It had been a few days. While we waited, we had stayed as inconspicuous as possible - despite us not doing anything to provoke this response, we were associated with Maxok's attempted murder of Nazaelan. We had learnt to find out what we needed through talk on the streets.
Since the event, I had turned back to my far more comfortable Sylestian form. I was glad to be free of the constraints of the human body. In fact, this transformation proved to be invaluable, as it made it easier to make my way around the town without being noticed. Not that I was completely ignored - I received odd glances whenever I was spotted, but thankfully, the guards were not alerted.
During these days, we had heard quite a lot. Conflicting opinions on whether Nazaelan has succumbed to the poison; whether it was actually poison or not; the list went on forever. Of course, this subject was mixed in with discussions about the weather or how one's family were doing, but nevertheless, it was incredibly common, even more so than the aforementioned things.
Captain Vysoreth's concerns were not about Nazaelan however, but rather, Maxok. For all of the talk about Nazaelan, it seemed that no-one thought of the man who had assaulted him. Not a whisper was uttered about it, according to everything we had gathered ourselves, and we were able to cover most of the town.
Ari's priorities differed from both the captain's and mine.
"But who is Caindel?" she whined, impatiently tapping her hooves on the ground "This Caindel could be massively important! Like... What if Nazaelan dies, and they're the heir to the position? We want to go home, right? I doubt we'll get out of the town without their help!"
"I doubt that," I responded, flattening my ears "You're rushing to conclusions here." Ari rolled her eyes.
"But why else would Nazaelan mention them in what could be his final words? It seems too specific." Narrowing her bright purple eyes, the Qitari bounded over to Captain Vysoreth and nudged his arm with her nose. "It's too coincidental, right Sinro?"
"I... Don't know," the captain sighed, pushing his glasses further up his face "But... Listen, you're both right. Caindel could be no-one. But they could also be someone very important." Pulling his coat tighter around his body, Captain Vysoreth buried his chin in his clothing. "We should find out more while we wait for Maxok to recover. I would... rather not leave before I can be certain that he is well." I gave a nod of agreement.
And so it was decided that, this day, Ari and I would focus on discovering who Caindel was.
It wasn't going to be an easy task. When we tried to enter the public library, we were shooed out by a librarian brandishing a broom. The same went for any other buildings that we tried.
Our efforts were in vain. When we returned to Captain Vysoreth with disappointed looks on our faces, he knew almost immediately.
"I see." Without us even opening our mouths to speak, he responded. We thought that was all he was going to say, but it turned out that he had something to report. "I managed to get into the hospital where Nazaelan is being treated. He was conscious, and when he spotted me in the crowd, he called me over. He told me... He told me that Caindel is his son." There was a pause, and he prepared himself to speak more. "The brainwashing. It was a mistake. He didn't mean to wipe my memories. Caindel... Caindel is a notorious bandit in Sylestia, or, at least, he was. Nazaelan received news that Caindel's camp had been stormed by a combination of different Sylestian forces. He had no choice but to wipe everyone's memories to save his son, and it was too difficult to bar many people from being affected."
"So... Ari's guess was right." I pondered over that. Is Nazaelan really the villain in all of this? From this new-found point of view, the Sylestians were the ones to blame. Or perhaps it was Caindel, for getting involved in raiding.
"He's scared," Captain Vysoreth continued "Nazaelan fears that if he should die, Caindel will return to Sylestia to continue with what he used to do, and ultimately get himself killed. The only thing stopping Caindel from doing so now is that Nazaelan has had to threaten him. 'He told me that exile was what he wanted, so jail was what I told him', Nazaelan told me. He wants us to find Caindel and bring him here, to Harbour Town, so that he may speak with him."
"Hang on, but... If the entirety of Sylestia has been memory-wiped, surely they won't attack him on sight? Since, you know, they've forgotten what he's done?" Ari sat on her hind legs, ears listening attentively.
"The books. You know, the books where they record crimes? They probably found out through the entries in them. They know that Caindel is a threat to them, and I doubt that they will wait until he has come ashore to eliminate him." Captain Vysoreth was clearly nervous - he twiddled with a button on his coat as he spoke.
"Does Nazaelan know where Caindel is?" I asked.
"Yes. The Jmarah Mountains. Or, so he thinks, since he hasn't communicated with him in a while." The captain glanced between us both. "We're the only ones who can do this. The guards are busy, and the townsfolk are unlikely to go racing off to find and befriend a bandit." He exhaled slowly. "Are you in?" Ari jumped to her feet.
