The Last Days of the Citadel: Part Two
Narissa was staring at the Orb. Being so close by, she could feel its power and she remembered how it was the first time, when she had entered this room without permission. At that time, she wouldn’t dare to do so, but now she wondered what would happen when she touched the Orb.
Draconis Darigan stared out of the window of the room of the High Tower. To the inhabitants of the Citadel this room was commonly know as the Orb Room, although its official name was the Room of the Generosity of the Lady of the Citadel.
“I can’t believe you climbed your way up here.”
Narissa laughed, while she planned on explaining how climbing up the chestnut tree that was growing next to the tower gave her a head start, how the ivy on the tower was strong enough to held her further on, and how stepping places had been hewn out off the tower on the highest part of her trail. Somehow, she believed, they were placed there that way to make it possible to escape with the Orb in time of need. After all, not every Lord of the Citadel had wings!
She was, however, interrupted by another voice.
“Well, that’s something I’m not believing either.”
The White Draik who walked up to Draconis and Narissa was long and tall. Even without the long green and yellow-bordered white ceremonial robes, she would have been a real beauty. However, she was not just beautiful. The Draik had some kind of natural authority over other Pets. Almost all inhabitants of the Citadel would bow when she passed by. Clivia was the Guardian of the Orb and she knew it!
From the moment Narissa started her training as apprentice under Clivia, there had been tension between the two of them. Narissa was young and her powers were only still developing, but it was clear she was strong already. She was a sorceress and a seer. Clivia knew too well one day Narissa would take her place as Guardian of the Orb and although that day would still be many long years away, she didn’t like the thought of it.
Clivia continued talking.
“I think our little Narissa is having some problems with keeping dream and reality from each other, don’t you think so, Morguss?”
Narissa looked in shock. How could she? But no, Clivia could not know about the dreams she’d been having.
The Moehog standing behind Clivia giggled.
“I think so too, my Lady,” she said in a voice full of flattery.
The Moehog wasn’t very pretty and when she was showing up next to Clivia, this was accented even more. Because of this, Narissa had often felt sorry for the Moehog, but she was deathly loyal to Clivia and liked joining her in mocking Narissa. The latter also suspected Clivia might have planned to have Morguss follow in her place as Guardian of the Orb. Narissa was the intruder in this world and the two of them would do everything to make her feel this way.
“Quiet!” Draconis shouted. “You disappoint me, Clivia. I didn’t expect you to talk this way and I don’t hope I’ll ever hear this from you again.”
“Oh yes, we all know how things work here,” Clivia said with a sarcastic look. “I wonder what the citizens of the Citadel would say about their lord giving all kinds of favourite jobs to his friends.”
Darigan didn’t blink. “I know what’s good for those who are entrusted to me, Clivia. If I didn’t know that, you wouldn’t be working here.”
Haughty, the White Draik walked away, leaving the room.
“I’m warning you, Draconis, the day might come when you need me, and I will not be there.”
The Lord of the Citadel rolled his eyes.
“It’s a good thing I know a false prophecy when I hear one.”
Later on, Narissa would be very glad Clivia left at the very moment. She had finally gathered enough courage to touch the Orb. Narissa was a seer; many seers before her had used the Orb in the same way to predict the Citadel’s future. She closed her eyes and opened her mind for the images she was seeing.
She heard Draconis whisper from afar.
“What are you seeing?”
“Some kind of festival, a celebration. You’re a few years older, I think, and I’m... no, I’m not the Guardian of the Orb; Clivia’s still there and... You’re making Kass head of the Eyrie guard!”
Normally, Lord Darigan would have laughed about this, because this had been a common joke between the friends, but the prophecies of the Orb were known to always come true.
“Oh no!” Narissa cried silently. “They’re there.”
There was panic showing in her face now.
“Who are they?”
“Knights, knights wearing red and blue. Shields, and swords. And a crown of gold! They’re destroying the Citadel. They’re after the Orb!”
Narissa barely felt how she staggered and her legs gave way. Draconis caught her before she fell.
“Hush, Narissa, calm down. There’s nothing wrong. You just had a bad vision.”
The Ixi opened her eyes again. The Korbat could still see fear from the vision in it.
“What does it mean, Draconis? I’ve dreamed about those knights before.”
“Maybe the power of the Orb was too strong for you; you’re strong and haven’t had much training yet.”
She wasn’t satisfied with that answer yet.
“Don’t they say the visions the Orb gives always come true?”
“Well, you can tell Kass about that; I’m sure he would like to hear the first part.”
Draconis said this in a vain attempt to lighten Narissa’s mood.
“What if someone is really after the Orb, what should we do?”
The lord looked up to his friend with as much confidence as he could bring himself to.
“Then we’ll fight them! And we’ll win!”
