Magician Chronicles: The White Daffodil - Part Four
Standing in the dungeon, Aierania stared at the Eyrie behind bars, confused.
"I'm afraid that I do not understand. Who are you, and how do you know me?" she said.
Rai gave a chuckle. "Of course you would not recognize me, but I know all about you and Isanu," he replied with a sly smile as Aierania's face lit up at the sound of Isanu's name. Before she could ask him how, Rai held his paws out in from of him. Closing his eyes, he focused and his paws started to glow; giving them a swirl around himself, a gray robe covered his face and body. Gasping, Aierania took a step back from the cell door. "You are the stranger who visited me so long; you are the one who took my white daffodil!" she cried, exasperated. "But how... and why?"
Blowing on his paws so the glow faded away as well as the robes, Rai looked up at Aierania and smiled. "When I first came to this area after spending my whole life traveling, you see, I was just looking for a quiet place to lay low for a while. I came across this village and then wandered into the forest and I bumped into you, Aierania. I hid who I was from you at the time, just in case anyone would come looking for me. I didn't want to endanger you by knowing who I was back then. Your hospitality was kind and welcoming. I found myself wondering how far you would go to please a stranger. So I took your most precious item, the white daffodil, and made a promise to return the favor."
Aierania still stared at Rai; she was lost for words. She looked to the Queen who had been standing back listening in the shadows. "But, magician, you took my daffodil, a flower I have never found any replacement for, and you never came back, you never returned the..." And then things started to make sense to Aierania, "You were the one who gave me Isanu!" And then Rai smiled and nodded. "I gave you something better than the daffodil that I took from you." Aierania smiled and nodded in agreement.
Stepping forward, the Queen held the keys to Rai's cell and unlocked the door. The magician walked out and looked at the two Zafaras in front of him. "Thank you, dears. I am rather happy to be out of there."
"Yes, I am sure you are," replied the Queen as she led the group out of the dungeons and into the heart of the castle. "I think, magician, that is it time to set this kingdom right." Rai smiled at the Queen and turned to Aierania. "I think that your mother is right; this kingdom needs to be set right, and the only thing that stands in the way of that path is you, Aierania. Do you accept?"
Aierania looked between her mother and Rai, smiled, then nodded.
His heart pounding, Isanu glanced up at the large armored Tonu, his eyes lingered on the large sharp axe that the Tonu wielded, Isanu gulped and tried to keep his body from shaking out of fear. Yet Isanu could feel the staff warming in his hands; it seemed that the staff's power was coursing through his body now, empowering Isanu.
"How dare a small and weak savage such as you stand in the way of King Salamen's reign!" shouted Torin as the guards that had circled around Isanu laughed loudly. "I, Torin, the head of King Salamen's guard, shall make you pay!" Then the Tonu charged, running swiftly towards Isanu. The Krawk was frozen in place by fear. He didn't know if he should stand his ground or flee, and then as Torin bared down upon Isanu, the staff seemed to make Isanu's hands swing up, meeting Torin's axe as he brought it down at Isanu.
The weapons clashed, Isanu could feel the magic pushing back against the blade of the axe. Don't fail me... please... push back... get Torin away from me... thought Isanu, and he could feel the staff respond as his hands warmed and the staff glowed.
Torin pushed as hard as he could against the staff. He could not understand why his mighty axe did not just snap the savage's twig in two. His eyes were shut on concentration, but the harder he pushed against Isanu, Torin felt himself slipping backwards.... How was the tiny Krawk doing it?! The circled guards were not laughing anymore, instead they were whispering among themselves. This wasn't happening. Torin would not let this happen, he would not fail King Salamen!
Isanu felt Torin slip. He was actually pushing the massive Tonu back, now just a bit more. Bracing himself, Isanu gave a mighty shove against the staff, willing its power to go all out against the Tonu, the staff responded, with a blinding flash of white, Torin was tossed back through the guard circle guard. Standing still in the middle for the circle, panting, was Isanu, in shock of what just happened. The guards in the circle were now talking loudly, every once in a while taking a quick glance at the Krawk that had just defeated their captain.
