Beautiful Chaos: Part Eleven
"My name is Griffin, and I live at the Citadel, and two days ago I met a crazy Lupe and an even crazier Draik. I lived some of their story, but this part is mine."
As I felt the ground start to shake beneath my feet, I grabbed Leo by the shoulders and gave him a hard shake. His head rolled but he didn't speak, his eyes wide and afraid.
"Leo! Can you hear me?"
"He can hear you," the thing inside Cedrik drawled from behind me. "But he can't do anything about it. Now I have them both here together, they draw their power from each other, and now I can draw it from them. There's nothing you can do, little Grarrl."
Terrified and angry, I saw red.
Without so much as a coherent thought running through my brain, I lunged at him, and judging by the way his eyes bulged I guess he was surprised.
We fell to the floor, me crushing him despite my small stature.
"Sorry, Cedrik, don't take this personally," I yelled as we wrestled on the dirty ground. We struggled to get up, legs and arms flailing uselessly. "I'd have liked to have known you at a different time!" Finally managing to shove him away, I got to my feet and yanked my sword out.
"You cannot stop this," the thing hissed, as I waved it threatening at him. "It's all working out perfectly. I can feel their power building and draining, soon I will have enough to regain my own form."
"Yeah? Well I'm not going anywhere, so good luck with that!" I glared at him and swished my sword again as he eyed it disdainfully. I glanced over my shoulder at Leo, who was still frozen where he stood. He looked as though he was trying desperately to say something, but his mouth was locked.
"Let go of them, put them back to normal," I hissed at him, as I felt strongly for Leo, my new friend, and his friend.
"Where's the wand?" the Draik asked instead, still sitting on the floor at the end of my sword.
"The wand, this magician has one, they all do. I lost mine so many years ago, and my magic would be strongest through his wand, strong enough for me to leave this body."
"I don't know," I lied, my heart thudding in my chest as I thought of him with Cedrik's wand. "And even if I did, there's no way in Faerieland I'd tell you."
"This Draik shields his mind from me; I cannot see where it is. Tell me!"
"You're crazy! You're old and crazy and you won't get anything from me, except another long prison sentence!"
He moved quickly, so fast I didn't even see it. One second I was pointing my sword at him, the next it was on the floor beside me and he was so close to my face.
I yelled and stumbled backward, but he reached out for my head, one hand on either side. I felt a cold sensation drip down my back and my body felt so heavy. I struggled to stay upright, my legs buckling uselessly under me.
If he had not been holding my head I would have fallen, but he gripped me tightly.
I tried to speak but my tongue felt like cotton and the words died in my throat. I realised my eyes were closed and tried to open them, but all I could see was a tree.
A little Grarrl was sitting at the bottom of the tree with a book in his lap, smiling up at it. A Korbat was hanging upside down from one of the branches, smirking at him.
"C'mon, Griff, enough with the book already! We won't have time for reading when we're on Lord Darigan's guard; we'll be too busy with swords and stuff!"
"I like books." The Grarrl shrugged, giggling as the Korbat fell out of the tree and landed with a loud splash.
He was sitting in the middle of a boat with his arms tucked tightly by his side, an expression of unease on his face. Training day at the Citadel, they were in the river. He hated the river; he didn't like not knowing what was underneath him. How he passed that test he still wasn't sure.
Memories flew through my head like moving photographs, snatches of conversations, hints of emotions. I tried to reach out and catch one but they were speeding up, flying so fast they had become a blur.
And then there was a clear one.
The Lupe had entered the Castle, seeking an audience with Lord Darigan, babbling about Meridell and other uninteresting things. The Grarrl was more interested in what he was having for dinner that night. It was late, and it was supposed to be his day off, but he had traded with his friend.
Standing with the other Guard on duty in Lord Darigan's room, he zoned out as the Lupe droned on about Meridell. He thought he might fall asleep standing, until his partner jabbed him in the ribs with his elbow and he realised his Lord was gesturing at him.
He showed the Lupe to the archive room, and realised he wasn't boring at all, the opposite in fact.
Were all Meridellians like this? He thought he might like to visit the place sometime.
The hours were long and the work was dull, but the Lupe held a good conversation and the time passed reasonably well.
I felt the pull in my mind and I tried to fight it. I thought I yelled, but I wasn't sure. My head felt like it would split in two, and I tried to push the force out of my mind.
They were travelling through the Citadel. He saw him. The vibrant red stood out against the purples and blacks. He thought he was nuts, that it couldn't possibly be the Cedrik that Leo had so affectionately spoken of. He was talking about his wand, he lost it at –
NO NO NO I WON'T! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!
I screamed in my mind, and the force of it knocked me off my feet. I felt the fog lift out of my head and I opened my eyes while every bone in my body seemed to hurt.
Cedrik was standing a short distance away, as though he had backed away from me. He glared at me, his eyes beady.
"How did you do that?"
I was too tired to even think of an answer, let alone what he meant, and I collapsed in a small heap on the dirty floor of the cave. Curling into a ball, I barely registered he was speaking to me.
