Magician Chronicles: The White Daffodil - Part Three
Isanu woke before the sun had risen. Throughout the whole night he had struggled to sleep, haunted by a nightmare of Rai and the kingdom he had seen off in the distance the previous day. Quietly he got up and dressed himself, moving slowly around the house so to not wake Aierania. Grabbing a handful of roots for breakfast, he very slowly shut the door behind himself as he walked into the forest. The fresh morning air felt refreshing as Isanu walked cheerfully along, grabbing a handful of berries to sweeten up his morning meal. He planned to explore the forest before heading off to find Rai later in the afternoon.
Though as he wandered farther east from his home, Isanu noticed that the birds were not singing their morning songs, and instead of dew on the tree leaves, a white dust had fallen upon them; sensing that something was wrong, Isanu ran to see what had happened. As he ran on, the smell of salt and burnt debris filled his nose; he realized then that the white dust on the trees must have been ashes. Soon he reached the seashore and coughed. The air lingered of smoke, which burned in his lungs. Isanu looked to his left up at the cliffs and gasped. The vines that Rai had showed him not less than a day ago were gone, their ashes falling from the sky and carried by the breeze into the forest.
Running towards the cliffs, Isanu started to climb as fast as he could; what if Rai had been injured in the fire? What if worse had happened to him? Isanu tried to push the thought out of his mind and focused on climbing faster. Once at the small walkway, Isanu ran to the flat-faced side where the cave entrance was, skidding to a halt in the center of the cave entrance.
"Rai! Rai, are you here?" he shouted into the cave, yet the only sound that returned to him was an echo. Isanu walked farther into the cave, seeing no signs of the Eyrie. As he searched, he found a small slip of paper that had a set of written instructions that only could have been for Isanu.
"Ah, I forgot to grab that!" gasped Isanu as he pocketed the note and ran back out of the cave and ran back along the small walk way, then scrambled up the side of the cliff to the top and ran to the forest edge as fast as he could.
In dark of the dungeon, Rai sat with his front paws folded and his head hung in shame. He knew that what was to become of him would not be anything that he would enjoy. "It is so sad to see this kingdom fall..." he muttered to himself. "Maybe I have done wrong by not returning the true heir to her home when I found her."
"Silence, prisoner!" shouted a guard by a torch light. "Stop your muttering over there. Soon King Salamen will be here." Rai sighed and closed his eyes; how he hated that fool of a king.
Not much later, the dungeon door were thrust open as King Salamen, followed by Torin and his guard, came down the stairs.
"I hope, magician, that you have not found your cell too cozy over the night," chuckled King Salamen as he stood in front of the cell door. Rai said nothing and kept his eyes closed.
"As my prisoner, you shall do my bidding, magician. There is much that I require from you," continued the King as he watched Rai carefully. The Eyrie still did not move.
"Magician, I order you to do my bidding! I require a weapon of destruction! A weapon that will cause fear to run through the veins of any living creature, just by the mere mention of its name! Are you listening, magician!"
"Oh, I can hear you just fine," replied Rai as he glared up at King Salamen. "I just choose not to listen."
At these words, Torin clashed his axe on the door of Rai's cell and let out a roar of anger; Rai's eyes flashed and the torch that hung on the wall nearest to the guard flared up, suddenly causing them and King Salamen to jump back from his cell.
"It seems that I have no choice, do I? Then, Salamen, hand me your sword and I shall craft you a weapon that is worthy to be in the hands of a tyrant."
King Salamen smiled as he pulled a large silver blade from under his robes and passed it through the bars into Rai's hands. Examining the blade in his hands, the Eyrie set it down on the cold ground of the cell, and taking his nail, ran it down the length of the blade, putting a large scratch in the metal. Rai stepped back and took in a deep breath and exhaled. A silver mist of light gathered around the scratch of the sword, filling in the damaged area, mending it back to its original state. Picking the blade up, Rai passed it back through the bars to King Salamen.
Smiling, the king lifted the blade up high, looking at the magician's work, and then with all of his might he swung the blade straight down. All of the torches in the dungeon went out as a cold icy wind swept the room, chilling everyone to the bone.
