Beautiful Chaos: Part Eight
"Get off my foot!"
"Why're you whispering?"
"The Darigans might eat me."
"It's not likely. I'm here, I'll protect you."
"You're going the wrong way, that'll take you to the Petpet Arena."
"PETPET Arena? Whoever thought of a Petpet Arena?"
"You're still whispering. It's unnecessary."
"I don't think you are eligible to comment on what is 'necessary'."
"Well, that's rude."
"So what direction am I supposed to be going in, then?"
"How should I know, he could be anywhere!"
"This is ridiculous."
"What's he look like again?"
"A red Draik. He looks red, and Draik-like."
"And I don't suppose it's possible that between now and the last time you saw him he could have turned Darigan?"
"I can't imagine why he would have, no. He does have a knack for changing the colour of things, but I doubt he'd do it to himself."
"Ah. Never mind then."
"Little Draik, the traveller, who has come so far but feels so lost, care to have your fortune told?" The Shadow Kyrii peered up from under her hood, leaning against the dirty wall and looking up at him. She held out her hand and half-smiled.
"No thank you, I'm fine," Cedrik replied, smiling politely back at her as he continued walking as the sun was slowly rising in the East, shining a soft white light over the lands.
"You've seen the Forest," she commented, barely loud enough for him to hear. "And it's seen you."
Closing his eyes for a second and sighing, the Draik grudgingly turned around and walked back to her.
"Fine. But I haven't got any money, so if you charge then I'm sorry, and I'll keep walking."
She didn't answer as she took his hand, and she held it for a minute.
"You've lost someone. But that's not all you've lost. Memories, your mind, you lost it in the Forest. You can't remember what you're here for, but you know you're looking for someone, someone very close to you."
"Creepy, how do you do that?"
"You will find him again, or he will find you, rather. But beware the one who knows the way."
"That doesn't make sense..."
"Night must fall before the sun can rise again over a new day."
"Now you're just stating facts."
"Cedrik," the Kyrii said intensely, staring up into his eyes and gripping his hands painfully. "You have to leave, now. Go back the way you came, go home. Get out of the Citadel."
"That's my name. I think... yes, that's definitely my name. How did you know that?" Pulling away from her, the Draik felt a strange sensation in the pit of his stomach. Was it fear? He couldn't remember. He shook his head, hoping to clear the fog.
"This is not the first time, there was another. Another time another place, but it ended the same as it will end this time. He needs two, always the two, never one, one alone is not enough. You have to leave, you have to go home, he knows the Source, you ARE the Source, you both are! If you are at the Castle, you will be protected and he won't have the two, only the one, so he cannot complete his work. The battle will be lost, but the War is far from over. You'll find your friend, but at a cost, such a cost. I'm sorry, I am so sorry, Cedrik, but he must make a terrible choice. And I know what he will choose, I know. Which is why you MUST LEAVE!" She grabbed his hand again and squeezed it tight, so tightly he yelped and tried to yank his hand back.
"You crazy lady! You'll break my hand!" Frightened and annoyed, Cedrik wrenched his hand from her grasp and ran backwards away from her before tripping over his feet and landing on top of a stack of papers. He looked up at her fearfully as she stood over him, her eyes narrowed beadily.
"I've seen into your mind, Cedrik from Meridell who can make it snow, and there is something dark in there, something rotten. And I'm sorry. But it will take you over, and you won't be able to fight it. It's too late, it's started. Find him, Cedrik; find the one you've lost before someone else finds you. Because it's happening again, and he's the only one who can stop it, and I pray to Fyora he makes the right choice." She looked at him with a mixture of pity and fear before turning and sweeping away.
Struggling to his feet, the Draik tried to chase after her but lost her in the crowded Markets, bustling with Darigans who it seemed hadn't even noticed their encounter.
As they made their way through the streets of the Citadel in the early morning light, Leo couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that had settled over him. He gripped his wand tightly and kept looking over his shoulder every few seconds, to the point of having a sore neck. Griffin told him matter of factly that it made him look like he was having a spasm and that he should stop because people were staring.
"Honestly, how can you live here? It's creepy. Nobody smiles, ever."
"Maybe try smiling at them first," the Grarrl suggested, shrugging as he adjusted his sword more comfortably on his hip. "Hey– red Draik, over there! That him?"
Squinting in the darkness, Leo felt his heart leap for joy when he recognised his best friend.
"That's him! Ced! CEDRIK!" the Lupe called out as he broke into a run, ignoring the Darigans that were looking at him strangely. He heard Griffin's light footsteps behind him, and without managing to slow down in time, he ran into the Draik and sent him sprawling on the floor. "Sorry, man." He held out his hand to help him up and grabbed him in a tight bear hug.
"Of course! Who else would go chasing you through the Citadel? The CITADEL, Cedrik! Where've you been, how did you get here? What happened in the Forest? I didn't want to leave you, honestly, but they said we had to go and I– why are you staring at me like that?"
"I don't... know."
"Cedrik, are you alright? What happened in the Forest?" Leo looked at his friend with concern at the strange look on his face. He glanced over his shoulder at Griffin, who shrugged.
