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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 103 > Continuing Series > Fates Entwined: Part Six

Fates Entwined: Part Six

by geovii

Untitled Document

“His Majesty wants us to do what?!”

     “You heard me, Sutek. Now go get the scarab….”

     “But we can’t just send away such an important artifact on a childish whim! I tell you, it’s madness!”

     Barca drew herself up to her full height and stared the Nimmo straight in the eye. Her gaze was notoriously menacing around the palace, and nobody stood in the determined young Acara’s way for long. It was believed by some that she could bring a rampaging barbarian army to a standstill just by looking at them, a theory that had yet to be proven wrong.

     “Sutek,” she intoned darkly, “think what you will of the king, but do not insult his judgement before me. Do we understand one another?”

     Sutek swallowed hard and tried to recompose himself. “Yes… I understand… but… you see… His Majesty’s orders… well… seem a little…”

     “His Majesty’s orders seem a little unclear to you, Sutek. You and your court mages are to teleport the Scarab of Coltzan I north of here, to his twin brother, Luparn of Meridell. Is that clear?”

     Sutek could stand no more. “Listen to what you’re saying, Barca! Twin brother! Luparn! Meridell! It’s all nonsense! That boy has been acting strangely ever since he fell ill as a child! If you ask me the fever went to his brain….”

     “I’M NOT ASKING YOU, I’M TELLING YOU!” Barca exploded, the words echoing down the corridors. Sutek backed off, stunned, his head pounding from the violent tirade. “There are things, Sutek, that even you and your mages do not know. I am very close to Coltzan, and as such am privy to matters outside your station. And I know that His Majesty is not a mad pet. He is wise and good, but he is in extraordinary peril, threatened by forces beyond even his knowing. We are all but pawns in a very dangerous game, and now our king is in check.”

     Sutek shook his head, confused. “I don’t understand, Barca. I can see no hope for victory when we are losing to an enemy we cannot see.”

     “But we aren’t losing, Sutek,” said the Acara with a sly smile. “We just haven’t been playing with all of our pieces yet.”

* * *

“What shall we do, your majesty?” asked Merlod. “Jhunedra’s magic can only shield us for so long before Inclementa manages to break the spell. If we continue on and enlist the aid of your brother, Mordeo’s forces will surely see us on our return journey and prepare themselves accordingly.”

     “But on the other hand,” Kithar pointed out, “if we return to Meridell now, we will be forced to battle with what few defenders Lord Sarkif has left. The odds are not favourable in either case.”

     Sitting on a nearby rock, Luparn was deep in thought. He could not deny the wisdom of either Merlod or Kithar. And there was little time for choices. Would an all-out battle in full force be wiser, or should he risk a sneak attack with tired and demoralized troops? He had to make a decision soon. The longer he hesitated, the less time he had to spare.

     There suddenly came a soft thud in front of him. He opened his eyes and peered at the ground. A strangely shaped gold medallion was lying at his feet. It looked like an odd sort of beetle with a large red jewel imbedded in its shell. Carefully, he picked it up. It was warm to the touch.

     “Merlod, Kithar, come here,” he called the two over.

     “What is it?” they both answered as they ambled over.

     Luparn held out the jewel for them to see. “I was hoping you two would be the ones to answer that question, actually. Any idea what this strange little trinket is?”

     “Where did you find it?” Kithar asked immediately, as Merlod adjusted his spectacles and looked at it closely.

     “It just landed in front of me… practically came out of nowhere….”

     “A teleportation spell, no doubt,” Merlod proclaimed without hesitancy. “And by its appearance, I would say it’s a Sakhmetian artifact….”

     “Are you sure it just appeared there, Luparn?” questioned Kithar, searching for greater verification. “Are you sure it wasn’t there before?”

     “Come now, Kithar, of course it wasn’t there before,” Merlod swiftly countered. “What would a gold scarab from Sakhmet be doing over a thousand miles away from the Lost Desert?”

     Luparn narrowed his eyes and looked at the scarab. Though he couldn’t be sure, he thought he saw something flicker within the depths of the fiery gem.

     “What are you doing with that, Luparn? Put it down, it could be dangerous….”

     “Nonsense, Kithar, it’s obviously a gift from Sakhmet to aid us on our journey.…”

     “It’s a message.”


Image by Shelleylow

     Merlod and Kithar stopped their arguing and looked at Luparn, who was staring, transfixed, into the scarab.

