The Shade Flame Legacy: Valrigard - Part Twelve
Tears for a Dreamsaga
When I woke up, the rays of the sun were shining brightly
on my face. I had fallen asleep on the Citadel...where was the army? Where were
the Shadows? I hoped that the army was okay...had Syvor been telling the truth
when he had said that they had betrayed me? No, they wouldn't do that. They
had their doubts, but it was all of their lives that they had been fighting
for. Some had made the ultimate sacrifice...I glanced over to Velle for a moment
and felt tears come back into my eyes. She was gone...when she had saved my
life yet again. If she hadn't lent me her energy, she would've been alive now.
She would've been standing right next to me, patting my shoulder and saying,
"It's all right."
But she wasn't. Velle was dead, and I knew that
I would never be able to accept it. My arm seared with incredible pain as I
remembered breaking it. That cursed axe...Tomraw, had done severe damage to
my arm, but that was pretty much it. I scrambled around in the debris and found
a charred wooden board. I ripped off part of my tunic with one paw and tied
it to the board. Then, with only a little difficulty, I secured the cast around
my arm. Flying down would be hard for a while. My wings were still exhausted
from the flight.
Look at yourself, a negative voice said in my
head, Velle is dead, and you don't even care. You were never her real friend.
She deserved much better than you, but she didn't get it. She never will now,
thanks to you.
"No," I said quietly, sobbing once, "I was Velle's
friend, and she was mine. It was her choice if she wanted to be my friend...
and she chose. I could always tell if Velle was happy or sad, because she always
showed it. She smiled, she cried, just like me." The negative voice in my head
seemed to die down. I would've smiled, but I couldn't. I glanced down towards
the ground. It was a long way down. But, I would take the flight.
I limped over to Velle's body and hefted it
up. It shocked me how surprisingly light she was. I hefted the body onto my
back and tore off another piece of my tunic. I wrapped it around her back and
secured it so she wouldn't fall. Then, I jumped from the Citadel.
I painfully opened my exhausted wings and half-flew
back to the woods. I landed in the trees and fell back to earth...right on top
"What in the name of-" he began, then looked
at me. His expression turned from surprised to sad when he saw the burden I
was carrying. I was silent, but I saw Darigan anyway. He definitely didn't look
like the army had betrayed me. Cuts small and large decorated his body. Bruises
were evident in some places. His wings were scarred and bandaged, looking like
they'd never fly again. Around his head was a large bandage. Darigan patted
"She made the ultimate sacrifice," he said quietly.
Though no tears showed on his face, he looked torn. I could tell that I looked
torn too, but the way I looked was nothing compared to the pain in my body.
"She died for me," I muttered with guilt. "If
it weren't for me, she would be alive now." Darigan shook his head. I was confused.
"Yes, she did die for you," he said, "but it was her choice. I never really
imagined Velle dying in a rocking chair as an old granny. She may not have looked
like it, but Velle was just as much as a warrior as you. And..." he paused and
looked at Velle, "...she was happy. Look." I looked, and was surprised.
Even in death, Velle was smiling. Not a dopey
grin or anything, just a small, pretty smile. I tried to force myself to smile,
but it didn't work. I thought that I wouldn't smile for the rest of my life.
I looked at Velle and felt the hot tears come back into my eyes.
"If I were Velle right now," Darigan said, "I
would be in a right temper with you." I looked at him quizzically. He smiled
slightly and said, "Velle gave her life so you could live yours and be happy.
She would hate it if you lived in misery for the rest of your life. At least,
I would." I nodded, he was right. I didn't feel like talking about it anymore.
I stood up, picked up Velle, and left the clearing, with Darigan staring blankly
I got the same talks from everyone I passed.
They all said, "She died happy," or, "At least it was for a good cause." For
some reason, those talks began to sicken me. No one but me would accept the
truth and say that it was my fault, like it was with Kysel. Even as the thought
of Kysel entered my head, his only son walked up to me.
"The Shadows attacked us by surprise," he said
quietly, "We were going to help you, but they wouldn't let us come. Then..."
he trailed off. I knew that he too was thinking about Velle. He finally talked
again. "Velle snuck off while we were fighting. Sheer noticed it first, but
he didn't tell anyone. He knew what Velle was doing, and he didn't stop it.
When Syvor died, the Shadows suddenly diminished." I stared blankly at him for
a moment. When I was about to reject his request to become my apprentice, he
"Valrigard," he said, "I know you still blame
yourself for my father's death. But it's not your fault. I know that you're
probably going to say no to my request, but before you do, think of my father."
I was astounded. Was this the young Krawk that had followed me to the invasion?
Was this Firescale? I put aside all questions and thought of his father. Kysel
would have been happy if I had become Firescale's master...and right now, I
was all the family Firescale had left. And besides, I would like to teach someone
else my... special abilities. Maybe, just maybe, Firescale possessed the Shade
Flame too. I nodded.
