Windstorm: Part Seven
The Bite of the KeenBlade
Terzin approached the patch of earth where Sisslio had
been standing a moment before. "Where did they go?" he asked no one in particular.
He gazed over his shoulder. "Aly?" The Striped Zafara girl had remained behind
him, head bowed in a sulking stance.
She raised her face with tears in her eyes. "I
thought she was good," she muttered. "I thought bringing Frey back would change
our country for the better and bring a new age down upon us. I can't believe
we brought him here to die. I can't believe how stupid I've been!" She met the
yellow Lupe's eyes, then continued. "Remember how happy I was when he retrieved
the Windscythe? I should have thought. Why did we never question our task? We
should have explained everything to him. We never told Sisslio about how the
Windscythe was rumored to be Frey's old sword before Sirocco, how she spoke
in her youth about how much she loved it and wanted to keep it safe? About her
discovery of the Roads? How she was the most powerful young mage who could hide
solid steel in a train of thought? She told Bryony about how in order to reach
the blade you needed the determination to serve her, which Sisslio must have
had. We should have figured it out. He needed the sword, so he would probably
need to fight! I thought it would only be required to awaken Frey, I didn't
know her life would offset the balance of Nature or whatever! Terzin, we led
him to his death!"
Terzin didn't know how to respond to his longtime
friend. She spoke the awful truth. They shouldn't have dived straight into this
mission. In an attempt to comfort her, the Lupe sat down beside her and wrapped
his bushy tail around her.
"Jeez! Talk about apathy!"
"What?" Alysoun glanced behind her and beheld
the sight of Dayne Riversong, paws akimbo.
"I think you should do something!"
"Amazing," breathed Terzin.
"What's so 'amazing'?!" demanded Dayne.
"You actually know the word 'apathy'?"
"Hey, I'm not that stupid! Of course I know what
"Indifference, not caring! Stuff like that! Can
we get back on topic please?"
"Wow, she's actually got a brain," muttered Terzin.
"You're telling me," responded Alysoun.
"ARE YOU GUYS TALKING ABOUT ME BEHIND MY BACK??!!"
"No," replied Terzin, innocently.
"Fine, then. Anyways, I have an idea."
"Yes?" prompted Alysoun, her tears forgotten.
"You guys are, like, magician-ish, wizardly people,
"Mages," corrected Terzin.
"Whatever. So, you two can, like, find Sisslio
and Frieda, right?"
"Frey," Alysoun pointed out.
"Whatever! Well, you can use your powers to help
Sisslio beat Fran, and then -"
"Yeah, whatever! So, then Sisslio won't die!"
"Well, I guess we could…" said Terzin. "It would
be interfering with destiny and all that, but…"
"Scrap destiny!" interjected Dayne, "I mean,
come on! Alyssa, you can blast fire at her!"
"My name's Alysoun."
"And I've yet to see what Tarzan can come up
"It's Terzin, and I do have some magical talent."
"Great! Let's go to it!"
"Whatever you say, Diana!" the pair chorused.
Dayne wilted like a flower. "Okay, that was so
I spiraled down through the water, unable to
fight against both Frey's sword and her magic. I was just an ordinary Zafara!
Couldn't fate just leave me alone?
I strained to raise my eyelids, and to my surprise,
saw a column of light radiating down into the water. Frey was shielding her
eyes with one arm, her other paw still clenching her sword hilt.
Who was calling my name…?
A shape, foggy and dark at first, was drifting
towards me through the water. As it passed through the light, I could make out
pink stripes against a pelt of palest lavender.
"Alysoun…?" I muttered. I was hit by a wave of
nausea, and felt ready to pass out.
"Wake up!" she commanded. I could see that she
had shed her cloak for easier movement in the water. "We have to swim for the
surface. It'll be easier once we're back on land. Terzin used his light magic
as a distraction. Come on!"
I stared back at her groggily. I couldn't move.
I wanted to give it all up right now. Death would be so much easier than swimming…
But I managed to meet her gaze once more, and
was suddenly shot through with the swirling hues of indigo and azure that had
first enraptured me during our encounter in the alley. They seemed to breathe
energy into me, inspire me. I had suddenly resigned myself to getting out of
With newfound determination, I sheathed my sword
and began kicking and paddling through the water. Alysoun grabbed my wrist in
case I became weak again, but I was driven to keep going.