"Yeah!" she shouted joyfully "Let's do this!"
Posted: 1/22/2017 at 11:36 AM
Chapter 11 - Unwillingness
Equipped with several day's rations, blankets and various other items required for survival, we headed for the mountaineer's path.
Captain Vysoreth was attempting to decipher the map that we had acquired as we made our way along the uneven track. He kept glancing from the paper to our surroundings, frowning as his gaze rested on the jagged edge of the mountains not too far from where we were.
"We should have gotten a better map," he commented, folding it and tucking it back into the pack on his back. Pushing his new blue glasses up his face, he decided to switch his attention to what was ahead. "I tell you what, this Caindel picked the least convenient place to live. I mean, look at the slopes on that thing!"
It was true. The mountains were more like pillars than anything else, with narrow walkways etched into their sides like intricate carvings. Snow tipped each one, piercing the low clouds above. The thought of how cold it must be up there made me shiver.
"That was probably the intention," I said, thinking back on everything that we had been told. The captain nodded; Ari remained silent, mesmerised by the sights.
Soon, our climb had begun. Ari had sprung ahead, navigating the jagged rock edges with ease; I was behind, choosing to fly over everything rather than risk being injured; the captain was at the back, struggling to keep up with us, cursing his age and inactivity. More than once, we had to wait for him to catch up, and regular breaks had to happen frequently, or else Captain Vysoreth would complain of his aching muscles louder than normal.
It was during one of these breaks that we encountered the first sign of life up on these lonely peaks.
Captain Vysoreth was handing out some of the rations, when a shadow drew up behind him. There wasn't much time to react, and he was knocked aside.
A Griffi lowered its head, and, in one swift movement, grabbed the supply bag. But before it could take to the air, I leaped onto its back, preventing it from taking flight.
I didn't have much grip, as its armour was slippery with ice. Though I had enough time.
Before long, the captain had got to his feet, and Ari had joined in. Collectively, we managed to hold the Griffi down and retrieve the bag.
The Griffi wasn't pleased about being tackled by us. She let out a hiss.
"Get... off of me!" she grunted, trying to extend her wings and bash us away.
"Who sent you?" I asked coolly, sat firmly between her ice-blue wings.
"And why would I tell you that?" Clearly, she did not want to talk to us. Though my question was answered swiftly enough.
"Ellanya!" a voice sang "Ellanya, treylo frell wuo?" Whoever it was repeated this phrase several times over, before stepping out from behind a mass of snow.
This had to be Caindel. Despite being buried in layers of ragged black snow gear, the same metallic eyes glinted from underneath a screen of ebony hair. The way the man stood suggested authority (that, for him, was non-existent), much like Nazaelan. Beyond that, it was impossible to find any more similarities.
"Tralli frell wuo?" After recognising that only I understood and the others did not, he spoke in Sylestian. "Who are you?" Even the way he spoke - a kind of malicious friendliness - was identical to Nazaelan.
"We were... sent by Nazaelan." Captain Vysoreth knew that Caindel did not like his father, but also knew that lying would be useless. "He wants to... He wants to meet you." There was a shift in the emotion in Caindel's eyes.
"I will not speak with him. Even if he found the time to drag himself up here, I would not speak with him. Go back, and tell Nazaelan that he is wasting his time if he thinks that I will even do so much as look upon his face one more time." Caindel turned on his heels, and called the Griffi to his side. With a new-found energy, she shook myself and Ari off, and trotted over to him. "I have better things to do than talk with that wretch of a man." With a dismissive wave, he began to walk away.
"Caindel, stop!" Captain Vysoreth called out. The words fell on deaf ears, and the figure vanished into a flurry of snow.
Without hesitation, the captain followed after him, and was swallowed by the same blur of white.
Ari and I had no choice. We too charged into the colourless flames.
Well, this chapter was unexpectedly short. The next one will definitely be longer though, and I reckon far more exciting than this one too. Just bear with me - it may take a while, since the teachers are giving us so much work because our final exams are this year.
Edited By AtomicBomb354 on 1/22/2017 at 12:19 PM.
Posted: 1/23/2017 at 2:10 PM
Chapter 12 - Storm of Snow and Ice
"Sinro?!" Ari called, her head turned away from the wind.
The snow had fallen so swiftly that Captain Vysoreth's footprints had been covered just as quickly as they had formed. Our vision was reduced to each other, and, even then, a thin screen blurred our features.
