Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 178,232,619 Issue: 432 | 26th day of Awakening, Y12
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Domination: Part One


by akahakkou

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A light, sorrowful rain patters down from the sky, drenching the world in a bland, overcast grey. The mossy, carpeted forest floor is littered with numerous puddles as more water heaves forth from the heavens. You sigh slightly to yourself, swiping a sopping wet sleeve across your face to wipe away the drops, though only succeeding in drenching your face even more.

      You continue along slowly, your clothes soaked and clinging to your body tightly as more and more rain pelts downward from above. Through the trees, you spy a clearing, where the forest seems to thin out and drop away. In the centre of the clearing, your eyes lock upon an ancient looking sword, the blade made of a shining black, four feet in height, the point buried deep into the soil.

      Upon drawing nearer, you spy a cloaked figure, seated upon a large rock less than ten feet from the sword. Their head is bowed in a sorrowful manner, the hood of the cloak drawn up, shielding their face from not only the rain, but your vision, as well.

      Stepping free of the trees, you slosh through a puddle toward the figure, stretching out your right hand as you draw closer, prepared to touch their shoulder lightly. The moment your hand is within two inches of the cloaked figure, a gloved hand shoots forward, the fingers curling tightly around your wrist and the figure jerks their face in your direction.

      Beneath the hood, your eyes lock with the large, navy blue orbs of a split Zafara. He scowls slightly before releasing your wrist. You blink in surprise, tilting your head to the side slowly, massaging your now aching wrist ruefully with you other hand.

      “What do you want?” snaps the Zafara, sliding from the rock to stand before you, arms folded across his chest.

      You, at first, find yourself a little taken aback and can’t seem to answer. “I-I . . . Uh . . . ”

      The Zafara just pastes a coy little smirk upon his face, pacing past you and over to the sword, leaning lightly against it. “Got lost, eh?” He chuckles absently, running his hand along the blood channel of the sword. “And when you saw me, you wondered what I was doing out here all alone . . . ”

      You turn to watch the curious cloaked Zafara in silence for a moment before, slowly, you nod your head in admittance to his words. “Y-yes,” you stammer weakly, wary after travelling through the rain for so long.

      “I’m Tasslio . . . ” the male Zafara explains before looking thoughtful. “Would you like to hear a story?” he inquires quietly, gazing up at you patiently. You, once again, deftly bob your head ‘yes’ before slowly waltzing over to the rock Tasslio had been sitting on, and take a seat. “Good . . . Good . . . ” And with that, the young Zafara launches into his tale.

     ***

      I struggled, attempting to dig my paws into the snow-covered dirt as a furious Aisha bundled me along, followed by several other armour clad neopets, his grip tight around my upper arm and his spear point at my back. “Move it,” he hissed in my ear, pricking my back with the spear to hurry me along. I growled, moving forward reluctantly, spewing insults and curses. “This is what happens when you trespass on Goldeneyes’s territory,” responded the Aisha deftly.

      “Rotten old tyrant . . . ” I spat, scowling at my captors. Knowing that fighting against them would be futile, I stumbled along ahead of them, spear points at my back. The landscape was barren and the trees were leafless, their boughs weighted down by snow, causing them to sag and bend. A large, yellow sandstone fortress rose up ahead of us, a tall rock wall surrounding it.

      The red Aisha picked up his pace, hauling me along roughly and halting at the mighty oaken door in the surrounding stone wall that marked the entrance of the fortress. He rapped upon the door with the rear of his spear several times and a moment later it slowly swung inward.

      “Inside,” commanded the Aisha, guiding me forward with one hand clamped down roughly upon the back of my neck. I stumbled through the gigantic doorway, shifting my gaze from left to right as I entered. A dusty, well-worn path lead ahead across the mighty grounds outside the fortress. Two scarred, scraggly, and filthy looking Lupes stood on either side of the path, eyeing me darkly. Curved, rusted old swords were held at their waists by tattered old black leather belts, and one wore a ragged red scarf tied around his head.

      I narrowed my eyes slightly, letting a hiss of air out from between my clenched teeth. It seemed that I would have no means of escape, not with guards at the doors, and foolish soldiers parading about and practising their sword play upon one another. I was jerked roughly from my thoughts as the red Aisha behind me gave a forceful shove to the back of my neck and sent me sprawling onto the path.