Narissa wished she could forget about what she had seen that day, but the dreams had kept coming and a supposed invasion of Darigan Citadel was often on her mind.
She was standing in the Orb Room again, this time dressed in the long white robes the first apprentice would wear. Clivia was wearing white and yellow, the colours of the Lady of the Citadel, while Darigan who was standing beside her was wearing white with green and yellow, the colours of Darigan Citadel.
Carefully, she wrapped the Orb in the satin cloth used for this kind of ceremony.
“Be careful not to touch it!” Clivia snapped. She had come to tolerate Narissa, but the two of them would never be friends.
Narissa didn’t reply to that, but she had learned her own lesson about touching the Orb that day year ago. She was still happy Clivia never found out about that, although it bothered her how Draconis never paid to much attention to her vision either. Especially since the first part of it was about to come true today.
Today, General Kass would become the head of the Eyrie guard.
Narissa entered the courtyard carrying the Orb in her hands, followed by Draconis and Clivia. A large crowd of citizens of the Citadel had gathered there, for they loved these ceremonies and they loved having a chance to see the Orb.
Narissa handed the Orb to Clivia. Not only was the Guardian of the Orb the only one who was allowed to place the Orb in its holder during these ceremonies, Clivia also wouldn’t let any chance to show the Citadel she was that Guardian pass by either. The large crowd started to cheer when the Draik moved forward with the Orb in her hands.
Now there was no longer any need for her to focus on holding the Orb, Narissa had a good opportunity of looking around her.
She spotted Kass, wearing the official red outfit of the Eyrie Guard with its grey decorations. From the way he was standing there, she could see he was nervous. For a moment, their eyes met each other and she winked at him.
Nearby, general Galgarroth, the head of the Citadel’s Guard, was standing. The Citadel’s Guard was all there was left of the army Darigan Citadel used to have, for the Citadel had not been at war for more than a hundred years. Soon the Grarrl and Kass would be equals, for the leaders of the Citadel’s Guard and the Eyrie Guard were on the same level.
The Eyrie Guard was mostly a ceremonial position these days. Long ago, the Eyries were the aerial defence of the Citadel. Now the Eyrie Guard mostly acted as special guard for the Lord of the Citadel, although many of its members were still known for their skills as swordfighters.
Narissa had to smile slightly when she heard Kass's uncle tell about the amazing qualities of his nephew and how he never doubted he would follow in his path. He prized the Eyrie's youth and how he was about to become the youngest leader the Eyrie Guard had ever known. Narissa tried to catch Kass's eye and wink at him again, but her friend seemed to be lost in thoughts. He wasn’t the only one, for his uncle's speech took quite a long time and many of the listeners got distracted. Narissa tried to listen as well as she could, but she couldn’t help herself for her mind going back to that sunny day long ago, when they had left the Citadel to enjoy the sunshine in the meadows.
Kass’s uncle had finally stopped his speech, now coming to the real ceremonial part. Kass had knelt before him, and his uncle knighted him, like was done in the old days of the Citadel. Then he gave his own sword, which had been used by many leaders of the Eyrie Guard before him, to Kass.
Draconis held the Orb high in his hands, while Kass promised he would never take any actions that would hurt Darigan Citadel in any possible way.
Kass was now officially the head of the Eyrie Guard.
When the ceremony in the courtyard was over, the Orb was brought back to the Orb Room again. Narissa had thought this was the end of the ceremony. However, inside the Orb Room, Clivia had not been too friendly taking the Orb from her. While carrying it, she bowed before Lord Darigan. Then, holding her arms outstretched, she lifted the Orb in the air.
“What do you see, Clivia?” Draconis asked.
The seer closed her eyes, as if she was trying to make better sense of what she was seeing.
“The harvest will be good this year, but the Buzzes in the forest might be reluctant to trade their honey with us. The winter will be soft this year and everyone looks happy. I can’t see any sign of war or famine in the visions I’m seeing.”
When she was saying this, Narissa knew she was lying.
“Thank you, Clivia.” Lord Darigan bowed to the Guardian of the Orb, after which she placed it on its holder again.
She cast Narissa a strange look.
“Maybe one day I’ll teach you how to do this too.”
“You’ve been ordered to train Narissa to become the next Guardian of the Orb,” Lord Darigan said with a sharp voice. “You will teach her everything a Guardian needs to know.”
Clivia bowed again to him.
“Of course, my Lord.”
When they walked down the High Tower, they heard the trumpets play. A stranger was approaching the gates and was being let in.
From the windows in the tower they could see him entering the Citadel. It was a White Kougra, dressed as a Knight, and riding a beautiful, cream-colored Royalboy Uni.
Narissa barely noticed that when she gasped for breath; for the shield the stranger was bearing was identical to the one she had seen in her dreams for years now.
To be continued...