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The Ghost of Meridell: Part Two


by kt_fox

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Krystal sat in a tree just outside the castle wall that overlooked the training grounds. She had been ordered by Raylac to go there and get a report from Audrey. This was fine by Krystal, but waiting for Audrey to show up was getting boring.

      All there was to do was watch the older squires train and try their best to beat whoever they were sparring with. One blue Lupe in particular had caught her attention. Not because of his skill—although that in itself was quite impressive—but simply because of his size. He was at least a foot taller than the other squires, and where the other squires were fighting each other, this one was fighting with an actual knight. And he was holding his own quite well.

     “I see he caught your eye as well.” Audrey’s voice came from down below.

      Krystal glanced down to see her Gelert friend scaling the tree. “Where have you been?” the Lupess asked.

     “Doing my job,” Audrey replied, settling down next to Krystal on the tree branch. She motioned with her head towards the Lupe squire. “His name is Jeran Borodere. He’s one of, if not the best out of all the squires. We guess he’s about sixteen.”

     Krystal gave her friend an odd look. “Why do you think he’s my age? He looks older than that.”

     “True, he does. But if he were any older he’d be a knight already. And any younger they wouldn’t let him battle against the King’s Champion.”

      Now that Krystal looked closer she realized it was Sir Gavin the squire was doing mock battle with. “He certainly has skill.”

      “And that’s what’s bothering Raylac. In fact whoever he picks to go on the castle assignment will also be the one to keep their eye on that Lupe.” A sly smile crept across Audrey’s lips. “And I hear he’s considering you.”

     “And how do you know?”

     “I have my sources.”

     The ghost Lupess shook her head. “My dear Audrey, you'd best stop spying on our leader before he decides to retire you early.”

     “Just worry about your own skin, little thief,” the Gelert replied.

      Krystal rolled her eyes. “And anyway, why would he consider me? Why not Miles?” The Lupess recalled very clearly the day when she discovered that Miles was also working for the organization. Apparently he had been recruited by Raylac right after he left the Citadel.

     “He’s just a simple thief, Krys. He doesn’t have the talent for it.”

     “Let’s get back,” Krystal replied. “Raylac hates us to be late.”

      *****

     Krystal ran down the hallway at top speed, practically shoving everyone out of the way in a mad dash to find her partner. She turned the corner without even slowing down, causing her to plow right into Miles, who was coming the other way. “Whoa!” he yelped as he skidded on the floor. “Where’s the fire?”

     Krystal sprang to her feet. “Have you seen Audrey?” the Lupess asked, panting.

     “No. And what’s the hurry?” Miles asked, standing up and brushing himself off.

     “I have the best news! I got the castle assignment!” Krystal exclaimed.

      Miles stared dumbfounded after her as she took off again. He pinned his ears as his eyes narrowed. It was time to have a talk with the Eyrie in charge.

      *****

     “Why did you give it to her?” Miles demanded. “She’s just a kid!”

     “She’s better suited for the job. Simple as that,” Raylac replied, not looking up from the report he was examining.

     “That was supposed to be my assignment!” the Wocky snapped. But it was only after the words left his mouth that he realized what a horrible mistake he’d made.

      Raylac stood up and glared at Miles. “Are you questioning me?” the Eyrie asked as he pushed back part of his black cloak; revealing the smoky gray gauntlet he wore on his left hand.

     “N—no sir,” Miles sputtered meekly as he took a step back.

      “Are you sure?”

     “Yes sir.”

     “Good. Now get out of my sight while I’m still in a good mood.”

     Thanking Fyora for his luck, the Wocky gratefully complied and scurried out of the chamber as fast as he could.

     Mere seconds after he left, Krystal stepped inside, an impish smile on her face. “You sent for me?”

     “Ah, Krystal. Thank you for coming so quickly. Now that you’re on the castle assignment I want to fill you in on some things...”

      *****

     “I just don’t know what to do about it,” Gavin said to his companion.

     “Alright, now tell me exactly what he said,” the yellow Ixi knight said. Whatever had gotten his friend so worked up he still wasn’t clear on, but it had to be big.

      The Kougra sighed. “King Skarl wants eight knights, including me and you, to go to Brightvale tomorrow and pick up something. I don’t know what it is, just that it’s important, it needs to be returned to Meridell, and it needs to be kept secret.”

     Sir Erick broke into a grin. “If it’s that secret, chances are that Skarl doesn’t even know what it is.”

      Gavin laughed at his friend’s joke. “That may be true.” Then, his expression turning more serious, he continued. “I can gather six knights; I just need two more.”

     “And in a castle full of knights why is this such a problem?”

