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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 29th day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 116 > New Series > Drake: Part One

Drake: Part One

by larin_ellotan

Author's note: This is the story following Vierna by my account forgotten_realms_. I apologize for the delay. As of now, all my stories will be written and submitted by this username, larin_ellotan. I hope you enjoy this story. All characters from the castle are fictional (except, of course, King Skarl), and any similarities are unintentional.

A shadowy figure traveled across the grounds of Meridell castle, carrying a small bundle.

     "Quiet, little one," a male voice whispered gently in response to a whimper from the bundle. "You will soon be safe, but now you must be quiet."

***

Malyice walked along her familiar path, heading towards the bench in the garden she knew so well. Malyice hadn't gone on this walk for a couple of years now, but for some reason she felt compelled to go today. There was something there that hadn't been before, however.

     "Hello, what's this?" the old Eyrie wondered aloud when she reached the bench and saw the small bundle of silks resting on the old seat.

     "Oh, aren't you a sweetie!" she exclaimed as she moved aside a corner of the cloth to reveal a small Draik's face. The child yawned and opened his eyes. Violet eyes.

     "I wonder where your parents are…" she said, looking around. Anyone rich enough to buy silks to wrap their baby in wouldn't just leave him just lying around. Unless they didn't want him. "Oh, you poor dear," she cooed, stroking the side of his head with the flat of her claw. "Well, we can't leave you here, now, can we? Don't worry, little guy, I'll take care of you." This must be why I came today, she thought.

     "Yes, pray do," whispered a shadowy figure sitting in a tree as she traveled out of earshot. "Pray do," he whispered again, wiping a tear from his cheek as his child left. He extended his pure black wings and flew from his perch, blue stars shining in the sunlight.

***

"Krenna! Krenna, get over here!" yelled king Skarl to a young red Draik.

     "Yes, your majesty?" I asked meekly, dipping into a low bow.

     "Pour me some more wine!"

     I nodded quickly and scurried over to the table where the wine and goblets were kept. I poured a cup, making sure not to spill a drop, then hurried over to Skarl, presenting the golden goblet with a white-gloved hand. It was part of the servant's livery; white gloves to protect the food he handled, a red tunic, and blue breeches, topped off with a silver cloak. I was one of Skarl's favorite servants-I served without complaint, without question, and always did what I was told perfectly. Except for that one time, of course, when I tripped over my own feet, foolish me, and splashed Skarl's best wine all over the ambassador's clothes (though, thankfully, the ambassador had forgiven Kings Skarl and me, because I was so young). Other than that, I had never made a mistake. I had accepted his punishment for that incident without complaint, though, and was restored to my place as the most honored servant. Which was why I wore silk and was given the best servant's room in the castle.

     "Does my king want anything else?" I asked, giving another deep bow.

     "No, that will be fine, Krenna, go back to your rooms."

     "As my Lord, King Skarl, commands." I hurried off, then, to go to my rooms. By 'rooms' I mean the place I sleep in, the place I have company in, and the place I bathe in. No other servants had accommodations like this; even some of the lesser Nobles had only had a small corner of their rooms reserved for bathing. My favorite thing about the room, however, was the view. It peeked over the tower walls, and I had the most wonderful view of the hillside, especially at sunset. At sunrise, I would walk over to the other side of the castle, go up the stairs to the battlements, and watch the color dance upon the sea. I walked because no one was willing to teach me how to fly. The guards on the battlements liked me, but they were too busy to teach me in the mornings when I came to watch the sunrise, Malyice was too old to fly anymore, and the few servants who had wings were either too old or crippled. And so I was destined to the ground, only to soar in my dreams.

     I went over to my bed, to a loose floorboard beneath the head of the bed, and lifted it up, taking out a few items.

     "Is this my destiny?" I wondered aloud as I fingered the silk blanket with the name Krenna embroidered on the top. "To forever serve my lord, King Skarl?" I picked up the curious sword that Malyice had given. "Will I never fly, never fight?" I slipped the straps of the shield Malyice had given me over my left arm. There was no emblem I recognized on it, just a Draik's fist up in the air, and it was obviously meant to hold something, but whatever it had been was gone. I wanted to be a knight, but your parents had to be there for the ceremony, and take part in it, but Malyice was too old and tired.

     "Krenna?" called Malyice's voice.

     "Come in!"

     Malyice-my mother, an old silver Eyrie-entered my room. Seeing me holding my sword and wearing my shield, she smiled. "Fantasizing of being a knight?" she asked.

     "Yes," I told her.

     "Hmm." She went over to a low, soft stool-like item made especially for her. It was just long enough to support her head on the part of it that was raised, and have her tail hang off the end, and just wide enough for her to comfortably have both her legs off the side. It was lower in the center, so that her body would fit better, and was almost sitting on the ground so she would only have to walk over it and lower her body down in order to rest on it. Since she was so old, the less effort she had to do to rest, the better. It had put me back quite a bit, but it was worth it. I had also had one made-not quite as fancy as this one, but still quite comfortable-for her private room.

