Saber is, despite his somewhat frightening appearance, at the core a very kind and compassionate Uni, always willing to help other people. He wouldn't hesitate to put himself in harm's way to protect those he care about, at the same time he is not foolish and prefers peaceful ways of solving conflicts.
Saber is a very honest person, while always trying to remain tactful about it some people have called him brutally honest. He is also intelligent and often gives advice to others on how he would handle the situation, whether they asked for it or not.
He loves the little things in life and can often be caught just enjoying the moment he is in, if it's having a great meal or just feeling the wind rush past him mid-flight.
He is generally calm and level-headed, but due to the development of his psychic abilities in recent years he's now become quick to anger and his tolerance for other peoples' ignorance is more or less completely drained. He still prefers words to physical action, but he can become very hostile if provoked. Because if this he's taken to joking a lot and tries not to take things too seriously in an effort to keep his temper under control.
Magic and abilities
Night Vision (mastered)
Manipulate Object (mastered)
Force Blast (mastered)
Shadow Flight (mastered)
Magic Pocket (mastered)
Missile Shadow (mastered)
Shadow Blast (mastered)
Shadow Quake (mastered)
Consuming Explosion (good)
Draining Aura (mastered)
Shadow Aura (good)
Altering Aura (good)
Saber specialises in controlling his opponents' minds, altering their reality to play on their fears while he siphons their strength. The harder his opponent struggles, the more vivid the visions and the faster they're drained.
His control over the mind of another also allows him to see and experience their memories, their hopes and dreams, and their secrets.
Below is an example of what Saber's opponents perceive him as when under the effect of his magic, his form shifting to that of a skeletal Uni as waves of magic slither back and forth across his body.
(more to be added)
The early years
Saber was born a quiet night in late August on the plains near Brightvale. His mother was a black Uni called Mijka, the great-mother of the small herd which consisted of five other mares, their foals, a massive bay stallion named Kayfax, and Saber's father Astal who was the old leader of the herd.
The little colt had laid still in the cool grass, slowly opening his eyes when he felt his mother's muzzle nudging him gently and looking up at her. Mijka had been puzzled as she looked over her son, his appearance was not what she had expected. His coat was dark, as all her other foals' coats had been, true, but there the resemblance stopped. His horn was black and oddly shaped, it looked almost as if something had cracked the lower part of the base, leaving a gap in it. His eyes were empty in a way, full of life in another. He had no viable pupils, there was just swirling blue, cold, almost frightening, yet strangely beautiful and full of emotion. Most eye-catching still was the two small, dull teeth sticking out from his upper jaw.
Mijka had shook her head and looked down at her son again, who peered back up at her, shook his head and let out a silent neigh. The mare had smiled, leaned down and pushed her head against the small colt. He was everything she ever could have hoped for.
A few hours later as the sun rose, the colt was walking around near his mother, taking a playful leap now and then, falling down some, getting up again and taking another leap.
Astal had been keeping his eyes on them, also puzzled by the colt's odd appearance. But seeing his son explore the world filled him with joy, pushing the hows and the whys out of his mind for the moment.
The other mares along with their foals had started waking up and moving closer to have a look at the newcomer. Despite there being a lot of "My... he certainly looks... special...?" and "Look at his teeth!" "Hush Trinn!" Mijka was proudly showing her son to the others, beaming as he bravely had walked up to the huge Kayfax, neighed happily and attempted to look as big as the stallion did, getting up on his hind legs and stretching out his little stumps for wings.
The stallion had snorted, flapping his own wings once to make the colt lose his balance and tumble back onto the grass, then he turning and made his way over to Astal, who gave him a dark glare.
-Was that really necessary? Astal said, keeping an eye on his son as he got up again and trotted back to his mother, still copying Kayfax by flapping his stumpy wings and snorting.
-Perhaps not, Kayfax replied, But something is very strange about your son. He looks...
-Don't! Astal warned sharply, giving the younger Uni a stern look.
-...Darigan. You cannot deny that, Astal! I know it's hard, but if your son has caught some kind of taint or corruption we cannot let him spread it to the rest of the herd! Kayfax said, carefully watching his own sons and daughters as they played with the new colt.
-Kayfax... I will only tell you this once, never, ever say such a thing about my son again. Not only is it an insult to him, my wife and myself, but it is also clear that you do not trust me to care for what is best for my herd, Astal's voice was calm yet stern. You have to learn how to trust your elders, my boy, or your arrogance will easily lead yourself and those your care for to harm.
The younger stallion lowered his head, ashamed of himself. Before he could speak Astal had taken flight and disappeared into the distance.
-Get set... ready... Go!
The three colts darted away down the hill, hurrying toward a great big beech tree at the end of the field. They were head to head for some time before one of them, the pinto, started to fall behind.
