A Faerie Tale: War - Part Five
The three members of the palace guard stood side by side, spears pointed outwards at the ready. Banks was nervous, Captain Smith could tell. Thankfully the Scorchio had managed not to erupt into flames... yet. On his other side, Smith could see Lieutenant Jones waiting, staring at the vast main door to the lobby. The attacking Faeries would breach it soon; it was only a matter of time... and they all knew who would come through first. The Battle Faerie... their commander.
They were not alone in the lobby. Dozens of Faeries of all types were also there, equally prepared to fight for their Queen. Hundreds more of them were positioned throughout the castle, charging their magic. Somewhere, Bane and Sandra were guarding the Queen, and no doubt Habbard and his men were all neatly stationed to protect the Hidden Tower.
There was a rumble outside the castle, and the wooden doors, magically locked, seemed to bend inwards slightly.
“The magic has been breached!” Nereid the Water Faerie gasped from nearby.
“Ready yourselves!” Ilere the Earth Faerie shouted sternly.
Cracks began to appear in the woodwork of the door, shining purple with magic. There was a loud, long wooden groaning sound, like a tree falling in the woods... and then the door exploded inwards. The troops within the lobby were showered with the splinters of the ancient door, which had stood since the founding of Faerieland. Hot on the heels of the wooden shards, the rebel Faeries entered the fray. There were hundreds of them, of all types, even some Faerie Neopets. Captain Smith took a deep breath.
“For her majesty!” he bellowed, running forward into the oncoming horde.
From all around him, similar battle cries rang out, from both sides.
The war had begun.
Crashes and screams rang out as Illusen and Fyora made their way down from the towers. Bane the Grarrl and Sandra the Fire Faerie ran in front of them, clearing the path for the Queen.
“They have breached the castle already!” Illusen gasped as they ran.
“We must have a spy in our number.” Fyora nodded. “But that can’t be helped now; we must repel the enemy!”
The four runners rounded a corner, emerging into the courtyard that housed the Royal Gardens. Normally it was a tranquil place, with the gentle running waters of magical streams tended by the Earth Faerie Vyline. Now it had been transformed in the battle. Faeries fought Faeries everywhere. The plant beds had been ripped to shreds, the pots and vases smashed, rubble littered the grass. It did Fyora no good to see that her gardener, Vyline, had joined the battle against her.
“We must leave this place, your majesty!” Sandra shouted above the hubbub.
“No!” Fyora shouted, as she made her way forward into the fray. “I shall not sit back and see my people die for my sake!”
She spun her staff, the pink orb atop it glowing. A wave of magical energy shot of from the Queen, hitting the rebel Faeries and knocking them backwards. The Queen continued onwards preparing another spell.
Distracted, she did not spot the evil trio of the Dark Faerie Sisters creeping up behind her. Together, they lifted their hands, readying a lethal spell...
Then, like a bowling ball hitting pins, Bane smashed into them, sending them flying across the courtyard into a wall which crumpled under the force. The Grarrl had sworn to protect the Queen with his life, and he would.
The castle lobby was in chaos. Fights were happening everywhere. A large group of rebel Faeries had managed to break the line and attack the inner courtyard... Smith guessed that smaller groups of Faeries were also attacking the upper towers.
He’d been separated from Jones and Banks, now he fought alone, challenging Faerie after Faerie. Fyora may have had his doubts about his sanity regarding biscuits, but Smith was truly a fine soldier.
The Draik turned; spear ready, to face his next opponent.
His heart sank. The Battle Faerie, Aethia, stood before him. Her twin swords were unsheathed, ready for battle.
“I don’t want to fight you, Smith,” she said, the pair stalking each other in circles.
“Then don’t! Leave this place and stop this foolishness!” Smith shouted at her.
“You know I can’t!” she replied. “We didn’t want it to come this far... but Fyora made the first move!”
“The Queen would never-” Smith protested, but a shrill shriek above him cut him short.
The Battle Faerie’s steed, a large yellow Eyrie, bore down on the Captain. He lifted his spear in defence, but the beast cut it clean in two. With one giant paw, it cast Smith aside like a rag doll. The Draik hit the wall with a dull thud, and slumped to the floor.
The Battle Faerie took her position atop the Battle Eyrie. She lifted one of her twin swords up high.
“Onwards!” she yelled as the Eyrie reared, and then dashed forwards towards the castle innards.
