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The Shade Flame Legacy: Valrigard - Part One


by smurfafied1800

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A Dream and a Draik

A blue Eyrie walked through the Meridellian gardens. Every rose that he looked at filled him with disgust, and every thorn he looked at filled him with an evil joy. Lately, nothing had been going his way. His former master, Kass, had just lost the war. That weakling that he had worked for, Darigan, was back and a peace had been sealed. He hated peace. It was just a foolish hope that crushed the lives of others. He hated it more then anything. Hope had ruined his life, and this hope would ruin it yet again.

      Syvor glared at yet another rose. The Eyrie reached out his paw in what seemed like a tender stroke, and then crushed it with ease. Syvor smiled as he saw the wilted rose lying dejected on the ground. The Eyrie turned around a corner and excited the maze. He didn't have to worry about his masters. First, it had been Darigan. That fool had been so easily corrupted by the orb that the Three had fasioned especially for Syvor. The power-hungry Darigan had been easy to dispose of, and then there had been Kass. Kass had been slightly harder to corrupt, now that the orb had been destroyed. But, Syvor had found his ways. Once again, he had chained the Three's power to his will, and they had created Morguss. They had given her evil magic beyond comparison, and she had created the Aumulet. The whole war was connected to Syvor, yet not a single pet in Neopia suspected him. The Eyrie sneered evilly to himself, and mentally praised himself for his cleverness. Now, his master was King Skarl, and he would be the easiest one to dispose of. That fat idiot was a simple-minded fool, and Syvor would have the Three rid Meridell of him. Then, the advisor would sadly take the throne of Meridell, and he would start yet another war.

      But now, Syvor's main problem was Darigan-Redeemed. The old, power-hungry Darigan was gone now, and the new, Darigan-Redeemed was in command. He was stronger, wiser, and more peaceful. He had refused the Three, but Syvor had come up with a new idea. This idea was deadly, cunning, and it pinned the blame on another pet. It was so deadly, that only a knight could do it. It was so cunning that no one would figure it out before it was too late. Syvor snickered when he thought of the framing of another pet. He had done it before, and he would do it again.

      "Freedom and peace comes at a price," he said, allowing himself a evil smile, "and the price shall be both Darigan and Jeran's life..." The Eyrie retired to the castle, for a word his his master.

      * * * * *

      When morning came, I only woke up half-conscious. Everywhere around me was fog, and a bleary voice called out through the mist. I began running towards the voice, but a powerful force was dragging me down. My legs seemed to turn into lead, and I fell to the ground. The voice called out,

      "Wake up..." but I was powerless to the force holding me down.

      "Wake up..." the voice called again, and I answered.

      "I c-can't..." I whispered through the darkness. Suddenly, a beautiful striped Draik melted into my view. Her form was perfect, being slender yet healthy at the same time. Her scales were a beautiful cream-white colour, and lavender stripes decorated her body. She looked at me sadly, and walked over to me. I tried to get up, but the lead spell was still working over me. When the pretty Draik saw my efforts, she leaned over and said,

      "Don't move. You are in the Dreamsaga world, and only the Dreamsaga family can move about freely. I can help you..."

      She reached towards me with her paw, and touched my shoulder gently. Suddenly, I felt the lead melt away, and I stood up easily. The Draikess smiled at me, and I could feel heat growing under my scales. She grabbed my hand and led me through the fog. There was a door at the end of the fog, and I reached out to touch it. The Draikess smiled and said,

      "I'll see you on the other side," then she melted away again. I sighed and reached for the door, then flung it open.

      Then I woke up.

      I looked around and saw the pretty Draikess, smiling at me. I blushed slightly, then remembered who I was. I was Valrigard, a branded Traitor to Meridell. Certainly such a Draikess would know that? But when she looked at me, she didn't show disgust or hate. She looked happy at having a visitor. She looked happy at having something interesting happening in her life. I finally found the power to speak, and asked her in a shaky voice,

      "W-who are you?"

      "I'm Velle," the Draikess answered. "And you?"

      I couldn't answer this. If Velle knew who I was, she would surely call the Chia Police. I was in no condition to fight anyone else, and I certainly didn't want to hurt the striped Draik. I couldn't hurt an innocent soul. Every beast I had ever killed had been a gaurd or an enemy. But, when I looked at her face, I could see that Velle was playing me. I could see on her face that she knew who I was. I didn't even have to answer, but I did.

      "V-valrigard," I choked out, "the Traitor." Velle shook her head gracefully.

      "I don't think you'd be a Traitor." I stared blankly at her.

      "How can you think that I'm not a Traitor? Do you have any proof?" Velle smiled.

      "What, do you like being called Traitor? Is that who you really are?"

      "No!" I said, "No! I'm not a Traitor, but how can you trust me so easily?!"

      "I come from the Dreamsaga family," Velle said simply. "We are mages and warriors, so we can always sense good or evil. Do you understand?" I nodded, and sat up in the bed. Every inch of my body ached terribly. I was bandaged up in many places, making me look like a mummy Draik. Wherever my blue skin was showing through the bandages, it was purple with bruising and dried blood was showing in some places. I winced as I looked in the mirror across the room. Velle just shrugged.