     "Krenna, you know I will not live forever."

     "No one lives forever. Our fates are decided before we are born. Not everyone will join armies or be king. We must be content with what we have and live to life's extent," I recited mother's favorite saying.

     "Very good, Krenna. You say it better every time."

     I swelled with pride. I was only a couple months old, so my mother's praise was better than any praise even King Skarl could give me.

     "Of course, you understand that everyone's life must end sooner or later, whether at the end of a blade," she looked pointedly at my curious red-and-blue sword "or by old age, or by sickness."

     I started to realize what she was getting at.

     "I will not live forever, Krenna, though I hope you will live longer than some of those fool knights out there, charging off into battle without a thought resembling sanity. I am old, Krenna, but not helpless. Nor poor-I have been saving up my wages for years, now, though I do not believe I will be needing them, so I am giving them to you." She opened up her wing and a bag of coins dropped to the floor. "You will need them, child, for when you leave."

     "Orphans are not permitted inside the castle, unless taken in by a servant, noble, or the king," I recited softly. Most servants resented me for being so high in Skarl's favor, so I could scratch that, and the nobles were too proud to take in a mere servant, so I couldn't count on that, either. That left King Skarl, and though I was his favorite servant, he wouldn't adopt me. So I was an orphan with no one to take care of me, once mother was gone.

     "I have a small house I would bring you to if I were not so tired," she told me. "I will give you the address, for you to go there once Skarl rids the castle of you. It's at 33459 Ixi Road. Now, I must be off, rooms to clean and such." I could almost hear her bones creaking as she got up off the stool. "Oh, Krenna," she called back over her shoulder as she reached the door, "bring some of the larger stuff there, now, so when you must go, you leave with just a bag."

     "I will, mother."

     She left, and I was left standing there all alone, shield on my arm, sword in hand, and a large sack of coins lying on the floor near me.

***

The next day, I was up on the battlements, viewing the sunset.

     "Melnorth, when are you off your shift?" I asked a kind green Draik.

     "Noon, why?"

     "I was wondering if you could teach me to fly when you're off."

     "Sure I could. You'll have to skip lunch, though, seeming as you wait on King Skarl for his lunch before your own, then wait on him after that in case he needs anything."

     "That's alright, I can get some food from the kitchen between shifts."

     "All right, then. See you at lunch."

     I nodded, watching the sun as it came up.

***

I hurried over to the courtyard, eager to fly. Melnorth was waiting for me, wanting to get started as soon as possible, so he could go home for a rest.

     By the time we were finished the lesson, I was quite good at it. Not yet an expert, but good enough to teach myself from then on.

     "Shall I help you more tomorrow?" he asked me.

     "No thanks, I've got the hang of it now. Thanks!"

     "No problem. You'd better get back to King Skarl, now, or else you might be late."

     I nodded and ran off, pausing only to grab my palace livery from my rooms.

     "You're late, Krenna," King Skarl remarked as I scurried into the throne room.

     "I am sorry, my Lord King Skarl. It will not happen again."

     He nodded. "Krenna, I have a very important guest coming tomorrow, and I want my dining chamber spotless. The small one, that is-only one person, he doesn't need to be served in a room meant for hundreds!"

     "Yes, sir!" I bolted off to the smaller dining chamber, and nearly had a heart attack. It was filthy! Dust coated the floor so much it seemed as if I was wading in dirt, and cobwebs were in the corners, giant Spyders hanging from threads of silk on the rafters. I would definitely need help, here. Tucking my gloves behind my belt, I ran to the head servant, the red Kougra who assigned every servant to a job.

     "Sir, the Lord King Skarl needs to have his small dining chamber spotless by tomorrow, when he will have an important guest over for a meal. I need three able-bodied servants to assist me."

     He looked at me for a while. "Very well. I will assign you Dolnek, Zaln, and Korr. They will be at the smaller chamber to help you soon."

     I nodded and grabbed a mop, bucket, and broom, then ran off back to the dining chamber. Before long, the others arrived with similar tools, finding me hard at work, breeches rolled up to the knees, sweeping all the dust to one area. It didn't take long to sweep up everything, with four of us, but there were still all the surfaces to dust. It was getting rather dark by the time we finished polishing off the surfaces, but we still had mopping to do. I sent Dolnek and Zaln to get hot water, as Korr and I finished off the vases. After a little while, the room was done, but it was well past sunset and we were exhausted.

     "Good work, guys," I told them.

     "You too. Didn't expect someone so tiny to be able to do so much work."

     I shrugged and went up the stairs to my room, yawning. All I did once I reached my room was put my filthy clothes in the dirty clothes basket and crawled into bed.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Drake: Part Two

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