Zarrel Charmain starred out at the pets around her from
within her disguise as the female guard. As she surveyed the scene in front
of her of all the eating and drinking pets, she pondered how any of them could
possibly live almost every day in these clothes. They were not only very uncomfortable,
but they were itchy, and smelt bad, and as if that wasn't bad enough for her,
she was bruised across all her body making an uncomfortable situation almost
A drunken skunk Zafara stumbled over too Zarrel
Charmain holding a bottle of wine in his hand. "Lynsha, how are you doing?"
he said to her. He was apparently too drunk to know that she was not Lynsha,
but Zarrel Charmain the assassin that they had captured earlier. The Zafara
hiccupped, and then continued on, "I'm haven a good time, how's about you?"
Zarrel Charmain thought about what she should
say to the drunken Zafara, knowing that one wrong word, and her whole plan would
be ruined. However, she did not have to say anything, for at that moment a Korbat
walked up. There was a faint wisp of wine on his breath, but even so she could
tell by the alertness in his eyes that he was not drunk. "Lynsha, Ternate! How
are you two lovebirds doing?"
Zarrel Charmain choked on the small bit of wine
that she had sampled to keep in line with all the other guards, for she realised
that the Zafara that she was impersonating was life partner to the drunken skunk
Zafara However, the skunk Zafara Ternate just patted her back, and replied to
the Korbat, "Fine Elio. Good drink, eh?" And he took a big gulp of wine.
"You've had too much wine Ternate. You're even
worse then Shenav." Then he turned to face Zarrel Charmain who had, after regaining
herself, tried to hide her torn ear to no avail. Luckily, they were on the outskirts
of the fire's circle of light making the shreds to appear more like flickering
shadows from the flames. "I hope that you haven't had too much wine Lynsha."
And thinking quickly, Zarrel Charmain put on a dopey look, and hoping that she
looked drunk looked up at the Korbat, and faked a hiccup. "You two are worse
then a pack of Moehogs!" he said, rolling his eyes, before walking back to whence
he had come.
Zarrel Charmain decided to try her luck with
the drunken Zafara. She just hoped that in the deep holes of drunkenness that
he would not be able to recognise that she was not his life partner, but an
assassin. "Ternate, do you think that you could help me with something?" she
said in a sweet voice, very much unlike her tough assassin self.
"What is it Lynsha?" he asked.
"You know that assassin and her Eyrie that we
captured the other day." And seeing the Zafara's nod she continued. "Well, where
did they put her pack of supplies? I, uh, want to look inside."
"But Dsupa doesn't allow that," he said, cocking
Thinking quickly, Zarrel Charmain put back on
the soft face. "Well, Dsupa doesn't have to know. Besides, I'll make it up to
"Okay. Over here." And stumbling around, Ternate
led her over to a covered wagon, and pointed inside. Zarrel Charmain looked
inside smiling once she saw booth her pack and dagger, and my sword and belt.
She quickly noted the location, and then turned back to Ternate.
"Where do we keep that Eyrie?"
"Oh, you mean the one that Jown wants. Well,
he is over here." And he led Zarrel Charmain across the camp over to my cage,
and pointed at me making me growl. "There's the brute. Anything else?" he asked
taking another large gulp of wine.
"Just wait a second." And she turned, and walked
up to the bars of my cage.
"I knew it! You are alive Zarrel Charmain!"
I whispered, my eyes watering.
"You didn't think that I would just leave you
here with these creeps, now did you?" she said smiling, "I think that I will
just go ask that dope of a Zafara if he knows where the keys to this cage are."
There was a sudden crash, and Zarrel Charmain
turned, and cursed aloud, for there was the skunk Zafara on the ground in a
slump, Fraable the Meerca standing over him with a pan in his hand. "Looking
for this assassin," he said, twirling around a pair of keys in his hand
before placing it back upon his belt. "Yes, I can see right through your pitiful
disguise. Lynsha may be crafty, but she would not betray the great Jown, and
as for Ternate." Fraable shrugged. "He is just a moron." Then he grinned. "Well,
now I guess that I have to recapture you again." And he pulled out a sword.
