Whisp glared at the small, smiling creature before her with
distaste. "This is what I'm supposed to be taking care of?" she demanded, harsh
vocals cold with indifference.
"Who," snapped back the king's messenger. This
business was brought before the king, and when he approved of Whisp and her
fighting abilities, she was directed immediately to the King's daughter.
A small thing she was, a snow-white Aisha, barely
coming up to Whisp's midriff. While Whisp was perhaps 18, she was only 8 --
and Whisp had a severe dislike of young children. However, despite her thoughts
that she would be conceited, it seemed as if it wasn't true -- for the Aisha
was smiling as if her heart was singing. Whisp hated it. There was just something
about the creature, perhaps the substance she was woven with -- like Whisp.
She was just different.
"Hello!" she exclaimed brightly. The king's
messenger, at this apparent exclamation of approval, promptly left. "My name
is Raishre, what's yours?" Her voice was bright and filled with innocence --
having never have seen the true world. Or perhaps she had and continued to regard
it with hope and pride.
"Whisp," said the other flatly.
"Oh wow…" she said, gasping at the sword by
Whisp's side, reaching out a white paw to touch its hilt. "It's beautiful…"
Whisp moved away quickly so she couldn't. "Yes,
it's a nice sword," she said scathingly. "Haven't you any of the sort here?"
"I'm not allowed near the weapons room," she
said quietly, voice dulled to a mere whisper as if she were not allowed to speak
of it either.
"Oh?" said Whisp, allowing only a tendril of
curiosity into her voice. "And why not? Shouldn't royalty of your stature be
Raishre drew back and smiled with amusement
as if Whisp was being deliberately ridiculous. "Of course not, Whi.. Whisp.
Very little of the castle I am allowed in, and I have never been outside."
Whisp, at this outrageous claim, promptly gasped
and choked slightly. "Never been outside? What… why?!"
"Dad says that it might be too dangerous." Her
little face broke into a scowl as one ear stalk twitched in annoyance.
Whisp, who had no reply to this, merely fell
silent. Walking slowly to the window, she gazed out upon the land. It looked
so peaceful from here… what might Raishre have been making up about the outside
world? Perhaps Whisp would set her straight. Lights flared in the tents and
buildings, marketplaces and streets. Though it looked peaceful, it was not --
death and darkness and betrayal lurked in the shadows and hearts of every person.
Whisp remembered her mother briefly, and her
memories dimmed in a burst of fury. She clenched her fists and gritted her teeth,
trying not to break the window in her fit of rage. Her mother was not dead,
though Whisp saw her very rarely. A rich, pampered, arrogant jerk she was… and
always disapproving of Whisp. Whisp had separated herself from her when she
was perhaps a year older than Raishre to become a mercenary. She wouldn't put
it past her mother to betray her.
Startled suddenly by a sudden movement, she
was astonished as Raishre wrapped two little arms around Whisp's muscled waist,
barely coming to the other side. "We're going to be the best of friends!" she
said excitedly, then promptly led Whisp to her room.
The room was spacious, a table and desk, couch,
decorated bed… it was the most royal accommodations Whisp had ever seen, let
alone for herself. However, she was never one to turn down an advantage, and
so offered a small smile to Raishre. The smile looked more as a predator would
grin to prey, so unused to smiling from friendliness was Whisp, but Raishre
was certain of the intent. She grinned broadly in return and left. Whisp did
the only thing now she could -- sleep.
Whisp's entity was in a blank, dark, dead room.
There was nothing to be seen except the pure black -- pure death. It was physically
cold, but Whisp loved it -- she exalted in how the icy feel penetrated her exterior
and chilled her very soul. As if she and the cold were one. She could never
feel that with heat.
However, this moment of timeless time was shattered
as someone approached her from the front, making his way to her quickly. He
was a sandy colored Draik, almost as tall as her and slender. She could not
see his eyes, they were somehow shielded by something Whisp could not define.
Before she knew it, he spoke.
"Whisp… you must turn down this job immediately."
Though she had been thinking the same, of sorts,
she was startled. "Why?"
He hesitated, as if the conversation had turned
down a path he was not ready to take. "Because… because you are not made the
same as the princess. You are the Deathwoven. Woven from death and canvassed
from darkness. Everybody on Neopia is made the same -- born from both dark and
light, their souls are woven from a mixture of these. You are different. Your
very soul is made only from death and darkness -- most of your kind die in childbirth.
You are the only one who has survived this long."
Whisp was stunned. So this was the reason she
was similar to a jigsaw puzzle piece that didn't fit -- as she knew so well.
However, her reaction, of course, was to pull a mask of cold indifference over
the blind astonishment.
"And why should I stay away from the princess?
No one else has been affected by this strange attribute of mine."
"Because," he replied, voice slow and dreamy
yet equally urgent. "Because she is also made of a different substance. She
is woven completely, purely of light and goodness. This is why she views the
world with such innocent naivety. She has no death or darkness in her tapestry
"And why should my darkness affect her light?"
