Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 193,540,341 Issue: 696 | 28th day of Hiding, Y17
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The Sorceress and the Prisoner: Part Eight

by dudeiloled


     Jeran's heart was in his mouth. He stared up at the roof where Lord Darigan and Lisha were standing. At the bottom of the house stood Galgarroth, wearing a smug smirk on his face, as if everything was going to plan. Well, maybe it was, but that was all about to change. He took hold of his sword and raised it to the sky, the blade catching the sun and shining. It was a strong blade, made by the best sword-smith in the whole of Neopia. Jeran was especially proud of it and never let it out of his sight. Now, this blade was going to bring him to victory once more against Darigan Citadel, and he was going to save his little sister, the only family he had left in the world.

     “I won't let you lay a finger on my sister.” Jeran murmured.

     Lord Darigan exhaled deeply. “Enough of this tiresome prattle. Meridell will learn the error of their ways. I will take away something important from you, Jeran, as King Skarl did to me many years ago.” He took his own sword he was carrying, not having had to use it in so long, and drew it into the air.

     Galgarroth stood below, but now his expression had changed, and it was one of a flicker of surprise, then concern. No one actually believed Lord Darigan would harm the young Aisha, Lisha, but now no one was sure. Something was definitely different about this once genuinely kind and professional leader. He seemed almost cursed by something, but nothing seemed to have cursed him. Jeran moved, faster than anyone had ever seen him do so, but his sword was not drawn as well. In fact, it almost seemed like he was going to –

     Lisha was frozen to the spot, terrified. Where was Master Vex? Couldn't he see how important it was that he came right now? If she tried to run she would be caught immediately so there was no point. Her vision couldn't see Jeran in the crowd, but she followed the sounds of his voice and tried to tell him help was on its way. At least, she hoped it was. Otherwise she was pretty much doomed.

     It was at that second Lord Darigan brought the sword forward towards Lisha. She screamed, hands covering her mouth, but the sword never reached her. A blur of blue jumped in front of her and it was at this same second that a voice called out, “Stop!”

     The King's Champion, Sir Borodere, Jeran, fell backwards onto his sister and she cradled him in her arms. Master Vex and Prisoner Five were running over. Master Vex was holding one half of the orb, Prisoner Five the other. The sight of the two halves made Lord Darigan drop his blade and almost gasp. He stared at Jeran and shook his head, seeming dazed. Had he always been like this? Willing to take such levels to seek revenge? He remembered the last time he felt like this. When The Three overwhelmed him. But this time, it was all his own doing.

     “What is the meaning of this?” Lord Darigan appealed, as Master Vex and Prisoner Five climbed onto the roof. “How did you manage to...how did this prisoner get out? Vex...?”

     “There's no time, Lord Darigan. Jeran's life could be at stake here.” Master Vex cut across him. “Lisha! Say the spell now.”

     Lisha was in shock looking at her brother. He grinned weakly up at her, then winced. She tried to speak but her throat was dry and her mind was numb. What was the spell again? Ick nishi something? No, that wasn't right, was it? She felt Jeran in her arms. Ick...Ick...“Ick nishi erin tu!” Lisha shrieked, feeling the magic wave down her arms and out through her hands. The spell was bright green in colour and hit the orb, Jeran, Master Vex, Prisoner Five, Galgarroth and Lord Darigan. The only person it didn't hit was herself.

     And then everything was silent.

* * *

     Lisha opened her eyes. She felt exhausted and she had no idea what had just happened. Everything was still blurry but her arms were empty and it felt like she was inside, no outside. In fact, this felt like she was back inside Meridell Castle. What had happened after she had passed out? The spell was so powerful it must have drained all of her energy. Were people still fighting? Was the war over and won? Or over and lost? What happened to Jeran? Jeran, Jeran, Jeran...her brother's face flew into her mind and she sat up as she thought about him. She instinctively reached to the side for her glasses, and to her immense surprise, found them there. She put them on and immediately the world was in sharp focus again and she could see everything. It was almost overwhelming, but now she knew for sure she was back in her bedroom in Meridell Castle. She would have thought it was all a dream had there not been an obvious mark where the glasses had been repaired.

     “Jeran?” Lisha called. Her voice echoed slightly in the large room and she shivered as Jeran's name hit her again and again before dying out.

     It wasn't her brother who answered her calls. To her surprise, it was King Skarl himself, followed swiftly by Tormund.

     They both looked scarily serious. Tormund was relieved though, and he told her so. “Lisha, you're okay. I'm so pleased. Everyone was worried about you. So much has happened since you saved us all.”

