Firejewel: Part Five
A Griffin's Secrets
Instinct was screaming at me; I had to get this rope
off, or I'd die. I resumed tugging at my vicious collar and kicked my way free
of the sleeping bag, but it didn't gain me much of an advantage in the struggle.
I flopped around on the ground, as helpless as a fish kept from water. I was
going to die. I couldn't even cry for help, the rope was so tight.
Then suddenly Frey was laughing. It was cruel,
raucous laughter, the sound of her victory and my doom. Then as quickly as the
cackling had begun, it abruptly ceased. A dark shape swept by me, but I could
barely see it. My eyes were clouding over and I was beginning to feel hot from
the lack of air.
The rope was suddenly loosened. I thankfully
took a gulp of oxygen and would have stayed there on the ground massaging my
throat, but I needed to see where Frey was and what had stopped her from killing
me. I leaped to my feet and whirled around to where I could hear grunts and
hissing - the sounds of a brawl.
My eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness and
I was surprised to see that my rescuer and Frey/Dayne's attacker was Aillara.
But how had she escaped from the cage? And how had Dayne untied herself?
But that didn't matter right now. I couldn't
let Aillara hurt Dayne, and I needed to subdue Frey. I needed help. "ALY!" I
cried, "TERZIN! Wake up! Get over here!"
The two mages were awake in a flash. Aly staggered
out of her sleeping bag, eyes wide with dread. Terzin leaped up from the ground,
hackles raised. "What is it?" Aly demanded, racing over to me, the Cloud Lupe
swiftly bounding after her.
"Dayne and Aillara are both free and Dayne's
possessed. They're fighting - we've gotta separate them. Help me!"
"Got it," Terzin affirmed, assuming a battle
stance, then lowering his head and placing his front paws together, as if in
prayer. With his eyes closed, his brow wrinkled in intense concentration on
a spell. A glowing golden light suddenly surrounded the two fighters, seemed
to contract slightly, then disappeared altogether. It left Dayne and Aillara
collapsed on the ground, apparently asleep. Terzin sure was talented with that
Light magic of his
"They won't be like that for long," the Lupe
said, striding over to me. "We should secure them somehow, in case they're still
hostile when they wake up."
"I'll help you tie them up or put them in the
cage or whatever. Sisslio, you just rest for a bit," said Aly.
"Sure thing," I affirmed, sitting down and leaning
back against a nearby tree. "That's the second time she's tried to choke me
since she got that stupid Firejewel."
It wasn't long until they were both awake, as
Terzin had said. Dayne was securely tied to a large tree with several lengths
of rope around her middle, binding her to the trunk, and Aillara was once more
locked up in the cage of the late Susalind.
"We need explanations," began Aly. "First of
all, Dayne, how did you free yourself from the ropes? Can you remember?"
"It wasn't me," she retorted. "Frey took me
again. She's stronger than me, and broke the rope. I mean, you guys did just
put that round strand around me and tied it to another tree - it wasn't the
greatest security system. And then she used me to chew through the stuff around
my wrists and started strangling Sisslio with it." The Island Zafara turned
her gaze to me and tears sprung to her eyes. "I'm sorry, Sisslio," she whispered,
"I almost killed you - again. You were right to keep me in that cage. I'm a
threat to society."
Hearing the grief in Dayne's voice, brought
upon her by Frey KeenBlade, I grit my teeth in anger. "No! Dayne, it's not your
fault! It's her fault. Frey's evil, and she chose to possess you because you're
always close to me, so I'd be an easy target. Don't blame yourself!"
Dayne managed a weak smile. "Okay."
"Right," said Aly, then turned to the confined
Eyrie. "This should be good," she muttered. "How on Neopia did you get out of
there in the middle of the night?"
"None of your business!" retorted the griffin-like
"Uh-huh. That's what you said when I asked what
your name was. But names aren't as important as great escapes, which we should
know about. If you start keeping secrets from us, I'm going to definitely view
you as a threat. Now spill."
"What part don't you understand? None…of…your…BUSINESS!"
she screeched. "What do I care if you see me as dangerous? That's your problem!"
"I'm getting so sick of you!" hissed Aly. "I
don't care if you don't say a word about yourself - you're staying caged up
like that for the rest of the trip!"
"Why are you keeping me here, anyway?!"
"BECAUSE I DON'T TRUST PEOPLE WITH DARKENED
I flinched at Aly's sudden outburst. The only
person I knew who screamed louder than that was Dayne.
Aillara seemed to flinch too. She suddenly showed
some hesitation, lowering her head. In a few moments she raised it again and
looked Aly in the eye. "You can tell?" she breathed.
"I'm a mage," Aly explained. "As is my friend
Terzin here. Would you like to explain yourself now?"
