The Amulet's Curse: Part Five
Aethia led them down many flights of stairs, winding their way past countless rooms, the temperature around them gradually dropping. Eventually, they went down their last staircase to find themselves in a large room. It was cold inside, the room was created completely out of grey stone. The walls extended to a high ceiling with only two small windows. “The dungeons.” Aethia explained, “I use them as practise rooms sometimes.”
They continued through the room to find themselves at a very ordinary looking wooden door. Very quietly, Aethia put her hand over the door’s lock and whispered something none of the trio was able to hear. The lock glowed, then clicked and unlocked, and they walked inside.
The room was as simple as the door, and looked just like a mini-dungeon – cold, dark and damp – yet what was inside made the whole room seem extraordinary.
It was the swords. They were placed in the centre of the room in a glass case. Reginald was speechless as he took in everything about them. In their case, they hovered, crossed over each other. The handle of the Sword of Flame was brilliant gold; the blade however flickered as if it were a live fire. On closer inspection he realised indeed, there was no blade bewitched to look like fire; it was a blade made of flame. Contradictory to the Sword of Flame, the Sword of Ice’s handle was made of radiant silver. Its blade was a triangular prism, and sharp at the tip. Unlike what he’d expected, Reginald noticed rather than blue, the Sword of Ice’s blade was completely clear and perfectly transparent. The blade did not flicker but just remained perfectly frozen solid.
Transfixed by their beauty and the strength they showed even perfect stillness, Reginald almost missed the start of Aethia’s sentence. “I forget how many years it’s been since I brought them here. Countless hours I’ve spent in libraries trying to uncover their riddle to no avail. Eventually I find a symbol similar to the riddle written on their blades, but there is no point, the symbol is always similar.” She sighed.
It was after Aethia’s sentence that Reginald then noticed the script. It was engraved into the handles of the swords. It wound around the handless from top to bottom. It was a very small script, easy to miss as Reginald did, but once you saw it, you’ll always see it. Reginald put his hands on the glass case. His eyes were just centimetres from the swords, inspecting them completely now.
As Reginald looked at the swords, Aeitha began speaking to Hannah and Amira.
“I have dedicated so much of my life to these swords and their secret, I would give almost anything to understand them.”
After a moment of complete silence while Reginald observed, he slowly turned back around to talk to Aethia, Hannah and Princess Amira.
“I know what they say.” He stated.
“I’m sorry, what?” Asked Aethia, rudely.
“I know what they say.” He repeated.
Aethia opened her mouth, ready to scream at him. How dare he make such an incredulous claim? He was offending her, and everything she’d worked for. Before she could get a word out however, Princess Amira started speaking.
“Reginald, please if you’re joking stop.” She paused. Her words did nothing however; Reginald still had the same shocked yet knowing expression on his face. “… And if you’re not, then please, tell us what you have just learnt so we may help you.”
Reginald didn’t respond. He circled the swords’ case, whispering something under his breath again and again. Finally, he came to a halt. “I can’t believe this.” He finally uttered.
“Reginald, please. Tell us. What do the swords say? How are you able to read them?” Pleaded Princess Amira.
He turned, his eyes still slightly glazed over, but he seemed more aware of the present. “A few years ago, while exploring the outskirts of Neovia, I discovered a book. Incredibly old was all I managed to gather from it. The cover was so faded I could barely read the writing. Carefully I inspected the fraying book and found it to be in another script. At that time, I could read, speak and write 5 complete languages from across Neopia, yet this was something I’d never seen before. I read the book so many times, and after countless reads, I was able to understand the language. I found symbols relating to languages both spoken today in Neopia and others almost forgotten. I’ve never seen that type of script again. Until now that is.” He turned back to the swords, inspecting them again.
“It sounds like you found a book written in the language from the birth of Neopia itself.” Queen Fyora said, as she walked into the small room.
“You mean you understood the swords riddle all this time and you never told me?” Aethia asked Fyora, sadness in her voice.
“Yes. But it was not my place to say. While I may understand the riddle, it is not meant for me.” Fyora cast her gaze to Reginald.
Reginald looked up again at the other four people in the room. “You mean the riddle was for me then? I know it fits, but it’s impossible…”
“Please, Reginald, Fyora, can you explain what is going on? What does the riddle say?” Princess Amira pleaded once again.
“‘In the shadows, always waiting;
The one who’ll use us only for good;
The one from the outer woods.
To destroy evil is our purpose;
Alternatively, we are worthless.
United swords with our chosen we’ll stand;
Complete control in their hands.’” Quoted Reginald.
“Well it has to be you then! Reginald don’t you see, these swords were made for you and you alone. You’re the one who discovered that book years ago, the one the Brain Tree sent on this Quest, the riddle even mentions someone born just outside the Haunted Woods.” Said Hannah, excitedly.
“It’s true. They are yours. That I cannot deny.” Aethia said, slightly stunned. She walked up to the swords, standing next to Reginald. Quietly she whispered something inaudible. The glass from the case disappeared, and the swords slowly moved into his hands.
He gazed at them, turning them back and forth, inspecting them.
“Are they hurting your hands?” Asked Princess Amira.
“No, not at all. They feel… right. I don’t know how to explain it. They don’t feel like swords, just an extension of me.” Reginald replied.
Fyora smiled. “I’ve been waiting for this day a long time. Reginald, you are ready.”
Reginald instantly became alert. “I really don’t think I am. While I feel stronger with these swords with me, I don’t feel ready, especially to take on something that has been causing so much terror around Neopia.”
Aethia laughed. “So you need battle lessons, huh? I guess that’s always been my calling with these swords. I’d be happy to give you a few tips.”
Reginald sighed thankfully. “That would be so much appreciated Aethia. We have to leave for Terror Mountain early tomorrow.”
“Well then there’s no time to waste!” Aethia grabbed him by the arm, eager to teach someone new.---
“So you’re not angry?” Asked Reginald. He was sitting with Aethia at the top of the staircase, leading to the training grounds.
She looked at him. “No. The swords were never meant for me; you are their chosen wielder. My job was to find them for you, and teach you how to use them. Of course, at first I thought they were meant for me, you have no idea how long I spent trying to understand.” She laughed.
They’d been training for 3 hours straight. It was only 4o’clock in the afternoon, but Reginald was exhausted. He learnt so much about sword fighting, things you could only learn in practice - the theory on techniques he already knew. The pair sat in silence as they regained some energy; it had been an intense session for the both of them. According to Aethia, Reginald was an absolute natural. Good with swords. That was unexpected, He thought to himself.
“Reginald!” It was Princess Amira, walking over to him and Aethia. She smiled as she stopped in front of them. “How was the training session?” She asked.
“He’s good; a lot better than those who have been training for years. The swords were definitely made for him.” Replied Aethia. Reginald blushed a little.
“Queen Fyora has offered to let us stay the night in Faerieland. Not to bring on any stress, but tomorrow we set out to Terror Mountain. We’re going to need a really good night’s sleep. Hannah and I are preparing now.” Stated Princess Amira.
Aethia sensed Reginald’s tension as she spoke of the final destination for the trio. “Reginald, do not over think tomorrow. You need to prepare, but in terms of battle, you are completely ready. Just embrace the swords.”
Reginald smiled at Aethia. “Thank you.” He turned back to Princess Amira, “I guess it’s time to start packing.”
To be continued…