In no time, I could see the glimmering portal
of the surface, and soon broke my head through it. It felt so good to breathe
real air again, rather than floundering around in magic, breathable water. Alysoun
was treading water beside me. We made our way to shore, and I could see that
we were somewhere that looked similar to the field.
Terzin relaxed from a sort of mage's stance,
and the column of light faded. "Sisslio," he said, "Good to see you alive."
"She's not gone yet," I told him. I whirled around
to face the strange lake once more, and almost immediately was soaked with an
explosion of water, which indicated the return of Frey.
The white Zafara had burst out of the water and
now landed on shore facing me. Our noses were barely an inch apart. I felt myself
trembling with fear, but also rage. How could she call on me to revive her,
and then turn on me so violently? Why so much deception? Frey clearly was not
the heroine she was made out to be. Tasson, that Fire Cybunny had been absolutely
right: Frey was nothing more than a power-hungry mage.
"I thought you said this was between you and
me, Windstorm," she said with a sneer, "Yet you have reinforcements. It does
not matter, though; I shall kill you anyway."
"Not a chance," I replied. "I've had enough of
you, for the short time you've been alive. You're nothing but a lying, deceitful
rat. I'm ready to end this. I don't care how complex the enchantment you wove
around your life was; you should never have been allowed to return."
Behind Frey, the lake evaporated and vanished:
an illusion. I could see now that we were exactly where we'd been before: the
Dayne grabbed Alysoun's shoulder. "Okay, blast
"We already told you," the Striped Zafara hissed
in reply, "we can't do things as extreme as burning things to a crisp, not even
"What about the fire shield?"
"That was difficult, and it was defense. Offensive
things are ten times harder."
"Aly," muttered Terzin, "Would it be possible
to try a combined Confinement spell?"
Alysoun considered this. "No, not unless we had
"I can help!" exclaimed Dayne.
"You're not magic," Terzin reminded her.
"Oh. Yeah, right."
I heard my friends muttering behind me, but wasn't
paying too much attention to what they were saying. I had to deal with Frey
again. This time I would meet each one of her blows. This time, I would finish
Without any second thoughts whatsoever, I charged,
Windscythe brandished. To my surprise, Frey actually appeared slightly taken
aback. I slashed wildly and felt my blade cut into something. Glancing up, I
saw Frey, and the thin stream of blood trickling down from her shoulder. I'd
"You're going to pay for that," she snarled.
"I'll flay you!"
"You bleed like me," I retorted. "If you finish
me, I'll at least take you with me!"
Frey chuckled. "That's always the hero's goal,
isn't it? Kill the enemy, and if you must lose your life too, so be it. Just
try to slay me. You'll fail."
I couldn't take it anymore. She'd taunted me
for the last time. I flourished my sword, which was now embellished with a scarlet
streak. I pounced, roaring my own sort of war cry. I wasn't paying attention
to anything but my target of Frey, so I did not acknowledge the sorcery unfolding
The sunlight glanced off the Winscythe's blade,
radiating outwards in a blaze of all my motivation in this quest. Alysoun beheld
it in wonder, and signaled to Terzin. The two of them began to focus their energies,
and a triangle of light began to form around Frey KeenBlade.
I plunged my blade downwards, striving to strike
my adversary. Her eyes widened in fear, but I could tell that it was not I she
found threatening, or at least not I alone. "No," she breathed, but then her
eyes took on an insane gleam. "I'll scar you!"
My sword would not move downwards - it had struck
some kind of barrier. Nevertheless, I tried to chisel through the light with
my steel point. I then realized that waves of blue light were washing down over
the barrier from my sword, fueling it, building it up. The barrier was the shape
of a triangular-based pyramid, and Frey was certainly intimidated by it.
I kept forcing my entire weight down on the weapon,
despite its immovability. I had to end Frey's harshness and cruelty - after
all, I'd released it to start.
Suddenly, Frey thrashed within the pyramid, and
a white-hot pain engulfed me, flinging me backwards. I tried to sit up, but
my head spun. I caught a faint glimpse of the shimmering pyramid of light before
I passed out.
I woke up to a moist feeling on my brow. Blinking,
I opened my eyes and realized that it was evening. Alysoun and Dayne sat on
either side of me, and Terzin stood not too far away. I felt groggy and tired,
but relieved to see these three alive and by my side. I noticed a cushy feeling
under my head and realized that a cloth had been bundled up into a sort of pillow
"Yay!" squealed Dayne. "You're okay! See, my
plan worked! I knew you were too pathetic on your own to take her down, so we
all helped you!"