Aillara gave a squinty glare in our general
direction. Aly had discovered something that the Shadow Eyrie evidently didn't
want us to know. "Fine. There's not much to hide. I'm cursed, and I've got really
random magic. I sort of…teleported through the cage bars when I saw that white
Zafara in trouble. But it's not like I cared that he was getting killed!"
I smiled smugly. She'd attacked Dayne - apparently
she did have some respect for me. She had cared that my life was in danger and
was just denying it to save her pride.
"Who cursed you?" inquired Terzin.
Aillara snorted in contempt at the thought of
whoever had messed up her magic. "Call themselves 'Sheen Blade's Pure' or something.
They're a group of Neopets that are all painted white for some reason and caught
me trespassing on their turf. They thought that my black colour was disgusting
and I'd tainted the name of their 'Lady' by being there or something. I talked
back to them and one of them got so mad, he jinxed me. I thought he looked ready
to butcher me, but I got away."
The Eyrie didn't sound like she was revealing
a secret - more like she was taking advantage of bragging rights.
"Wait! Did they call themselves 'KeenBlade's
Pure'?" demanded Aly.
"Uh…yeah. Right, it was 'Keen', not 'Sheen'.
You're right. But how d'you know?"
"They're who we're looking for!" Aly exclaimed,
"Your description of them sounds right - it's Frey's League. If you had to,
could you lead us back to their territory?"
"Why the heck would you want to go there?"
Aly paused, folded her arms, and answered smugly,
"It's none of your business."
Aillara just scowled.
Once we had satisfied Aillara that we had good
reasons to seek out the League, we went back to bed, leaving Dayne and the Eyrie
the way they were.
I stared up at the stars, tiny points of light
in an endless, shadowy atmosphere. The foliage of trees made a susurrus when
disturbed by the evening breezes. Wind only reminded me of Frey, and I sought
comfort deeper in my sleeping bag.
I didn't get much sleep that night and I awoke
before dawn. I tossed and turned for a few minutes but couldn't fall asleep
again. I got to my feet and strode through the woods. Not too far away I noticed
a pale indigo glow radiating through the trees. As I approached it, I realized
that it was morning's first light rising above the horizon. I strode to the
edge of the trees and stopped abruptly. The forest dropped into a ravine almost
immediately, bordered by only a few boulders.
I perched myself on one of the large stones,
gazing down into the miniature gorge. I sighed. Would we successfully find the
League? Could we trust Aillara? Even if we did find it, would we be able to
remove the Firejewel from Dayne's neck? And if we did get rid of it, probably
destroy it, would we come out of the whole thing with our lives?
I sat there for maybe an hour, and the sun began
to ease its way into the sky, causing hues of pink, orange, and scarlet to bleed
into the darkness. It was then that I heard footsteps behind me. I glanced over
my shoulder and saw Aly ambling towards me. "You're up early," she called.
"Couldn't sleep," I answered briskly.
She leaped up onto the boulder and jumped slightly
at the sight of the sheer drop on the other side. Instinctively I reached out
to steady her. "Wow," she breathed, taking a seat, "Quite a view over here.
I didn't know this forest ended at a canyon. We'll have to see what that Eyrie
says, but if we're unlucky, we might have to find a way around it."
"If we do, it'll slow us down," I sighed. "I
don't want to lose too much time."
"Yeah, we need to find this place soon."
"But what if we don't?" I asked. "And if we do,
how are we going to go about destroying the Firejewel? This whole thing is so
"You sound like you're blaming yourself," noted
"And why shouldn't I be?" I demanded. "This whole
thing is my fault. Dayne wouldn't have this problem if I wasn't the Windstorm."
"But you wouldn't be the Windstorm if Frey hadn't
"I guess so," I admitted.
"It's okay," she said reassuringly, "We'll do
this. We can't leave Dayne to die, and we can't let Frey come back. It's gonna
be hard, but it's all we can do."
She was right. We sat in silence for the next
half hour or so, quietly observing the sunrise. I was glad I had a friend like
Aly beside me. Without her or Terzin, I would have never been able to attempt
a journey such as this.
Finally, the silence was broken. "We should go
back," suggested Aly. "We'll need to leave soon."
I nodded, and the two of us got down from the
rocks and made our way back towards the camp. Upon entering the small clearing,
we were greeted by Terzin, who appeared to have recently awoken. "Hey," he said
with a smile, "Where have you two been?"
"Oh, over at the edge of a forest. There's a
little canyon there," I explained.
A voice came from the Weewoo cage. "A canyon?"
It was Aillara. "Yeah," I affirmed, "Why's it
"We're nearby," whispered Aillara. "I escaped
the League by heading away from the canyon, but I must have come around in a
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Where's the League
HQ if you use the ravine as a landmark?"
"Oh, I don't need any landmark," the Eyrie answered.
She raised her face, fixing me with leaf-green eyes, and told us all we needed
to know. "They live inside the chasm."
To be continued...