-Don't give up Kano! Keep going! one of the fillies who was still standing up on the hill shouted, trying to encourage her brother. The colt folded his ears back and threw a dark glare over his shoulder.
-I'm saving my strength! he called back.
The other two had reached the tree by now, leaping up into the air and snatched a branch each. Both landed in the exact same moment, turned and began racing back. They passed Kano, who had increased his speed, throwing himself up toward the tree, tearing off a branch. There were two loud thuds as the colt's hooves connected with the trunk and he kicked off. The colt spread his small wings, managing to glide through the air as he pursued the other two. Seeing the pinto in the corners of their eyes the two lengthened their stride. Kano landed just beside them and started running back up the hill toward the cheering fillies.
-I can't see why you insist on bringing Saber with you... Mijka said to her mate, looking away from the racing foals for a moment. You know how shallow other Unis are, they'll be cruel to him.
Astal had been standing next to the mare, also following the young Unis' game. The branches had been handed over and now the fillies were galloping in the opposite direction, heading toward the small river.
-Because he has to learn how to deal with prejudice sooner or later, the old stallion replied. I think going to the tournament will be quite good for him. And he will most likely have some fun too. Astal had glanced at Mijka and smiled as he said the last part, causing her to roll her eyes and sigh.
-Fine... the mare mumbled, turning her attention back to the foals. The young colts were cheering and shouting as the three fillies were racing back toward them after having tossed the branches into the water. Trinn, the palomino, had a big lead over the other two, but didn't seem to bother saving any energy. She thundered up the hill and reared as she reached the colts, spreading her wings and neighing proudly.
-Great job! Saber exclaimed, nuzzling the filly. You too, Fanya, Tasa. The last was added as the other two fillies reached the top of the hill. The white one, Fanya, snorted and shook her mane.
-We would have won if Kano hadn't been such a slow-poke at the start, she mumbled. Kano glared at her and was about to retort when Astal approached the youngsters. They all fell silent and lowered their heads to greet him.
-Good race, little ones, the old stallion said kindly, giving his son a quick nod before turning and walking down the hill. Saber bounced happily and said good bye to his friends before trotting after his father.
-The first rules, my son, let us see if you remember them, Astal said to his son as they walked across the plains. They were in the middle of a lesson in manners, something which Saber was rather used to as his father had taken a great deal of time to teach him the old ways.
-Yes, father, the colt replied. A gentleman is always polite and patient. He never speaks nor acts in anger. When he does speak it shall be with a gentle tone of voice. Saber fell silent and pondered for a moment. He must always address his elders with respect and take the advice they give to heart. He shall not make light of nor look down on those less fortunate than himself.
-Very good, Astal said and gave his son an approving nod. They had been walking for almost an hour now and the shapes of tents and a castle could be seen in the distance. The stallion stopped and let his gaze rest upon his son for a moment before he spoke. Saber, I want you to stay close to me at all times while we are at the tournament. There will be a lot of Neopians there and some of them are less than pleasant to deal with. Also, you remember what I have told you about Unis?
-Do you mean Unis unlike the ones in our herd? Saber asked, getting a nod from Astal. That they are very different from us? I also recall what mother has muttered about them. Are they the less than pleasant Neopians?
Astal snickered and shook his head.
-No, my son, but I'm sure your mother would think that, the stallion said with a warm smile. They simply value some things such as physical appearance and wealth more than we do. They are likely to behave rudely when someone in their presence does not hold up to their standards. But you must never concern yourself with that, for it is a shallow and empty way to lead one's life. And you must remain polite, even if their behaviour angers you. Sometimes manners can help break the ice with them.
Saber was overwhelmed by all the new sights and sounds, turning his head every second to look at something. There were entertainers everywhere, jesters, bards, fire-dancers and of course the armour-clad knights that were here to compete. The colt barely noticed that his father had stopped and was speaking to a small group on Unis near one of the many food-stands, being far too busy trying to look above the crowds as two Kaus, both armoured to the teeth, charged at each other in the joust.
-And this is my son, Saber, his father's voice broke through and the colt immediately turned to the small group, took a few steps toward them and lowered his head in a respectful bow.
-It is a pleasure to meet you, Saber said politely, looking up at the Unis. It was three mares and their foals, all of them so well groomed that they nearly sparkled and wearing what looked like an uncomfortable amount of jewellery.
-I hope the day is treating you well, he added when none of them said anything. They kept staring, the mares sharing the same grimace of disgust while their foals looked as if they'd seen a ghost. Saber glanced his father with a puzzled look on his face, not understanding what he'd done wrong. Astal simply smiled at his son before clearing his throat, more to break the silence than anything else, and excused himself before leading Saber away from them.
-Where did I go wrong, father? the colt asked once they were out of the Unis' earshot.
