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The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Twelve


by fierwym

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Part Twelve

The Knight Within

"We are faced now with a great problem."

     King Vladimir of Meridell stood before a great, organized crowd. His clear voice rang over them, causing the mutterings to cease and silence to reign in it wake.

     "Though Darigan had reclaimed the Citadel, both his kingdom and Meridell face the greatest problem we have had in many years."

     It was wintertime, the time when squires were knighted and speeches were made. Quite a few people were present; it had surprised several people that Raatri and Darigan were there as well. The king of the Citadel and a black Lupe with black wings, crimson eyes, and three parallel scars running across his muzzle-proof that his first encounter with Meridellian had almost cost him his life. One might never suspect that the stunning, warm, crimson eyes had once-not so long ago-been hard, cold, and hiding a internal war. After the initial shock of "demons in the castle" had worn off, Raatri and Darigan had been warmly-if hesitantly-welcomed.

     Stranger than the sight of the two "demons" was the sight of Avari sitting next to Raatri, head held high and eyes so determined that none dared ask her why she would sit so close to them. Most had thought she was dead, since that was what the liar Tamal had said. She had recovered from her wounds and regained her strength, though there were scars on her chest and forelegs. Sometimes, deep in her eyes, one might catch a glimpse of some war raging within her, yet she always kept quiet. No one except a few knew the trials that she had faced, and no one would know. They only knew-or believed-that she lived in a secret nightmare.

     As Vladimir paused, Aleron looked to his squire, finding his heart fill with a mix of regret and pride. He thought back to a few months before, when he and Tamal had received the news.

     "Tamal, I am ashamed of your actions," rebuked Aleron harshly. He had found the Uni up on the walls and parapets, overlooking the lands below.

     The Shadow Uni looked at him. "Whatever for, old friend?"

     "For your selfish, hateful, disgusting ways. I can't believe I never saw it; just as I refused to see Avari for what she was."

     "Avari is dead," Tamal said automatically.

     "Such that you said, Tamal," Aleron retorted. "Don't you remember what truly happened that night, when Raatri came? Or have your own lies sunk into you so deep that you don't see the truth anymore?"

     "What do you speak of?"

     "Avari did not die that night, as you said. She and Raatri went off to fulfill Raatri's quest. You are a blind and conceited fool, and I am ashamed I ever saw anything in you."

     "I am the greatest warrior Meridell has!"

     "Flash and shine fade away with time, Tamal. When you die, no one will remember you. What they will remember is Avari."

     "Avari!?" cried out Tamal in anger. "Avari is as good as dead! She is an arrogant fool that will never become a knight!"

     "There you are wrong. Avari is more a knight that you will ever be. She is not arrogant, nor a fool. And she will become a knight."

     "What!?" raged Tamal, rearing up in anger. Aleron didn't even flinch. "She can't become a knight! She will ruin me!"

     "Ha, so the truth comes out! You are already ruined, Tamal, right from the very start. You have hated Avari for what she is from the moment you heard of her. Admit it."

     "I have always hated her," growled Tamal through gritted teeth, coming back down on all fours.

     "Because she is greater than you, and you just can't accept that fact."

     "Yes," snarled the Uni. "How can she be so dedicated to becoming a knight when she knows she can't be one?"

     "Because, Tamal, she has something you don't have. She has love, love of her parents and memory of their love for her. And she has a dream to become what they want her to be."

     "It doesn't make sense," he said. "They are dead. Why shouldn't she go run off and do something a girl can do, not something denied?"

     "Don't the dead always stay with us? She is living her dream, Tamal. You are just so jealous of her that you don't want her to have it."

     "Yes."

     "And because of this, you are not a true knight." The voice was not Aleron's, but Vladimir's. The Uni jumped slightly: he had not heard him coming.

     "What are you saying?" the Uni asked.

     "That you are here-forth stripped of your title as a knight. You are no longer counted among the knights."

     "What!?" cried out Tamal in a rage. "You can't do that!"

     "Of course I can," Vladimir said softly. "It is my right as king, just as it is to make Avari a knight."

     "No! No!" The Uni fumed, staring from one to the other. "You will regret this one day!" He charged off the wall and flew away into the sky with a neigh of frustration and anger.

     "He can't accept the fact that Avari will be better than him," Aleron said quietly.

     "You understand that you too are stripped of your title."

     Aleron bowed. "I do. I have not been the person I should have been. Avari is more a knight than I am, and that is why I allow her to become a knight."

     The king nodded, pleased that Aleron had not fumed away as Tamal had done. "You also understand that if you prove yourself true, you may be again knighted."