     “It’s a message,” he repeated, looking up. “We’re going back to Meridell.”

     Kithar frowned. “But I thought we were going to find your brother….”

     “I thought so too, at first,” Luparn replied. “But it all makes sense now.”

     “How so?” Merlod inquired.

     “My brother cannot leave the city of Sakhmet. His every move is dogged by Inclementa. Even if he wanted to, he could not lead his armies to battle with us until she has been dealt with.”

     “Then what are you doing all the way out here? You and Merlod should have stayed back with Sarkif!”

     “No. We’re exactly where we ought to be. Don’t you see, Kithar? If we had not left when we did, what do you think would have happened to us when Mordeo attacked Sarkif’s castle?”

     Kithar only stared quietly ahead. “But what about Jhunedra’s prophecy? It said the twins had to be united. How can we fulfill the prophecy when you two are a thousand miles distant?”

     Luparn held up the small jeweled scarab. “This must be the key to victory. Who else but my brother could have sent it directly to me? If nothing else, he is with me in spirit, and that is enough for me.” He turned to Merlod. “Do you have any magic bottles back at your hut, old friend?”

     “Magic bottles? What in blazes do you want…. Oh.” Realization crept over the Aisha’s face and twisted it into a mischievous grin. “I think I just might. Hehehe. Oh yes, I think I just might.”

* * *

“INCLEMENTA!” bellowed Mordeo from his throne, in a voice so loud that the little trickster of a light Faerie could have probably heard it had she been as far away as Sakhmet, which was most likely where she was.

     Nevertheless, Mordeo’s call did not go unanswered. “My liege beckons?” came her whisper-like voice, aglow with sarcasm, from some unspecified corner of the throne room.

     “Inclementa, where is Sarkif’s son? You promised me I’d have him on the rack within the hour. That was yesterday.”

     Inclementa gritted her teeth. The nerve of that fat fool, bossing her about like some degenerate underling! She could blast him atom from atom with a wave of her finger, massive as he was! Were it not for the fact that he was yet useful, she would probably have done so by now, and she had a good mind to let him know it, too!

     “Please have patience, my Lord,” (Ha! My Lard is more like it!) “Our enemies have the help of the prophet Jhunedra. She has shielded them from my sight, and I can do little until I break her spell.”

     “I’m fast running out of patience,” Mordeo growled. “I can’t afford to have an adversary running loose around my countryside, especially this adversary in particular. I thought you told me you could deal with Jhunedra.”

     “I can, sire. But it will take time. She is very clever. Her enchantments are notorious for their complexity.…”

     “How long are you going to take? How much more patience must I dole out before I see some results?”

     “It is difficult to say. Jhunedra is more resourceful than I first anticipated.…”

     “ANSWER THE QUESTION!”

     Keeping her smouldering temper in check, she made her reply through a great effort of self-control. “Two days at the very least.”

     She waited for the violent onslaught of vulgarity to end before she dropped the Draik a tidbit of good news. “It’s likely,” she said, “that they will be heading for Sakhmet in an attempt to enlist Coltzan’s aid. I will have the spell broken long before they can return in force. Rest easy, Mordeo. We will have plenty of time to prepare for their arrival. They will not cross your borders armed.”

     Mollified, the king slumped back in his seat with a thud. “Hmph,” he snorted. “Very well then. But no more excuses, my dear, or I’ll have to find you a replacement.”

     Inclementa knew what happened to those who needed ‘replacing’ in Mordeo’s court. Job openings were frequently advertised by the various ghastly noises that echoed up from the lower dungeons. Not that she was concerned at all about that. He couldn’t lay a claw on her if he wanted to.

     “By the way, your majesty,” she added, remembering something before she exited the chamber, “I have a little present for you.” She tossed him an opal amulet on a gold chain. It bounced quite nicely on his protruding gut before settling down.

     “What is this?” he asked, holding up the jewel to the light. It scintillated with a brilliant luster despite its opacity.

     Just a little trinket I happened to come across. It gives the wearer immense physical strength and stamina.”

     The king cocked his head to the side. “This tiny thing will make me strong?”

     “Strong as a Skeith, my sovereign.” That way you’ll have more in common than just looking like one, she thought as she left.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Fates Entwined: Part One

Fates Entwined: Part Two

Fates Entwined: Part Three

Fates Entwined: Part Four

Fates Entwined: Part Five

Fates Entwined: Part Seven

Fates Entwined: Part Eight

Fates Entwined: Part Nine

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