-You did nothing wrong, my son, Astal replied, You behaved beautifully. Don't trouble yourself with their reaction, they're simply Unis being Unis, for better or worse.
-But why did... Saber began, but was interrupted by Astal.
-They simply do not approve of our way of life. You must not dwell on it, nothing good comes from it. Rather, lead with example, accept them for who they are and try to look past their sneering, some of them will come around, if they're given the chance, the stallion said calmly as he led his son through the crowd of spectators. The colt nodded and pondered for a moment.
-Then why didn't they treat you that way? he asked carefully, then quickly apologized to a young Wocky he'd bumped into while trying to keep up with his father.
-Gratitude, Saber. They're grateful because I, just like so many others, fought against Lord Kass and his Darigan army to defend these lands, Astal explained. Saber remembered, at least the stories his parents had told him about the war.
-So I have to fight an evil general and his minions for them to stop looking at me like that? Doesn't sound hard at all, the colt said with a slight hint of sarcasm in his voice. His father chuckled and shook his head before reminding the colt not to concern himself with what others think of him.
The two headed over to the joust, Astal leading the way through the cheering crowd and up to the railing. Saber pushed his way up next to his father, keeping his wings close to his sides and taking care not to step on anyone's feet. Two knights clashed in front of the Unis, the crowd roared as one of them hit the ground in a cloud of dust while the other triumphantly rose his lance above his head.
-Dismounting your opponent awards three points, Astal explained, A broken lance on the helm awards two and breaking a lance on the shield is one point for mounted knights. Kaus and Unis that compete alone, without riders that is, have slightly different rules. Their horns are covered in paint and they're awarded points after where they hit their opponent and whether or not it's a clean hit. If they manage to knock down their opponent they almost always win.
Saber nodded, watching as the fallen knight mounted again, grasped his lance and got ready for another charge.
-How many charges are there in one round? Three? Saber asked.
-Correct, his father replied, Four if there is a tie, but that is rather rare.
The knights charged each other again, this time both broke their lances on the other's shield. One of the knights was deemed the winner and the next pair of challengers entered.
-Yoo-hoo! Astaaaal! a perky female voice called from the crowd behind the Unis. Saber and his father turned to see a pink Uni mare stretching her neck in an attempt to be seen above the heads of the crowd. She needn't have bothered, the feathered headdress she wore could be seen from miles away.
-Juliana, Astal said warmly, walking up to the mare with Saber in tow, It's been far too long, how are you?
-I'm fabulous, darling, just fabulous! Perfect day for a tournament, wouldn't you say? Juliana chirped happily, tossing her long, well groomed mane. Ah, and this must be young Saber. My, isn't he handsome, dear? Just like his father.
The mare laughed and smiled at the colt, but Saber was staring at the filly standing next to her, partly hiding behind her wing. Her coat was dark grey while her mane was raven-black, though most noticeable was her lack of wings. But Saber didn't seem to care, he was spellbound by the kind, blue-green eyes curiously peering back at him.
-This is my niece, Avari. Go on, dear, say hi, Juliana continued.
The filly looked up at her aunt, seeming a bit nervous, but stepped forward after getting a reassuring smile.
-Good day, Astal, Saber, she said shyly, speaking with a soft voice.
-Hello, little one, Astal replied, but Saber remained silent, just staring at Avari. The stallion chuckled and gave the colt a nudge to bring him back to reality.
-I apologize, that was very rude of me, Saber blurted out, Only... you're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. It is a privilege to meet you, Avari.
The filly looked stunned for a moment, then blushed fiercely and looked down at the ground. Juliana couldn't help but smile.
-Saber, why don't you two go play? I would like to catch up with Juliana, Astal said, giving his son an encouraging smile. The colt turned toward the filly.
-Would you grant me the pleasure of your company, Avari? he asked politely, getting a soft giggle and a nod as a reply.
Astal smiled proudly as he watched the two leave, walking through the crowd side by side.
Saber and Avari spent the entire day in each other's company. They cheered on the knights in the joust, laughed at the jesters and ate sugar-burnt almonds while they watched in amazement as a magician pulled Wibreths out of thin air. They spoke as if they were old friends, discussing everything between the earth and the sky. As the sun began to set and dusk came creeping over the fairgrounds the pair weas inseparable.
They were walking through the emptying market when they heard music flowing out from the arena where the tournament had been. There was a fairly large crowd on the arena floor, laughing and dancing as they listened to the cheerful music.
-Care for a dance, Saber? the filly asked, already moving in rhythm with the music.
-I don't know how to, Saber admitted with a sheepish grin as he followed Avari into the arena.
-I don't either, she giggled, joining the dancing Neopians. Saber was right behind her, surprised over how easy it was to just jump right into the dance.
