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Then There Were Six: Part Two

by jade_steel


"This is about the right place, correct?" Talusai asked as the five faeries gently touched down on the grass of Meridell.

     Triesta gazed into the distance, almost unseeing. "Aye. This is the right place."

     "We'll have a right hard time getting through it," Tanelle remarked. "We're going to be swamped by fans and such. Meridell is the place for heroes and all, so we're practically toast."

     Sanalre thought fast. "Tanelle, you might be able to cloak us in smoke."

     "Possible." The Fire Faerie shrugged. "I'm not sure if I can keep it up for very long, though."

     "No need," Triesta told them, a smile touching the corners of her lips. "I'm not known to have saved the world yet. I can get in there, ask a local, and get out."

     They looked at each other. Triesta had the best idea yet.

     "All right," Kanal'te told her. "Go on."

     Triesta nodded, then strode purposefully off toward the nearby village.

     She walked for quite a while before she came to a dwelling that felt as though the inhabitants would be helpful. Triesta leaned down and knocked on the wooden door.

     The door was opened almost immediately by a smiling Ghost Ixi. "Can I help ye?" she asked, her voice warm and friendly.

     Triesta nodded. "Has there been a Dark Faerie around recently?"

     "Oh, aye," she nodded pleasantly. "One's lived atop the great hill, there, for as long as I can remember. Does that answer your question well enough?"

     "Aye," Triesta returned. "Thank you."

     The Ixi nodded and ducked back inside the door, while Triesta headed back to the others.

     She found them waiting impatiently for her. "Well?" Kanal'te demanded, almost as soon as Triesta was within earshot.

     "Yes," Triesta told her breathlessly. "One lives on the hill there! The Ixi I asked said that she'd lived there as long as she could remember."

     Talusai and Tanelle exchanged glances. "It's worth checking out."

     "Do you want me to go alone?" Triesta asked as the others debated.

     Sanalre looked up. "No. We should all go, just in case she doesn't recognize you."

     Triesta tipped her head to one side. "I guess. We should go around the village, though."

     "Agreed." The five Faeries began to walk, covering rapidly the distance from their knoll to the tall hill on which Dark's dwelling rested.

     "My feet hurt," Sanalre complained after about half an hour of walking.

     "We're almost there," Talusai told her. "You could always fly for a bit."

     "Or I could go inside and sit down," Sanalre pointed out. "We're there."

     "This?" Tanelle queried. "This doesn't look like a fitting home for a Dark Faerie, let alone one involved in a Prophecy."

     Kanal'te sized up the rough hovel in front of them. "That doesn't look quite right," she muttered, using her head for once. She had seen the material of the hut ripple somewhat, as though it was not really a hut. Curious, Kanal'te reached out to touch it... and touched stone.

     "Kanal'te?" She turned, keeping her hand on the wall, to see Talusai staring at her. "What did you just do?"

     "Ummm... Touched it?" Kanal'te looked a bit put off until she looked back to the hut-that-was-now-a-sizeable-castle. "Oh."

     "I think you dispelled some sort of illusion," Triesta pondered. "In any case, we should go in." She examined the door, then pushed on it. It didn't give, so Triesta examined the door more closely. A small slot, pulsing with a violet light, was set at the right side, where a keyhole might be. "Hmm."

     Triesta leaned closer to the door, until she could freely touch her pendant to the small hole. It slid in, then was forcefully ejected as the door opened, a little too fast. She straightened fast, and a Dark Faerie stepped out, almost running full on into Triesta.

     "Hello," the other said. "I'm afraid I don't know your names, but I do know that you are probably my sister." She gestured to Triesta.

     The new Faerie was short, and somewhat stocky, the complete opposite of her sister in every way. Her green eyes sparkled with a hint of mischief, but one could see the wisdom behind them. A pale, white-glowing crystal hung from a silver chain around her neck.

     Triesta nodded. "Aye. I am Triesta. I don't know your name either. That is there," she said, reaching to tap the white pendant. "Those with me are the Four of the Prophecy of Four: Kanal'te, Tanelle, Sanalre, and Talusai."

     "Ah, them!" The Dark Faerie's eyes sparked in recognition. "Good to see you all. My name is Mayra, and, as you might have guessed, I was prophesied about at the same time as Triesta."