The white blanket that smothered the ground came up to Ari's knees. Not being coated in thick fur like myself, the Qitari was shivering, her breath coming out as clouds of mist. She appeared to be beginning to panic, terrified that she would be buried beneath the snowstorm's wrath.
"Ari!" I shouted to her over the rush of the wind "The search will have to wait! It's too dangerous to be out here in this weather!" Purple eyes switched their focus from my face to the featureless landscape. She was not convinced, so I made another point. "Listen, we can't see anything here! Not only is the likelihood of finding the captain incredibly slim, but we could end up falling through hidden cracks underneath the snow!"
Swishing her frost-encrusted tail from side to side, Ari nodded stiffly, and the two of us searched for shelter.
Contrasting greatly against its bright surroundings, the black rock jutted out ominously. The ebony stone was wet and slippery, yet underneath the overhang it was dry and oddly warm. Ari curled up almost immediately, resting her head on the ground, terrified and worried.
"Drench... What if... What if Sinro is trapped out there? What if he's lost as well?" She rolled over, unable to shake off her concerns. "How much longer could it snow for? A few hours? Several days? A whole week?"
"I doubt that it will last that long." My voice was laced with false optimism. "He'll be fine. He has supplies with him too. He's tough enough to survive this." I gave an equally as false smile. Ari saw right through my facade, but did not comment. Instead, she frowned, then turned back over to face the wall. Her eyelids flickered down, and she tried to force herself to sleep.
I watched the sky. Or, at least, I attempted to. It was impossible to tell where the sun was positioned beyond the barricade of snowflakes.
I was not tired, as so I stayed alert, observing our surroundings. I could have sworn that a few unknowns of many different sizes passed by, but I assumed that it was my eyes playing tricks on me. Nothing can live here, not in this incredibly open spot of land.
That was what I told myself, until one of said unknowns approached.
As it came closer, its form shifted and danced, the swirling snow masking its true body. I alerted Ari by pushing at her, much in the same way that she had awoken me when we were about to set off towards Arrinel. I wish we could go back to that, I thought. When we weren't fighting for our lives against creatures of the ice, and rather staying in the Haven, where we could trust everyone.
The pale monster stepped into our little cave. Its clothing meant that, against the white of the background, it was almost invisible. Heavy woollen clothing was wrapped tightly around its body, fringed with light blue. Long white hair poked out from underneath the jumble of a wrapped scarf that covered the person's face, and eyes that mirrored the colour of the ice itself. Their face had been reddened by wind's assault on their otherwise ashen skin.
"Ehrys firyalissi." The figure had an unusually deep voice; they held up a gloved hand, as a gesture of some sort. "Peace, friends." Their accent was very thick, and difficult to understand. Though when they saw us react more to their second greeting, they continued speaking in broken Sylestian. "What... bring here...?" It appeared to be a struggle for them to form the sentence, and so they tried to get meaning across with a variety of movements.
"Ummm..." Ari glanced between me and the stranger, unsure of how to respond. "We're looking for a friend. We lost him in the storm." Pulling the mask of scarf from their face, the person coughed a few times, considering how to respond.
"Ah... He..." He pointed to his hair. "Pink?" Ari jumped up, nodding frantically.
"Yes! He has pink hair!" Learning that Captain Vysoreth may be safe sent a bolt of enthusiasm through her. "Do you know where he is?" The quickness of her speech confused the man, and so she repeated it at a slower pace.
"Yes." The stranger pointed over his shoulder. "Found... track. Village, now." The meaning of that was clear, even when the words weren't. "Follow." He gestured to himself. "I... to..." Giving up on trying to work out how to say it, he extended his hand towards the same place.
I didn't really have any say in the matter, but that was the way it was when travelling with Ari.
As she bounded ahead with the man, I looked up at the dark grey rips in the sheet of snow.
Posted: 1/27/2017 at 2:59 PM
Chapter 13 - True Purpose
Tall spires of ice reached up from the snow piles. It seemed that the break in the storm hung over the 'village', causing the structures to appear to be melting.
This place was more of a city. The small houses nestled between the mountain peaks sparkled in the light, a warm orange glow visible through most of their windows. Despite the cold, the streets were lively - the citizens continued to live their lives as if it was just as warm as Sylestia.
The stranger had introduced himself as Arrin, of House Uixel. The information he gave on the different Houses of Kryadorn had been lost to the gale, but, once he welcomed us inside the monstrous structure that was the meeting hall, we were certain that we would find out.
Decorated with various blue crystals, the sides of the building created broken reflections of each of us. It created an uneasy feeling within me, seeing my body drift in pieces across the walls. The ceiling was a mirror, giving a strange illusion that was quite daunting.