A trio of Ixis had jumped up on the wooden stands, their hooves clattering in perfect sync with the drum. The bagpipe carried the tune faster and the lute and the flutes were quick to pick it up even more. Some of the Neopians clapped their hands to the rhythm of the drum, but the two Unis followed the Ixis' example, stomping their hooves into the ground as they moved with the music.
Saber lost himself more and more to the dance with each step, soon the only thing that seemed to matter was the melody, and Avari. She was right there next to him, her flank pressed against his as they trotted sideways, slowed down and spun around, the colt unfolding his wings above them as they trotted in place.
The dance didn't end until later that night, the band thanked the crowd and the Neopians left the arena. Saber and Avari remained though, as the lanterns and torches were carried away the stars above them shone even brighter and captured the Unis' attention. Saber kept one of his wings around the filly, shielding her from the chilling wind as they gazed upward. He smiled as she rested her head against his neck and was about to say something when screams cut through the silence.
Shadows passed above the Unis and the sound of something heavy thundering through the market came from behind.
-Run Avari! Saber said, giving the filly a firm shove to get her going. The pair galloped toward the exit, Avari being the faster runner caused the distance between them to increase with each stride. She looked over her shoulder at Saber and was about to slow down when he called for her to keep going. She disappeared into the market and the chaos that was out there.
The other Neopians were running toward the castle and Saber figured that's where his father would be, so he followed. He bumped into someone and tumbled to the ground along with whoever it was he'd run into. It groaned and slowly got back up, mumbling angrily.
-Watch where you're... Darigan! the person shouted and pointed at Saber.
-Wait, I'm not- Saber begun, but was cut off.
-Guards, here's one! Darigan!
Saber tried to explain but his voice was drowned by the yelling and within seconds a pair of Draik guards pounced on him, forcing him down to the ground. They wouldn't listen either, they just dragged him to the castle and threw him in a cell in one of the towers. He was not alone up there, there were several others in the cell next to his, a few of them watching him curiously.
-You are not one of mine, a deep, masculine voice said, rather matter-of-factly. He looked to the closed door, listening as the guards headed back down the stairs.
-Who are you? Saber asked. He saw little but dark shapes and gleaming eyes, the only light in the room was the moonlight coming in through small cracks in the wall.
-Nisha, I think we can risk a bit of light, the voice said and one of the others conjured a small flame. Saber stared at the Neopians, doing his best not to throw himself backward to get away from them.
-I am Commander Ryammi of the Darigan Citadel, the voice belonged to the immense Darigan Eyrie looking back at Saber. While the colt may only have been a bit shorter than the Eyrie, the thick mane and huge dark wings made him appear at least thrice the colt size, more than enough to make the colt feel rather puny standing in his shadow. There were several other Darigans in the cell, all of them fairly young.
-Get to it, you're wasting time, Ryammi said to the others before calmly settling down, still watching Saber. The Darigans began doing something to the solid stone wall, exactly what Saber couldn't quite see.
-I suspect you got caught by mistake, Ryammi said, Those Meridells should have their eyes checked. Or their heads. The Eyrie chuckled and glanced toward his companions.
-You're being too loud, if the guards were posted outside the door you'd have failed already, he said to them, getting whispers of Yes, sir. as a reply. He nodded approvingly as the young Darigans continued working almost soundlessly and turned back toward Saber.
-May I ask why you attacked the fairgrounds? Saber asked carefully, I don't really know what you would like to accomplish by attacking commoners. He paused for a moment. You wanted to get caught, didn't you? he continued, fascinated by the strange situation he found himself in.
-I see you're not as easy to fool as the Meridells are, Ryammi said with a grin, We didn't attack though, we don't need to be hostile for the Meridells to panic. He continued to smile as he saw the colt's puzzled look. You're not used to hearing people speak ill of the Meridells, are you?
-Not exactly, but I haven't spoken to a Darigan before either, Saber replied, getting a chuckle from the Eyrie. But with the recent war between you it's not that strange that they're suspicious.
-True enough, Ryammi said with a nod, We were counting on it, in fact.
-So why are you here? Saber asked.
-Training exercise, was the reply. The colt didn't know if the Darigan Lord was joking or not, laughing seemed inappropriate though.
-I'm in charge of keeping our soldiers well-trained and ready, the Eyrie explained.
-Ready for what? Saber asked carefully, not sure if he'd like the answer.
-For the day these Meridell scum do something that will shatter this so-called truce, Ryammi said, tapping the bars with a claw.
-Commander, we're ready, one of the young Darigans, a large Moehog, said and pointed toward the wall. Saber looked past the Darigans and was amazed, one of the large stone blocks had been dislodged and pulled into the cell, leaving an opening big enough for them to get through. Even more amazing was that they'd done it so quickly and quietly.