     The Eyrie nodded. "But I am not sure that I want to be."

     The two watched the black shape of the wings fade away in the sky carrying the dishonored Uni away with them.

          "And though the Army retreated," the king continued, "we still lay in shambles from our own inner corruption."

     Darigan caught the look that Aleron had given Avari, and smiled slightly, remembering back to a day only a week or so after he had reclaimed the Citadel.

          When Darigan had reclaimed the Citadel, and had set things back in order as much as he could in so short a time, he had gone to Aleron the Eyrie knight. There he had done what he had promised Raatri he would do: persuade Aleron to make Avari a knight.

     He was met by a reaction that he hadn't predicted.

     "Greetings, Darigan," the knight had said, bowing slightly. "Why do you request me?"

     "I have come in regards to your squire," the ruler said quietly. "I understand that if she is not knighted this winter, she will probably never be."

     The Eyrie had laughed slightly, though it was not cold. "Yes. You have come to try and persuade me to let Avari become what she has dreamt to become. I appreciate your concern. I decided quite a while ago that I would let her be knighted. I was finally able to see past my injustice to her, see her for what she truly was."

     Darigan had smiled. "Well, I am glad to hear that! Does she know yet?"

     "Nay. She is still sleeping, fighting off the paralyzing poison. Keep what I have told you a secret, and don't tell anyone. I will tell her once she has recovered. I'm only afraid that she'll wash away the castle with her tears of happiness."

          "But there is a light that shines through the darkness," Vladimir spoke on. "Some may say that it comes from the commoners. But they too did not change their ways and try to save the crumbling kingdom. Some may say it comes from the king and the castle: I take no credit given, for I was but a princeling, and then a prisoner. I was dubbed a knight last week, and I will try to be what we need. But I am not this light. So who then does this light come from? The knights? There are no knights left, my friends. All the knights in the castle were greedy, selfish, and vile, and all were stripped of their titles. This is not news to you. You already know this. Who is left? Who is this light?"

     Raatri shifted slightly, staring at the king with his crimson eyes. Even now, months after his ordeal with Blake and his hurricane of magic, one might see a small glimmer of light in his eyes. The powerful magic he had called upon had left that there, just a mark, just a sign that he was more than what he appeared.

     "This light is not one that can be seen, not really. It is an inner light, the hearts that we need at a time such as this. There are only two currently that possess the light that we need. Only two."

     Two? thought Raatri. That couldn't be right. Who was the other? Many knew that Avari was to be dubbed a knight today, but who was the other? He had not heard of him.

     "For years now there has been a squire amidst us that has proven herself a knight time and time again. Yes, herself. For the first time in Meridellian history, there will be dubbed a female as a knight. Squire Avari is one of the two lights that will guide us through the darkness, one of the knights we need at a time such as this. She is a hero.

     "And there is another. His is a tale that very few know. Once, he was considered a monster among us, his kind immediately killed. He proved himself a hero by coming down from his home to warn our kingdom of our danger-even with the threat to his very life. For the past several months he and Avari have traveled, first to the Lost Desert, and then beyond. They went all the way to the Dark Side of the world, a place few return from, to bring back Darigan and restore peace. The other light in the darkness is Raatri the Darigan Lupe. He too is the knight we need at a time such as this. He, too, is a hero."

     The king looked to the stunned Raatri, smiling slightly. No one had told him he was going to be knighted. Not a single one. He looked to Avari, who looked just as stunned as he was. No, she hadn't known either. She smiled at him, eyes bright, shining slightly with a few barely contained tears. He grinned broadly back at her.

          Wow, thought Raatri. This is amazing. I never dreamt of it.

     I am to become one of Meridell's knights…

     Along with Avari.

     Two "firsts" happen today then, right? The first ever female to be dubbed a knight, and the first Darigan as well. And then a hero! They say I am a hero! And though the first, I probably won't be the last. There are the minions I took in while at the Citadel, those truly loyal to Darigan and peace.

     Was it worth it, staring out the window and wishing for such, and everything that has happened in between?

     It was worth it.

     Blake, gone. Darigan, returned. Peace, restored. And now I'm to be both hero and knight…

     Right along with Avari.

     Yes, Nightmares and assassins combined, all this mess was worth it to see the looks of pride on Meridellian faces… all looking at me.

          Avari was shocked, but extremely happy, at the revelation that Raatri would be her fellow-knight. She had known for quite some time that Aleron would allow her to be a knight. It had happened only a few weeks after she had woken up from her long sleep, when he had summoned her to the chamber that the king held meetings in.

