The war raged on before me. I watched with a lump in
my throat as Sunyears, my Acara, exchanged blows with the Draconian Moehog.
I had positioned myself on behind the ridge of a nearby hill so that I could
fire a few arrows at the enemy lines from expert bow while keeping an eye on
Sunyears was a good deal stronger than the Moehog,
but she had been fighting one after another and the work was beginning to tell
on her. "Sunyears!" I called to her for what felt like the umpteenth
time, "Come on! You're tired! We have to get out of here!" I fully
expected her to ignore me and keep on fighting, but this time she nodded wearily
and started backing away from the Moehog, warding off its blows with her attack
fork. Finally, when she felt she was close enough, she turned and fled towards
A stray arrow caught her in the back, and she
went tumbling to the ground. The Moehog she had been sparring with charged at
her, tusks first. Panicking, I launched a mass of arrows at it, and it too fell.
Cautiously, I slid out from my hiding place and
moved towards Sunyears. As I scooped her up, I heard a thundering noise as a
fresh wave of Moehogs charged onto the battlefield, trampling the wounded beneath
their feet. Without thinking, I picked up the fallen Moehog. Carrying it under
one arm and Sunyears under the other, I raced to get out of the way of the pounding
Half an hour and one mile later, I collapsed to the ground panting. Judging
that I was a safe distance from the battle, I took a a healing potion from the
pack I was carrying and poured it into Sunyears' open mouth. Being the observant
little one that she is, the first thing she said when she came around was "Oh!
Why did you bring THAT thing." She wrinkled her nose indignantly at the Moehog.
"It smells." I explained to her that it had been in danger and she sighed. "Well,
that's just like you isn't it. But what are we going to do when it wakes up?"
As if on cue, the Moehog stirred. It opened its
eyes and blinked. "Hey!" she said in a definitely feminine voice,
"Where am I?"
Sunyears shrieked and conked her on the head
with the handle of the attack fork. The Moehog once again slumped to the ground.
"Well," I said, "I guess that
pretty much answers your question.
By the next time the Moehog woke up, we were back in our Mystery Island neohome
and ready for her. She must have been rather confused to find that she had gone
from the cold ground in the middle of a battlefield to a warm bed in a cozy
neohome. Naturally, she was suspicious. Especially when I offered her an apple.
"You've laced it with something," she
said accusingly. I confidently picked it up and took a small bite and then offered
it to her again. She sniffed it thoroughly before eating it.
"So," I said casually, "What's
"Why should I tell you?"
"Why shouldn't you?"
She thought about this for a moment before saying,
"First answer some questions for me."
"Why did you take me here? Why are you feeding
me? And exactly what do you think will keep me from leaving?"
"I took you because things were starting
to get rough on the field and you might have gotten seriously hurt, which is
an understatement. The reason I'm feeding you will become clear shortly. As
for what's keeping you from leaving: nothing is. But it wouldn't be a smart
move on your part to try to escape, seeing as how you get food here." I
grinned a bit wickedly at that part. I had known I could hook her that way the
moment I laid eyes on her bare ribs. "Not your typical war prison, is it?"
The Moehog scowled. She knew she was stuck. "My
name is Terashrika. And what, may I ask, made you care happened to me?"
"That's what I'd like to know," I admitted.
"It's a thankless task," said Sunyears,
popping up beside me.
Terashrika snarled. "You!"
Sunyears smirked. "Dirty Draconian!"
"Sunyears!" I protested.
"Skarl's scum!" Terashrika shot back.
"What do you have against us!" They
both spoke simultaneously.
Taken aback, Sunyears whispered, "My answer
is simple: you are invading Meridell."
Terashrika sighed. "My answer is more complicated.
Let me tell you a story.
"I was born into Draconia. I was always
cold, miserable, and hungry. But worse: I was a mutant, as we all are. And there
has always been something else, something I can't quite place, a shadow that
seems to hang over my heart. Of course, I was told stories of how this came
to be. It started in the middle of a great famine, but not as great a one as
there is now.
"Now, remember, this is a legend so it may
not be entirely true. But in light of recent events, it fits perfectly. The
people decided to appeal to the faeries for help. But the water faeries and
air faeries would not send us rain, the earth faeries would not make our crops
grow, and the light faerie would only supply us with a bit of food: a temporary
solution. The dark faeries, however, offered to help us. They said that they
would bless an orb that would make our people rich and healthy. But there would
be a catch. The orb was a blessing: and if it were ever to leave our possession
it would leave behind a terrible curse. The Draconians were desperate, so of
course they agreed.
"This part is true. Our land received the
orb, and for many years we prospered. But then it was stolen away from us by
Skarrl's army. There was a great war to try to reclaim it. My father left my
mother to fight in that war. He never returned. Inevitably, Draconia lost. Years
later my mother died shortly after I was born.
"Now, now we have a chance to get back what
is rightfully ours. I assure that it does hang on the conciences of many that
for us to live Meridell must die, but it is either us or them. It was a fate
they chose when they took our orb. Of course..." she faltered as though
she had just realized something, "Of course, when they did it, they must
have been in much the same position as we are now..."
Suddenly, everything was clear to me. "The
dark faeries. They planned this. If the story is true, it makes perfect sense.
They knew that the orb would inevitably cause war rather than peace. They planned
for this to happen. And now... now every can only fend for themselves..."
Terashrika nodded slowly. I could tell that she
was drifting off to sleep. Sunyears and I left the room. We all had a lot to
think about, and a lot of heart searching to do.
The following day I got Terashrika a Shoyru morphing potion. I had a hunch
that a shape shift would lift the curse from at least her shoulders. It did.
When she drank it she informed me that the shadow over her heart had lifted.
I told her she was free to go.
As I stood in the doorway with my pets beside
me, Terashrika hovered in the air in front of us. "You do know," she
said casually, "that I will go back to the war. I have to. For my people."
"And we will continue to fight Darigan,"
Sunyears replied. She paused, then added, "For our people."
There was a silence, and then Terashrika said,
"Maybe... maybe our peoples... yours and mine..."
"Aren't so different?" Sunyears finished.
There was another silence, and then Tereshrika
said, "I will never forget you." She flew off in the direction of
Yes, I thought, We will continue to
fight. And when the war is over, we will fight Skarrl if it is necessary. In
the end, when the fighting is finished and everyone is calm again, maybe we
will find a way that everyone can get what they want. Draconians included. Yes,
we willfind a way. We have to.