"I can't remember. Are we at the Citadel? What are we doing here, and who's he?"
"Oh, that's Griffin. Don't mind him."
"Sorry. Ced, where have you been?"
The Draik looked deep in concentration, frowning at the sky for a minute before answering.
"Where do we live, Leo? Home, where is our home?"
"It's... a fair while away, Ced," the Lupe replied, sounding pained. "You don't remember?"
"She told me to go home, but I don't know why. I don't even know where it is. How can I forget that, my own home? What's wrong with me? Why can't I remember anything?" Throwing up his hands in frustration, the Draik turned his attention to Griffin. "Why are you here?"
"I don't even know, friend," the Grarrl replied pleasantly. "I made the crazy assumption that it would be a quiet day at the Chambers. Well, look at how that turned out."
"Yeah, I'm a guard for Lord Darigan."
"Why do you keep repeating everything I say?"
"You live here, at the Citadel?" Cedrik asked, still frowning.
"That's right. Are you okay? Leo never mentioned you were... odd." Trying hard not to smirk, Griffin ignored the jab in his ribs from Leo's elbow.
"I don't know. Sorry. I don't feel like myself today. Although, I don't really know what I'm like, so I might be normal and not even know it. Oh, my head."
"Where's your wand, Ced?" Leo asked him, pulling his out of his pocket and pointing it at his friend. He muttered something under his breath and the other two watched him expectantly.
"Yes, where is it? Mine can't find it."
"My... wand. I don't have a wand. What would I have a wand for?" Cedrik looked thoroughly confused. "I had a stick, I lost it in the Forest. Was that a wand?"
"No, seriously, Cedrik, you don't have it? Lisha's going to kill you!" Groaning in frustration, the Lupe handed his wand to his friend and sighed when he looked at it blankly. "Try a spell."
"Who's Lisha?" the Draik wondered aloud, before giving the stick an experimental wave through the air. There was a loud bang and a jet of fire erupted from the end, and he hastily threw it on the ground, cursing under his breath. "What was that??"
"That's different, normally you'd make water or ice," Leo said, looking thoughtful while Griffin stared at them both with his mouth open.
"That's the kind of magic you learn in Meridell? Cool!" He looked very impressed. "Would I be able to learn?"
"Hmm? Oh, no, sorry. You have to be born with magic blood to be able to create magic through a wand; to anyone else it's just a wooden stick," Leo replied absently, taking his wand back from the startled Draik and pocketing it once more. "We have to find your wand, Ced. There might not be many magic folk around the Citadel, but if someone finds it and they can use it... well, let's just find it, okay? How did you end up here, where did you come from, and did you see anyone?"
"No, I don't think so. I came alone, that I can remember. I was in the Forest, I made my way here following the... ah, what was it?" Screwing up his face in concentration, Cedrik tried to remember. "The river! Yes, I followed the river and I came here. Met a crazy lady who told me some crazy things and now I've found you. Well, I guess you found me, but I was looking for you too. I couldn't remember much but I knew I was looking for you."
Leo beamed at him while Griffin frowned slightly.
"You just... walked out of the Forest? And no one here at the Citadel bothered you?"
"I told you, there was a mad lady."
"Was she a Kyrii, by any chance?" The little Grarrl asked wryly, and Cedrik nodded. "Yeah, everyone knows her. She hangs around the Markets telling people she can see the future. No one listens to her. She once told me I was going to get a promotion and restore a lost artefact to the Museum, and then retire to Faerieland. Ha!" He snorted loudly. "A bit unlikely, I think. I've never even been to the Museum."
"Yeah, I suppose. She told me I'd find you, though, Leo. Actually, that you would find me. Lucky guess."
"What else did she say?"
"Mad things, mostly. Something about a Source, and boring stuff about the sun setting. Oh, and that I needed to leave the Citadel and go home. I hope you at least know the way, as I sure don't. Hey!" Cedrik looked startled as Leo gripped his shoulders tightly and shook him.
"What did she say about the Source?!"
"Ow, get off!" The Draik frowned at him reproachfully and shrugged out of his grip. "You'll break my poor bones. Between you and that crazy Kyrii I'll have none left intact."
"Cedrik, what did she say about the Source?" Leo asked urgently, looking at him through slightly crazy eyes.
The Draik frowned in concentration- his memory was still dodgy and his friend looked edgy enough as it was, he'd hate to get it wrong.
"Oh, that's right. She said I was the Source." He nodded, pleased with himself for remembering even though his head hurt like it never had before.
"Well, she said the both of us. I assume that means you, I don't know anyone else here. Although it could mean you," Cedrik gestured at the Guard, unaware that his best friend was freaking out.
"No, that can't be right! Think, Cedrik, what else did she say?"
"Wow, you are tense. Okay, okay! Um, she said that I had to leave the Citadel so there would only be one and not two, because if there are two... well, I don't know, something bad might happen? She didn't make a lot of sense."
"Leo, what's going on?"
Ignoring the Grarrl, the young magician grabbed his wand out of his pocket and pointed it at his friend, who yelped and stepped back in surprise, remembering the fire.
"Tell me what else she said!"
"She said that it's too late, that it's started."
To be continued...