-Nisha, Dako, take the lead, fly low. Make sure you remain unseen until you're clear of the castle, Ryammi said, watching as the young Darigans threw themselves out of the tower and headed west. He waited a few minutes before turning back toward Saber.
-You can't fly yet, can you? he asked, gesturing to the colt's wings. Saber shook his head and felt somewhat embarrassed by the fact.
-I thought so, you're a bit young, the Eyrie continued and scratched his neck, Very well, I'll take you back down to the fair, your parents should be there looking for you.
Saber was a bit surprised and couldn't help but ask why this Darigan Lord was helping a random Uni foal he'd just met.
-Because you've been treated unjustly by the Meridells, simple as that, Ryammi replied and with two swift slashes of his clawed
paw he'd ripped down the bars that seperated the cells. Come along now.
Saber stepped over the broken bars and approached the opening in the wall, looking down at the courtyard far below.
-Jump straight out and keep your wings close to your body, Ryammi said. The colt gave him a doubting look. Yes, you will fall for a few seconds. We can't both pass through at the same time, but I will be right behind you. You have nothing to fear.
For reasons Saber couldn't quite understand he trusted the Eyrie and gave him a quick nod. He took a deep breath and leaped out into the night, watching the ground rush toward him at an uncomfortable speed. He was caught almost immediately by two pairs of strong paws and looked upward as the Eyrie's great wings opened above them. The sensation of falling was replaced by that of flight and Saber was impressed by how easily the Eyrie carried them both over the high walls.
The guards had spotted them though and the sound of the lookout's horn echoed against the castle. Ryammi didn't appear worried though, he glided smoothly downward toward the arena, letting go of Saber as the colt's hooves connected with the ground before landing a couple of meters away.
Knights had been summoned along with more guards and they rushed onto the arena floor. A couple of the knights charged as archers took aim and Draik guards circled above. An arrow narrowly missed Saber's neck, another hit the ground next to his hoof and a third dug deep into the colt's shoulder.
At this point Ryammi had had enough, he rose onto his hind legs, wings stretched out and let out a horrifying screech that somehow ended in a rumbling roar. His crimson eyes burned with a hatred unlike anything Saber could have imagined. The knights stopped dead in their tracks, the archers became reluctant to fire again as it might draw the Eyrie's attention toward them and the Draik guards hovered at a safe distance, ready to turn and flee.
There was silence, no one but the Eyrie dared moved. He got back onto all fours and folded his wings.
-Honour and bravery... you prey on children and innocents, then claim to fight for a just cause!? You cowardly opportunists! How dare you!? he shouted at the Meridells, each word dripping with poison.
Something moved at the entrance of the arena, trying to get past the guards.
-Get out of my way! Astal shouted, Saber!
The large stallion came galloping toward the colt and at the sight of his father the shock started to let go of Saber. He only managed to take a few shaky steps before Astal had reached him.
-Thank the winds you're alive, Astal said, golden light emerging from the horn, removing the arrow from his son's shoulder and healing the wound. He lifted his gaze from the colt pressing up against him and looked to the Eyrie.
-Lord Ryammi? he asked as if he doubted his eyes.
-The one, the Eyrie replied, Your son was mistaken for one of my recruits and imprisoned. Upon my attampt to reunite him with you the guards thought it fitting to open fire.
Astal threw a quick glance at the guards, the guilt in their eyes was enough to convince him.
-Thank you for watching over my son when those I trusted failed him, the stallion said, respectfully lowering his head in a bow to the Eyrie.
-You're welcome, Ryammi replied and glanced at the colt, Saber, was it?
The colt simply nodded as a reply, still too shaken to speak.
-I have a feeling we'll meet again, young Saber, Ryammi continued, Until then.
The Eyrie leaped upward, his wings unfolded and with two powerful beats he was airborne. The guards made no attempt to stop him, rather they were in a hurry to get out of his way as he flew toward the floating Citadel.
Astal kept a wing around his son as they walked out of the arena.
-Astal, forgive us, we didn't- one of the Draik guards had approached Astal but fell silent as he saw the stallion's glare.
-Spare me your excuses, Astal said with a dark tone in his voice, I will not forget what you've done to my son.
He lead Saber through the market and toward the open fields. Juliana and Avari were waiting for them there, the filly trotted over as she saw her friend and nuzzled him. Astal told Juliana what had happened while the foals exchanged good byes, promising each other that they'd meet up again. Soon. And then they went their seperate ways, Astal keeping a brisk pace until Meridell was far behind them. While they walked Saber told his father about the Darigans, and about Avari, which lightened the mood a bit.
The sun began to rise as their home came into view. Astal stopped, looking back the way they'd come.
-I'm not looking forward to telling your mother about this, he said with a half-hearted smile.