      Gavin lowered his voice to a whisper, even though the door to the room they were in was closed. “Normally it wouldn’t be. But there have been rumors of war. And with most of the knights being sent to Pierce Point to help with whatever troubles they’re having there now, we’re very short handed. I’ve had to shuffle things around quite a bit for even six knights to go. Taking away two more knights will have a worse impact on palace security than you think. And with such rumors flying around it’s irresponsible for me to take even a small number of knights away from the castle.”

     “That does present a problem. Why not ask Skarl if six knights will be enough?”

     “I tried, many times, but it’s the same answer. It has to be eight knights. No less. He must be afraid of something happening to whatever we’re going to Brightvale for, or else he wouldn’t want so many knights to go.”

     For a long moment Erick thought. “What about Jeran and Danner?”

     Gavin looked at his Ixi friend. “You must be joking. They’re only squires!”

     “Come on, Gavin, they’re going to be taking their test of knighthood in a week. And I seem to recall you saying that Jeran was the best squire you’ve ever trained...”

     “This is why I should never tell you anything. You just write it down to use against me later,” Gavin said with a shake of his head. “All right, we’ll give it a shot.”

      *****

     “I surrender!” Danner yelled.

     Jeran put his wooden practice sword into the belt of his tunic. “Sorry, I just get carried away sometimes.”

     Jeran helped the Wocky to his feet. “Don’t mention it,” Danner said brushing himself off. “I wish I was as skilled as you are with a sword. Maybe then I could whip your tail once in a while.”

     The blue Lupe barked a laugh. “Yeah, but I’m not near as good as you on the crossbow. So I guess that makes us even.”

     “Even enough for you two to take a break, I hope,” came a voice from the doorway.

     Both squires turned to see Sir Gavin closing the door behind him as he stepped inside. “Sir Gavin,” Jeran said. “This looks like it’s serious. Is something wrong?”

     “I wouldn’t say ‘wrong’. Serious yes, but not wrong.” The red Kougra knight directed the two to a nearby observing bench. “Sit.”

     As Jeran and Danner put their practice tools away and sat down, Gavin proceeded to tell them about his dilemma and how he planned to resolve it. Needless to say, when he was through, there were two very dumbfounded squires, gaping openmouthed at their mentor.

     “You, want us... to help?” Jeran asked, wide-eyed.

     “And here Sir Erick was afraid you were going to lose your ability to speak after this,” the knight teased. “So what do you say?”

     “Absolutely!” the two exclaimed together.

     “Perfect. Report to me tomorrow morning at ten. I’ll have some sort of armor for you two and some swords. Remember, tell no one about this.” Sir Gavin walked to the door. Just before stepping out he turned back to the squires. “And for the sake of fire Faeries, get to bed early. I don’t want to find out that you sneaked out of the castle and were up half the night catching Mortogs to put into the young court dancers’ beds.”

      *****

      Krystal walked down the hallways of the hideout on her way out. Raylac had just received word from Audrey that eight knights were going to Brightvale in the morning... well, six knights, two squires. One of which was the Lupe that Krystal had to keep an eye on.

     Raylac ordered the Lupess to get her dagger and head for the castle tonight to make sure she would be there to follow them. As she entered the chamber that led to the stairs, Miles stopped her.

     “Leaving so soon?” he asked.

     “Just doing what I was told,” Krystal replied, brushing past him.

     “You know,” the Wocky said in an almost annoyed voice, “that was my assignment...”

      “Sorry to hear that,” she said in an unsympathetic way.

     Miles chuckled. “You should really keep an eye on that dagger of yours, Krys. Someday you might turn around and find it in your back.”

     The ghost Lupess glared at him. "That would be impossible. I have eyes in the back of my head."

     As she turned to walk away, Miles decided it was time to test that little theory. He pulled back part of his cloak to reveal a small knife. True, he didn't have the marksmanship she did, and his knife wasn't meant for throwing, but at this close range it would still get the job done.

     He threw it as hard as he could. The second it left his hand he knew it would strike... at least it would have.

     Krystal dove forward as if she were going to do a summersault. Putting her weight on her arms, she positioned herself so that her legs were straight up in a handstand position. Right as the knife passed by above her, she kicked it forward and up.

     It hit the far wall and ricocheted off the wall towards the ceiling. Bouncing off the ceiling, it went into a nosedive toward Miles. The Wocky barely ducked in time as it hit the wall behind him, right where he'd been standing.

     He sprang to his feet and tried to pull the knife loose, but it was clear that it was doomed to become a permanent wall decoration. Krystal took a few steps back towards Miles. "Like I said," the Lupess said smugly, "I have eyes in the back of my head... and they never blink."

     Miles hissed at her darkly. Someday, he promised himself, he was going to make her pay for that. And pay dearly...

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Ghost of Meridell: Part One
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Three
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Four
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Five
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Six
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Seven
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Eight
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Nine
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Ten
» The Ghost of Meridell: Part Eleven



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