The Shade Flame Legacy: Valrigard - Part Four
Dew fell from the tree Velle was sleeping under. They
hit the pretty Draik's head, instantly waking her up. Velle woke with a start,
and looked around wildly. Valrigard was gone. She sighed. Why had she trusted
Valrigard? Why had she ended up trusting the only Draik in Meridell who had
been branded Traitor?! Why had she risked her life and safety to help this Draik?!
Because he's your friend, a voice in her head
said, You trusted him for that reason alone. Valrigard was never a traitor,
and you know that. Now, stop sniveling and help! Velle rose slowly to her feet.
"But how do I help?" she asked herself. "Valrigard
told me not to follow him..." The voice in her head answered once again. Valrigard
is looking for revenge. Not just on Darigan, but on the King's advisor, Syvor.
Find out what Syvor's doing! Velle nodded slowly to herself, then shook her
"I must be going mad," she muttered. "But it's
the best chance I have." The pretty Draik opened her wings and flew above the
trees. Then, she flew towards the Castle of Meridell. Wind swept over her scales
coldly. "Winter is coming," she said to herself. "Not the best time for a new
* * * * *
Darigan was a lot faster then I expected. In
a fast blur, he seized the nearest weapon: a powerful-looking staff with a hook
on the end. He pulled the staff in front of himself, blocking my sword attack.
I mentally cursed but kept on fighting with every once of hate in my body. Darigan
never made the move to injure me, something that I found confusing and somewhat
annoying. Every time I tried to deliver a death blow he would block it and wait
for my next attack. A look of confusion crossed his face every time I attacked
him. Confusion and hurt. Why was he sad? This didn't seem to be the old Darigan
that I had prayed and wished was dead.
I ducked down and tried to deliver a fatal blow
to Darigan's stomach, but he blocked it with his staff. I snarled in fury and
dropped down to my fours, using my tail to knock his feet off balance. Darigan
stumbled and fell. I stood up, sword in paw. Darigan tried to block my next
attack with his staff, but I flicked it from his weakened fingers. Darigan panted
exhaustedly, and looked sadly into my death-clouded eyes.
"If you're from Meridell, I must say I'm suprised,"
he said, panting. "We signed a treaty...but I suppose it didn't work out...
again..." I bent down close to him and whispered in his ear.
"Don't try to fool me, scum. You signed no treaty,
and you were never good..." I was about to draw back my sword and kill him when
he rolled over, knocking me off. Instead of grabbing a weapon, he grabbed a
paper. I would've torn it to peices if he hadn't held it up in my face and held
back my sword paw. I took one look at it and gasped. It was a treaty, and written
in enormous handwriting were the words, King Skarl. I gaped at it. I looked
over to the other side of the paper, and Darigan's name was listed.
"It's a forgery!" I insisted. "Just like the
one Syvor used to frame me!" Darigan raised an eyebrow.
"Syvor...wasn't that the Eyrie who swore me
loyalty then betrayed me? And you...you're the Draik who was framed for it!
"Valrigard," I corrected, feeling slightly stupid.
"And yes, I was betrayed...by your loyalist." Darigan let go of my sword paw,
a sign that he was beginning to trust me. "At least he was a loyalist at one
point," he said. "Now, he works for whatever side has won." I nodded solemnly.
"I came to kill you," I said, finally breaking
the silence, "and I nearly suceeded. I can't believe what an idiot I've been..."
Darigan looked at me kindly.
"No one can blame you for thinking that I'm
still evil. You were locked up in jail for...what, three years?" I nodded. "Now
I've gone and lost the trust in Velle..." I muttered. "Velle?" Darigan asked,
"A friend?" I smile slightly and managed a "Yeah."
"She came from a family called the Dreamsagas,"
I said. "She saved my life when I was near death in the river..."
"So it was you who broke that window!" Darigan
accused. "Sorry, I never get too excited, but a few of your Meridellians accused
me of dropping another rock in your river." I mentally smiled.
"So what are you going to do now?" Darigan asked.
I replied with a simple, "Syvor." Darigan nodded. I got to my feet, walked towards
the window, and stopped when Darigan said,
"You'll always be welcome in this house, Valrigard
Redeemed." I smiled to myself and opened the window soundlessly, then jumped.
Wind rushed past my scales as I dropped like
a stone, and some Darigans pointed up to me. I even heard a child say, "Mommy,
the Draik can't fly!" I opened my wings just in time, missing the stone ground
by inches. The Citagellians gasped and some even cheered for my performance.
I felt like a knight again, back from the war of Sakmet or Tyramet. Then I remembered
what Darigan had called me.
It wasn't Valrigard the Traitor, or Valrigard
the Scum. Velle hadn't called me either of these, but Darigan had given me a
new title...I finally decided that it felt good. I felt important. I felt accepted.
I shot off like a rocket, headed directly for
Meridell Castle. I was positive that Syvor was the one who I would take my revenge
apon. And then, I would apologize to my friend.
* * * * *
Velle crept through the halls of Meridell Castle.
