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The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Three


by fierwym

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Part Three

Traitor

"No!" the demon Lupe cried. "Please, I truly mean no harm!"

     "Yeah, and we're Darigan returned from the dead," hissed Aleron.

     "What can I do to make you trust me?" the Lupe said, backing up.

     "Nothing, demon," snapped Tamal. He and Aleron leapt forward, and Aleron swept his claws over the Lupe's face. His muzzle beginning to bleed, the Lupe realized that he would not live much longer.

     He then dropped to the ground, and rolled over on his side: obvious surrender. The two knights looked down, stunned. Then, Tamal reared up, prepared to strike a fatal blow.

     Avari leaped in front of him, over the Darigan Lupe. "Knight!" she cried, voice ringing with anger. "You are sworn to valor and honesty. Here lays your enemy, surrendered. By law and by truth, you cannot kill him."

     The Uni backed off and fell back upon his feet. "Squire," he hissed, and she looked him straight in the eye. "Do you realize what your trespass does to your prospect of becoming a knight?"

     She could feel all three pairs of eyes staring at her, though she still held Tamal's in her own. "Yes," she said quietly. "But I do not have to be a knight to live by chivalry, or to protect those that a knight is sworn to protect. This minion has surrendered, and therefore you can do him no harm unless he gives reason."

     "Just being a demon gives me reason to kill him," Aleron muttered, and she glared at him. She then looked down at the one that she had given up her knighthood to protect. His crimson eyes gazed up at her in wonder. Someone that would protect a demon? he probably thought now. Such is unheard of.

     Just like a female knight, she thought ironically. Such is unheard of.

     "If you lay down your life to protect this demon, you understand all consequences?" asked Aleron, and she looked up at him. Yes, she knew. The dream of knighthood, stripped away. If the Lupe she had just guarded betrayed his surrender and did something, she was held accountable. Yes. She understood.

     "Yes," she told the blue Eyrie. "I understand all consequences."

     "Then the demon is not our problem." He turned and walked back to the fire. "You must guard him, and guard others from him. He is your charge now, and I will have nothing to do with him. It is your task to decide his fate."

     After a minute's hesitation, in which Tamal and Avari glared at each other, Tamal turned and rejoined Aleron. After she was content that both would not come back, she stepped back to release the demon Lupe.

     "Why did you do that for me?" he asked quietly, rising to his feet once more. He was large, nearly four feet at the shoulder, while her shoulder-height was a foot less than that. On his muzzle was the new wound of three marks running across, though he didn't seem troubled by it.

     "Because that is what a true knight would do," she replied.

     "What did he mean, your prospect of becoming a knight?"

     She sighed. "It's a long story. Maybe someday I'll tell you. Now, come. The night is cold, and the other two won't hurt you now that you are under my protection. Even without any rights of a knight, I still hold the right of a Meridell citizen in the fact that I can protect someone as I am doing you."

     He nodded. "Oh, wait," he said. "I must get something."

     She nodded. "Don't take too long."

     He disappeared into the darkness, returning several minutes later with several rolls of parchment clamped in his mouth. He dropped them at her feet.

     "What are these?" she asked, unrolling one with her paw. It was a detailed map of the lands surrounding Meridell, with many notes and symbols.

     She looked up at him, and he grinned ruefully. "They're plans," he replied. "Blake's plans. He's going to destroy Meridell."

      Blake was very angry. Not just angry, enraged. When he had shown the Lenny, Zamir, a prisoner he had captured, someone had come in a stolen every single plan for the destruction of Meridell. Obviously someone skilled in the art of sneaking around, for no Guards had found him. When Blake had returned, it had been to a room empty of everything useful.

     Confused at first, he quickly became enraged. Whoever had stolen the maps and plans must have also heard the plans to kill Raatri. Raatri might be warned, and escape to fulfill his destiny. Not once in those first few moments did it occur to Blake that Raatri himself could have stolen the plans.

     Not until he had the Citadel search. For the search yielded one simple piece of information that set fire into Blake's crimson eyes. There was only one person missing from the Citadel.

     The thief was Raatri.

     It meant that Raatri knew not only of Blake's plans for Meridell, but had probably told Meridell itself. It also meant that Raatri probably knew of Blake's plans to kill him.

     Blake was very angry.

     Why had Raatri chosen that night of all nights to sneak around? Had he been doing so all along? Where was he? Would he play hero and warn Meridell?

     Blake suddenly smiled. The people that lived below hated all demons. With luck, they would kill Raatri on sight, ending his destiny. With even more luck, the Lupe may have left the plans somewhere, and Meridell would never learn of the attack.

     But that was just luck. He had to be sure. Raatri must be killed. New plans had to be made to counteract Raatri's betrayal.

     Raatri had to be destroyed.

     And what better way than to send in an assassin to kill the prince?

      "Destroy Meridell?" whispered Avari, eyes wide. She unrolled parchment after parchment, summing up the conclusion in her head. "This would completely annihilate us."