"Fraable!" she hissed "You will never take me
again!" and she reached down to where her dagger usually was, but instead, found
her hand upon the hilt of Lynsha's sword. So Zarrel Charmain pulled that out
instead. I watched through the bars of the cage as she prepared to fight Fraable.
The dagger may be her weapon of choice, but
even so Zarrel Charmain was an expert in the art of fighting, and could do well
with any weapon, especially a sword. She laid out the first attack spinning
around, and laying her sword at Fraable, and he only blocked this attack to
his unprotected belly by mere inches. Thus the battle had begun. Zarrel Charmain
blocked a couple of swings from Fraable, and then she sent one back at him,
nearly slashing his arm off. He was only saved by a quick turn to his left.
As Zarrel's swing hit air, Fraable brought down a counter attack, but was met
with her quick reflexes, and didn't even come close to hitting his quarry. I
then saw a gleam in Zarrel Charmain's eye. A gleam that met only one thing...
that she had a plan. She held her sword in a position that left her front unguarded,
and Fraable swung at her, and each time he swung she jumped back, bringing herself
closer and closer to the wagon that held our weapons. When she was close enough
to the wagon, she jumped backwards, and landed on the rim on the wagon, her
tail held out to keep balance as she fought. She ducked inside of the wagon,
and picked up her dagger as Fraable started up into the wagon. Each second was
an hour, each minute an eternity as she lifted her arm holding the dagger, and
prepared to throw the weapon. She aimed at the Meerca's heart, but then at the
last second changed her aim, and instead of destroyed Fraable, the dagger imbedded
itself into his leg.
As Fraable fell back and Zarrel Charmain covered
his mouth to prevent him from calling for help as she dragged him over to my
cage I growled. "Why didn't you just kill him!"
Zarrel Charmain turned, and looked me in the
eye as she gagged and tied the Meerca "Umbra wants him alive, remember." And
I nodded. I had forgotten. She pulled the keys from Fraable's belt, and he tried
to yell something, but the gag muffled his voice. Zarrel Charmain took one of
the keys, and unlocked the door to the cage, and used the other to take the
shackle off from around my neck. I stretched once out of the cage, glad to be
Almost as soon as I was free, we heard the sound
of feet pounding upon the ground, and saw several pets running up. Zarrel Charmain
cursed, "They must have heard the clash of our weapons!" and she ran over to
the wagon retrieving out weapons and her pack, "Grab that Meerca! I don't plan
to overstay my welcome!" and seeing that I understood, she jumped upon my back,
and just as the first pets reached us, I grabbed Fraable in my paws, and jumped
into the air, spreading my wings, and leaving the troops of Jown far below up
on the ground. As the few pets that could fly ran out, I was nothing more then
a shadow in the night. A shadow headed off towards Umbra's fort.
I smiled as I saw the towers that marked Umbra's
fort, for it meant that our job was almost done, and I could finally get some
rest. As we approached, the Lupes patrolling the walls took out their weapons
in case anything funny was to be tried by us. But as we landed mere inches from
the gate guards noses they didn't even twitch a muscle. "Zarrel Charmain and
Dorono, returning with Fraable the Meerca for Umbra." Zarrel Charmain said as
I dropped Fraable to the ground as to be able to go on all fours.
A younger red Lupe looked at us. "Okay, you
may go through. Even from here the stench of Fraable is unmistakable!" and with
a nod I picked up Fraable, who had gotten quite green in the face, careful to
avoid his wound. This however was not for his sake, but for mine, as I didn't
want to dirty my paws. I followed Zarrel Charmain and the Lupe up to Umbra's
main chambers, and then walked lifting Fraable a bit higher as not to drag him
across Umbra's carpet, for I did not want to anger the fiery sorceress.
"You may drop him there Dorono," Umbra
said, coming from the shadows. She had on the same black dress as she did when
we first saw her. It was strange how well it went along with the white of her
fur. "As I can see, you did a good job on him," she said, eyeing Zarrel
Charmain's handiwork with the tie and gag.