Alysoun cleared her throat.
"Well, they helped you," Dayne said, correcting
herself. "And you came out of the whole thing with a new look, too!"
"Well," said Alysoun, "You're not Cloud anymore."
I raised a paw and was shocked at my new colour:
white. White like Frey. I looked down at my underside and realized that it was
a creamy yellow. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed black spots on my ears.
At least I was a normal White Zafara and not the unnatural ghostly purity that
"She left her mark on you," said Alysoun. "I
doubt you'll be able to ever paint over it. I guess she wanted some means of
haunting you after her defeat."
"Defeat?" I asked.
"Yeah. Me n' Terzin thought we'd be able to confine
her with a spell, but we needed something else for the magic to feed off of.
I thought that if you were really dedicated to your task and all that stuff
about the Windstorm having magic was true, maybe your perseverance would take
on a physical form to fuel our spell, which it did, luckily."
"You mean that blue light flowing over the pyramid…was
"Yeah. We basically harnessed your strength to
I sighed, leaning into my makeshift pillow. "It's
over," I breathed.
Before we left the field, we inspected the area
of Frey's concealment. It was marked by three small stone pillars. I had no
idea how they got there - it was probably all a part of Terzin and Alysoun's
magic. The earth was plowed up a bit, and Sirocco had been somehow plunged into
the ground up to its cross-hilt. I could see the vague, sparkling outline of
a pyramid above the space, each of its base points anchored at a pillar.
I later learned that Frey had called her sword
Sirocco because the word meant a warm, dry breeze. Again with the theme of wind.
We made our way back to the village again and
my wounds were dressed properly. Dayne and I stayed at Alysoun's cottage for
a day, until we were rested well enough to go home. During our stay, Alysoun
explained everything about Frey, the Windscythe, and the Roads that she had
left out. Dayne complained about how "not trustworthy" she was to keep stuff
like that from me, and she actually agreed with my Island roommate.
"She's right. Terzin and I should have told you
everything from the start. We should have analyzed the facts we had before diving
into this quest. We shouldn't have put your well being on the line. Sorry."
I appreciated her apology, but didn't think that
all the blame should rest with her. "It's okay. I mean, I was the one who went
along with everything, just like I always go along with Dayne's crazy fashion
"- I guess I need to just stand up for myself
a bit more. Thanks for all your help, Alysoun. If you hadn't come along and
helped - you and Terzin - I'd definitely be dead by now."
"You're welcome, but…you still think of me as
Alysoun? Wow, how proper! Ha! Tell you what - call me Aly. Terzin does, and
he's just my good pal - just like you are."
Wow. Inwardly I'd never dreamed that Alysoun
- excuse me, Aly - would ever count me as a good friend, what with threatening
me at knifepoint at our first meeting. Truthfully, I was surprised, and honoured.
"Sure," I replied, smiling. "I'll do that…Aly."
"Great," she said, returning the smile. "Well,
I'll lead you to the Roads, and we'll say goodbye from there."
We met up with Terzin again, and the three of
us strode through the village and up to the bluff where we had first arrived.
As I gazed down at this strange, otherworldly land - definitely not normal Neopia
- I caught a faint glimmer of sunlight in the far away field, and knew that
it was the pyramid prison of Frey KeenBlade, held together by my own dedication
to my task. Would it hold forever? Even as I turned away, my new resemblance
to the fallen warrior sent a chill through me. My one enemy and I were so similar
now, at least outwardly.
"Here we are," said Terzin, as usual.
We stood on the bluff, and although my surroundings
looked perfectly normal to the naked eye, I could feel the winds of the Roads
whirling around me.
I turned to my two new friends. "Thanks again,"
I told them. "You guys can come and visit us any time, you know."
"We'll make an effort to," replied Aly, wrapping
her arms around me. Great. Up until this point, I was holding together really
well, but I now realized what good friends I really had. Terzin threw himself
at me as well and soon we were all on the ground laughing hysterically. These
two had been willing to give their lives for me, risking it all by fighting
Frey alongside me - Dayne too.
Dayne tossed herself at us as well, and our goodbye
turned into a friendly wresting match. Yeah, I know we're crazy.
After a few minutes we were all standing upright
again. "So," I said, "see you soon."
"Definitely," agreed Terzin with a wave.
Dayne and I clasped paws, stepped forward, and
were lost in the swirling gales.