Smith’s senses were dull; he was drifting in and out of consciousness. As if it was happening far away, he felt himself being picked up. There was a green Pteri, and a red Scorchio. Taking half of the Captain’s weight between them, they carried him away from the battle.
The royal gardens were obliterated. Several of the higher towers of the castle had been hit by powerful Fire Faerie magic, and the resulting rubble from the explosions had rained down upon the courtyard. Many of the area’s outer walls had caved in, and almost all of the bright marble pillars had collapsed. There was barely any greenery left to see. Somewhere among the debris, the statue of the Darkest Faerie slept, not knowing the turmoil that was going on above it.
The battle raged on, with Faerie pitted against Faerie. Many had fallen, but there were some who battled on valiantly. Water was slung against fire, light against darkness, and air against earth. No matter how hard the Queen’s Faeries fought, though, they seemed to be being backed into a corner. The rebel Faeries were still flying relentlessly into the castle... those loyal to the Queen seemed hopelessly outnumbered.
Sandra and Bane did their best to keep attackers away from the Queen, but they wouldn’t last forever. Jones and Banks emerged from a nearby passageway, carrying the wounded Smith. He seemed to have regained consciousness, but was limping badly, and one of his wings was clearly broken.
“Captain!” Illusen exclaimed, rushing over to help. “Are you alright?”
“I’ll live,” the Draik said bravely. “But we’ve lost the lobby. Our forces are now scattered throughout the castle. We can’t put up a united front.”
“They will separate us and eliminate us one by one!” the Soup Faerie shouted from nearby as she duelled an Earth Faerie.
“What can we do?” Illusen asked.
“We must retreat,” Fyora answered calmly, while charging another magical blast from her staff. “We cannot win the battle this day. We must regroup and come up with a new strategy.”
“The lobby is teeming with rebel Faeries,” Smith told her weakly. “We’ll never make it out that way.”
“There’s more than one way out of the castle,” Fyora informed him as she sent the blast out into an oncoming group of Water Faeries. “There is a secret tunnel in the Hidden Tower that we can use.”
The other fighters nearby nodded in agreement. Fyora lifted her staff up high. It shone brightly.
“Sisters, we must leave!” she said, telepathically transmitting her thoughts to the other Faeries. “You know where to go!”
The light faded, and the Queen looked towards the other Faeries expectantly. Slowly edging away from the rebel Faeries, the group made their way down a side corridor.
The entrance to the Hidden Tower, hidden though it was with an invisibility spell, was clearly marked by fallen Faeries. Several of those loyal to the Queen were already making their way inside when the Queen’s group reached the entrance. Captain Habbard was there. He was badly wounded, but still helping Faeries inside.
“My Queen!” he said, saluting but quickly regretting it due to pain.
“Where is the rest of your unit, Captain?” Fyora asked, looking around.
“Gone, ma’am,” Habbard replied sadly. “It seems as though the Tower was a major target for the Faeries. They were after your artefacts, I believe. I took the liberty of sending Celandra down the passageway before the battle started, though, so the fiends gained nothing.”
Illusen seemed to be looking back down the corridor.
“Fyora, I have to go and activate the Rainbow Beacon,” she announced.
The Queen turned round to face her.
“That’s far too dangerous; you could be caught,” she told the Earth Faerie.
“Without reinforcements, we will never be able to retake the castle,” Illusen explained. “Meridell will answer the call if the beacon is activated. It needs to be done, your majesty.”
“Even so, I cannot ask you to do such a thing,” Fyora replied, shaking her head. “I shall go.”
“No!” Smith shouted, amidst coughing. “The Queen must be safe!”
“I’ll be fine, don’t worry,” Illusen told the Queen.
She didn’t wait for any further comment; she was running down the hall before Fyora could even open her mouth.
A few moments after Illusen disappeared round the corner, a large group of rebel Faeries appeared.
“They’ve found us,” Sandra said, alarmed. “It’s time to go!”
As quickly as they could, the party entered the Hidden Tower, taking the secret passageway down into the depths of the castle.
Smith halted on the threshold, noticing that Habbard was not following.
“What are you doing? We need to go!” he shouted.
“I will hold them off,” Habbard said valiantly, drawing a sword. “You will have more time to get her majesty to safety.”
Smith rolled his eyes.
“This is no time for heroics,” he sighed. “You won’t hold them off for a second in your condition... Bane!”
The lumbering mass of Bane emerged and picked up Habbard in one hand. The Grarrl then disappeared down the passageway, Smith hobbling close behind.
They had lost the battle. They would not lose the war.
To be continued...