Journey to Atharys



Updates

July 10 2011

I finally decided on a working title, yay! (Also changed a few names).

June 29 2011

After looking through an old hard disk, I amazingly enough found the first 2 parts of the story, unharmed! *merges them with the rewritten stuff and puts them up* Now I can start writing new stuff, instead of rewriting what I thought was lost in the crash of my computer ^^

Site Started: June 29 2011

Credits

Layout By: Vertigo

Prologue

Welcome back, my lord."

Zinse nodded at the guard as he swam through the castle gates. It had been a long day, and he was glad he could retire to his room. Well, after reporting to his father, the king, of course. Before entering the castle, he went to the royal kennel. It was the place where the pets of the royal family were kept: a herd of Peos in all different colours and sizes. His family had been breeding Peos for as long as anyone could remember, and it was his duty to ensure they were being looked after. He immediately swam towards the far right, towards a beautiful Faerie Peo.

Hello Kyna," Zinse greeted his favorite. "Have you had enough to eat?"

Kyna vainly turned her head to the other side. Zinse smiled, ordered a servant to give her some extra food and left. His father was probably waiting for him.

When Zinse entered the throne room, he was surprised to find only his mother in there.

Good evening dear, did you have a good trip?" queen Nyhe asked her son.

Very good, thank you mother. Do you know where father is? I still need to report to him." Zinse replied.

I think Ryndradon requested to speak with him, dear. It'll be a little longer before your father can see you. Why don't we go and have dinner already, in the meantime?" the queen proposed.

Zinse moaned on the inside. Ryndradon. That couldn't be good. He never really liked that sneaky Mutant Acara. He had no choice but to trust his father's judgment that his advisor was to be trusted, but that didn't mean he couldn't disagree with it.

Very well mother, let's do that." Zinse answered, as he offered his mother his arm and headed towards the dining room.

***

But sire…!"

No Ryndradon, this is final. You've always been a faithful advisor, but this time I have to disagree." King Assar was sitting at the head of the table and had clearly made up his mind. His advisor, Ryndradon, was standing next to the table and looked like he could barely control himself.

But sire, Therhin is laughing in our faces! He's been imprisoning every single one of our citizens who dares set a foot on his land! Surely we cannot let this happen? We need to take action, and with men like him, war is our only option!"

The king took a sip from his goblet. "Calm down, Ryndradon. I cannot believe that Therhin would do such a thing without a good reason. There must be an explanation. Tomorrow morning I will send a messenger to his kingdom to find out what has caused this. Surely it'll turn out to be a misunderstanding, there's no need for such rash measures like war."

But sire…"

My decision is final, Ryndradon! The kingdom of Atharys will not plunge itself into yet another war! You may leave."

Ryndradon swallowed. "Very well, sire." He took a bow, turned around and left the room. Once he shut the heavy doors behind him, he let out a small cry of frustration and hurried back to his chambers.

That old fool!" Ryndradon slammed the door shut and started pacing. "Everything was going so smoothly, completely according to plan! And now he has to act the part of a kind, caring king! He's ruining everything!" As he spoke, Ryndradon was getting angrier and angrier. "I've got no choice. Something has to be done! I'll have to contact them as soon as possible" Ryndradon sat down in a chair, and waited for night to come.

That night, a small, hooded figure could be seen leaving the castle and heading towards the coral reefs outside the city. The figure kept swimming deeper into the reefs until he reached a small open place where a Maraquan Grarrl was waiting for him.

I didn't expect you back so soon. Trouble?" the Maraquan Grarrl asked.

The figure removed his hood. "The old fool won't cooperate." Ryndradon replied. "He refuses to start a war, says his people would suffer too much because of it. He'll send a messenger to Therhin in the morning to sort things out."

The Grarrl snorted. "That's a huge problem indeed. It'll only be a matter of time before the king finds out it wasn't actually Therhin who's been causing his citizens to disappear and that my men are the real culprits." He paused. "So, what are you planning to do now?"

Ryndradon's face looked grim. "The only thing we can do." He lowered his voice. "We need to attack the city. Tomorrow night."