      "You'll heal soon," she said simply, "I think I'm a decent healer." I nodded and tried to stand up, but the pretty striped Draik pushed me back down gently.

      "Wait until your strength fully returns," she ordered, "The fall you took from the window wasn't exactly light, you know." I couldn't help smiling at Velle's bossy order. I weakly smiled and lowered myself into a sit. Velle smiled lightly at me. I turned the subject to my escape.

      "How bad was I?" I asked. Velle winced, as if even the memory was bad enough for her. She finally gulped and said,

      "You were covered in blood. Shards of glass were wedged into your skin, and it took me a long time to pull them out. You were cusioned by the water, so you didn't break any bones. But..." she trailed off. I didn't want to hear anymore.

      "Never mind," I muttered. "I don't want to know." Velle nodded, and she held out a makeshift crutch. I stared at it blankly, and then grabbed it. I really didn't want to show weakness, but I took it anyway. Velle helped me up, and I grabbed the crutch for needed support. I hobbled outside with the striped Draik right behind me.

      At the first rays of the sun, I squinted. The inside of Velle's house had been so dark, and now I felt practically blinded by the powerful rays. I chuckled dryly to myself. Me, Meridell's former-Champion...limping about on a walking stick! I wandered if Jeran had ever experienced this. I had been in jail for three years, so I had no idea about Kass, and Darigan-Redeemed. The thought of Darigan in my head brought hate and contempt, not the happiness that other pets thought of. The dungeons that I had spent three years of my life in were so isolated that even the sounds of the war couldn't get through. But now, freedom was the only thing on my mind.

      I was so absorbed in this moment of freedom that I didn't feel Velle's paw at first. When she touched my shoulder a second time, I spun around and looked at her. The look in her eyes told me everything.

      "I need to take you somewhere..." she said. I stared at her blankly.

      "You need to talk to the King..." she trailed off. I stared at her and blinked. I felt betrayed. I felt like I was going back to jail. All my freedom was being whisked away from me. Velle nodded, and I knew that she didn't mean badly. But I couldn't feel safe anyway. Velle gently led me away, and I could hear the door of my jail cell being closed again.

      * * * * *

      Syvor sat on the right hand side of the King, Skarl. The blue Eyrie waited patiently for the King to make his anouncement. The court waited before them, and Skarl cleared his throat. Syvor straightened his back and waited. The entire Royal Court seemed to perk up.

      "We now have peace in Meridell," Skarl said, "and we have signed yet another treaty with Darigan." Syvor snorted loudly, and the court turned to look at him.

      "Is there anything you'd like to say, Advisor?" Skarl asked. Syvor stood up and cleared his throat loudly.

      "I think that the Citagel is playing us. They have nothing of our interest. Who knows? They could be waiting for us to be unprepared, and I think they are. We give them a fat portion of our harvests, while they give us nothing but the rocks that fall from the Citagel. Your Majesty, I think we should launch a surprise attack once their forces are thin." The court gasped. Skarl huffed angrily.

      "That will be enough, Syvor," Skarl ordered. "I will not start another war. You say that Darigan's forces are thin, but ours are thinner. The Citagel provides us with the..." he trailed off. Syvor smirked.

      "They provide us with nothing," he said. Skarl sighed. "I will not start another war, Advisor, and that's the end of it." He waved a pudgy hand and the court filtered out of the room. Amid grumblings and mutters, Skarl sighed again. Syvor was right, the Darigans had nothing to offer. They offered the peace, but that was it.

      And, Skarl thought, That's all they have to offer. The King nodded with satisfaction and retired to his chambers.

      Syvor, on the other hand, had different ideas. Another war would cover up for Jeran's sudden death. If Syvor simply used another pet to assasinate Darigan...then the Citagellians would be infuriated. They would demand war, and Jeran would have the "misfortune" of dying in the first battle. Ever since Syvor had painted himself in order to cover up his last crime, things hadn't gone extremely well. But, this was a chance to win back his future glory and might. The blue Eyrie snickered evily and left the court room, even though he had just lost a case. He knew that someone wasn't dead.

      * * * * *

      As Velle led me through the green pastures of Meridell, I kept my eyes on the castle. I didn't know why I was letting Velle lead me there. Why didn't I run? Why didn't I escape? It was friendship that kept me there, supposedly. I still cursed the idea of going. We couldn't fly, because I was still pretty banged up after the fall, and my wings wouldn't work properly. Every time I opened them, a searing pain ran through me. Velle told me not to strain them, but I kept trying to fly whenever the castle came closer. I had no idea why I didn't run, and it seemed like the lead spell was on me, but I couldn't go backwards.

      I didn't want to see the King. I didn't want to go back to jail. But now the castle was only a small walk away, and I couldn't abandon my friend. I remembered when His Majesty King Skarl had been my personal friend...now, he would arrest me at first glance. Syvor would win again, even though everyone thought I was dead as a doornail. I sighed. My life seemed to be running itself all over again...ending and beginning.

