The Shade Flame Legacy: Valrigard - Part One
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
"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
"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
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
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...