Above several azure chairs, shield-shaped flags hung solemnly on the walls. Each had a unique pattern, with what seemed like symbols in a strange language scrawled somewhere on the worn fabric.
Captivated by the sights, Ari and I had not noticed Arrin leave the room. But when we did, Ari began to panic slightly.
"Where did he go?" she enquired, her eyes darting around. She too was intimidated by the size and grandeur of the hall, and was scared of getting lost in such a large place, even though everything was open. Her breath was mist in the air, despite how warm it seemed to be.
At that, Arrin returned, with a familiar face by his side.
"Your... friend?" Arrin gestured towards the pink-haired man.
"Ari! Drench!" Captain Vysoreth smiled, raising a bandaged hand up and waving slightly. Ari dashed over to him, her green mane flowing behind her. But when she tackled him in a friendly manner, he let out a pained grunt when his fingers brushed the floor. I noticed that he also didn't stroke her. Tilting her head to one side and clambering off of him, Ari expressed her concerns.
"Sinro... Are you ok?" The captain sat up, then flexed his fingers a little, drawing a sharp breath.
"Frostbite. I can't touch anything. It hurts so much." Ari frowned, but before she could speak again, I needed to ask a few questions of my own.
"Did you find Caindel?" I doubted that he had managed to follow the bandit into the blizzard for much further than we did. Captain Vysoreth shook his head.
"Not for long. I got to some sort of cave, but it was at that point that he vanished completely. I looked around for him, but he was nowhere to be found." The captain sighed, then continued. "I eventually stumbled across this place. Arrin brought me in here. When I told him about you two, he was suspicious at first, but then went out." After that, he thanked Arrin for bringing us to him.
"What about Caindel, though?" I said. I then turned my gaze to Arrin. "Do you know where he is, or what he is doing up here? Can you help us get to him?"
Terror flashed across Arrin's expression.
"No... I... No." He was shaking his hands frantically. "Caindel... bring... dead. Destroy Kryadorn. No." I tried to put together what he had said.
"Caindel... is bringing back the dead?" My attention was immediately captured by this new detail that had come to light. Arrin nodded.
"Come..." Arrin pointed to the ground. "No... escape... hide. Destroy." This time, it was Captain Vysoreth who was the only one who understood.
"Do you mean that he didn't come here to escape or hide... but to raise an army?"
"Yes." This voice was different. We all glanced over at its source.
Arrin knelt in the presence of this figure.
She had the same features as him - white hair, icy eyes - but she was older. Wrapped in fur armour, she appeared much larger than she probably was. She didn't exactly have the clothing of someone of authority, but she had a stern look that made up for that.
"I don't mean to be rude, but... Who are you?" Captain Vysoreth asked, somehow managing to meet her gaze. The woman smiled weakly, and raised her hand in the same gesture that Arrin had greeted us with.
"Ehrys firyalissi. Peace, friends. I am Errija, Head of House Uixel." She was far more fluent in Sylestian than Arrin, but her accent was still quite noticeable. She looked over at him. "Arrin, llyve, retri all dre gabe." With an understanding nod, he left promptly. Errija then returned her attention to us. "Come. We have much to discuss about this Caindel who you are after."
It was a while before we were allowed to speak with her. She lead us into a spacious room, far plainer than the others in the meeting hall. Closing the golden doors behind us, she gestured for us to sit, then took her place opposite us on a throne-like seat.
"You cannot go after him." Her tone was laced with warning. Leaning forwards, she inspected all of our reactions. "What he is doing is a danger to us all, and we are too late to stop him. He is not here because he is hidden and that this is safe. His intentions are far more malicious."
"Hang on, you don't even know what we intend to do with him," Captain Vysoreth pointed out "Can you at least hear our side first?"
"Fine. Go on." This was spoken with a casual gesture, as if Errija did not care.
"Nazaelan sent us. He wants us to deliver Caindel to him, as he may be close to death, and worries that Caindel will return to Sylestia if he is not stopped." When he saw that Errija's face did not shift, he tried to scrape together more of an explanation, and ended up telling her the entire backstory. All the while, she still did not budge.