"What is going on here; why have we stopped?" a voice shouted from outside the circle. King Salamen was stepping out of his carriage, looking puzzled at the scene in front of him, his right hand clutching the sword that Rai had made from him. His eyes traveled from Torin on the ground to Isanu in the middle still.
"Really, Torin? You were beaten by that?" He chuckled, walking past Torin who attempted to stand up. "Stay down, you fool. It seems that I must take care of this," spat King Salamen.
His heart pounding, Isanu stared at the royal Kyrii as he approached him. He knew that he would have to attack and fight the King, this mighty King. Fear was starting to overcome Isanu as the King stopped before him, drawing his sword forward in a fight stance.
"You may have defeated the head of my guard savage, but you will stand no chance against me, King Salamen." And before Isanu could react, the Kyrii lunged forward his blade swirling with a black mist around it, striking Isanu before he could block the sword with his staff. The force flung Isanu backwards, King Salamen laughed victoriously. "Nothing can match the magic that runs in my sword! Truly did you think a staff would be able to defeat the great King Salamen; pathetic performance savage."
Sharp pain rang through Isanu's head, he couldn't get his thoughts clear to even think about standing up. The dark magic had overcome his thoughts and vision.
He imagined himself walking through the black mist, not knowing where he was. He noticed that the farther he walked the mist was changing from black to dark gray, to an even lighter gray. It felt right to keep walking into the mist as it lighten. Finally he had walked far enough that the gray had faded from the mist and he was walking through a white fog. 'Hello, Isanu,' said a voice to his right. Turning, he walked toward that direction. The mist receded as Rai came into view. The magician was lying stretched out on a boulder that stuck out from the mist.
'Where are we?' he said, confused. 'What is going on?'
'I am assuming that you must have run into the King and his guard.,' Rai said.
'Have I died?' he asked.
'Oh no, you're not dead, Isanu, nor are you dreaming.' Rai smiled. 'You have just been knocked out. I felt your power flicker when you got hit and I had to check in on how things were going for you.'
Rai continued talking before he could speak, 'You see, I wanted to give you that staff and teach you how to use the magic that it wields; sadly I was kidnapped by King Salamen before I could tell you. But I see you understood my clues and have done well getting the staff and in the fight against Torin.'
'The staff has magic in it?' he questioned, still confused.
'Of course, silly, do you think a simple staff could have blocked a blow from that axe? No, that staff contains a great deal of magic, though of course King Salamen's sword also has magic, as he forced me to place some in his blade. But, Isanu, do not let this fact get in your way. King Salamen must be defeated and you are one of the few who can do this now.'
He was still confused as he looked down at the staff in his hands. 'His sword was swirling with dark magic, I saw it briefly before I was hit....'
'Ah yes, but remember, my dear Isanu. Magic given is stronger than magic taken,' Rai said simply with a smile.
The mist was changing back to gray. Rai was fading out of sight. 'But Rai, I don't know how to fight! I need help!' he shouted into the mist, trying to keep sight on the boulder. He heard the Eyrie reply, 'You don't need help. Just remember what I just said and do what you feel is right. If you wield the staff correctly, King Salamen cannot beat you.'
The mist had turned back to black again. Rai was out of sight now, but he shouted his last bit of advice. 'When you are done here, take the Royal Uni from the guard. He knows his way back to the castle. Aierania would like to see you as soon as possible. She is quite worried for your safety even though I keep reassuring her... Good luck, young magician.'
Opening his eyes, Isanu looked around him. The King was boasting about his blade to the guards who were now laughing at what they thought was Isanu's defeat. The staff was right next to him, and he grabbed it. No longer did his body hurt from the King's initial blow. Getting to his feet, Isanu looked at the King, who had his back turned to him. "Magic given is stronger than magic taken..." he muttered to himself quietly and looked at his staff; was it just him or was the top of the staff turning white?
"Everyone should take this savage as an example of what I shall do to anyone who stands in the way of my mighty sword-" King Salamen was making a speech to his men, when he heard something from behind him; who would dare interrupt him in his speech?
"I shall beat the fool who-" the King started to say as he spun around to find the guard who had spoken out, but his eyes came across Isanu who was standing up, unharmed, and with his staff ready to fight. "What did you say to me savage?" King Salamen hissed as his eyes narrowed.
