The cold, sadistic sound of the metal bars slamming shut
behind her, Whisp ground her teeth in rage and frustration. They had taken Darkenbringer
from her, placing her on the far table on the opposite wall.
How could they have found her after so many
She whipped around, grey eyes dancing with death
as she regarded her captor with disdain. "Who told you?" she whispered, fury
dancing in her voice. Now she would never catch Raishre's murderer.
He hesitated, then grimaced, as if he did not
want to pain Whisp further. "Your mother, Frathra, gave us the location in exchange
for one hundred pounds of gold. I am sorry, Deathwoven Whisp."
Whisp stared at his retreating figure for a
second before kicking the doors in rage. They gave a pleasant banging sound,
but nothing more. She was going to have to find another way out.
Pacing the hard, cold floor of the damp cell
for hours yielded nothing. She had circled the walls of the cell for ages, finding
no fault whatsoever in the making of the wall -- and she knew how to find the
slightest faults she could use. These were the cells that were made for the
most skilled of prisoners -- even if they captured mages they would not be able
to cast spells for there was a light web around the boundaries of the cell --
a shield of magic cast by the most skilled of mages.
Days past like this -- she ate what meager food
and water they gave her, not wanting to toss aside an advantage. However, she
would not, could not give up finding an exit. She would, but for the fact that
Raishre's murderer still ran rampant. It was hard to remember that day that
she had considered giving up the drive that had compelled her for revenge for
One night however, for nights was when she was
most awake and aware, she came upon an idea. The light web was meant for mages
of light -- their spells were not meant for ones woven of death, such as her.
She could not cast spells, but if she could unravel herself, the dark tapestry
of her soul, perhaps the uniform creation of the threads that made up her existence
would stay together for long enough just to slip through the bars. She could
reweave herself afterwards. It was a dangerous and far-fetched notion, but it
was the best that she had come across so far.
Falling into a state of half-awareness, she
tried to visualize the very essentials of her woven soul. The darkness, tapestry
of death and destruction stood before her in her mind now -- though the threads
were woven so tightly it would be hard to ease them apart. All earthly senses
and feelings left her -- Whisp was now as bare of emotions as a stone. She could
not feel or hear, could not sense her hunger -- all that mattered was loosening
the threads of her spirit enough so that she would be so loose she could slip
through the bars.
It was impossible to tell how long it took --
it might have been hours or days or even months. When she was finished however,
the threads were barely held together by meager weaving. Her physical attributes
were naught, and when she slowly pulled past the state of half-awareness, she
could not see, could not sense anything. She drifted slowly to the direction
she thought the bars were at, for she was nothing but a mere wraith -- drifting
instead of walking.
It worked, she felt herself squeezing past a
narrow exit. Once on the other side, she quickly rewove herself -- finally finding
her vision working again. Her physical attributes were completely restored,
but somehow she felt different -- what had been the price she had paid for this
Tugging Darkenbringer over her muscled waist,
she bolted out the cell's door, ignoring the pleading and screaming as if they
were nothing. Perhaps before she would have felt some pity for the death marked
prisoners, but now she felt nothing -- only drive for revenge and escape.
Since the cells were underground, she had to
slip, as ghostly as a wraith, around the halls and corridors to escape through
the front door. There was no other option, unless she wanted to create a huge
commotion. The palace guards were too slow to see her, as quick and deadly as
a striking rattlesnake. Only one did.
Erytasne -- the sandy Draik mage that had so
unnerved Whisp the first encounter they had.
She stopped dead, knowing she was caught. The
other regarded her with brilliant cerulean eyes, eyes that seemed so familiar,
yet that Whisp could not place. Both looked calm, impassive even -- each testing
"Going to turn me in?" Whisp questioned calmly.
"And why could I do that?" Erytasne replied,
blue eyes flashing. Even his calm vocals sounded familiar -- something that
she could not attach to a face nor species.
"Because all you mages believe I killed Raishre,"
she responded contemptuously, aware that Erytasne was playing a game with her
and severely disliking it.
"Ah… an interesting answer. But, perhaps a better
question would be, do you believe that you killed Princess Raishre?"
"Of course not," she snapped, mystified by his
answer. She wished he would stop speaking in riddles.
"Then why would I turn you in?" he raised a
slender eyebrow to extenuate his rhetorical question, before turning to walk
away. He was gone before Whisp had a chance to demand he explain herself.
Cursing Erytasne, even though he had let her
go against all odds, she bolted out the front door. No one saw her, save the
mysterious sandy Draik who seemed so familiar.
* * *
Once she had escaped the castle, melding once again into the crowd of mindless
ants, working under the sun until they burned to death, Whisp turned her thoughts
inward. Who was Erytasne? What could his motive have possibly been to let her
escape? After all, he was a mage, and the palace mages seemed convinced
that because she was Deathwoven, she had condemned Raishre to death.
And the strangest thing was, even if he had
let her escape, he hadn't said he believed she was innocent. All he had said
was that the only important thing was whether she believed her innocence
Then she landed upon something that felt enlightening…
it all made sense…
Could he have murdered Raishre?