"Caindel will return regardless of what his father says," she answered coldly "Once he has completed what he intends to do, he will have enough power to ignore Nazaelan entirely." Curling her hands into fists, she continued. "He will start with this place - Kryadorn - to test his power. Then I am certain that he will head straight for Harbour Town. After that... I do not doubt that he will exact his revenge on all of Sylestia." Biting her lip a little, her gaze swept over all of us. "We believe that he has gotten too far for us to stop him directly. He has been kidnapping people, or so we assume judging by the amount of missing people over the last few months. We think that... We think that he is using some sort of dark magic to bring something... or someone... back."
"What proof do you have, other than your own thoughts?" the captain was beginning to get a little frustrated.
"Spies. We have sent many to where he is hiding. They've seen... bodies. Glowing. Chanting. Blood. One even claims to have seen Caindel draw a soul from a body and fuse it into another. Something much larger. Something not... human."
Captain Vysoreth stood up suddenly.
"Not interfering with Caindel is what people from Kryadorn want. It is not, however, what those in Harbour Town want to do. Since we are not your people, we will do what we want."
Errija also got to her feet, eyeing the captain with a narrowed glare.
"You are on our grounds, and you are our guests, and so you must obey our rules. Do not make me call for your arrest on your first day here."
With a swish of his clothing, the captain reached for the door handle.
He turned it, and a click echoed.
"Go ahead. But I'm still going, whether you like it or not."
I meant to put up a note yesterday about no chapter, but I didn't get home until 8, so I wasn't able to, sorry. But anyway, it's the weekend now, I'll be able to get more done.
I've decided that some of the drawings need to be traditional now, since I don't have time to do them on the tablet (I can do them significantly faster on paper).
Edited By AtomicBomb354 on 1/27/2017 at 3:01 PM.
Posted: 1/28/2017 at 12:47 PM
Chapter 14 - The Revival
The blizzard had died down by the time we had reached the outskirts of Kryadorn. Errija had tried to keep us in the room longer by giving us more reasons not to go, but Captain Vysoreth was unconvinced. Whether she had called for the guards to stop us or not was questionable, but we weren't going to stay and find out.
"The cave she mentioned was probably the one I found," the captain explained, as we trudged through the snow. I flew above the cold layer of white, as it came up to my chest if I was on the ground. Ari, however, had to plough her way through. "I didn't go very far in. I reckon that if I had continued, I would have found Caindel. However, I had not expected him to get very far inside in such a short time."
"What do we do if we find Caindel?" Ari asked, glancing nervously over at him.
"Talking did not work last time, though we will try it once again. If that does not work, well..." To demonstrate his point, Captain Vysoreth drew a dagger from a concealed belt. The blade was orange with rust, and the intricate patterns had faded into a foggy mass of ugly colours. Upon seeing the weapon, the captain frowned. "This is the only weapon that I could acquire. I found it buried while I followed Caindel." With a flick of his fingers, the knife was back in its scabbard and hidden once more behind the folds of the captain's coat.
This is suicide, I thought, as what I assumed to be the entrance of the cave came into view. Already, despite us being quite far away from it, its shadow was casting a jagged shape along the ground, plummeting us into darkness. Two Sylestis and an alcoholic captain with a single blunt dagger between them against a powerful necromancer. We are not going to make it out alive.
Pressing one hand against the cold ebony stone, the captain's gaze swept across the landscape. His ice-blue eyes reflected much sadness as he observed the gleaming spires of Kryadorn, the Tower of Thorns, peering between two peaks, and finally...
From up here, the azure sea glittered. That stretch of water that lay just beyond Harbour Town.
Where it all started.
We took some time to absorb the scene in a respectful silence, knowing that this would probably be our last glimpses of this land.
We turned and entered the murkiness, leaving the cheerful light and embracing the solemn darkness.
Only the steady trickling of water and the occasional crumbling of rock could be heard. None of us spoke to each other, our lips pressed firmly together in anticipation.
The twists and turns never seemed to end. The lack of visual clues meant that we stumbled in the dark, feeling the bumps and cracks in the walls to determine our bearings in relation to our goal.
A glow enveloped us as we entered a huge opening.
Lying lifeless in the centre was a mass, stretched out across the length of the room. In the low light, I could make out a tail, perhaps a skull, maybe a wing or two. I could not be certain as to what creature this thing happened to be, but its presence made me shift uncomfortably.
Next to this thing was Caindel. In one hand, he grasped the collar of a struggling adult.
Or is it a teenager? Or a child? There was no definitive way to tell.
It let out a pitiful cry as Caindel raised one hand.
And struck it into the chest of the body.
Rather than make physical contact, the hand seemed to phase through. The person had frozen, shocked, letting out the only occasional choke of horror as they watched the necromancer's arm twist and turn, as if to wrench something out. All the while, Caindel kept his expression to a sneer.