"I told you to turn and fight me!" shouted Isanu. "I dare you to try to attack me again!"
"Worthless fool! You cannot win against me!" the King roared as he broke into a run. Isanu did the same, ready to meet the King's sword this time. Once again he could feel the staff pulse magic into his body. Isanu swung his staff as it clashed with the sword in the middle of the circle.
"Give up now, King Salamen. You cannot defeat me!"
"I have done it once, savage! I shall do it again, and this time I will kill you!" Stepping back, the King swung his black sword at the Krawk again, but Isanu dodged it easily. Snarling, King Salamen tried to swing his blade again, but had to block Isanu before he could attack. He was confused as to where such power had suddenly come to the savage... Could he be right in being more powerful?
"Nothing is more powerful than my blade. The blade I wield has the magic of a magician who cowers in my dungeon, who is nothing more than a helpless child because of me!" He wanted to kill the savage with the magic just as he had chopped down the tree; King Salamen raised his blade at Isanu who was standing back, waiting for the next move. Smirking, the King focused on the power he could feel within the blade, shoot it at him and cut the savage in two.... he thought; and with a quick swing he shot a black ball of magic straight at the Krawk.
Time seemed to slow for Isanu as he saw the ball of magic release itself from the blade and come towards him. He felt no fear, though; Isanu knew what he must do. He watched the ball rotate around, coming towards him and right at the last second, he swung his staff up. It grabbed the black ball of magic. Isanu spun on his heels. keeping his eyes open, he waited until he saw the King gasp that his attack had failed.
Release, he thought, and through the staff felt the dark magic come off of his staff, right back at King Salamen, who threw the blade and attempted to run away from the magic, but it hit true on the King's back. Only the first part of his scream was heard, then he was destroyed by his own attack.
Flying through the air, the sword landed near Isanu. Before he could reach down and pick it up, the blade shattered into pieces. The dark magic swirled up from the blade and disappeared as it rose up into the tree tops.
Isanu took in a deep breath, and looked up at the guard. "I am leaving. Your King is gone. I need that Royal Uni over there to return to your castle."
"Why can we not come as well?" a guard asked from the circle.
"If you feel that you would be welcomed back in your city, then yes, you can go back, but you must wait until I have left. I need to make haste now," replied Isanu as a guard brought him the Royal Uni, who snorted and pawed the ground in anger.
"Are you going to be harsh like the guard I carried here?" he asked while pinning his ears back.
Isanu shook his head. "I have never ridden a Uni before, but I need to go back to the castle that you came from as quickly as you can get me there. Can you do this?"
"No problem, just hold on and don't kick my sides or pull on my wings," replied the Uni as he bowed down for Isanu to jump on his back.
"Thank you, Uni," Isanu said.
"My name is Vrix, now hold on we are going to do a bit of flying." With that, Vrix spread his large wings, and shot off from the ground, steering clear of any large tree branches as he broke through the canopy of the forest.
Flying was wonderful, Isanu thought as they rose up over the trees. He could see everything from Vrix's back, and the first thing that caught his eyes was the large castle off in the distance that Vrix was angled towards. Isanu was careful to not kick Vrix or touch his wings. He was also having too much fun seeing the forest he had grown up in from a bird's eye view. He could see how the stream twisted and curved through the trees and he could see the cliffs that were still black from King Salamen's burning, though if Isanu squinted his eyes, there was a dark spot near the top he was sure was Rai's cave. And in no time he felt Vrix descend from the sky, circling around the village square of the castle where, to Isanu, seemed that hundreds of neopets were gathering.
"Make way for the Queen!" He heard people shout and Vrix landed on the cobblestone. "Make way for our Queen!" the villagers shouted. Through the crowd, Aireania came running. Before Isanu could dismount from Vrix, she grabbed him and pulled him off into a tight hug. "You're safe. Oh, I was so worried!" cried Aierania as two others joined her side. One of the figures Isanu recognized as Rai; the other, another royal Zafara like Aierania, approached from the left, though she was much older than Aierania. Before he could ask, though, Rai spoke up. "I think that we should go back to the castle, where everything can be explained."
