There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 129,296,931 Issue: 201 | 29th day of Swimming, Y7
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EndingArrow: Part Six

by sara_mossflower


Seeking Tasson

The Shoyru ordered us to come with him, and we had no choice but to follow. Terzin and Aly rubbed their eyes on the way out, still slightly drowsy from the strange powder that had knocked us out. As we trudged out through the door, into an open torch lit room, I thought about the mark I'd been unearthing beneath Siersha's blood on my sword. What had it been? And more importantly, why had Aillara allowed us to keep our weapons?

      I looked around, and could not comprehend where we were. It couldn't be the League's canyon HQ, could it? It would have taken forever to bring us here from the village. Then again, I had no idea what time of day it was. It was obvious that we were underground, and therefore no sunlight could indicate whether it was noon or midnight. It could very well be a day or two since we'd collapsed - there was no way to be sure.

      League members skulked around the room, one polishing a knife, another whittling away at a small wood effigy of their Mistress, Frey.

      As we passed through the cavern, I realized that this could very well be the HQ we had fled from such a short time ago, and my guess was confirmed as we were led down winding tunnels that finally opened out on a room I remembered all too well. The scent of burning incense reached my nostrils, murals adorned the walls, scenes of Frey's deeds, and in the centre of the room was a large boulder, like a miniature plateau. It was to that very stone that they had chained Dayne to not a week ago, in another attempt to return their Lady to life. The thought of Frey speaking through Dayne's mouth was fresh it my mind, but I struggled to shake it off. I shuddered as I stared at it, knowing that my memories regarding the stone would never leave me.

      The figure that was currently perched upon the plateau was none other than Aillara herself. The Shoyru continued to lead us forward until we were standing beneath her. I was feeling confident since waking up in the dungeon, and immediately spoke up. "Why did you bring us here?" I demanded, although I knew all too well that they wanted to claim my life once more. "More importantly, how did you find me?" I sneered at her, showing that I was not afraid. I had my sword at my side, and I would have drawn it. Terzin could have his vengeance, as could I. However, I still felt slightly light-headed from the strange powder we'd inhaled. I also knew that now was not the time and place to start a brawl.

      The Eyrie merely flashed me her usual smug smile, and my confidence suddenly twisted into rage. She always acted as though I was nothing but an inferior waste of space, and I couldn't stand it. Her haughty air became only more obvious as she answered me. "I'll tell you how we found you. The dart that was shot into your throat was our doing, as you may have already guessed."

      "Yes," I said, waiting for a further explanation.

      "Well, that dart contained a poison of mixed magics. There are those among us who are gifted with a mage's power, and although their magic is weak, they are able to detect where the dart's contents are, and you with them. I sent out one scout to implant the missile, and we chose to bring out a larger force later for your capture."

      "But Terzin's light magic healed me - there wasn't any poison left in me."

      "The strength of Light alone could not possibly exorcise all of the substance from your body. The part of it that we created from light repels light. It was this way that we were able to capture you." She cleared her throat and then continued. "Now, the Lady KeenBlade must return, and you are going to help us to do this, as you were destined."

      "Get to the point," I snapped.

      "Oh, I will. Our Mistress knows that the archer, Tasson, has chosen to speak with you. It is he who she wishes to be summoned."

      I didn't understand this. Summoned? Why? Tasson had been, like Frey, long dead, and although he had been speaking to me, I had no idea what Frey would want with him. He had been her enemy then, but now she had me to deal with. What could be so important about the Cybunny?

     "So she's using me again. What's the point? Tasson's not her foe now."

     "But he possessed the Storm."

     At these words, I felt my mind go numb. The Storm was something I'd discovered during the defeat of Frey's Firejewel. It was the power that I, the Windstorm, was fated to have, although I knew next to nothing about it. All I knew was that it had helped to save our lives back then. Now the League was familiar with its power - perhaps Frey had told them of it, or maybe they'd always known of its existence.

     "You are the only other who owns this power," Aillara continued, "And as such it is you who must awaken Tasson's power, identical to your own. Once you do this, She will be fit to walk among us again, after you have been killed, of course."

     "Why are you so desperate?" I cried. "Can't she just face death, or is she afraid? Why do you need me anyway, if Tasson has the Storm that she wants so badly?"

     This time the Eyrie's emerald eyes took on a steely glare. "First of all, you should watch your mouth, Windstorm. You speak out against Frey KeenBlade too frequently for your own good. Secondly, you have no place in asking the full details of Her plans. They reside completely in her mind and she has not seen it fit to tell us, her League, all that they entail. Remember, Windstorm, she is your master as much as she is ours. The only difference between us is that you refuse to be led by her glory."

     I returned her glare. "I'm not going to do it," I gritted out.