"Argh!" With a grunt of effort, Caindel's hand retracted, and, with it, a long, wispy strand extended from within the person.
The screams were unlike anything I had ever heard before. They were inhuman, and pierced the air like a cloud of knives.
Mercifully, they ended abruptly, finishing as quickly as they had started.
The corpse was thrown to the side, and the necromancer held what he had retrieved up, inspecting it with his chrome-coloured eyes.
His head turned swiftly to one side, and he glared at the entrance to the area.
"Who goes there?" he hissed, squeezing the white, goo-like object. It curled around his fingers, as if in pain.
"Caindel!" The captain was the first to enter. Despite his fear, he did not bring out his weapon.
"You again." Caindel clenched his teeth together. "I've told you already! I will not speak with him." He slapped his hand against the hide of the dead beast in front of him, squashing the strange thing against it. "My father underestimates me." A smirk crept across his face, his eyes alight with intent. "Why would I go back to such a restrictive parent? Why should I obey someone who should be cowering at my very power?" Screwing his eyes up in concentration, Caindel pushed harder against the skin of the body, and the colourless string began to dissolve into it. He let out a laugh that was close to maniacal in nature. "The final soul! Perfect!" His eyes switched their focus back to Captain Vysoreth. "You're familiar with the legend of the Drokko, correct?" The captain knew exactly where this was going, but played along with the lines that he knew that Caindel wanted him to say.
"The ny'vene... Slain in ancient times by the Knight of Ice. The Knight was killed by blood loss soon after he killed Drokko. They say that the battle destroyed mountains, flooded rivers..." Captain Vysoreth's eyes flickered to and fro in disbelief. "That thing... behind you. You don't mean to say that..." The smirk on Caindel's face expanded into a grin.
The thing behind Caindel shifted. It uncurled, muscles not used in thousands of years extending and contracting. Bones clicked, limbs tensed. Eyes opened.
The writhing mass lowered its head, and let out a roar that shook the cave. Small chips of rock fell from the ceiling and scattered around us. The rumbling of the sound was accompanied by joyful chuckling, as the ebony-haired necromancer looked upon the result of years of work.
Anyway, the next chapter should be the final one. Or maybe not (I don't plan at all before I write lol). I think I'll do it tomorrow, since I'm looking forward to writing it. Drawings and stuff will have to be completed afterwards.
There definitely won't be an epilogue with this one - I don't think it needs it.
Sorry if the pacing is a little all over the place with this chapter - I started it at about midday, played something else for a few hours, then went back to it, so it's a little messy.
Edited By AtomicBomb354 on 1/29/2017 at 11:08 AM.
Posted: 1/29/2017 at 11:07 AM
Chapter 15 - A Necromancer's Promise
From the shadows cast by an ebony skull, pale green eyes stared down at us. Sticky drool dripped from the ny'vene's open mouth, its tongue twitching like a restless snake.
Drokko was huge, even for a ny'vene. The time that he had spent dead had reduced his frame, and he appeared freakishly thin for his height. Black skeletal armour ran down his spine, clacking together as he moved.
Nostrils flared, the monster let out a second growl of dominance.
In the presence of such a beast, Caindel had become quiet. Awe, fear, happiness - they all blended into one in his metallic eyes.
Eager to begin his plan, he called up to Drokko.
"Drokko, hiyia!" The ny'vene's head turned. It listened intently, like a dog waiting for his master's command. "Kjya erra!"
With that, Caindel began to climb up, and, within moments, was nestled between the ny'vene's wings. He made a sweeping gesture, and the pair descended on our group.
I wrapped my wings around Ari and pulled her to the side as a tail smacked into the rock. The resulting explosion flung debris into the air. One particularly large stone smacked into the side of my face, tearing a gash in the soft flesh on my cheek.
Captain Vysoreth was leaning against a large boulder, his dagger drawn. His chest was rising and falling rapidly as he inspected Drokko's body language, waiting for an opening.
But he was not given one. Drokko lunged forwards, barging past the captain and knocking him into the wall. His weapon was sent flying, and skidded across the stone floor, away from all of us.
Before any of us could try to react, Caindel and the ny'vene had burrowed through the solid rock, breaking open the entrance so that they could get through.
"Damn it!" Captain Vysoreth exclaimed, pushing himself away from where he was lodged. He sprinted to the knife, and, with a flash of steel, acquired it. Without a word to either Ari or I, he had left to follow Caindel.