     "Yes," he said. She looked up at him.

     "You have betrayed your people," she whispered, stunned. "To save us."

     He sighed. "My story, too, is a long one. In the future I may relate it to you. You must now tell the other two, so that Meridell can be warned." He shook his head. "Blake must be stopped."

     She looked into his eyes, searching for whatever lay behind. She could not penetrate past the stony exterior.

     "Let's go," she whispered, rolling the plans back up.

      "You see, Aleron?" said Avari. "He came to warn us."

     "And how do we know that this just a distraction from some other plans?" the Eyrie asked. He looked to the demon Lupe. "You may just be a decoy."

     "I assure you, I am not," Raatri said, bowing his head to the knight. "Blake already plans to kill me, for I am the true heir to the throne."

     The Eyrie snorted. "What exactly do you mean by that?"

     The Lupe sighed. "My name is Raatri. I am the last surviving son of Kiros, who was king of the Citadel before Blake killed him. I come from the line of Lupes that have ruled in place of Lord Darigan until he comes again."

     "Your father, mother, and siblings were killed," said Avari quietly, eyes intense as she looked at him."

     "Yes," the minion said quietly, nodding his head. "I was the oldest of six. Blake killed them all and stopped at me. A Seer stayed his hand from killing me. I have some destiny to fulfill, though I do not know what it is. I match every description given, and last night I overheard Blake himself plan to kill me. I am now outcast from everyone, Meridell by lineage and the Citadel by choice. Now that I have delivered these plans to you, you must decide what you will do with me. I cannot return to the Citadel, for Blake will kill me on sight. Unless you allow me into Meridell, its gates too are barred against me."

     "You must fulfill your destiny," said Avari. She looked to the two knights. "One of you can take the message back, and the other can continue the quest that King Skarl has sent us on. I will go with Raatri and help him find whatever fate has been planned for him."

     The Eyrie's eyes narrowed. Of course, she thought. Here is his great opportunity to rid himself of me once and for all.

     "I agree. Tamal will deliver the message. I will go on to the Citadel. You two will try and find clues as to Raatri's fate."

     Avari nodded, as did Tamal. Soon each drifted off to sleep, Avari alone staying awake to keep watch on a tall boulder overlooking the campsite and some areas beyond the many trees.

     She thought about the minion while she sat alone near the embers of the fire that had almost died out. He was so much like her. She knew that his parents had been killed, just as her parents, and that he had been sole survivor. Both wanted to be something that was unheard of: he a good "demon", she a knight. And both had given up special rights and promises to protect someone that they did not know.

     The next day, they would depart together. She hoped that through him she could become the knight she had wanted to be, if just in heart and not in name.

     She smiled, looking down at him. Who could believe that the peaceful giant below her was considered a demon and monster? She could tell from the look in his eyes and the tone of his voice that he was genuine, and that the papers he had brought them were not fake. She just hoped that Tamal didn't spread lies. For who at the castle of Meridell would even glance at the plans of Blake if they knew that a demon had brought them?

      The creature they called Zev slinked into the darkness. He, like the Cybunny Seer and the traitor Raatri, was black as night. More so, he was blacker than night. Light never reflected off of his scales, but was wholly absorbed. It cast the illusion that he was just a shadow, darker than dark, blacker than black. Even his eyes, instead of the crimson color of most of his kind, were black. Truly, he was a shadow.

     A very dangerous shadow.

     Some called him the Viper. Others, the Wolf, for he only came at night. He did not have a name, other than Zev: even that was just a title. When he had hatched from his egg it had been to a world of blackness and waste. He had never known his mother or his father. The other eggs were so cold that they would never hatch. He did not know how he had survived when all others died, but he had.

     Blake was the one that found him. Normally Darigan Techos were always avoided, for they were the most frightening of the lot. Not only that, but over the past two hundred years or so they had become more sleek, smaller, agile. Some even began to carry poison in their mouths like a snake.

     So when Blake found the clutch of frozen eggs and the newborn Techo, he had taken the poisonous lizard. Zev was too young to defend himself, his poison glands not near powerful enough to hurt Blake. Even his tiny razor-sharp teeth were too small to penetrate the Eyrie's skin. So Zev was taken in, just a hatchling, and raised. No one knew of him. No one except his master, his father, Blake.

     Blake had trained Zev for the best post a poisonous Darigan could have: an assassin. Sleek as the fur of a newborn Aisha, dark as a moonless midnight sky, poisonous as the deadliest viper, Zev was the perfect spy and assassin that Blake himself ordered. Zev would answer to no other than the master. The master told him everything he had to do, and everyone he had to kill. A single bite with one poison, and the victim lost all ability to move. Then Zev could kill the victim with his second set of poison, the fatal poison, or plunge a dagger into the victim. The master told him everything he had to do, and everyone he had to eliminate.

     The traitor, the prince, Raatri… he had to kill.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part One
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Two
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Four
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Five
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Six
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Seven
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Eight
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Nine
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Ten
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Eleven
» The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Twelve



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