The Last Days of the Citadel: Part Four
Narissa stared at Draconis in astonishment.
“How did you...?”
“How did I know you would come up here? How did I know you let Clivia’s Mallards escape?”
The Lord of Darigan Citadel laughed.
“As lord, I do have my secrets, which I would rather not share. However, there are only a few of us around in the Citadel who have the nerve to make Clivia’s darlings escape.”
He winked at Narissa, who blushed.
“Clivia.” The Ixi was surprised how harsh her voice sounded.
“Yes, Clivia.” Draconis smiled at her.
Narissa had planned to be careful when telling about Clivia and the Meridellian knight, Sir Forian Friedl, but Draconis's warm welcome made her just let go of everything that was on her mind.
“Clivia’s been giving false prophecies. What she told you yesterday was a lie. The stranger who came to the Citadel yesterday, comes from a country that wants to steal the Orb. He has come to warn us, but Clivia’s been keeping him captive in her rooms to prevent him from doing so.”
She felt Kass stiffen next to her; this was definitely not how they had agreed to tell the tale to Draconis.
There was no sign of anger in Draconis’ face, however, just amusement.
“I knew you had a very good reason for letting those Mallards loose. It was really fun watching the Eyrie Guard chasing them from here.”
Kass didn’t seem to be that amused by that at all, but at least Draconis didn’t sound like he would throw the two of them in the dungeons right away.
“So,” Draconis said, his hands folded and looking at Narissa, “you’ve come to claim your place?”
“Claim my place?” the latter asked in surprise. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Draconis frowned. “Tell me, you don’t know what it means when the Guardian of the Orb loses her second sight?”
Both Narissa and Kass shook their heads.
“It doesn’t surprise me you don’t know about it, Kass, but this is something Narissa would have to know.”
The White Korbat pondered.
“So Clivia never told you about that. I knew things were not right between her and you, but I never expected her not to teach you everything a Guardian of the Orb needed to know. I should have taught you more about this myself. However, I didn’t want to have too much talk about that going on. The Guardian of the Orb is given her position because she’s the most powerful seer and sorceress of the Citadel, not because she’s good friends with its Lord.”
Narissa stared at Draconis in astonishment.
“So you knew Clivia has been given false prophecies?”
“Don’t blame yourself,” the Korbat said friendly. “It wasn’t until yesterday I found out Clivia really didn’t have the second sight anymore. Her prophecy was the opposite of my vision, and the Orb never lies.”
“How did you know your prophecy wasn’t the wrong one?” Kass wasn’t sure where his boldness to ask this question came from, but perhaps it was because, since a very long time, they had a moment to talk again as freely as they did years ago, not bound by their duties.
“That’s my secret too.”
Darigan smiled again. “The two of you still remember the day we met the Lady of the Citadel?”
Narissa and Kass nodded. How could they ever forget!
“That day, she told me many things about the Citadel and about it’s magic. I’ve promised to tell no one about this, unless it was really needed. This knowledge was only meant for the Lord of the Citadel, just like the Guardian of the Orb keeps her secrets as well. The Lady also told me about the powers the Guardian of the Orb has, which had until then always been a secret between the Guardian of the Orb and her first apprentice. It seems Clivia never taught this to Narissa.”
“But why?” Narissa was too astonished for words. She knew she and the Draik had never been on good terms, but since yesterday, Clivia disappointed her more and more.
Draconis bowed his head.
“I don’t know. I never realised Narissa did not know this until now. I do know, how the first apprentice recognises the reign of the Guardian has ended when the latter one looses her second sight. The second sight the Guardian of the Orb possesses is a gift given to her by the Lady of the Citadel. The Lady did not choose to live in the Citadel herself, so she gave part of her powers to the one who would take her place, the Guardian of the Orb.”
“I’m not fully getting what the two of you are talking about,” Kass said, “but I never thought Clivia’s prophecies were that interesting. They were rather predictable.”
“Clivia was rather good with those. A good harvest, where to find a lost child, how to cure an illness. It was all she could, or all she would do.” Draconis nodded. However, it made her beloved by the citizens of the Citadel. Clivia had a good feeling for what kind of prophecies people liked. No one likes to hear about how the end of the Citadel as we know it is ahead.”