      “Bow, fool! Your lord approaches,” he growled, standing quickly at attention as the massive doors in the front of the fortress creaked open slowly, their hinges groaning and screeching with protest.

      A figure trekked easily out onto the path, their long, flowing red coat billowing out behind. I almost chuckled at the sight of the red coat wearing yellow Xweetok. He was rather tall, as far as Xweetoks go, although short in comparison to myself, with large shell-shaped ears, a fluffy little brush of a tail, and a mane of hair spiking up from between his furry little ears. However, something about the haughty, arrogant way he walked told me that he was a force to be reckoned with.

      The Xweetok padded slowly toward us, his gaze locking on mine, daring me to make a foolish move of some sort. As the Xweetok drew closer, the red Aisha at my side executed a sloppy salute, calling out, “Greetings, Lord Xuukku. I came across this rotten trespasser just a mile East of the fortress.”

      Halting, the Xweetok, Xuukku, glared down at me, gripping my chin and jerking my face upward, the sunlight searing into my eyes. After a moment of looking me over, Xuukku released my chin, giving a contemptuous little snort. “This little weakling is of no use to me . . . ” He trailed off after a moment, looking thoughtful. I gritted my teeth to hold back on snapping out a response. “Toss him down in the dungeon. A few months in there should teach him a lesson.”

      “Yes, sir.” The red Aisha saluted once more before roughly grabbing my arm, hauling me to my feet. “C’mon, whelp,” he hissed viciously, starting forward and jerking me along behind him. Xuukku turned to watch us leave, a crooked smirk etched across his face. I glared over my shoulder at him, growling slightly to myself as I was trundled away into the fortress.

      Inside, soft, bright red and golden curtains hung down from the walls, halting barely an inch from the floor. The stone flooring where most would tread was covered by a thick, red plush carpeting, trimmed with gold, tassels adorning the sides. Leading off the entryway were two long hallways, one going to the left, the other to the right. At the end of the right corridor, a staircase was visible, spiralling upward into the upper-level of the fortress, while down the left corridor, a staircase plunged downward to the bowels of the fortress. The red Aisha jerked me down the left corridor to the staircase.

      I thrashed slightly, letting air hiss out from between clenched teeth. The Aisha simply tightened his grip on my forearm, dragging me down the staircase in silence. When we reached the bottom, the dungeon guard, a Silver Blumaroo, greeted us with a nod. He looked me over before slowly sidestepping and allowing the two of us to pass.

      We trekked past numerous cells, some empty, others with straw scattered across the floor, used for bedding, I assumed. Finally, we halted in front of a cell and the Aisha released me for a moment. The second his grip dropped from my arm, I stole my chance, aiming a swift kick at the Aisha’s feet, knocking them out from under him. I turned, bolting further down the hallways full of cells, my heart hammering within my chest.

      My heavy hind paws slapped against the cold stone floor loudly, echoing out around me and reverberating off of the walls. I heard the Aisha shout at me to halt as he dashed along in pursuit. I swung quickly around a corner, darting down yet another row of cells, wind screeching in my ears as I raced quickly forward. Rounding another corner, I dove into an empty cell, burrowing under the straw and holding my breath.

      The Aisha thundered past the cell a few moments later, yelling out for me to stop. I waited until his voice and quick footsteps receded before I sat up, shoving straw aside. A little, indignant squeak of protest escaped a pile of straw I had just discarded and as I peered at it, a fluffy little Angelpuss fluttered into the air in front of me, his cheeks puffed out and little mews and squeals of outrage escaped him.

      “Oh! Uh . . . Sorry, I didn’t see you there,” I explained, keeping my voice hushed. The Angelpuss blinked at me before flitting over to the cell door and peeking out. He turned back to me a second later and made a ‘tsk-tsk’ sort of gesture, waggling his left forepaw in the air. “What? You didn’t expect me to let him lock me up, did you?” I cried in response, feeling the need to defend my position in the whole matter.

      The Angelpuss stared at me pensively before turning away once more, flittering out of the cell, and then out of sight. Leaving me alone.

To be continued...

Thanks to tedizrul for allowing me to use his pet in this story. I'd love some feedback, so feel free to neomail me.

 
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