     Her grin returned. "I think you will. If you refuse, I think we'll have to resort to threats, and if that won't sway you, maybe the deaths of your companions will. We're in a nice, isolated chamber, and a few well-aimed arrows should make quick work of a pair of Zafara girls and one stubborn Lupe."

     I looked at my friends fearfully. Aillara knew exactly how to push my buttons. There was no way on Neopia that I was going to sacrifice my friends' lives merely for the sake of defying Frey. My heart became heavy as I realized that the only way we'd have a chance of getting out of this alive was by agreeing to do as they'd asked. "Fine," I choked after a pause. "I go in that cursed tomb and I'll find the Storm - but not for her."

     "A sensible choice," Aillara told me, "Remember, Windstorm, you have no purpose on this planet whatsoever, save to die; to be slain by the great mage whom we serve. Don't think that you can manipulate us or stand against us - you'll die in the end no matter what." Her beak curled into a grin that made me shiver with anger.

     "Everyone dies in the end," I whispered, for one last remark. I tried not to let what she'd said sink it, but it already had over the course of about a year, since I'd first met Frey. I was born to die, and knowing that made me struggle to remain strong and unwavering each day, whether I realized it or not. It was my fate, choking me like unbreakable ropes, and yet I fought it, and I always would. I was never going to curl up and allow a blade through my heart because of Frey.

      It appeared that Aillara chose to ignore my latter choice of words. "We'll take you to the tomb now," she announced, "It's about a half-day's journey east, so you better have gotten some rest in that cell." She nodded tersely at three nearby pets: a Ruki, a Grarrl, and a Fire Gelert I recognized named Frawl. He seemed to be something of a second-in-command. We followed, allowing the guards to surround us. Each one assigned themselves to one of us. Aillara led me, Frawl Aly, and the Ruki and Grarrl Dayne and Terzin, respectively.

     The rest of the League members watched us with suppressed ecstasy, knowing that they now had the Windstorm in their clutches and that Frey would be finally resurrected without a doubt. I wished that I could prove them wrong, but there was nothing right now that made me believe that there was a way out of this.

     The eight of us made our way to a corridor leading off of the main room. I noticed that the floor was slanted upward slightly. Torches fixed to the wall by sconces lit the passage. The place smelled dusty, the red and beige stone ancient. The flames flickered and at times I felt that hidden shadows followed us as though they were living creatures. We continued on in silence, taking countless twists and turns through the stone halls. I soon lost any idea of where we were in relation to the main chamber; our path was one that surely only League members knew by heart.

     Finally, there was a gleaming light ahead of us - we'd reached the surface. I could see the sun's rays piercing the purple and orange clouds of dawn. I realized that this meant that the sleeping powder had kept us unconscious through almost the entire night.

     The cold winter air lashed at my face like a multitude of invisible whips. I gathered my cloak around me in an attempt to shield myself against the harsh, freezing winds. The landscape was the same colour as my own fur, and we trudged through the snow accompanied by our captors.

     For the next few hours, all was silent, save for the howling of the frigid atmosphere. No one had any reason to speak to anyone else, and even if they had, chances were that their breath would be stolen away by winter before it reached the other's ears. I knew that we were all hoping to stop soon, but the half-day that was the journey's time span was not yet over.

     I stared up at the sky as the day wore on, the sun rising slowly above our heads, its light causing the snow to glitter brightly, so it appeared that we were striding through a sea of diamonds.

     I wondered what Tasson's tomb was going to be like. I didn't know how I was going to do what was expected of me. Why couldn't this have ended long ago? Or better yet, why had it begun? Why did Frey have had to live in Neopia's past at all? I sighed as I realized that these were questions I'd been pondering ever since my return home from freeing Dayne from the Firejewel. The enormity of my destiny intertwining with Frey's was something that I simply could not get out of my head. It seemed like the real world had lost its significance; I'd been trapped in my own mind for too long.

     I was released from my reverie as I noticed a dark shape on the horizon. It was the first real landmark we'd come across on the eastern plain. I squinted, trying to make out the silhouette, but it was too great of a distance. I wondered what it was, and as we neared it, I began to make out its shape, or, more precisely, number of shapes.

     It was a formation of standing stones, easily six times my height, although it could have been more. Each roughly shaped pillar seemed to have been standing there since the beginning of time, their bases sinking into the frozen earth surrounding them. In the midst of the monoliths of stone was a small, darker area, which stood out against the pure white of the snow that girded it.

     "Here we are," Aillara informed us, ruffling her ebony feathers. "This, Windstorm, is the final resting place of Tasson the archer."

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» EndingArrow: Part One
» EndingArrow: Part Two
» EndingArrow: Part Three
» EndingArrow: Part Four
» EndingArrow: Part Five
» EndingArrow: Part Seven
» EndingArrow: Part Eight
» EndingArrow: Part Nine
» EndingArrow: Part Ten
» EndingArrow: Part Eleven

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