"Fine then," I said, "Firescale, you are now
my apprentice. Your first task..." I paused and felt the tears coming back,
"is to help me bury Velle. I think I know a good place..." Firescale nodded,
and followed me back to Meridell. I looked up at the city ahead. It didn't look
as regal as it had used to look after the Shadows had taken residence in it.
But, with a little work, it would be back to its former glory.
I never really healed from that last battle.
Sure, my arm healed, but it wasn't a physical wound that burned me. My heart
seemed to bear a hole in it for the rest of my life. Velle had become a part
of my heart, and now that she was gone, that part of my heart left too. No matter
what people said to me, I was like an empty shell for about a year.
After a while, I was brought into the Royal
Court and pardoned for all false crimes that I had been blamed for. I was knighted,
and received a place next to Jeran in the army. We fought wars as partners now,
and we both had an uncanny knack for near-death situations. I finally got to
learn what it felt like to fall a thousand feet from some floating building
and then....get caught by some passing Faerie. Jeran became one of my closest
friends, and we were practically unable to separate. The court members soon
memorized who would pick who when Jeran or I would be chosen to go somewhere
with a partner.
I never did settle down with someone like Jeran
said, but I still was his friend. I found that making friends was actually fun,
and I did it frequently. I visited the Snowager once in a while. I was nearly
bombarded by ice shards once because she was confused about who I was. Skarl
and I returned to our normal friendship (I had been a personal friend of his
before I had been thrown in jail). The court members never really got to like
me, especially that loudmouthed one. They always murmured mean things about
me, even if I was in the room. I didn't really care though; the members of the
court were too prissy for my liking.
Sheer became an alchemist for both Meridell
and the Citadel, giving him plenty of work to do. He often joined Jeran and
I in the wars, just for some excitement. After a few wars, he ventured off on
his own for a while, and fables later told of a great Darigan Draik who captured
Morguss and her vile daughter, the Court Dancer. Jeran and I were two of the
few who believed those legends. After a while, Sheer came back. He was far more
powerful in magic (as if he weren't already powerful enough) than last time,
and he actually taught the Meridellian alchemist, Kayla, a few things. I was
never sure, but I thought that Kayla actually became his apprentice.
Speaking of apprentices, Firescale certainly
became mine. At first, training him was hard for both of us. We both ached,
Firescale from actually training, and me from never being a master before. But,
we both grew stronger, and Firescale was later knighted. He painted himself
to live up to his name, as Kysel had always planned. I must admit, he looked
much more intimidating as a fire Krawk. He never returned to Maraqua to claim
his place as king, but he chose an heir anyway. This one was a Maraquan Draikess
named Belle, after a certain Draikess whom I had cared for very much. It was
strange, but Belle had even inherited Velle's beauty. I had never seen such
a pretty Draikess, except for Velle, of course.
Oh yes, and one thing I should explain is about
the black blood on my paw. It never really left me, and when I grew older, it
seemed to increase the Shade Flame's power in me. Whenever I used my left paw
in battle, it was hard for me to find another pet that would put up a hard fight.
I found that the black blood had been Shadow blood, and that explained a lot.
One of the strangest cases I had ever seen was
to do with the Three. They had visited me one night, but unlike their evil behavior,
they spoke kindly...
"You have freed us, young Draik," Nyra said
in her misty voice. "We will never forget you, and your kindness to free us."
"It wasn't kindness," I said, "it was the desire
for revenge." The Gelert shrugged.
"It wasn't," he declared, "after a while, it
was all for the good of Neopia, not for your own sole purpose." The Three vanished
immediately, and I never saw them again. I did ponder that though. Yes...after
a while, my efforts had been for the good of Neopia, not just for me. I had
always thought of revenge that way, but I had been wrong.
Nyra had said, "We will never forget you," and
I never forgot. I remembered. I remembered my escape from jail, my meeting friends.
I remembered when Jeran had fought off his own king for me, and when he had
come to the invasion with me. I remembered the first battle, when Kysel had
died and Firescale had asked me to become his apprentice. I remembered the execution,
and Velle lending me her energy. I remembered the giant Reptillor, and the Snowager's
fight for us. I remembered riding back on the Snowager, and I remembered the
last battle. I remembered Syvor's strangled death cry, and I remembered his
glossy eyes in his death. I remembered climbing up that hole and finding my
dead friend. I remembered burying her in the beautiful rose garden, and etching
this on her grave,
The Flame of Shade shall win the fight,
The Blade of Soul shall awaken,
Once dead the friend of dreams shall have a
For life that was once taken.
Shade Flame, a passing legacy,
That goes from pet to another.
One day they shall be reunited,
Like sister and like brother.
Shade Flame, the pack leader,
Who failed his chance of good,
Was thrown to death and lived again,
The Lupes were saved and lived.
Here lies Velle, who was more then just a friend
to me. The rose is her symbol, and may she rest in peace.
I remembered. I remembered Velle.