It was a possibility. Whisp would have to spy
on him for weeks to see if he was subject of any other suspicious activity --
there was no use in accusing him and challenging him if she had no further proof
but theories and hunches. She needed solid evidence.
* * *
So for days she monitored every trip of his outside palace grounds, and because
he made quite a few, she was busy most of the day. She was not impatient; Whisp
felt as though she was on the right track and so felt that catching proof was
Most were innocent trips to the marketplace,
but some were a little more unusual. It was one, several weeks later, that had
Whisp convinced of his guilt.
She saw him again that day, the unusual sandy
color making its way through and past the dry, ordinary colors of those around
him. Dancing gracefully in the shadows left in his wake, there was no possible
way he could have realized she was following him. Erytasne took a casual left
through two tables of apples and pears, his pace calm yet quick -- he had no
reason to dally. His footfalls were sure and confident; he knew where he was
The Krawk and Draik were now walking along a
dark, dank alleyway. The sun was blocked overhead, the angry rays trying and
failing to sunburn them. Instead, the shadows protected them, battled the sun.
Whisp breathed the shadows as if they were one entity -- both made from the
same, and therefore, both the same. This ebony and crimson streaked creature
was the shadows.
Whisp saw and noted him dip into a crack in
the wall, the opening covered by naught by a harsh linen canvas. Striding closer
to the opening, yet careful to not make a single sound with her callused, reptilian
feet -- not a breath too loud.
Small, homeless children were scattered across
the sad, broken-down room. However, their faces contrasted with this -- for
each eager pair of eyes was lined with happiness and a fierce joy in life. Whisp
had forgotten simply how active young children were -- merely a second went
by before they were off to play with another toy, another friend.
She refocused her attention back to Erytasne.
He was speaking to an older Lupe there; apparently the scarlet Lupess was taking
care of the children. Whisp, even despite her unearthly hearing, could hear
not a word that Erytasne and the Lupess were saying. She had seen enough, and
because the alley was a dead end, she had to leave before Erytasne did -- lest
she be seen. She ghosted away into the shadows.
The next day, she returned to the same cavern,
though this time she was not following Erytasne. What she saw made her jaw drop.
The children who had been gathered in the room
previously, were striken to their beds. Whisp could see that they were extremely
ill as clearly as if she were viewing their fur color. They were each wrapped
with meager blankets, and their previous activeness had died out. Each lay alone,
asleep -- curled up with their friends as if seeking warmth that was not there.
The tall Krawkess leaned into the room, peering
at each set of sick faces. Was it possible they had been poisoned? Erytasne
could have easily done so to Raishre… considering that all royal members dined
together. Whisp remembered that Raishre hated those things because she was such
a fast eater -- she was done before anyone else had barely started.
She had found her evidence -- Erytasne had clearly
done something. It was too much of a coincidence to ignore.
* * *
The sun was disappearing below the horizon. It looked peaceful and serene,
but Whisp knew that it was frantically fighting tooth and nail to stay in this
world. Darkness and shadows reined where the sunlight had already retreated,
lurking behind the corners and battling the last orange-red wisps of sun. The
red sun was like a living thing, hating the world, wishing those in it to scorch
and burn forever in a fiery oblivion. The shadows and darkness were the only
Despite that the Lost Desert rarely experienced
precipitation, being a desert, angry grey storm clouds spread across the sky,
roiling in their fury. Gentle city folk who simply wanted nothing more than
to complete the errands that sent them scurrying around the tents, taverns,
and marketplace, noted the storm clouds with unease. When dry rain started to
fall among them, they made for their homes, having been unused to rain. The
sun fell behind the horizon in a final, gasping breath. It was night. There
were only two creatures undeterred by the rain. One, an ebony and crimson streaked
Krawkess bent on revenge, stood watching another. She seemed not to even notice
the rain, slowly wetting the dust and sand, dripping more quickly over her reptilian
hide. As dark as her own soul, hung an ebony blade at her side. At her ear swung
a single golden hoop, almost mocking, as it had been forged from love. This
Krawk felt no love now, only a desperate desire for vengeance, a hate that controlled
and drove her soul as it had no one else's. Love and humanity were lost on this
creature, this creature woven from hate and death.
The other who did not care that the clear, warm
liquid steadily coursed down his own reptilian hide, was a sandy hued Draik,
cerulean eyes built with love and kindness, yet a certain mystery. He knew of
the Krawkess who watched him now, yet was unafraid, despite the obvious fighter
skills of his enemy. He was skilled in swordsmanship himself, as he carried
a light blade of his own by his side -- the two making up a complete whole.
The Draik slipped into a wide alley, even though
it was a dead end, and stood, waiting for something no one by him could comprehend.
The Krawk, seeing her prey finally cornered, dipped into movement as graceful
and exotic as a dancer's, yet as deadly as a rattlesnake's. Both knew this was
the moment that had to come to pass, had to since the death of Raishre.
They stood now, facing each other, the rain
pouring over them and almost blinding them. They would have been, but for their
It had begun.
To be continued...