"Sinro!" Ari called, springing out of my grip.
"Ari, no! Don't follow him!" I shouted. Ari's gaze met mine, then flickered away to the outside world.
"We did this, Drench. We can't just sit here!" Pacing up and down, the young Qitari snorted impatiently. Then, without warning, she bolted for the exit.
I had no choice. I had to go as well.
Though when I reached the outside world, I saw what I was least expecting.
Rather than heading for Kryadorn or Harbour Town, Drokko had landed. Caindel was yelling something down at the pink-haired figure in front of him, but his words were lost to the wind. Ari was there, ears flattened back as she glanced up at the ny'vene.
What are they doing?!
I went closer, stumbling through the deep snow in blind desperation. I have to reach them. I have to stop them. The cold was seeping through my pelt, and I was shivering, but my discomforts were not my primary concerns. Stop! Stop it! Run! My purple eyes switched from Caindel and Drokko to Captain Vysoreth and Ari, then back again. The tension between the two parties was obvious, even from this distance, though there was something about Caindel's body language that was... not right.
"ARI! CAPTAIN! GET OUT OF THERE!" I finally managed to catch my breath for long enough to scream those words. My chest ached, my speech so loud that it physically hurt. I was gasping for air, but I had to keep running. I tried to flap my wings in an attempt to gain speed.
I was never going to reach them in time. I had known that from the beginning.
The rest of what Caindel had said had been difficult to understand.
But his next order rang loud and clear.
A burst of ice erupted from Drokko's mouth. Ari and the captain had not had enough time to process my warning.
Two bodies rolled away from the blast, one wrapped around the other protectively. Drokko had paused to watch them come to a halt, a colourless solid glistening on the back of one of them.
I was too shocked to speak. I just ran.
My legs gave way when I finally reached the two. Ari was untangling herself from the captain's limp arms, and was calling to him frantically. She was trying her best to remove whatever it was that had attached itself to Captain Vysoreth's back.
I crawled over, scraping the snow. I inspected Captain Vysoreth, placing one paw on his forehead.
He was cold. So cold.
No-one living should ever be so cold.
All of a sudden, one of his hands raised, and he placed it firmly on my leg. Glazed-over eyes stared up at me, filled with frozen tears.
"Go," he choked, spitting shards of ice. Shards of ice stained crimson with blood.
Ari let out a wail of grief.
It was painful to hear. Out of respect, I shut the captain's eyes, then turned away, unable to look upon the body any longer.
I tried not to dwell on the past, but I was struggling. My current goals were fighting a war of priority with my want to mourn over the loss of a good friend.
The occasional image flashed into my vision - when he first agreed to help us; his bravery during the storm; his initial joy at seeing Harbour Town over the hill; when Ari laughed how stupid he looked with pink hair; having to support him after he got drunk trying different alcoholic drinks. There had been negative times, but he had been willing to fix them.
He wanted to make things up to Maxok, I thought. He wanted to heal the gap of time between them, make amends for everything that he missed. When this was all over, he was going to return to his son with open arms.
Now he can't do that.
Caindel scowled at us.
"It would be a mercy to relieve you pitiful creatures of your lives. It is a shame that I am not one for mercy." He sighed, then looked over at Harbour Town on the horizon. "Perhaps there is no need to destroy those ice people. I might as well have my full strength so that I can tear down my father's town."
"You're not going anywhere, Caindel."
Brandishing a staff, Errija of House Uixel stood defiantly by the captain's corpse and the weeping Ari. By her side was Arrin, grasping the hilt of a long sword with a brilliant blue blade.
Behind them was an army. There had to be a thousand - no, two thousand - townsfolk, guards, and members of the noble houses. Those who were magically adept were at the front, preparing themselves for what was ahead.
"Huh." Caindel wasn't quite sure what to say about the matter. He paused. Then, he gestured towards the dead body of Captain Vysoreth, and made a jest. "What kind of favour did he have to do for you to get you to drag yourself out here?" Seated where he was, it was clear that the bandit thought that he was invincible. "Anyway, I need not concern myself with you. Be on your way. You have nothing that I need."
All of a sudden, at least ten binding spells were cast at once. Each one snapped around the bodies of Drokko and Caindel, preventing their movements.
It did not take long for Drokko to struggling free of the ethereal rope. Caindel too managed to release himself mere moments afterwards.
"Pathetic!" Caindel spat, as some of the mages who had attempted to contain him backed away in terror.