-I could tell her, Saber said, getting a laugh from his father.
-No, I'll manage, but thank you, the stallion replied.
-Were the Darigans right to attack? The first time I mean, the war for the orb, Saber had wanted to ask his father that question since they left Meridell.
-They believe they were, Astal said.
-But what do you think? You fought them, Saber continued, pressing the subject.
-No, I fought Lord Kass and those he had managed to sway, never the true Darigans, his father sighed, And whatever my opinion about them may be it shouldn't affect yours. You know the stories, Saber, we've told you all versions of that tale that we know. You decide what to make of it.
-Enough, Saber, the stallion said with a tired voice, Go get some sleep, we can talk more later.
Saber bade his father good night, or rather, good morning, before trotting off over the familiar hills toward the herd.
Astal remained at a distance though. For the first time he was truly worried about his son's future.
Saber, greatly inspired by his encounter with the Darigans, convinced his mother to intensify his flight-training and they spent nearly every day out in the fields. His lessons with his father, on the other hand, came almost to a halt, and Astal always seemed tired whenever Saber saw him.
Spring turned to summer and the young colt grew stronger for every day. Despite being the youngest of the foals he was bigger than the others, the differences between them becoming clearer as they started to become yearlings.
-We've postponed it long enough, Astal. We can not wait... Mijka said with a concerned tone, stopping herself as she saw their son approach.
-Postponed what? Saber asked, his gaze wandering between his parents. It stuck him how weary they both looked at that moment, his father especially.
-Our departure, Astal said. Saber was taken aback by the tone of his father's voice. He sounded defeated and grave.
-Where are we going...? the colt asked silently.
-Not we, my son, just your mother and I, Astal raised his head slightly, I had hoped I had a few more years in me, but sadly age takes its toll whether you want it to or not.
-But why are you leaving? Saber asked, a hint of desperation in his voice, And where are you going? Can't I come with you?
-No, you can't, dear one, his mother said, taking a few steps toward Saber, Our way is that of the wind. When we grow old, rather than slowly wither away and be bound to the ground, we follow the wind as far as our wings can take us.
-That way our spirits will always remain aloft, Astal added.
Saber stared wide-eyed from his father to his mother, unable to quite handle the subject.
-There is so much left to teach you, dear one, but we've run out of time, Mijka said sadly, Unless we leave now I fear your father might not manage this final journey.
-Why didn't you... Saber's voice broke and he stared down at the ground. Mjika walked over to him and put her wing around him.
-There now, my dear, sweet boy, she comforted, We didn't tell you because we didn't want our time with you to be clouded by grief and regret over the inevitable.
She held him close for a long while, speaking to him in a calm, quiet voice while Astal gather the rest of the herd. The adult Unis knew, of course, why the senior pair had to leave, but for the foals it was difficult to understand. The suddenness of the news didn't make it easier for them, and they flocked around Mijka to bid the great-mother of the herd farewell. Kayfax watched over the others in silence, giving Mijka a respectful nod as she looked his way. Once Astal had finished speaking with the others he walked over to the old stallion.
-Winds carry you, Astal, he said, lowering his head.
-And you, Astal replied, looking past Kayfax for a moment at Saber, still pressed against his mother's side, Watch over him for me.
-I will keep them safe.
Mijka let go of Saber as Astal approached them, giving her son a quick nuzzle before stepping away from the herd. Astal seemed to be at a loss for words, as he did nothing but gaze down at Saber for a long time.
-Remember what we taught you, he finally said, pushing his head against Saber's, Live strong.
And with that he walked over to his mate and both of them took flight, Mijka taking the lead as Astal was struggling to gain altitude. The herd watched them disappear with the west wind before heading back down to the fields. Only Saber remained where his parents had left him, immovable, for the rest of the day, and the night, until he finally fell asleep out of exhaustion early the next morning.
When Saber came to again that afternoon he found himself in the long shadow of Kayfax. The large stallion was grazing calmly a few meters from him, lifting his head every now and then to look out over the fields. Saber squinted as he got up out of the shadow and the light from the setting sun filled his eyes.
-You're finally awake? Good. Let us go down to the others, Kayfax said, shaking his mane as he started walking down the hill. He stopped when Saber didn't follow him, looking back at the colt. That was not a suggestion, Saber. It is getting late and I can't keep an eye on you up here.
-Why do you care? Saber asked angrily, though the anger wasn't really aimed at Kayfax, You hate me! I thought you'd prefer it if I stayed away from the herd. Or would you rather that I wandered off and got eaten?
With three long strides the stallion was in front of Saber, ears pinned back and wings slightly lifted, making him appear even bigger.