     "All right, so!" Sanalre clapped her hands, rubbing them together. "Let's get to work, shall we?"

     Five pairs of eyes looked at her questioningly, and Sanalre elaborated. "Mayra and Triesta need to get their memories back. We need to unravel the rest of the Prophecy and the secret, and then act!"

     "But act on what?" Kanal'te was still not quite getting the point.

     Tanelle narrowed her eyes; she was running short on patience. "None of us know what. We'll find out once the secret has been revealed. Can we go yet?"

     "Actually, we don't have to go anywhere," Mayra put in. "There are several rooms inside, and the castle should be able to supply six Faeries for a few days. There will be plenty of time to go once we have everything figured out."

     Not waiting for a reply, Mayra took her sister's hand and began to pull her inside, and Kanal'te, Sanalre, Tanelle, and Talusai exchanged confused glances before following.

     The Dark Faerie gestured as they passed through a dark hallway, and torches lining it burst into flame, illuminating the stone passage with a bright, if flickering, light. Tanelle looked at Mayra questioningly.

     "The enchantment was put there a while ago by a Fire Faerie," Mayra explained in answer to the other's unspoken question. "That gesture just activates it. In a few minutes we'll be in a room with some real light."

     They walked on in silence for some time, until Mayra, still leading the group, pushed on a broad wooden door. It opened to reveal a room with a ceiling that was mostly open to the sky, letting daylight shine in. The floor was paved with uneven stones, and grass grew between them at some places. The only furniture was a table and six chairs, set a bit left of the center of the room.

     The Faeries following her moved past Mayra to take seats, and Mayra let the door swing closed as she joined them. "Triesta, may I see your pendant?" she asked as she detached the white crystal from around her own neck.

     "Definitely." Triesta reached behind herself, pulling aside her long gold hair to access the clasp. A moment of fumbling released the chain, and she handed it to Talusai, who passed on to Mayra. Sanalre did the same, passing the white one to Triesta.

     A few moments of eerie silence followed as the Dark and Light Faeries gazed into their crystals. Kanal'te broke the uncomfortable silence. "So, what now?"

     Triesta and Mayra jerked out of their reverie. "Oh - sorry, I should have explained," Triesta apologized. "If we stare at these long enough, they'll disappear and our memories will be returned."

     Tanelle scowled. "This is all taking a very long time. Try just clasping them around your necks?"

     "It can't hurt to try, I guess," Mayra muttered as she fumbled with the catch behind her back. Silently, Talusai came around behind her and connected the two ends. Mayra smiled a thank-you back up at her, and Talusai resumed her seat as Triesta pulled the silver chain over her head, settling the pendant on her chest.

     For a moment, nothing happened. Then, both Mayra and Triesta reached for the crystals, to resume staring. As they both touched them, there was a flash of blinding light, and the Four instinctively ducked under the table.

     When the light cleared, and Tanelle dared to poke her head out from under the splintery wood, she saw the two sitting there in identical positions, one hand placed over where the pendants once hung, the other touched lightly to their head. The chains still hung around their necks, but the settings for the crystals were empty, as though the glowing crystals had never existed.

     "Are you two all right?" Sanalre queried. Her hands were already glowing blue as she prepared to heal if necessary, one hand reaching for each end of the table.

     "Yes...fine," Triesta muttered. The sadness that had once been barely glimpsed in her eyes was back, full force. Mayra, at the other end of the table, looked troubled.

     "What's wrong?" Talusai asked. "You seem..."

     "Saddened?" Triesta smiled wryly. "There's good reason for that. My part of the secret is most possibly the worst. It speaks of doom and destruction for all of us."

     "I may be somewhat better off," Mayra commented, standing up and coming around to lay a comforting hand on her sister's shoulder. "My half speaks of how to make things right once more."

     "So, how exactly are we doomed to destruction?" Kanal'te asked, trying to bring some light to the situation.

     The sadness in Triesta's eyes deepened. "It is a most terrible fate."

     "Can you please stop being so dramatic? I mean, there can't be much worse than the total destruction of the world," Talusai quipped.

     "Believe me, this is far, far worse."

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Then There Were Six: Part One
» Then There Were Six: Part Three
» Then There Were Six: Part Four

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