Retribution: Part Four
Part Four: Capture
Cam peered out from the shadows of the alley, amber eyes watching all those that walked by intently. Wraith wasn't there at the moment, so the young Bori was left to find breakfast on his own.
There! Cam dashed out of hiding, weaving through legs to reached the item that had fallen from a neopet's pocket. He snatched it up without looking at it, hardly slowing down as he continued his race across the street. He skidded to a halt in an alley on the other side, panting and looking out into the street to see if anyone saw. No one seemed to pay him any mind, but he shuffled further into the shadows, just to be safe.
Now alone, he had the chance to examine the item he'd obtained. He frowned, twisting it back in forth. "It's a mirror." He didn't see what good it'd do, except for maybe earning him and Wraith some neopoints. The thought made him grin, and he stared into the reflective surface, silently contemplating, Maybe we'll actually get something good to eat this morning.
Then his face in the mirror warped, twisting into something demonic. He yelped in surprise, trying to drop the mirror but finding himself unable to. He continued to stare into the depths, eyes seemingly fixed in place, until he heard footsteps and the voice of Wraith asking, "Cam? What are you doing?"
Then the demonic version of his face spun in the mirror. His head spun with it, his vision blurring before he collided with utter darkness.
Cam's eyes snapped open and he took a gasping breath. He lay in bed, panting in the darkness. Slowly he looked around him, making sure he really was in the Zafara's house and not back in that alley in Darigan Citadel. Slowly, a sense of relief wash through him, and he allowed himself to relax.
The dream, however, continued to trouble him. It's been so long since I thought about that day, he contemplated, closing his eyes and scrunching up the blankets between his clawed fingers. He'd blacked out after looking into the mirror, and when he'd come to he'd been in a different alley, Wraith sitting nearby with a troubled look on his face. When the young Bori had asked what had happened, the Eyrie had simply responded that he'd passed out and dropped the mirror, which he'd felt no obligation to take. The conversation had ended there, and Cam had been able to - mostly - but the memory far into the back of his mind. It would return on some instances, however, no matter how hard he tried to suppress it.
Instances like tonight, it appeared. He tried to steady his breathing, closing his eyes and slowly relaxing his fists. It's in the past, he reminded himself. It can't hurt you anymore. Slowly, with this mantra repeating through his head, he drifted back to sleep.
Several days had passed by the time Wraith arrived at Meridell Castle. He sighed, looking up at the towering ramparts that were framed by blue sky. So this is it, then? he thought, eyes shadowed. This was when he had to put his plan into action.
His head reached to his side and rested on the pommel of a blade he'd 'borrowed' from a lazy shopkeeper. He glanced down at the weapon. I suppose it's now or never. He slowly drew the blade, wings spreading in the same instant. Then he released a war cry, springing into the air and powering over the draw bridge. He swung his legs forward as he neared the large doors that would allow entrance to the castle, kicking them with enough force to make them shudder.
He could hear the shocked voices of the guards behind him but ignored them, instead kicking the doors again to try and force them open.
Wraith felt something slice through his shoulder and he let out a quiet hiss of pain, reaching up a hand to the wounded area. He saw the eyes of an archer staring down at him as he looked up, and beat his wings, rising to meet the Meridell knight. The Draik shot more arrows at him, which he either avoided or blocked with his sword. He appeared above the ramparts, wings spread wide as he swung his sword towards the archer, who was fumbling with an arrow in the same instant.
Another blade blocked his before he could hit the archer. Blood red eyes narrowed at the Kougra knight. "Why don't you land," he hissed icily, "so we can battle on even ground?"
"Fair enough," Wraith agreed, obviously startling his opponent with his easy compliance. He landed nimbly on the ramparts, facing the Kougra and grabbing the hilt of his weapon with both hands. "Well? This is what you wanted, isn't it?"
The Kougra shook himself out of his stupor. "Go back down," the knight hissed to the archer. The Draik looked surprised at the request, but nodded slowly, doing as he was told. The orange neopet turned his eyes back to the Eyrie before him. "Why are you doing this?"
