of hoof-beats, I could express different words. One for yes, two for no, three for hunger, and the other two I had already forgotten.
Barallus was, as Darigan commanded, kept under tight supervision. The only time he was freed was when he was to eat, drink, or play cellblock. I dearly hoped that one day Barallus would actually tell everyone about what happened, but he was filled with so much fear that he could only speak quickly, and his words were taken as those of a mad-creature’s.
Now, I only sat in the corner of my cell, waiting for the day when I would be freed. But when that day would come, I had no idea. All I knew was that there was nothing to do, other than play cellblock every single day. Even at that game I was terrible.
So one day I managed to get my point across and Master Vex, the warden, gave me papers and a pen. With these tools, I managed to write out my story (it was quite difficult, as I had hooves), and now I am at the end. I hope that with these papers I will finally be released, for we – the other prisoners and myself- did no wrong to the Citadel.
I also hope, that with this tale, all will understand why I no longer am able to speak, and that leads to the second wish in life.
To talk once again.