The next night, Zinse woke up mere hours after sleeping in. Something wasn't right. He shook off the sleep, looked through the window and froze up. The courtyard was filled with his father's men trying to keep off a gang of what seemed to be marauders. Zinse couldn't believe his eyes – never in his life had he seen so many bandits gathered together, fighting for the same goal. There seemed to be no end to them!

Trying not to think of what they were after and what would happen if they managed to overthrow the guards, Zinse got dressed as soon as he could and hurried towards the door. However, before he could even open it, his parents burst through the door and quickly closed it behind them. The door had only been opened for a split second, but it had been enough for Zinse to notice the horde of bandits in the hallway. There was no way they could win this battle.

Mother! Father! What's happening?" Zinse asked as he and his parents pressed themselves against the door in a desperate attempt to keep the attackers outside.

We've got no idea, dear. They came out of nowhere!" Queen Nyhe's voice quivered as she spoke.

Zinse, listen to me." the king said. As always, his voice was calm and reassuring, but strict at the same time. "You must try to escape now you still have a choice."

Zinse looked as if he had been hit in the face. "I can't just leave you and mother behind, father! This is my kingdom as well!" He stopped talking abruptly when he felt another bump against the door. Straining his muscles, he pushed his body even harder against it. Another bump, and another one. Zinse could feel himself growing tired: in a while, they wouldn't be able to keep the soldiers out anymore.

Zinse, we'll be fine. They won't harm us; they will only hold us captive. But we're not sure about what they'll do to you! After all, we're the king and queen, but you're "only" a prince, you're of no use to them! Besides, you're our only hope of ever escaping!" The king sounded like he had made up his mind. And once he had done so, there was no use in arguing over it.

Another bump. "Keep bashing!" they heard someone shouting. "They're growing weaker!"

He's right dear." Queen Nyhe looked at him with a sad look in her eyes.

We'll try to slow them down for as long as we can. If you take the servants-entrance, you should be able to escape. They won't expect you taking it." The king clenched his teeth and tried to press against the door even harder.

But…" Zinse protested.

Just go, Zinse!" his father shouted.

Zinse stepped away from the door and looked at his parents. They smiled at him, then refocused on keeping the door shut.

Zinse, try to escape the castle and start swimming as fast as you can. I'm sure there will be people out there who'll be willing to come to our aid. Find those people Zinse, it's our only hope!"

The young Peophin hesitated. In his head he knew his parents were right, but his heart told him to stay. He had spent his whole life in the castle and on the grounds surrounding it. He knew nothing about the rest of Neopia, he wasn't even sure whether he would be able to find his way back home once he had found help.

The voice of his father awakened him from his daydream. "Zinse, we can't keep this up all day you know!"

King Assar grinned. A sour taste came into Zinse mouth. How many times hadn't his father grinned at him like that, when he told a joke or trusted Zinse with something confidential. He nodded, and started swimming away as fast as he could…

Zinse hurried through the narrow corridor. His mother had been right: no one had thought of the servants-entrance. He took another turn and saw the door at the end of the hallway. He pushed it open, pausing for a moment to orientate himself.

He was outside, at the eastside of the castle where he lived along with his parents. His whole life he had stayed here, and now he had to leave. He still couldn't completely grasp what was happening. In only a few minutes time, he had lost everything he had. He wanted to start swimming, when he heard a loud, shrieking sound.

He turned and a saw few bandits standing next to the kennel. They were busy trying to get the Peos out of the kennel, most likely to get them to the market to sell them. Zinse felt his stomach turning. Kyna, stubborn as ever, had refused to obey the bandits and one of them was now reaching for his dagger.

Kyna!" Zinse yelled, rushing towards his favourite pet.

The bandit turned, but before he even knew what was happening, Zinse had already tackled him. His head hit the ground with a loud "BENG". The Maraquan Skeith stayed down, moaning and grabbing his head with his hands.

Zinse, however, didn't see any of this. As soon as his beloved Peo was free, he told her to follow him and began swimming. Despite the fact that he had no idea where to go, he knew anywhere would be better than here. Or at least he hoped so…



Part 1

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Part 2

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