Without any further words, Drokko's fury was unleashed on the people. The cold flames flickered over our heads, burning the army behind us with the freezing temperatures. There were shrieks, and people scattered, the army split into pieces.
Though through the blizzard came Arrin. He had managed to avoid the attack, and was running towards Drokko. Errija was on the opposite side to her son, muttering incantations as she switched the positions of her staff.
The two attacked at the same time. Arrin swung at Drokko's chest, and Errija fired a blast of lightning at the beast's face. Both assaults missed, and Drokko attempted to sweep Arrin to one side with his head, but only created an opening for the white-haired swordsman.
A screech was let up from the ny'vene. A crack was across the ebony skull, and red seeped through. Caindel swore, then used a conjuration spell, summoning several ghastly beings, unrecognisable as humans or sylestis. Once Arrin and Errija were surrounded, a green glow came from his hand. He raised it to the sky, shouting words into the air.
Captain Vysoreth's body shifted. Ari stopped crying, and looked down at him.
The dagger penetrated her abdomen.
"ARI!" I tackled the slowly rising captain. When he rolled over, a haunting expression was fixated on his face. Necromancy. Caindel is raising the dead. Damn it, why did I not think that he would do this?
Ari was sat on her hind legs, stunned. The trickling blood did not seem to affect her.
It pained me to do what I did next.
When the enemy was a friend, I was reluctant to hurt them. But this was not Captain Vysoreth, this was a mindless minion under the control of Caindel.
The zombie's neck snapped.
I clambered off, then swiftly went to Ari's side. She was bleeding badly, but she still would not respond to anything that I did.
She was dead within minutes. The strike had punctured her stomach, so she was unlikely to live much longer regardless of my feeble attempts to save her.
The snow had begun to fall. The flakes landed on my eyes, blinding me temporarily, but I did not care.
"Caindel... Why...?" I whispered. He hadn't heard me, but he answered my question when he proclaimed his motivation to Errija and Arrin.
"I will not break my promise!" he shouted to them "My friend was slain by those Sylestians, and I swore to her that I will dedicate my life to bringing them down!" His voice was cracking a little - he was beginning to get emotional, despite his best efforts to remain calm. "She surrendered to them. She surrendered! And yet, they did not stop. They attacked her anyway, and they knew that they had not killed her immediately!" Caindel wiped his eyes with one hand, even though no tears had fallen. "They left her for dead! If it was not for me, she would have died slowly and in agony for hours." Drawing in breath, he pointed accusingly at the two. "I will have the power. I will have the power to make sure that nothing like that EVER HAPPENS AGAIN!" Red-faced, Caindel ordered Drokko to take to the skies, leaving us alone in the snow.
One more chapter to go, I reckon. Though that extra chapter may be an epilogue (which I said I wouldn't write, but... I've changed my mind). I may write the final thing today, and then it'll all be done.
Edited By AtomicBomb354 on 1/29/2017 at 11:08 AM.
Posted: 1/29/2017 at 11:26 AM
If you've clicked on this and wondered why this is the epilogue, please click here for the previous chapter. I wrote two chapters today.
The streets were quiet. Not peacefully quiet, but fearfully quiet.
It had been a few months since Caindel had seized power from his father, Nazaelan. The public execution of Nazaelan had happened only a few weeks ago, to instil fear and crush the hopes of those who were working to place Nazaelan back in power.
It was a relief to hear that Caindel had not yet destroyed Sylestia, though it was definitely not a goal that he had given up on. There was talk in the public houses, the town hall, the newly-built stall centre. Half of it was probably lies, stirred up by the townspeople to incite hatred and rebellion, though it was incredibly difficult to separate false stories from true ones when the subject was so unnecessarily cruel.
Many said that they preferred life with Nazaelan over Caindel, even though both were tyrants in their own ways.
The citizens lived their lives under the shadow of Drokko. He was always watching, even when he appeared to be asleep. Last week, someone made an attempt to murder one of the guards at the entrance, and he was snatched up and devoured by the beast.
Once I had returned from the bloodstained snow, I had hidden. I told myself to forget, and that I did. I forgot my name and my initial reason for coming here, though...
I could not forget the memories.
One day, I told myself, reflecting on what I no longer knew, they will come back.
I hope you all enjoyed this fan-fiction. Feel free to post any feedback below, I would love to know what people think of it.
My next fan-fiction will be started soon. It will be of a similar dark tone (as always), but there will be no humans, so everything will be quicker to do as I will not need to spend time drawing and designing characters :)
Edited By AtomicBomb354 on 1/29/2017 at 11:41 AM.
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