I then did as Umbra said, and with a slight
bow dropped the Meerca on the ground, who's expression turned from one of fret
into one of fright. Fright at the sight of Umbra. "We have completed our task
Umbra. May we receive our dues?" Zarrel Charmain said nodding.
"Yes you may..." Umbra said her eyes on Fraable,
who was now wiggling to try and escape. Without taking her eyes off the hapless
Meerca, Umbra took out a bag of Neopoints, and tossed them to Zarrel Charmain.
"You may take your leave." And with a slight bow, we started on our way out
the door. As we walked out, Umbra took out the gag, "Now as for you..." we heard
he say lightly.
Even though the door was now closed we could
still hear Fraable perfectly, "No! No! Anything but that! NOOOOOOOO!!!" With
a shiver, the Lupe in front of us quickened his pace, as did we, for we did
not want to find out what Umbra did to her captives.
We walked out the large front gate to Umbra's
fort, glad to be out, and then continued on our way home through the dark night.
"Should I fly us back?" I asked Zarrel Charmain.
"No, it is a nice night. Let us walk, and enjoy
it," she said with a smile, stretching her arms out to try and pull out
the sores. I listened to the sound of the crickets, and the whoot of an owl.
She was right. It was a nice night.
"THE NEXT PERSON TO FAIL ME WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS THAT CHIA!!!" Jown
yelled out to his troops. Only the strongest of them all could suppress that
shiver that ran down the spine at the thought of what Jown had done to Serrow.
No pet deserved that fate, but that was what master Jown did to his failing
"Dsupa!!!" the snowy Kougra yelled out digging
his claws into the snow that fell year-round in his realm.
"Yes my lord!" The Halloween saluted, stretching
out his red and black wings. Even though he was bigger then the snowy Kougra,
Jown could defeat him in single combat as easily as he could defeat a young
"You are the new commander." Then he raised
his voice, "As for the rest of you, get to work!" Dsupa started to walk off
with the rest of the troops, but Jown threw his paw down upon the commanders
shoulder, and Dsupa had to bite his tongue to avoid calling out, a sign of weakness
to Jown, as the Kougra's claws dug into his flesh drawing blood witch matched
the colour of his scales. "Not you."
"What is it my lord?"
"I want you to have your men release the disease
infested rodents now. First some around where we believe that assassin to reside,
and then the rest in Laxcorna. I want their defences weakened," Jown said an
evil smile spreading on his features.
"Right to it my lord," Dsupa said, "Anything
"Just make sure that Eyries are immune to the
disease. I would not want my... young friend Dorono to catch this plague."
"I will check it myself!" Dsupa said before
Jown walked over to the edge of the cliff that
led into his snowy realm. He looked over the edge at the vast blankets of forest,
which were starting to show with the morning light. He shook his tail, which
looked more like that of a bobcat's than that of a mighty Kougra. Even though
he had sworn revenge against Dorono for slicing his tail in two, he had come
to realise that that only proved the young Eyrie's power. Somewhere down there
was Dorono. Dorono the green Eyrie who had almost come to work for him eight
years ago. Jown hadn't been lying when he said that Dorono was strong, much
stronger then that assassin. He had seen, or rather sensed something different
about Dorono, something strange. He had still not been able to identify what
that was, but no matter, for if he was to have power like that on his right
side... nothing... could stand in his way. He the mighty Jown could be ruler
of all Laxcorna, no... all of Neopia. King Jown. He liked the sound of that.
Zarrel Charmain was wrong we were not home by morning. By the time we had
slept, eaten, and rested our cuts and bruises it was almost night before we
even reached familiar forests. "At least we will get home tomorrow Dorono,"
Zarrel Charmain said to me while looking up at the moon.
"Like you said yesterday?" I joked. In reality,
I knew that she was right. We could have gotten back in less then an hour, but
we were tired, and decided to sleep, and then come back in the morning. So with
a little laugh from Zarrel Charmain, I fell into a deep sleep.