Whisp questioned skeptically.
At this, the stranger paused, as if unsure.
"I am not positive, but you must believe me when I say disaster will come of
She cut him off. "Yeah yeah, disaster… the prophecies
say… blah blah blah," she fairly snapped. "Prophecies aren't always true, you
know -- and your prediction of me being Deathwoven and her Lifewoven is pure
guesswork, either that or you think I'm more gullible than I am. How would you
know such things, anyway? Leave me now."
She turned away, pulling her dream up into wakefulness.
Whisp woke suddenly, gasping, and immediately
had no idea where she was. Then she remembered -- guarding Raishre. Sighing
with exhaustion as she got up, only to tumble to the ground, Whisp grumpily
pulled Darkenbringer on and trod out of the room. It was perhaps 5 in the morning,
darkness still reining over the land, yet the smallest bit of orange appearing
on the horizon.
She wasn't sure where she was going, but eventually
entered another room, which was half open. What she saw made her feel an emotion
that she never had before -- sympathy.
Raishre was sitting on the floor, crying silently.
Her bed was untouched, it looked as if the entire night she had been wallowing
in her own misery. Whisp kneeled close to her, and she barely looked surprised.
"What's up?" Whisp voiced gruffly.
"Oh…" she said in a shuddering sob. "It's just
that I'm so lonely, all the time. My father never pays attention to me, you
apparently hate me…" she dissolved in another bout of wordless tears.
"Don't you have friends?" Whisp asked, allowing
her voice to soften slightly.
"Never have I had a friend, they all assume
I'm some stuck up little snob. Plus… the night always makes me kind of depressed."
The Krawk felt slightly guilty that she had
been prey to the same prejudice, but said lightly. "Look -- I don't hate you,
okay? I just…" she felt herself wanting to open up to the eager child as she
never had before. The feeling was both unnerving and pleasing. "Its how I react
to new people. I always act cold and indifferent so as to protect myself for
bad temperament or betrayal."
The Aisha looked astonished. "But surely you
get better results, as a mercenary, being nice to people?"
"Hardly. What people want for a mercenary is
to have a cold attitude -- the colder, the more they assume I am tough enough
to do my job."
"Oh," she said in a small voice, pulling herself
together to consider this prospect.
"If…" Whisp ventured. "If you wanted to perhaps…
go outside, I would be able to take you."
Raishre laughed in amusement. "I would honestly
love to, but I can't -- my father would never permit it."
"Do you always do everything your father tells
you to?" Whisp exclaimed in mock indigence. "I have my ways… we could cover
you up and no one would be able to tell -- trust me."
"I'm not sure…"
"I am. Lets go." And with that, they snuck around
the palace to get a robe for Raishre. Raishre eventually caught the art of sneaking
into the rooms without a noise, barely a spirit. Whisp coached her that morning,
and when they were ready, climbed out the window, Raishre fairly clinging to
Whisp. Whisp was used to such escapes however, and did so with ease.
When they arrived at the ground, the white Aisha
donned the thick black cloak so that nothing was visible except her beautiful,
sky-blue eyes. It was odd, as they moved co-ordinately, though Raishre barely
came up to Whisp's waist. The air still had the icy quality of night, as after
the sun goes down in the desert the air turns dark and cold. However, mint-new
orange light struck the streets, fighting desperately with the shadows. The
shadows were failing. People bustled through the marketplace and streets as
if there were no tomorrow.
The tall Krawkess led the small Aisha through
the streets, dodging nimbly among the strangers -- strangers who paid no more
thought to them than an Angelpuss pays to a passing insect.
"This is the real world," Whisp informed Raishre
quietly. Raishre was silent, for she loved every second of this new freedom
-- ecstatic in the independence.
Whisp entered the tavern that was so familiar
to her that it was an ingrained behavior, Raishre at her heels.
"Say hi to the princess, Renah," she finally
said with a smirk, slipping onto the worn leather stool as she always did. Pulling
Raishre onto the stool beside her, she grinned lightly.
"You can't bring the king's daughter here,"
he hissed furiously, grabbing the counter as if for support. "What, are you
"No she's not," Raishre voiced indignantly,
pulling her hood down just a mite. "Is this a friend, Whisp?"
"Yep!" She replied proudly, gazing upon Raishre
as if she were her own sister. They had instantly bonded -- this morning had
yielded to Whisp that Raishre had a lot more spunk to her than her initial view
Against all odds, Renah laughed. "I would never
have put it past you, Whisp. You always were crazy. The usual?"
"Make it two," replied Whisp. She was feeling
light-headed with joy, ecstatic with the thought of a new friend -- so close
they were practically sisters. She daydreamed for a moment of all she would
teach Raishre, and was only broken by the chink of glass on worn wood. She sipped
the chava with relish.
"Here, Raishre," she informed, sliding the other
glass to her right. "This is dark chava with ice. Now, you can't tell any… Raishre?"
Whisp turned with alarm only to find the stool empty. Raishre was gone.
To be continued...