     The Aisha frowned. “I...saved everyone? What happened?” Her memory was uncertain of the past events, but she remembered one thing in particular. Jeran saving her life by sacrificing himself. “Where's Jeran?”

     Tormund outstretched his hand. Lisha took it cautiously, and the Lupe helped her out of her bed. She was wearing a long nightgown but did not feel embarrassed to be seen by the king and a friend like this. Her mind was on higher things. However, the two of them left her to change, and she did so rapidly. Tormund then led her outside of the castle, where Meridell was just how it used to be, and Lisha couldn't believe what she saw as she stared high into the sky at Darigan Citadel.

     “Come,” Tormund let go of her hand and gestured towards the three Eyries waiting for them. “We're going to Darigan Citadel. You can see all you have done up there as well transforming Meridell back to what it was.” He smiled at her confidently, his eyes twinkling, but there seemed to still be an uneasiness about him – something he wasn't telling her. And he hadn't answered her persistent questions about Jeran.

     But she let her uncertainty go as they landed at the area after having travelled there by Eyrie, even King Skarl coming along, just for a while. Her breath caught in her throat and she knew now that her plan with Master Vex had worked in ways she could never have dreamed of before.

     The mist no longer drifted lazily through Darigan Citadel, which had been a permanent fixture for many years. It was gone, and the air looked crisp and fresh up there. It was an appealing, bright place, which promised almost happiness and even goodness at every corner. Flying over Meridell was this giant lump of rock, smooth and green in colour. In the middle were fields and farms. The most impressive part of this small area of floating land was the huge palace, red and yellow and welcoming. An oddly shaped arena for petpet battles was now crowded with lines of people with their petpets waiting outside. A small shop overcrowded with buyers stood next to the arena, and behind that was a village. The village was home to around a thousand of loyal Darigan citizens. Darigan Citadel now seemed a busy, prosperous and promising place to live. The orb had been fixed and the curse on the people had been lifted. They were no longer disfigured but normal, and happy. Some were still in tears of joy over this and were hugging one another. Everything had been restored to how it was and the orb floated proudly in the centre of Darigan Citadel above a fountain, for everyone to see in all its glory.

     King Skarl and Tormund seemed to be heading directly for the palace. Lisha hurried to follow them, but thousands of questions were still in her head and these two were not the people to ask as they were not present when it happened. Which made Lisha think, really. Surely the King of Meridell should have been fighting along with them? If Jeran was king, he certainly would have. Jeran...

     The palace was full of people and Lord Darigan himself was in the first room they went into, greeting people. The Korbat looked completely different – he still looked majestic, but now his eyes were full of warmth and loyalty. What he used to be. The leader he was. And now is. Galgarroth stood beside him, an ordinary red Grarrl general, looking, finally, at peace, like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. And a few metres behind them stood Master Vex and Prisoner Five.

     “King Skarl. Tormund. Lisha.” Lord Darigan called over to them, beckoning them to him. “Welcome. Lisha, you can now see for yourself what your spell has done for us. For both Meridell and Darigan Citadel. We are now truly bonded over a stronger truce, and we have helped each other rebuild our areas to what they were. You have been unconscious for a little over a fortnight now, but it is good to see you up. It gives me great pleasure in seeing you, as you and Master Vex, and Mortimer, well...I am forever in your debt.” He noticed her expression of bewilderment and confusion and surprise and yearning all at once. “I will explain to you everything that has happened after you fell asleep from your exhaustion and drainage of power.”

     He did, too. Instantly. The moment she said the spell everyone affected was blinded for a few seconds, and then felt like something was lifted from them. When the light passed, Lord Darigan was back to how he used to be and the orb was fixed. Galgarroth was how he was, and so was Master Vex. Lord Darigan sought forgiveness for everything he had caused, and was granted it, for it was revealed he, too, was under an even stronger curse after the destruction and theft of the orb from the Citadel, caused by his own want and greed. Once the spell was spoken, the curse was broken, and for the first time in decades he could see and think clearly, no longer corrupted, but forever living with the memory of all of his actions. Master Vex was appointed a general, under Galgarroth's command, but not one that would actively take part in the training part of this job. It was an honour for the Mynci, and he was truly grateful for this position, though he would miss being a Warden, that was for sure. The prisoners that Master Vex looked after were freed, their deeds forgotten. It was being a Warden that ended up saving the day. It was him, Lisha and Prisoner Five.

     Sorceress, Warden, Lupe.