     She had believed at first that she was to be posted as a squire again, a squire that wouldn't become a knight. She hadn't known, nor expected, what Aleron would say to her.

     "Squire," he said quietly, not really looking at her. She looked to him as always, expecting the worst. "Avari."

     She jumped slightly. Never before had she heard her name uttered from the Eyrie knight's lips! Quickly she controlled herself, though shock still reflected slightly off her face.

     "Relax, Avari," he said, looking to her. "Loosening your limbs won't ruin anything."

     "A squire is to remain steadfast and sure if he wishes to become a knight."

     "And what if she wishes to become one?"

     She bit her lip. "The same."

     Aleron sighed. "I have been wrong in my actions towards you, Avari. You have been a knight, more so than Tamal, more so than me… I just refused to see it. But now I do." He looked her directly in the eyes. "Would it please your father for you to be knighted this winter?"

     She almost yelped out in joy, then realized that this might be just a cruel test to throw her off guard, and thus ruin all chances she had left to become a knight. "It would please my father and my mother both were I to become what they wished me to be."

     "Squire Avari, I have decided to allow you to become what you have been born to be. Meridell needs you, my girl. I thank you for teaching me what a true knight really is."

     She trembled slightly, stunned by this. "Do you really mean it?" she asked, voice almost desperate.

     "I speak only truth," he said with so much conviction that she immediately believed him. "Go ahead and cry your tears," he said. "I'll tell no one."

     And she did. Aleron stayed with her, whispering encouragement as she thanked him over and over, tears falling. They were tears of deep happiness, for finally Avari would be what her father had wished her to be from the day of her birth: a knight.

      And so I will become the first female knight, thought Avari. Knight in name as well as in heart. Forever I will follow the code of chivalry. Forever will I be sworn to valor, to protect the weak and undo the wicked. I will be what Meridell needs me to be. Finally all will know what is within me: the heart of a true knight. Just as I promised you, Father, Mother.

      "And so we have our true knights. Avari and Raatri, please step forward.

     "I dub thee Sir Raatri of the Citadel and of Meridell." He touched the silvery sword to each of Raatri's shoulders as Raatri bowed his head. Avari bowed her head as well as the sword came gleaming her way, thinking only of her and her parents' dream.

     "Squire, I dub thee Lady Knight Avari of Meridell." Avari felt her heart burst with happiness, fervor, and contentment as the sword touched each of her shoulders, just as she had watched so many squires be dubbed before in the same way. Now, it was finally her turn. Now she was a knight.

     "May both of you prove yourselves the true knights that we need at this time, sworn to valor, guided by truth. In honesty you must live, and your path be that of the righteous. Let it be known that today we bring in a new set of heroes, for never before has there been a Darigan or a female in midst of the knights… until now. Theirs was the hardest task of all, for to become a knight, they had to prove themselves in bravery, in honor, and in truth. They had to prove themselves worthy of knighthood even when knighthood was denied them. They have shown to all that it is not the title or the skin that you own, but the heart that you possess. If you have the right heart, you can be a hero or a knight… if in mind and not in name. They have shown to us that it is not the title or the skin that truly tells who they are, for they are true knights: they have the spirit of the knight, within."

     THE BEGINNING…

The End

 -Authors Note-*hugs story in glee, dancing around and shouting out how much I love it, then notices you* Oh… *blushes* Well, I am extremely proud of this story. It is mine, so don't lay your hands on it! No stealing! My precious… Oh, wrong story! Anyway, Raatri, Avari, Aleron, Tamal, Blake, Zev, Hyja, Vladimir, King Skarl VI, the Nightmares, the Land of Nightmare, and any other lesser character are all mine. You can't steal them! You can't use them! Mine! I have worked extremely hard on this, and I trust you not to steal anything. If you like the tale, please tell me!

And yes, "The Beginning" at the end of the story signifies the fact that there are other tales I will tell about Avari and Raatri… Oh yeah, for updates and news about the next story in the Chronicles of Knight, please check Taariq_Randi the Gelert's webpage. Thank you for staying loyal 'til the end!

*gasps and takes several deep breaths*

Oh, yes, here's a list of thank-you's:

Thanks go to my family, for being patient with me as I told them over and over different things in my story.

Thanks go to my Neopets, for being patient with me as well, and not working on their sites while I wrote this. *gives them all hugs*

Thanks go to dark_stars_angel, for *challenging* me until I finished this story. ^^

Thanks also go to Neopets, for never giving us the other side of the world. There could be no Nightmares or Land of Nightmare if they had! ^^

 
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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 Three
» 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



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