"I have created a sword that is of pure darkness; no ordinary sword shall be able to defeat it, regardless of the skill of the swordsman," Rai said in a monotone voice as he reassumed his position he was in before. "Yet you should be wary of-"
"Silence, prisoner," said King Salamen; he had not been listening to Rai at all. "Torin, we must ride out again. It is time to conquer the nearby lands as I now have the power to defeat any who come into my path."
"And what of the magician, your majesty?" Torin asked.
"Let him rot in his cell; with this sword, he is of no use to me. Come now, we ride before noon."
"Isanu!" called Aierania out in her garden as she searched for the shadow Krawk. He had left without any sort of notice this morning, which caused her to worry; normally he would leave a note of some sort. "Isanu!" she called again as she left her front door and walked bristly into the forest. She could find no signs of him anywhere, no tracks in the morning grass, nothing.
Frantically she ran between the trees calling for Isanu. As Aierania moved onwards she soon heard a sound off in the distance, but it didn't sound like it could be him.... She quickly hid behind a tree as twenty mounted soldiers came to a halt in the clearing in front of her, a carriage followed behind the mounts.
"Why have we stopped?" an angry voice shouted from the carriage. Aierania glanced over and had to cover her mouth to hide her gasp. She recognized the crest on the door; it was that of her old kingdom. The door of the carriage opened and a royalboy Kyrii hopped out, walking over to his soldiers.
"Your majesty, it would be wise to mark the trees as we move through the forest so we can find our way back to your castle," Torin said as he turned to face King Salamen on his mount.
"Ah yes, wise thinking, Torin. I shall be happy to do the honor." King Salamen smirked as he walked up to the nearest tree and pulled forth his sword. He raised his sword up high and the silver blade turned black as he brought it across the trunk of the tree. For a moment the air stood still, and then with a creak the large tree leaned backwards and fell. The guards gave a shudder as a cold dark felling crept between them; though Aierania did not feel the cold in her body, she felt a raging anger boiling up inside of her.
He was her replacement of the throne. This dark and evil figure had taken her place and had ruled with the city through fear; she had been abandoned by her own father to save the kingdom in his eyes and this Kyrii was the end result? Aierania felt a change of heart, she knew that Isanu could fend for himself in the forest, but now she knew what she had to do. She waited for the fake king to get back into his carriage as his guard moved off to the north. Leaving her hiding place, Aierania sprinted between the tracks of the carriage, returning to the kingdom she once called home.
In front of him, Isanu could see his garden coming into sight. He dodged between his plants skidding to halt in front of the white daffodil. Without thinking, he plucked the flower from its stem and ran out of his garden as quickly as he came. Running back towards the cliffs, Isanu jumped down on to the small walkway as he had done yesterday and ran around to the other side of the cliff where he could see the kingdom and enter the cave. Once back inside with the daffodil, Isanu grabbed the note with the instructions. He had only read the first line which had reminded him to go back to his garden. The second line just read, Walk into the caverns of the cave; you will know when it feels right to stop. Isanu didn't question the dodgy instructions that Rai had left behind. He just did as he was told and trotted back into the caverns that made up Rai's home.
Soon the light from the entrance of the cave was long gone. Isanu stumbled around blindly in the dark, trying to feel his way around by following the walls, but he kept tripping on rocks on the floor. Finally he stumbled into a new chamber and fell on the floor. He lay there for a minute, taking in a few deep breaths. He felt like he had hit his head as he could not tune out a loud humming noise.
Rubbing his eyes, Isanu groaned as he looked in front of him. The daffodil sat in front of his nose, humming vibrantly. He had not hit his head at all; it was the flower that was making the noise. Isanu picked the flower up and walked around the cavern. He noticed that the flower hummed louder when he approached one side of the cavern; he walked back over to that point and pressed the flower against the wall.
Isanu did not think that his actions would cause what happened next. The wall of the cavern moved aside with the touch of the flower and a red glowing light came from beyond the wall. The red light was being cast around the cavern by a pool of magma. The flower in his hands hummed more loudly than ever as Isanu approached the pool and for reasons he did not know, he dropped the flower into the magma and watched it sink below the surface.
Running though the open gates, Aierania knew that she did not need to worry about being spotted by any guards, as they had all left the kingdom with the fake king. None of the villagers seemed to care that she was there either; all of their heads hung low, their gaze on the cobblestone streets as they moved about. She ran up to the castle and through the front doors, hurrying up the staircase to the throne room. As Aierania climbed the stairs, she halted in front of a barred door; this had been her bedroom back when she was the princess. Why would there be bars on her door, unless... Unless something was hidden in there! Turning back around, Aierania sprinted down the steps she had just climbed, taking a sharp left once she had reached the main floor. She ran straight into the kitchens, heading for a large cupboard in the back of the long and hot room.