"Attacking?" he questioned.
"No, well, yes, but..." he trailed off, continuing shortly thereafter, "why are you being so... nice about this?"
"You mean fair?" Wraith sighed, tilting his head back. "Let's just say I've grown a conscience and leave it at that."
"Grown a...?" The Kougra looked troubled, but got into a ready position.
"You won't get any sort of heroes reward, you know," Wraith warned him quietly.
"That's not what being a knight is about," the Kougra hissed in reply, suddenly seeming angry.
Wraith smiled, causing the Kougra's tough exterior to slip again into confusion. "Good," he growled. "I just wanted to make sure."
Then he lunged forward, dragging his sword far out to the side before swinging it forward. The Kougra, momentarily caught off guard, just barely managed to lift his blade and block the blow, filling the air with a ring and a shower of sparks. Wraith pushed forward, trying to use his greater strength to overwhelm the younger neopet. The Kougra gritted his teeth, dropping suddenly and leaving Wraith's own strength to act against him. The Eyrie fell forward as the Kougra knight rolled between his legs, spinning back to a standing position to slash at his opponent's back. Wraith flicked his tail up in defense, hissing quietly as the sword hit the spindly appendage.
He speared his sword down, the tip of the blade sticking into a gap between the stones. The Eyrie then proceeded to flip over the blade, jerking his blade free as he twisted in the air and landed on his feet to face his opponent once more. He surged forward almost instantly, swinging his blade in a powerful three-strike combo that forced his opponent backwards. He dragged his weapon high above his head, gripping the hilt with both hands to bring it down on a powerful strike. The Kougra let out a cry of alarm as the powerful blow caused him to crash into the stones beneath him. Wraith stared at him with a brief sense of melancholy before lifting his blade to finish off his opponent.
The knight, however, appeared not to be through. He swept out his legs, knocking Wraith's out from under him and causing the burly Darigan Eyrie to crashing, belly-first, on the ground. The Eyrie rolled over onto his back in time to see the Kougra jump above him, bringing his sword up in an apparent attempt to slam it down into him. Wraith lifted his sword, blocked the Kougra's mid air strike. He forced his wings against the stone beneath him, causing him to surge upwards and send the Kougra flying aimlessly through the air. He half-spread his wings, considering flying after him before deciding against it, jumping instead to swing his sword at the helpless knight.
He felt a jolt of surprise when the orange Kougra grabbed his blade. "What kind of move was that?"
"One that stopped you," the Kougra hissed through gritted teeth. The paw not gripping the blade - the paw holding his own sword - swung his weapon forward, the sharpened edge cutting into the Darigan Eyrie's sword arm. Wraith let out a caw of pain, inadvertently releasing his weapon and allowing it to clatter against the stone of the castle ramparts. The two neopets followed not long after it, landed in a tangled heap. Wraith struggled to free himself, but didn't bother to reach for his sword; after all, that would defeat his purpose of coming here.
He felt cold steel touch his neck and looked up into the dark eyes of the Kougra. "Well? Do you yield?" his opponent queried, his chest heaving from their brief bout.
Wraith's blood red eyes slid up to him. "Doesn't look like I have a choice."
A wry smile spread across the Kougra's face. "Well, not a good one."
The Eyrie quirked an eyebrow. "You going to finish the job?"
The Kougra blinked in surprise. "You mean... kill you? No, I'm not going to do that!"
Wraith blinked in alarm. But... then... He let the thought trail off, defeat setting in as his shoulders slumped with resignation. "You taking me to Skarl or the dungeons?"
The Kougra didn't seem surprised by this comment; apparently, he was starting to realize that this strange Eyrie was different than the others who had attacked Meridell Castle.
Wraith, once he knew Cam would be safe with that family of Zafaras, had come to a decision: he wouldn't try to start another war with Meridell. Instead, he'd hoped to fall in battle. It seemed that even that hope would be taken away from him.
To be continued...