     “As for Mortimer...” Lord Darigan stared at Lisha for a long time. “I think you should talk to him yourself.” He shook his head. “There is a lot to be told, and a lot to be explained. I, myself, have some questions. But now is not the time for me.” He nodded at King Skarl, who was lurking behind Lisha, looking uncomfortable, though for once not grumpy. “We have a lot to discuss.”

     King Skarl nodded, slowly. He exhaled for a long time before patting Lisha on the back. “Go and speak with Mortimer. Lord Darigan...”

     “Who is Mortimer?” Lisha asked, interrupting but almost past caring to be tactful. Too much was going on at once and she felt very confused. “Why do you keep mentioning his name?”

     Galgarroth cut in at that moment. “Thank you, Lisha, for everything you have done for us all.” He embraced her, then released her. “Mortimer is right behind you...he's Prisoner Five.”

     “What?” Lisha turned around, and saw the old Lupe, dressed more respectfully in proper, golden and navy robes. He smiled at her and his eyes started watering. She was sure he was about to cry. He put his paw on her shoulder, and exhaled deeply. “Your name is Mortimer?” Lisha said, stupidly. Why did she recognise that name?

     “Hello, Lisha.” His voice had changed. His voice was serious. There were no mad ramblings. Lisha couldn't help but wonder whether the spell had fixed him too, and she knew after his next words that it had. “I haven't spoken to you in my right state of mind in so many years. It's incredible to see you after so long. You've grown...” He coughed here, before continuing. “I will explain everything about myself at some point. I cast a spell...but alas, my story is a different one, and I will tell it to you eventually. However, today, I just want you to know I think you will surpass me and become one of the greatest sorceresses' of all time. Only you could have saved everyone. You were always destined to save Meridell and Darigan Citadel from destroying one another. To cast that spell and fix the orb, you had to be a relative of its creator...and I am that creator.”

     Lisha frowned, clearly puzzled. “A relative? Mortimer? Who are you?”

     Mortimer chuckled. “Lisha,” he said, and the next words he said would change her life forever. “Lisha, I'm your father.”

         Lisha put a hand to her mouth and stepped backwards, shaking her head. “No.” She whispered, staring at the old Lupe. He must have been at least a century old, if not more. Could Prisoner Five...could Mortimer...really be her father? Millions of questions ran through her head, but one stuck out. It was what she had been thinking of for hours now, since the moment she woke up from collapsing. And Mortimer talking of family just cinched it. She would deal with this astounding news later. There was something more important right now to her. Someone who had been there for her as long as she could remember and always saved her in her time of desperate need.

     “Where's Jeran?” Lisha asked, quietly, to Mortimer's surprise. “Where's my brother? Your...son?”

     Master Vex had crept up behind the Aisha and put a hand on her shoulder. His expression was grim. The laughter and chatter in the background died from Lisha's hearing as her face paled at his seriousness. She bowed her head to Mortimer, unable to call him her father just yet, not without some questions being answered first. But he had said that was for another time, that story.

     “Lisha,” Master Vex spoke lowly, softly. “Follow me.”

* * *

     Master Vex watched as Lisha walked up to her brother. His eyes were closed and he looked peaceful. The two of them (Master Vex and Lisha) had spoken for a long time after Mortimer's bombshell, and they had developed a deeper understanding for one another. Their lives would be different now. Darigan Citadel was a better place. Everyone was happy. The truce was now stronger than ever and both Lord Darigan and King Skarl promised to visit one another every week to build a strong friendship and alliance. It was exactly what Jeran had always dreamed of.

     Lisha kissed her brother on his forehead and didn't realise she was crying until a tear fell onto his blue fur. She wiped her eyes and felt cross with herself. What was there to be sad about? Everything was going to be better now. Nothing would be sad for a long, long time. They would never be at war with Darigan Citadel ever again if things kept up this way. And that was just incredible.

     “Thank you, Jeran.” Lisha whispered. “You saved my life. And we're not alone anymore. If you can believe it...Prisoner Five is our father. We've found him, Jeran. We've found our father...which means we might even find our mother. What do you think, Jeran? You've done so much for everyone for jumping in front of me when Lord Darigan was about to strike. Without you, I couldn't have said the spell to change everything for the better...oh Jeran.” Her voice broke, and she was truly sobbing now, knelt at his side, her head buried into his chest. “I love you.”

     Jeran didn't reply; but then, Lisha hadn't expected him to.

     The End.

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Other Episodes

» The Sorceress and the Prisoner: Part Two
» The Sorceress and the Prisoner: Part Three
» The Sorceress and the Prisoner: Part Four
» The Sorceress and the Prisoner: Part Five
» The Sorceress and the Prisoner: Part Six
» The Sorceress and the Prisoner: Part Seven

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