Opening the doors, she threw the pots and pans that sat in her way until one side of the cupboard was empty. Then Aierania climbed into the cupboard. She grabbed the wood that made the back of the cupboard and shifted it to the right, revealing a hidden passageway. Aierania scooted into the passageway and made her way up the tunnel.
The Queen sat on the bed that had belonged to her daughter many years ago. The now older Zafara was still grieved by the loss of her daughter and even more so with what news she heard of King Salamen's dark rule over her homeland.
A creak met the Queen's ears. At first she ignored it, lost in her own thoughts. But it had been many years since she had heard this certain creak, for it was not the same as an opening door but of something else. She looked up over the doorway where a picture of her ancestors hung, squinting her eyes she could swear that it was shifting to the left- but that was impossible; there was only one other who knew of that passageway.
Aierania gave a final push as the picture moved out of the way. The hidden passageway had lead straight into her room and below, sitting on her old bed, was her mother. Jumping down, Aierania ran into her mother's arms as tears of happiness filled her eyes.
"My daughter is alive!" cried the Queen as she returned the hug. "How could this be after so many years? I thought I had lost you forever."
"I have come back to claim the throne as the proper ruler of this kingdom. Mother, I have seen what evil that fake king Father put in charge is capable of. I could not bear to see the sight of my home run by him anymore. Yet this is not the time to exchange stories of what happened back then. Mother, we need to get out of here. The front door is barred, but we can climb through the hidden passageway now."
The Queen agreed and Aierania let her mother climb on to her shoulders and pushed her up to the opening of the passageway. Now she needed to figure out a way to get herself up there. Grabbing her old bed, she moved it into the middle of her room. Then she backed herself up against the wall and took in a deep breath before running and jumping on to her bed, bouncing herself up high enough to snag the edge of the passageway with her left hand. Aierania pulled herself into the passageway and slid back down it to meet her mother in the kitchen.
"Daughter, before we go anywhere, we must go to the dungeons," said the Queen as she helped Aierania to her feet. Nodding, Aierania grabbed a torch as they made their way down into the dungeons.
The magician heard the hurried footsteps coming down into the dungeons and he sat up. It couldn't be King Salamen or Torin, as they had both left in a hurry hours before. When the light of the torch came into view and Rai could see who was holding it, he smiled happily.
"Ah, Aierania, you do not know how glad I am to see you again."
Isanu stepped back as the magma he had dropped the daffodil in turned white. The winds from the ocean filled the cavern, cooling the white hot magma to a rock. Yet there was something that had taken the place of the magma pool that shone brightly in the cavern, chasing the darkness of every crack and corner. Stepping close to the light, Isanu saw that his flower had not been destroyed when dropped into the magma; instead, next to it sat a wooden staff which was emitting the light from the top where a yellow orb sat. Was this what Rai meant for him as a gift? Reaching down, Isanu grabbed the staff.
Instantly he felt his whole body surge. Power flowed through him, rejuvenating his strength as a warm feeling overtook him. Isanu felt as if he suddenly had abilities that without this staff he never would have had. He could feel the power of it running through him; this in the wrong hands could be a dangerous weapon, though he still needed to find Rai and figure out where the Eyrie had gone.
So Isanu left the cave and climbed back up the cliffside and ran through the forest. He needed to get back home and find Aierania and ask her to help him search for Rai. Isanu was lost in thought of what to do next and failed to hear the thundering hoof beats that were approaching him until it was too late.
"Up ahead there is a savage!" shouted Torin. "Circle him, do not let him escape!"
Obeying, the guard spread out, enclosing Isanu in a circle. Dismounting, Torin looked down upon the young Krawk. "Savage, drop your weapons and surrender to the guard of King Salamen."
His heart racing, Isanu looked up at the large armored Tonu in front of him. The power of the staff still flowed through him, almost telling him to not back down. Listening to the staff, Isanu put both of his hands around it. "I will never surrender," he said in a brave voice.
"Very well then..." growled Torin as her glared down at Isanu. "Then we duel."
To be continued...