-Watch your tongue, boy! he snarled, teeth flashing briefly, And don't think you know my mind. There is something about you that makes me uneasy, and one day I will find out what that is. But you are of this herd, and furthermore your father was a close friend and my mentor. He asked me to look after you and that's what I'm going to do, whether you like it or not. Now you are going down to the others if I have to drag you there myself!
Saber chose not to argue, instead he followed Kayfax with his head lowered in submission. He didn't meet the other's gazes as they reached the herd, nor did he take notice to the foals' comforting words. Seeing his brooding mood they went back to their game, all except Trinn, who'd always been his closest friend. She gave him a gentle nudge to show that he couldn't get rid of her that easily and then began to groom him. It struck Saber that he wasn't as alone and abandoned as he'd felt.
The next couple of weeks were relatively uneventful. The yearlings spent their time playing and competing with each other, honing their skills by seeing who could stay airborne the longest, sparring, racing and rough-housing. They became more adventurous too, often sneaking off to explore the surrounding landscape. And just as often they were scolded by the mares or Kayfax. It was on one of these little trips that Saber's life would change forever.
The yearlings had become very fascinated with the large forest between Brightvale and Meridell and often wandered deep into it, seeing how much of it they could discover before one of their mothers came and got them. This afternoon was no different. The small group raced around among the trees, jumping over fallen logs and off boulders, getting scrapes and bruises when they couldn't turn or stop fast enough, then laughing about it and giving it another try. Saber had just landed head-first into a creek when he felt something strange in the air. He stood up and sniffed the air, not detecting any unusual scent.
-What's the matter, Saber? Kano asked as he saw his herd-brother stand frozen in the water, looking around cautiously, Did you hurt yourself?
-There is something... I don't know... it feels a bit like magic, Saber said quietly. Kano joined him and looked around as well, shushing his siblings as they came to ask what they were doing. One by one they fell silent and opened their senses, all of them feeling the strange energy. An eerie silence had fallen over the woods. The birds had stopped chirping, the rustle of leaves in the wind and the sound of rushing water was oddly dampened.
-Maybe we should go back... Fanya whispered, breaking the silence.
-Don't be such a baby, Tasa said to her sister, jumped over the creek and looked ahead, Whatever it is it's up ahead. Let's go!
She bravely took the lead, and the others weren't far behind, Fanya pushing into the middle of the group. They threaded quite carefully though, making sure not to step on branches or leaves that might alert whatever was up ahead of their presence. They soon found themselves further into the forest than any of them had been before. The trees here were very old and their thick foliage blocked out the sun's light almost completely. Saber then took the lead, as the darkness didn't bothered him or made it difficult for him to see anymore, with the others walking in a line behind him. Fanya grew more nervous as she thought she saw shapes among the trees, not listening to Saber's reassurances that it was nothing but bushes, rocks and stumps.
-Please... just a little bit of light, she begged, but she was shushed by the others as they came to the edge of a clearing. Despite it still being afternoon, light didn't touch the grass. A formation of large, dark stones had been erected in the clearing and around these stones danced small flickering lights.
-Dark faeries, Kano whispered, hiding behind a tree trunk. It was magic we sensed.
The yearlings felt a bit triumphant, having successfully found and tracked down a source of magic was a big step for them. Even Fanya seemed captivated by the dancing faeries as she peeked out at them from behind a boulder. They could hear the faeries low, soft voices chanting something and they felt the magical energy from the rock formation increase, black light pulsating from the centre of the clearing. Then, suddenly, everything went dark.
Saber's head throbbed violently and he struggled to get to his feet, trying to get his eyes to focus. The first thing he saw were the large rocks around him, then, slowly, the rest of the clearing. It was dark and silent, but unlike before it was natural, just the calm of the night. Saber took a deep breath before raising his head and looking around, not quite remembering what he was doing there. Then he saw them. Dozens of small, winged bodies scattered around the base of the stones. He carefully nudged one of the faeries with his muzzle, pulling back when he felt the cold, dead little body stiffly shift at his touch. He took a couple of panicked steps to the side, stopping when his hind leg connected with something soft. Spinning around, Saber let out a shocked yelp, then froze as he stared down at the corpse of his herd-brother.
-Kano...? he whispered, nudging the pinto yearling. He was laying on his side, eyes staring emptily out into the dark and his face locked in a soundless cry. Saber gave him another nudge, harder this time, as if will alone would be enough to bring him back.
-Please, Kano... we have to go home, he begged, took hold of a mouthful of the pinto's mane and desperately tried to lift him. Tears began rolling down Saber's cheeks as he struggled in vain, refusing to accept what had happened.
-Trinn! Fanya! Please, I need help! he called out into the night, looking toward the forest in hope of finding the others. And there they were. Scattered like discarded toys along the forest's edge, their limbs in strange angles, eyes empty and lifeless. For Saber, it felt like time had stopped. He rushed over to them, called their names and tried to rouse them. He attempted everything to wake them, from yelling at them to tugging on their ears, but to no avail. Finally he sank down next to Trinn, nuzzling his friend while he begged her to wake up. Sobbing silently, Saber hid his head under his wing, hoping that this was all just a bad dream.
