The Whispering Wail Sword: Part Five
Mina was helped to her feet by Talzadon, mouth agape. They had found the whispering wail sword, she was convinced it was always just a myth, but here it was, glowing with power. “We have to get this inside the castle,” she said. “We need to get it to the Royal Wizard so he can figure out how to reverse the curse on our lands.” Dawn was beginning to break over Brightvale in the distance and Neopians everywhere were beginning to awake. Talzadon didn’t immediately respond.
“I don’t think that will be necessary,” he replied. His sleek black fur caught a glint of the morning sun. In the light the sword and him were nearly identical in color.
“What do you mean, not necessary?? Of course we need to hand it over.” Mina didn’t like the tone of Talzadon’s voice.
“You just saw me, for the first time, successfully cast a spell on my first try. This sword is all we need to save Meridell. There’s no need to bring in fuddy-duddy wizards.” His gaze fell upon a nearby field where juppies once grew. He began to march, sword dragging behind him, in the direction of the field. The sword looked alive with power, and little black sparks came out of it every time it hit a rock.
“No no no no no, whatever you think you’re about to do, stop right there! I order you in the name of King Skarl to surrender the Whispering Wail sword over to me!” Mina grabbed at his paw, but he shook her off. They were beginning to attract the attention of the locals, who watched in silence.
Now firmly in the juppie field, Talzadon raised the sword high. The edge caught the light of the sunrise and rained dazzling spots of light on the surrounding area. “Don’t you dare!” Mina tried one last time to stop him, raising her claws up in front of him.
“I can do it!” Talzadon said. “You told me to believe in myself!” The blade went speeding down past Mina as Talzadon drove it deep into the ground. Light rays spread across the field, emanating from the sword, whose gem glowed ferociously. Talzadon stepped back and watched as light seemed to pour out of the sword like water across the land. Instantly juppies began to grow from the field at a lighting pace. The subjects of Meridell stared in awe as a few cried out with joy. Talzadon smugly turned around to accept the admiration of the villagers nearby.
“Wait!” Mina cried, taking a few steps back. The water-like light had turned dark as a shadow, and a blackness like night began to radiate out from the sword. The darkened waters seeped into the dirt of the fields, the juppies instantly withered. Then, the water began to lift from the soil and float into the air, turning into a thick, black, and opaque mass. They gathered in the air, combining into one blob.
Winds blew hard and villagers began to run for shelter. Talzadon watched in horror, his mane blowing in the wind, as a monster began to take form. Two shadowy clawed arms emerged from the goo, followed by small horns on a head. A face emerged, with sharp teeth and eyes made of smoke. A long and spikey tail assembled itself from the ashes of the earth, joining with the rest of the blob. The monster may have once been a Skeith, but it was hard to tell now.
“You FOOLS!” a deep and booming voiced cackled from the mouth of the creature. “You have released me, Zartarath, wraith of the ancients and the embodiment of darkness! Thousands of years ago you puny Neopians imprisoned me. I’ve had thousands of years to plot my revenge! Prepare for your eternal night!” The ghostly wraith was the size of a house. Talzadon’s heart was pounding. Suddenly Mina dashed into the air, spewing fire from her mouth. It poured over the wraith and illuminated the darkened fields. When the flames died down it was clear the monster had dodged her shots. She was too far away to effectively corner him with flames. Zartarath laughed and pushed her aside, before speeding away in the sky to some unknown location. As he disappeared beyond Illusen’s glade, the morning sun turned black, and Meridell was covered with the darkest night anyone had ever seen. No light shone from Kreuldor, and none from the stars. Only the gem of the Whispering Wail Sword produced any light, a faint yellow glow. It had clearly lost most of its power when Zartarath was released.
The world was quiet. All around, there was nothing. The void of the land was disorienting and overwhelming. In the darkness, Mina’s shaky voice squeaked from somewhere nearby. “What… What have you done?” Her voice cracked as she spoke. “I told you not to do anything!” Mina was now shouting.