"You aren't of magic blood! You have no powers, yet you resist me better than this Draik does. Tell me how this is possible!"
"Haven't you got it yet," I grunted, not lifting my head up from the dirt. "That I'm not going to tell you anything and you are wasting your time."
I closed my eyes and I felt him brush past me, but I was too tired to look up.
I could just lie here forever and sleep, not worrying about anything.
No, you have to wake up, I heard a voice say in my head, but I wanted to ignore it. I was SO tired. I didn't care that they needed me, my new friend and his crazy one, the Citadel, Meridell, none of them. I didn't care about anything. I was just... so... tired...
Lifting my head slightly was a huge effort, but I opened my eyes and looked as far as I could see from the ground.
Leo was lying down at the other side of the room, his eyes closed and breathing deeply. I could see Cedrik's feet, bustling about the room, fiddling with things and muttering to himself. I realised he had Leo's wand, and then realised something else with a start, that I had kicked him out of my head and my memories, and stopped him getting the knowledge of where Cedrik's wand was. Without it, he was limited, and that would perhaps buy the rest of the world some time.
The realisation that I had been strong enough to fight him while he was inside my head filled my body with power, and I stirred my legs a little. I was exhausted, in agony and disoriented, but I dragged myself into a sitting position and leaned against the wall, my hand closing around the hilt of my sword.
I looked dazedly around the room, and was glad to see that Cedrik hadn't noticed that I had moved. He was fiddling with something on a desk, waving Leo's wand at it and cursing when it evidently didn't do what he wanted it to.
I took in a deep breath of air and it burned my lungs, and I hissed. Oh, everything hurt.
Gripping the handle of my sword tightly, I dragged myself across the room to where Leo was lying on the floor. I shook him gently, keeping an eye on the distracted Cedrik as he continued to try and use the wand.
"Leo?" I whispered, my voice rough and quiet. "Leo, wake up."
He stirred slightly, but did not open his eyes. The strength was slowly returning to my body and I reached up to grip the edge of a table, heaving myself up on my feet.
Groaning at the effort, I pointed my sword at Cedrik and my head spun dizzily.
"Stop what you're doing. Just... stop," I gasped, my words sounding pained even to my ears. I knew I wasn't a threat, and so did he.
He turned around and smiled at me, a chilling smile that made me cringe. He raised Cedrik's wand at me and I eyed it apprehensively.
"You know you haven't the strength to swing that sword even once," he said, shaking his head. "You are nothing."
"I don't even... know you..." I panted, my chest aching. "Kass, Sloth, Balthazar, I know all of them. You... I don't even know you."
His face contorted with something that looked like rage.
"You will. You all will. There's no harm in telling you, Griffin, as there's nothing you can do to stop me. I have been down here for so many years, planning, working. Do you know what this is, little Grarrl?"
He stepped aside and pointed at the desk.
A big machine sat atop it, humming gently and occasionally hissing. I tried to make sense of the metal and the wiring but it just looked like a heap of junk to me.
I sighed deeply.
"No, I don't. What is it?"
"It, my dear boy, is an energy converter. You see, I had just enough power to project myself to the Forest, where these two were. I expected them both, and would have been much stronger if they had been together. I could have drawn from their combined power and restored myself. But they were not together, and I only had the power of this one, who was strong enough to fight me. I admit I did not expect that. Getting him back here was hard enough, but I knew this one would follow, even if I didn't know what he looked like. Once they were both here, I could draw on their power. Using them, I will restore myself."
"Okay," I grunted. "The machine?"
"Oh, yes. It converts energy. Specifically - magical energy. I needed these two to regain my original form and power, but with my machine I can draw the power of every magician in the whole world."
"The whole... world?"
He grinned through Cedrik's face.
"I will be the strongest magician that has ever lived. None will have powers compared to mine- none will have powers at all!"
My head spun, I felt my legs give out again and I fell to the floor. I looked up at him with horror.
"They'll stop you. The magicians, the Lords and Kings, they'll stop you."
"They won't be able to get close enough to me without their power draining. Don't you see? It's the perfect design."
The wheels in my head clicked.
"Non-magical people can get close to you, though."
"Well, yes. But you, little guard, what do you think you can do? Can you even stand up?"
No, I couldn't stand up. But I was close enough, could I reach?
Mustering up the last of my strength, I pushed myself up and snatched Cedrik's wand out of his hand. Falling back down again, I slumped against the wall.
The Draik laughed.
"Really, now, what do you expect to do with that?"
"I don't know, but Leo made it look so easy," I gasped, pointing it at him.
"You aren't a magician, boy. Nothing will happen."
It felt warm in my hand, and his words meant nothing.
I focused the remainder of my energy into as fire exploded out the end.
Surprised, I nearly dropped it. I cast a quick glance up at Cedrik, who looked at stunned as I did.
He was right; I didn't have the strength to swing my sword.
Instead, I pointed Cedrik's wand at the converter machine and watched as the thing went up in flames.
To be continued...