A shadow passed overhead and the sound of hooves hitting the ground caused Saber to look up, seeing Kayfax leaned down over Kano, waves of golden light flowing into the motionless little body as the stallion tried in vain to revive his son.
-Kayfax, I... Saber stammered, but the stallion ignored him, moving from one foal to the next when his attempts to heal them failed. As he got to Trinn the stallion was breathing heavily from exhaustion, but he continued channelling healing magic into her until he was at the brink of collapsing. Saber had gotten up and was standing with his head lowered a few meters away, afraid to move or say anything. They stood like that in silence, Kayfax struggling for breath as he nudged the husk of his daughter.
-What did you do? he finally asked and looked at Saber, his voice filled with anger, What did you do!?
-I... the colt began, taking a few frightened steps backward when he saw Kayfax's furious glare, I don't know what happened...
-What a convenient excuse! the stallion snapped back, following the backing colt with new purpose in his stride, I knew there was something sinister about you! I knew! And I warned them, but they wouldn't listen!
Embers trailed the adult Uni, quickly cause the grass to catch fire, and before Saber could fully understand what was happening Kayfax had manoeuvred him into the wind and right into the patch of the growing flames.
-But it is not your fault, not truly, Kayfax continued, his voice following Saber as the colt bolted into the forest to escape the flames licking his sides, The Darigan curse had tainted you before you were born. I saw it, even if your parents refused to. But don't worry, I will cure you, as your parents should have done when they saw what you were! I will purge this disease from you and all your wretched kind!
All around Saber there was chaos as panicked critters and Neopians alike tried to escape the furious wildfire that rapidly consumed the forest. Overhead hundreds of birds took to the safety of the skies, but the dense ceiling of branches kept Saber bound to the forest floor.
Time and time again he found himself almost surrounded by the fire, as if it was following him, the heavy smoke making it difficult to breathe or even see anything. It was almost impossible for him to see where he was going, his nose filled with smoke and his ears drowning in the roar of the fire and the anguished cries for creatures overcome by flames, yet something kept guiding him through the chaos. It couldn't have been mere chance he managed to survive, nor that he somehow found the quickest way out of the forest.
As the starry sky opened above him the colt leapt into the air and flew for a brief moment before a sharp hoof shattered his left wing and he plummeted into the ground. Kayfax circled above, watching as the flames caught up to Saber again, forcing the colt to scramble to his feet and kept going, dragging his wounded wing behind him. Saber was quickly running out of ground as the ocean came into view ahead of him, as well as the high drop off the steep cliffs that led down to it.
Having only the flames and the dark, crashing waves below to choose between, Saber continued at full speed toward the cliff, throwing himself as far out into the air as he could.
Kayfax plummeted toward him with a furious cry, and for a moment it looked like it was all over. Then, a split second before impact, the stallion bounced off a dark sphere surrounding the colt before falling into the water. Darkness wrapped itself around Saber's injured wing and suddenly the bone was whole again. The colt wasted no time wondering what had just happened, he beat his wings as fast as he could and climbed into the air, continuing out over the sea.
Moments later Kayfax broke through the surface again and managed to drag himself onto the shore, shouting something after Saber which the colt couldn't quite make out.
The stallion and the burning cliffs disappeared behind him as Saber flew further and further away, soon he could only see a small flickering light in the distance when he looked back. He didn't know how he managed to stay airborne on his journey across the sea, but somehow he was able to keep going as the sun rose and the light revealed an endless mass of water below that stretched as far as he could see in any direction. Nothing but the position of the sun and the clouds above changed during that day, frustrating Saber to a point when he thought he wasn't moving at all. When he finally saw something on the horizon in the fading light that evening he found new strength and foolishly started pumping his wings with all his might. Still the mass of land became larger at a painfully slow rate and he forced himself to slow down. It wasn't until the middle of the night that he reached the shore and collapsed onto the beach with barely enough strength left to fold his wings. But he'd made it. He was safe.
Backstory being written, patience...
(you all should know this by now, but just in case you've forgotten)
- Always link back.
- Don't claim them as your own.
- Never enter them in the BC.
- Don't alter them in any way.
Looking for the Peophin adoptables?
Update 12-12-03: Wasn't very fond of the old set, so I made a new one! Tried my hand at something more cute this time around, you can see the result below. Four basic colours and customs for these.
Customs are OPEN!
Reference picture is a must.
I won't take more than 4 customs at any time, so please wait if there
are no open spots on the list.
Trades take priority over requests.
Warques (for bhishiou)
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