Sword upon Sword - a Variation of the War: Part One
Darkness fell upon Meridell, the moon a silver slit piercing
the indigo sky. Stars dotted the horizon and the night air was unnaturally quiet.
A silent shadow stirred and ran towards the castle, where King Skarl was waiting.
The shadow belonged to an orange Lupe. He was
one of Skarl's top spies. He had just visited the Darigan Citadel and was ready
to report what he saw. Since he was wearing a loosely fitting beige rag and
a black cloak, he had little weight to hold him down.
Once Skarl had let the Lupe in, they both sat
down in the king's study. "So, what did you see?" Skarl demanded.
"Well, I scaled the walls, reached a window,
and I found…" He held out a worn piece of paper. Skarl accepted it and immediately
and started examining it. "War plans," the Lupe confirmed. "They're the war
plans of Kass. The window was open."
Skarl held out a small canvas bundle with a drawstring.
When the Lupe spy accepted it there was a clanking of many Neopoints inside.
"Thank you for your efforts," Skarl simply said. The Lupe strode off and looked
back only to see the king reading the war plans. Then the Lupe stepped into
the damp night air and vanished without a sound.
* * *
That same night, a yellow Kacheek dressed in
a swirling maroon cloak was sneaking back to the Citadel to report what he had
seen. Once he arrived and was let in by a Darigan Skeith guard, he was led into
the chambers of his lord, Kass.
"My loyal spy," Kass greeted him, "What have
you found out?"
Not the least bit out of breath from all his
running, the Kacheek answered, "M'lord, the king of Meridell has a spy…he's
got your war plans."
"WHAT!?" Kass roared angrily. "Who is the blithering
idiot that left those plans unguarded!?"
"M'lord, apparently the window was open. But
I was thinking we could make new plans. You see, based on our old plans, they'll
want to try and ambush us when were supposed to be attacking. But if we ambush
them," he gestured with his stubby paws. "Well, you get the picture."
A wicked grin spread across Kass's face as he
patted the Kacheek on the head. "My loyal spy, you are a genius. Come, you will
be the one to help me make our new war plans."
The Darigan Eyrie Lord led his spy to the study,
plotting all mater of evil schemes.
* * *
Kass stationed guards hidden around the Citadel.
He chose the most skilled with weapons and the most seasoned warriors. They
hid so perfectly, even Kass couldn't tell where they were. "The next time that
spy," Kass had explained to Jagg, the spy, "intrudes into our land, we will
ambush him and find out everything about Skarl's plans."
Jagg was the one who willingly accepted the offer
to guard the window where the plans had been stolen from. He figured that if
they found something as valuable as war plans, they would return to the same
place to find more objects of importance.
And he was right. Cloaked by the shadow of night,
Skarl's Lupe spy sped to the Citadel, where he proceeded to scale to the window.
When he finally put his paw on the windowsill, he looked up. Foot on top of
the Lupe's paw, Jagg looked down at him and grinned. Then he threw the Meridellian
spy off the window. A Darigan Skeith caught him and bound his paws.
Dragged into Kass's chambers, the Lupe struggled
against his bindings. "It's no use, spy," Kass spat at him, "You can't escape."
He turned his attention to the Skeith. "Tie him to the chair!" he ordered.
Responding with only a grunt, the Skeith trudged
to a chair stationed by the wall. He poked the Lupe with the butt of his spear
and sat next to him.
"So," Kass said. "You're the one who took our
"Yes I did, and I'm proud of it!" he retorted.
"You will soon see that working for me benefits
much more. But if you refuse," he pointed towards the door, "you will become
a resident of the Citadel prison. First, we must ask you some questions. If
you fail to answer or lie you will face severe consequences. Guards!" he barked,
"Begin the interrogation!"
After he refused to answer any of their questions,
Kass strode over very calmly, although his short temper was stretched to its
limit. "I will tell you one more time, spy," he said, fighting his anger. "You
will answer to me, or you will answer to a prison cell!"