Talzadon could feel eyes on him despite the enveloping darkness. The villagers were likely looking at him, drawn to the faint glimmer of the sword. He began to sweat and stammer. He hadn’t intended for this to happen, he had no idea it could happen! He thought the evil spirit was a myth! The gravity of what he had done sunk deep into his bones. How could he have been so naïve to think that he, the most unaccomplished mage in all of Meridell, could save anyone. Mina said he should believe in himself, but perhaps that was a mistake. He fell to his knees. There was no conceivable way for him to fix things this time.
Mina sat quietly in the grass next to him, quite literally fuming. Smoke wafted silently from her nostrils, barely visible in the sword’s faint light. She turned towards Talzadon and angrily barked at him “You’re under arrest! For treasonous crimes against the kingdom!”
“What!” replied Talzadon. “Treason?? Don’t you think that’s exaggerating??”
“No! You put personal glory over the good of the kingdom. You stole the king’s property by removing the Sword from castle grounds without his permission. Need I mention the monster you set loose on the land?? You can answer to King Skarl. And give me that!” She ripped the sword from Talzadon’s limp paw. “Let’s go, back to the castle. Will you walk there willingly or must I restrain you?” Talzadon slumped towards the direction of the castle.
A few minutes later they were nearly halfway back. It was difficult to tell where they were headed, since light came only from the sword and from a small torch Mina made from a wilted juppie plant. The sugars inside the fruit burned dimly and slowly in what should have been broad daylight. They marched along slowly, when Mina stopped suddenly. “Shh, do you hear that?” Talzadon paused to listen. In the dark his other senses were heightened. He could smell more, like the dew on the grass, he could taste the pollen from nearby flowers, and he could hear something else. It sounded like something moving quickly in the wind.
Abruptly, Mina lifted the sword high into the air, dropping her torch in the process. There was a great screech, and Talzadon caught a quick glimpse of a smoky entity as Mina brought the Whispering Wail Sword down upon it. The creature gasped and was sucked into the dark sword, which now glowed slightly brighter in the darkness.
“What was that??” Talzadon asked, observing now that they could see more in the sword’s light. The radius now illuminated both of them.
“I think it was some kind of a minion, something working for Zartarath. It almost looked like it was after the sword, but when I sliced through it, the minion only made the sword stronger.” Mina examined the clean edge of the blade. It was perfectly sharp. She had to be careful not to cut herself. After all these years the ancient blade held its edge. If the minion could be absorbed so easily into the blade, could maybe Zartarath be defeated in the same way? Just like in the legend?”
Talzadon agreed. “I think so, that minion looked almost just like a mini version of Zartarath, Perhaps he can split himself into tiny copies?”
“HALT!!” a voice in the darkness cried out in the direction of them. “You two are coming with me!” A young, green, Lupe appeared near them. He was clearly a knight of the castle, dressed in armor and carrying sword and shield on his back. Mina grabbed the torch off the earth and raised it to look at the face of the knight.
“Oh good, Sir Weston, assist me with this Kyrii. He is accused of crimes against the Kingdom,” Mina said firmly as she pushed Talzadon in the Lupe knight’s direction.
“Not so fast, Lady Mina, you’re under arrest too!”
“What!! Why, I’ve only tried to prevent this ‘mage’ from doing anything unwise!”
“Clearly you have failed. The King will determine if you are guilty of anything criminal, but for now, surrender the sword to me.”
Mina was frustrated nearly to tears. First the Kyrii she was supposed to be supervising unleashed an ancient monster on the land, and now she’s under arrest! Reluctantly, she passed the hilt of the black sword to Sir Weston. Just before her paw brushed off the end of the sword, a heavenly and delicate voice came whispering from inside her own head. “Do not give up, heroes!” the ethereal voice pleaded. Startled, Mina turned to look at Talzadon, who had clearly heard what she had. Sir Weston turned as if he might have heard it too, but looked around confused, shrugged, and dragged them towards the castle…
To be continued…