She stopped at every shadow and held her breath until the gaurd passed. She
flinched at every sound she heard. Velle had no idea where Syvor might be, but
she decided that his bed chambers were the best place to start. Velle hardly
knew where that was! She could be crawling around all night if she didn't find
his room! Then, she saw a light filtering through a door at the right side of
the hall. She darted over to it, shook the handle of the door, and was lucky
to find it open. With a small creak, Velle eased the door open.
Syvor wasn't there. Instead, the room was cluttered
with papers and artifacts. At least the artifacts were well arranged, unlike
the papers. Papers and clipping from the Neopian Times lined the room, making
it hard even to see the bed. On one side of the room, Velle discovered that
plenty of the artifacts were weapons. Werelupe Claws, swords, spears, bows and
arrows, dark weapons, light weapons, and a number of other kinds of weapons
lined the hooks on the walls. The only thing out of the ordinary was a crumbled
rose lying dead on a shelf. Velle stumbled through the papers and past the weapons
to the shelf. She picked the rose up delicately. It was crumbled fit to break.
Velle looked out the window, which was just opposite of the shelf. Outside was
"The garden..." she mumbled to herself. He could
be there. The Draik nodded to herself and left the room, headed for the garden.
A few hours later...
Velle slumped against a rock, exhausted. She
had been searching for an Eyrie for hours...but she had ended up fruitless.
Syvor was nowhere in sight, save for the statues that were carved in his resemblence.
Suddenly, the wall seemed to open behind Velle.
With a small gasped and a flash, Velle vanished behind the wall! The young Draik
landed on the other side of the wall with a thud and looked around. Nothing
but blackness greeted her sight. Everything seemed to be in shadows, but Velle
could hear a cold, dark voice calling through the shadows.
"You will operate on Skarl in ten days time.
By that time my assosiate with have disposed of Darigan."
"Why don't we just get this over with now?"
"I want everyone to think that Skarl killed
Darigan to seize power, then decided to show it after a while's time. The Citagellians
will be infuriated and will deman war. In that time I want you to put an army
together. An army of shadows, got that?" His reply was a sad, "Yes."
"Then," a hopeful voice asked, "Will you rid
this land of shadows?" Syvor snorted and said, "Of course." Velle could easily
detect a lie in that sentence. Why didn't the people who were talking to him
notice? Were they blinded by false hope? She heard a sigh and knew the figures
had bought his lie.
"We will assemble an army," a male voice said.
"And of Greed..."
"Yes," Syvor said. "I will be back in ten days
time, and I expect the army to be ready by then." The figures said "Yes," in
unision and vanished, leaving Velle in the land of shadows with Syvor.
Velle began to creep for the wall when a tough,
powerful paw grabbed her shoulder. She let out a small gasp of terror and bolted
for it, but Syvor's grip was harder then she thought.
"So little one, you've discovered my plan. I'm
afraid to tell you that your plans of warning your friends will be changed.
I'm very sorry to cause you this frustration." Velle winced. Even though Syvor
said these things, she knew most of them were wrong. Yes, she had discovered
his evil scheme. Yes, she wouldn't be able to warn Valrigard of the danger.
But no, Syvor didn't sound very sorry at all.
* * * * *
I flew as fast as I could towards Meridell Castle.
Another Draik, this one being Darigan, flew next to me. His name was Sheer.
He had insisted on coming with me, and I couldn't bring myself to turn him down.
I had turned down Velle, and now I was in this mess. Plus, Sheer was smart,
strong, and he possesed the Gift. His Gift was Water and Ice, giving him the
ability to use those as weapons against enemies. I didn't think I had a Gift,
but Sheer insisted that something about me was downright magical. I shrugged
it off and tried to change the subject.
"So," I shouted above the wind, "when did you
discover that you had the Gift?" The Darigan Draik cocked an eyebrow and shouted,
"The shift?" I sighed in frustration and shouted louder, "The GIFT!" Sheer nodded,
saying that he unerstood, and shouted,
"Before we came to Meridell, a drought hit our
land! There wasn't any water, not even mud in the wells! On the third day of
the drought, we were dying! So, I sat in my room for hours, waiting for death
to come," the wind began to die down, and he continued in a softer voice.
"Suddenly, my room was ankle-deep in water!
I looked outside and a lake had appeared, due to someone's magical waves. The
village elder brought all the young ones outside and tested them. They found
out that it had been my magic, so they put me to severe training as a junior
mage. A few years later, I had mastered the skills of water and ice. The elders
were very pleased. Then, these strange people came to our leader, Darigan. He
took us to Meridell, and I fought in the war."
I looked at Sheer in sympathy, but he just shook
it off. He had been training to become a mage, and then the war had come, giving
him the perfect reason to practice his magic more and more. But, Morguss had
come along and harnissed his magic. She used it for her will, and chained Sheer
in the dungeon so she could sap it off him without any trouble at all. I glanced
ahead and gasped in shock.
Syvor was hovering in midair, without the help
of his wings, and someone was hovering beside him. I gasped and thought my heart
would stop from terror when I realized that Velle was being tied to Syvor's
paw, like a dog on a leash.
To be continued...