The Lupe turned away.
"So be it!" Kass yelled. "But soon you will find
that a warrior of Kass is much more beneficial than being a prisoner of Kass.
Take him to cell twenty-five," were Kass's final words.
Grunting again, the Skeith cut him from the chair
and pushed him along with his spear butt. The guard was silent, but the Lupe
spy was threatening him and muttering oaths the whole time. The dull guard caught
only a few words like, "…going to pay…" and "…don't break my vows…" and he was
even insulting Kass. "Take him to cell twenty-five," he said in a mocking tone.
Once they reached what was probably cell twenty-five,
the Skeith opened it and uttered a single word: "In." He thrust the Lupe spy
into the cell and strode off, swinging the key around his finger and whistling.
* * *
Skarl was pacing in his study, waiting for his
spy to return. Just then, one of his Draik guards wearing the traditional Meridellian
breastplate and carrying a spear ran in, panting. He had a sheathed sword at
his waist and a look of terror on his face. "Your Majesty!" he cried, "Our spy
has been captured!"
Skarl grabbed the Draik's spear and threw it
at the wall. "Blast it! That was my good spy. We need to get him out of there.
Assemble a full-fledged attack upon the accursed Citadel!" When the Draik hesitated,
Skarl shrieked, "NOW!"
In a matter of minutes a small army was assembled.
Although it was a sorry assembly of fighters, they were armed to the teeth and
ready to battle the warriors of Kass.
Back at the Citadel, a red Scorchio guard was
stationed as a lookout. Upon seeing the army of Skarl he cried out, "M'lord!
Invasion! Assemble the troops on the double!"
Kass nodded in acknowledgement and hurriedly
announced the message to all. Soon after, the troops of Lord Kass were assembled
and ready to go. Each was wearing the breastplate of Kass with a black belt
at their waist. Weapons were either spears for relatively close ranged fighting,
swords for going even closer, or bows and arrows from a safe distance.
Kass chose weapons suitable to each warrior's
abilities. Soon the weapons were evenly distributed and both troops confronted
each other in a mad charge, every Neopet chanting and shouting.
Kass looked down at his faithful spy, Jagg. "Since
Skarl's troops are all in battle, I think it's high time you sneak over to the
castle and do what you do best."
Responding with a nod, Jagg armed himself and
headed off. Sneaking quietly around the back of the Citadel and into the forest,
he brandished his sword. When in training he was told to always stay on guard
and expect the unexpected. Upon reaching the castle, he sheathed his sword and
peered in through a window.
It was Skarl's study. The king wasn't there.
'He's probably stuffing himself with food, the fat oaf,' Jagg thought
He climbed in through the window. The sounds
of battle could be heard from outside; arrows whizzing through the air, sword
upon sword shrieking and clanking, cries of anger, revenge, and pain. Jagg shook
himself back to reality.
There wasn't much in Skarl's study. One of the
furnishings was a small bookshelf with books ranging from Know your Food
from A-Z to How to be a Good King and even a dusty looking Royal
Manners. Jagg snorted - Skarl probably had never even touched the third
Just then there was a clatter from behind the
study door. A seasoned spy such as Jagg immediately figured out there were three
pairs of footsteps: one heavy stride and two light, quick ones. Alerted, the
Kacheek could only grab a few pieces of paper from the king's desk and scramble
to the window clutching the stolen objects.
Hiding outside under the window, he heard a voice.
"I saw him running from the Citadel! It was a yellow Kacheek and he was armed!"
'Curse it! Someone saw me! It was probably
one of Skarl's stupid Draik guards,' the Kacheek thought to himself.
"It was only one sword," said a second voice.
"And he ran this way."
"A spy, no doubt," muttered Skarl crossly.
Just then Jagg whipped around as he felt a strong
and powerful hand grab him from off the ground.
To be continued...