I woke up just as the sun started to show it's
face to the world, and as usual Zarrel Charmain was already up, and had made
breakfast. As I got up to the smell of cooked meat, I saw her kick leaves onto
the remnants of the fire. The reason she did that was because the last thing
we wanted was for someone to track us, especially now with Jown's men after
I licked my chops as I finished up my breakfast.
I have to admit, Zarrel Charmain is a good cook. I had barely even gotten up
when Zarrel Charmain was ready to leave.
She was walking really fast, much faster then
usual, especially because of her injuries. "Why so fast?" I asked her, and without
slowing down she answered my question.
"I don't know. I just got this bad feeling,
and think that we should hurry back," Zarrel Charmain said, looking quite fretful.
"Here," I said bending down, "I will fly us
there. It will be much quicker." Zarrel Charmain looked at me, and without even
a smile jumped onto my back. I jumped into the air, and with a flap of my wings
was off, and soaring through the sky.
The flight lasted only a few minutes, but when
I was circling in to land I could tell that something was wrong. I landed amongst
a growth of thick pine trees, and as soon as I had folded my wings to my side,
Zarrel Charmain had jumped off, and ran towards where we would camp. I followed
after her, and almost toppled her when she stopped right in my path. "What?"
I asked, but I was silenced by Zarrel putting her finger to her lips, and then
pointing out to the thick underbrush and foliage while drawing her dagger. I
then heard the sounds of feet stamping through the foliage, and coming right
at us. However, since it was so thick through there, we couldn't see who was
coming, but we both expected one of Jown's men to come straight at us.
I drew my long sword, and then reared up, spreading
out my wings for balance. We both prepared to swing our sword down, when out
jumped, not one of Jown's men, but the small, dark purple Zana Taru.
I let out a sigh of relief, as did Zarrel Charmain,
and we both replaced our weapons. "What are you doing here Zana?" Zarrel Charmain
asked sceptically, looking into Zana Taru's wide-open eyes, which betrayed fear.
"It's Kowl..." She panted out heavily. "Bad...
father says... bad... need... HELP!" We both caught the last word clearly enough,
and right away, Zarrel darted off through the trees towards where we resided,
leaving me next to an exhausted Zana Taru. She sat down on the ground panting
heavily, and so I picked her up, and started to run after Zarrel.
I reached an outcropping soon, and there was
Zarrel and Kirin leaning over the small green form of Kowl. I set down Zana
Taru, and then walked over to the three. "What is wrong?" I asked concerned,
for Kowl looked very bad. His face was sweaty, and he was not at all the right
colour The green upon his fur had dimmed, and there were unnatural blackish
spots that could be seen upon the areas where his fur was thinner.
"This is very bad..." Kirin said, and Zarrel
turned upon him.
"What do you mean?!"
"This... this is no ordinary sickness, for I
recognise the symptoms. I have only seen this a few times before, and all those
times up in the mountains." Kirin said with a twitch in his voice.
"Well, what is it!" Zarrel said, a look of fret
upon her face, as she pulled Kowl up onto her lap.
"It is a rare disease, a plague, called Merikao's
Illness. It is named after the famous thief who created the horrid thing, and
then died from his own creation. For many years this disease lay dormant, and
then Jown discovered it. It was one of the many things he had me work on when
I was prisoner to him. He was trying to be able to contain it, and then spread
it along others as was his will. I didn't think it possible, but I guess that
he has mastered that deadly skill. The worst thing is that I do not know of
any cure to this. The smartest thing to do now would be to bring Kowl to a healer...
and hope that he knows the cure."
"That is madness!" Zarrel Charmain yelled out.
"I can't just go walking into a healers shrine. I am an assassin, and they would
not do anything for an assassin's brood except send warriors upon them."
"It is either that, or let Kowl perish," Kirin
said, and Zarrel looked away.
I moved to her side, and saw a tear fall from
her face. "Kowl," she whispered softly "I must find a way to cure him..."
To be continued...