      Before I knew it, we were walking past Illusen's Glade, past the Petpet Shop, past Turmaculus, and finally past Sinsi and her game. I was surprised that they didn't notice me at first, then remembered the bandages and cloak that covered my identity. I was led into the castle, without anyone except Velle to know me. It felt strange, because I had been branded a traitor for so long, and every gaurd that had seen me in my cell had spat through the bars.

      "Valrigard," Velle whispered silently, "Don't be scared." I snorted. I couldn't help being scared. I was about to see the king who had imprisoned me, and the advisor who had ended my life.

      "When we get to the Throne Room," she said as a Draik gaurd led us through the hall, "don't say a word. I'll speak first, and when the King has listened to a great deal of it, then you can talk." This time I just nodded. The Draik gaurd smiled nervously at Velle, who just smiled back. I mentally chuckled. Every Draik gaurd that we passed by either saluted or smiled at Velle, and I wasn't surprised why. The pretty striped Draik looked like she could stop an army with a single giggle or a smile. The last Draik gaurd led us down the corridor and into the Throne Room, a room I had long forgotten.

      The Throne Room was an impressing site. The walls, ceiling, and floor were made of pure marble. The cream-white ceilings were decorated with chandeliears made of white gold and silver, the walls were decorated with portraits of important pets, and the floor was decorated with an expensive carpet. The room seemed to stretch for miles, with King Skarl sitting at the end of it. I could see the obese King squatting dully on his throne, and supposed that I would be bored too if all I did was listen to pathetic jokes and eat. He probably had other matters to consider, but those matters didn't show on him. I knew he was having troubles keeping the war

     a bay but it didn't seem that he cared about that now. As Velle and I entered the Throne Room quietly, we could hear the voice of a tiny baby Kyrii telling the king his joke.

      "And 'den, Mista King," he said, "the Lupey said, 'I don' wanna go to da' baffoom!' " The baby Kyrii burst out in giggles as Skarl shook his head in boredom. The royal court sat behind him, wearing identical bored faces. The baby Kyrii left with his owner coowing beside him. Another pet came and began to resite a new joke when the King spotted us, and shushed her. The gaurds sent the grumpy Lenny away. Velle walked ahead and said,

      "Your Majesty, I would like you to meet a friend of mine." The monarch raised an eyebrow. He glanced dully at me for a moment and I winced under my cloak and wrappings. The King turned his attention back to Velle, who was waiting patiently for him to speak.

      "Then speak, Draik," he finally said, "If that's what you are."

      "He was afflicted with a plague and his skin has rotted. I suggest you keep your distance, Majesty." Skarl flinched back before he offered his hand to me. I pulled back slowly and quietly, pretending not to care and act like I was used to being flinched at.

      "F-forgive me..." he managed to say weakly, "But I can't afford being thrown in a qaurintine." When Skarl said this, half of me seemed to shred. I didn't know why, though. I knew what a qaurintine was, but it seemed too much like a jail for my comfort. You were locked away for something you did or something that happened to you, and that was close enough for me.

      But, even though I felt terrible, I could only whimper slightly. Skarl raised an eyebrow at me sadly, and mumbled something about his tendency to be rude. I didn't say anything, because my words had been muffled by the bandages earlier. Suddenly, I felt a tug on my cloak and whirled around, half expecting Velle. The Draik gaurds stood behind me. My hand darted to the sword under my cloak, but my common sense forced it away.

      "Sorry, sir," one of the gaurds said, "but His Majesty King Skarl whishes for you to remove your cloak." I tugged away sharply, but the gaurd had a harder grip then I thought. Within seconds, my cloak was pulled from my shoulders and my bandages were shown. I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when I heard a court member gasp. I heard Velle gasp too. I looked down at my tail, the only part of my body that wasn't covered by bandages. I gasped too.

      There, wedged tightly into my blue tail, was a shard of glass. A coloured shard of glass. The shard glinted in the light, reflecting a bright orange colour. The window. Velle must have missed that peice. I winced when a gaurd tried to remove it, and thwacked him away from me. He skidded a few feet across the floor. That showed my strength easily. Another gaurd, a little more swift and accurate then the last, grabbed me by the tail and yanked the glass out. I winced again and looked at the glass. It was definately part of a stain glass window, and the only stain glass windows in Meridell were found were on the castle. The towers, the walls...and the dungeons were decorated with them.

      Skarl's eyes widened in surprise. It didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened.

      "You..." he said. His voice turned from surprised to acid. "You were dead..." Velle stood in front of me as Draiks surrounded us. She glared at them icily. After what seemed like ages, she reached over and untied the knot on my bandages, causing them to fall apart. Everyone gasped at my haggard appearence, except Velle and I.

      "Arrest him!" the King finally shouted. "Arrest him and take him to the gallows! He shall be hanged!" He didn't say what would happen to Velle, but I didn't take the time to care. Gaurds lept at me from every direction, and the only thing I could do was bull through them. I hurled myself at the Draiks, but it didn't matter. They seized me by the shoulders and dragged me off to the dungeons.

      "Valrigard!" Velle screamed, but I couldn't hear because with a swift hit to my head, I was unconscious.

To be continued...

 
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