Darigan paused for a moment, then continued.
“She’s not the worst of our troubles now, however. A Guardian of the Orb who wants to remain on her place and refuses to acknowledge she has lost the second sight is nothing new. It has happened many times before and some of them even see it as a test for the new Guardian. Whatever that stranger that came here, Sir Forian Friedl, has to tell, might prove a much greater problem for us.”
Lord Darigan bowed his head.
“I’ll be honest with the two of you about this. This invasion that’s coming up, we’ll have to prepare for it. If things go wrong, darkness will reach the Citadel. I’ve seen terrible visions about this, our crops being withered, our people changing, like they were mutated. It also all fits in with the vision Narissa had years ago, when she touched the Orb. She saw the citadel being invaded and raided by knights.”
The Ixi looked up in surprise. “I never realised you paid that much attention to my vision. I always felt I was alone on that matter, all those years I dreamed about it.”
Draconis smiled warmly at her. “I figured you were too young to bear such a burden. However, the Orb never lies. I’ve been prepared for something bad to happen to the Citadel ever since, especially these days, since the ceremony of yesterday was the moment where your prophecy started. I also believed it was better Clivia did not know about it yet, or find out herself, for I still believed her to have to sight at that time. Now however, I think she might have been losing it at that time already, and Narissa gained her power of second sight instead the day we met the Lady.”
“That would make sense. My dreams started that night after we met the Lady.”
Draconis nodded. “That does not surprise me. And it all comes down to the Orb.”
He rose from his chair and walked to the door.
“I think we need to have a talk both with Sir Forian Friedl and with Clivia.”
Narissa had to admit Draconis had quite some nerve when he walked up to Clivia like nothing they talked about earlier on ever happened. With a somewhat amused face, he handed the Guardian her Faerie Mallard.
“Is this one yours, Clivia? I found it sitting in my room. You really need to keep an better eye on those Petpets of yours.”
The Draik almost snatched the bird from Draconis's arm.
“If I ever find out who let my Mallards escape!” she shouted angrily.
Lord Darigan was starting to lose his patience with her.
“I’m not bothered by your Mallards right now, Clivia, I’ve come here to talk to the stranger who arrived at the Citadel yesterday. The one who’s currently living in your rooms.”
Clivia looked at him in astonishment. “How did you know?”
The Korbat did not answer her question and passed her by, entering the White Draik's rooms. Clivia could wait until he had spoken to the Meridellian knight.
Back outside her rooms Clivia had recovered herself from the shock much sooner than expected and was now putting things together as well.
“Narissa! You set my Mallards loose!”
Then suddenly, she rushed toward the Ixi with the ceremonial knife that she usually wore around the belt in her hand.
It was the point of Kass’ outstretched sword that stopped her.
“You’d better behave yourself, Lady, for you are in a much more troublesome position than you seem to understand.”
When he spoke those words, Kass suddenly realised he wasn’t afraid of Clivia anymore. No longer was she the fearsome figure who guarded the peace and well-being of the Citadel. No one who would attack Narissa in anger could ever be revered by Kass.
Maybe it was because no one had ever talked to Clivia this way, but suddenly the Draik seemed to lose the air of power she always used to have around her.
“So, you’ve found out everything. I’ve got to give this to you; you’re smarter than I thought you’d be, Narissa. Maybe there’s more to you than I thought after all. It's too late...”
Now there suddenly was a mad glare in Clivia’s eyes, when she rushed toward the cages her Mallards had been placed into again earlier on. When she unlocked them, for the second time that day, the Petpets tasted their freedom.
“Go, my darlings! Fly away, flee for your lives, for the Citadel is doomed!”
For a moment or two, Narissa and Kass looked at this in confusion, then Kass regained his senses and started to give orders to the nearest members of the Eyrie Guard he could find. He ordered them to leave the Mallards alone and to prepare themselves. From what Kass heard, there would be a battle coming up.
For the whole day, the inhabitants of Darigan Citadel could still see the colourful Mallards flying around the towers of the Citadel. Then they disappeared and were never to be seen on the Citadel again.
To be continued...