Both Aierania and Isanu nodded, and they made their way up the street and to the castle.
Once in the castle, Aierania explained her royalty background to Isanu and how now she would rule the kingdom as the new Queen. Rai told Aierania about how he had told Isanu to forge the staff, and Isanu explained how he had defeated King Salamen with his own magic and that the powerful sword had been destroyed. "The guards should be coming back; I told them to come if they wanted," Isanu said, finishing his story.
"That is no problem," said Aierania's mother. "They are here to guard the kingdom. Any of those who were loyal to King Salamen I figure will understand that they are not welcome here."
"And now I must request some time alone with Isanu." Rai spoke up, "Ladies, if you would wait outside for just a minute." Both of the Zafaras left the room and Rai turned back to Isanu.
"I cannot thank you enough for helping, Isanu. I never thought that you would fight King Salamen so soon after gaining your magic," Rai said. "But there is much more for you to do, you cannot stay in this castle."
"What? Why, Rai, why can I not stay here and help rule the kingdom with my mother?" Isanu asked.
"Because she is not your mother. I gave you to her when you were just a baby. No, Isanu, you have much to do. This is Aierania's time to rule her kingdom, something she has had taken from her for many years. Besides, it would be a waste of your magic to stay back here where things are safe, when there are other dark and evil powers in the world today," Rai explained, not letting Isanu interrupt him. "You have a great gift; that staff is more powerful than you think it is. You have hardly scraped the surface of the potential it holds. Isanu, you could do many great things, save many lives, if you wanted to with that staff."
"Would you not train me first?" Isanu asked, but Rai shook his head. "I feel that you are strong enough to learn the depths of your magic on your own. I could never fully teach you to your full skills anyways. I foresee you becoming much stronger than even myself. That is why I want you to leave behind this land and search out those in need. Isanu, you have a choice to choose as you wander down this path of magic. I guarantee you with that amount of magic you could do great things for this earth and its people; or you could destroy everything that we have, and rule with an iron fist, just like King Salamen."
"But I am not like King Salamen at all; I don't want to do the horrible stuff he did," Isanu stated.
"Ah, I figured you would say that," said Rai. "There are other magicians than you, Isanu, and I fear that they are not all as good hearted as you are."
Isanu then understood. His journey had not ended here, it had just begun. "Then I should leave. Tomorrow morning I will set out."
Rai nodded his head."A wise choice. I will go down and tell the kitchens to prepare a food package for you."
The night came and went; Isanu awoke early in the morning, knowing that he would be leaving Aierania once again. He had explained to her the day before that he had to leave. Aierania understood and made him promise to visit when he was nearby. Arising from bed, Isanu dressed himself in new clothes that had been provided and packed his other set of clothes in his pack before leaving the room. Walking out into the village square, he saw Aierania, her mother, and Rai were already waiting for him, along with Vrix the Uni. The villagers had gathered around the group to send Isanu off.
Aierania approached him, holding the daffodil that he had dropped into the magma. "I went up into the cave and got this with Rai's help last night. He says it may still have some magic in it." She tucked it behind Isanu's ear. "Keep it with you at all times, so you can remember us." Then she gave him one last hug before he got on Vrix's back.
"I wish you the best of luck, young magician," Rai said as he looked up at Isanu. "Follow your heart, I think is the best advice I have this time. It will lead you right."
"Thank you, everyone. I hope to be back soon," Isanu said to the crowd, and then turned back to Aierania. "Good-bye, Aierania. I just want you to know that even though you are not my real mother, I will always see you as my mother."
A small tear formed in the corner of Aierania's eyes as she touched Isanu's hand. "Good-bye, Isanu. You will always be my son."
With that, Isanu patted Vrix's shoulder. "Come on, pal, let's go find ourselves an adventure."
Together they walked down the cobblestone streets, through the gates and back into the forest.
"I've always wanted to go on a journey. Which direction find your fancy, Isanu?" Vrix asked as the sun crept through the branches.
"Let's head west, Vrix. I feel that we are needed in that direction."
Turning to his left, the Uni reared up in excitement, and then jumped into a breakneck gallop, away from the rising run, towards the westward lands.