Morgan rushed over to the still shape in the grass. His
heart beat wildly in his chest. He had never seen any living thing lie that still
before. Event unconscious creatures showed some movement.
He crouched down and gently touched her wet muddy
fur. It felt cold and grimy. The rain and mud had taken the shine out of it,
and the once gleaming coat looked matte and listless.
Morgan rolled her limp body onto its back. She
made no move to stop the unnatural movement, and didn't respond to his touch
at all. He put his face next to her mouth, but could not feel even the slightest
breath. He ran a paw down her cheek and pressed it against her neck. Not even
the slightest pulse was discernible beneath his fingers.
Unwilling to believe what he was seeing, Morgan
gently shook Cassie's slender frame. Her head lolled from side to side and her
eyes did not open.
"No. NO!" Morgan cried. Tears ran from his eyes
and mingled with the torrents of rain that poured onto him and Cassie. He squinted
up into the driving rain and wanted to scream. The land was crying too, but
it couldn't come close to matching his grief.
Morgan gathered up the cold wet body on the ground
and held it close to him. He had come so close to losing her so many times over
the coarse of their journey, but all the fear and pain he had felt then was
nowhere close to what he was feeling now. He had never thought that any being
could hurt as much as he did then.
More tears trickled down his cheeks into the
soiled silver fur. How could a creature as effervescent and full of life as
Cassie ever become so still? Why had this happened? More questioned rushed through
his head unrelentingly. What right did Pravus have to ever have been born? Why
did the good in the world have to suffer because of all the evil?
Morgan buried his face into the wet fur. All
he wanted to do now was sleep and wake up to find it had all been a nightmare.
He wanted to wake up and see Cassie standing over him smiling and telling him
the whole ordeal had been a nightmare and that there was nothing to worry about.
He wanted to hear her say "It's okay Morgan.
I'm alright now," like she had on other occasions. In fact, he just wanted to
hear her voice in general. He wanted to hear he voice like nothing he had ever
Lana and Anshi were looking around the battle
field surveying the damage. The places where the Dynin had fallen were nothing
more than plies of ash and bone. The bodies of the slain soldiers were easy
to find. Lana was sad to see the bodies of those she had fenced with the night
Lana and Anshi had come out of the battle fairly
well. Anshi had sustained a fairly deep gash on his cheek. It would surely scar
and never fully disappear, but Lana told him it made him look dashing so he
decided he could live with it.
Lana's reminder of the battle was a little more
severe. While battling a Skeith who had a battle axe, she had lost one of her
ears. Anshi told her it made her look lopsided.
They soon regrouped with some of the other survivors
who were looking through the carnage, and were glad to find Dewrder and Maputi
among them. Maputi's white fur was stained with crimson from several wounds,
but they were not deep, and he was doing fine.
Dewrder was looking old and haggard. He had scarlet
scratches across his grey muzzle. One of his paws had been rendered useless,
and his left eye was swollen shut due to a vicious blow he had received from
the butt of a sword.
"I'm just glad I got hit with the butt and not
the blade," he joked when met with Lana's appalled stare.
Lana was worried when she didn't see Morgan with
the rest of the survivors, but her fears were put to rest when some one said
they had seen him running up the hill where that light had come from.
No one had seen Cassie either, but they all assumed
that she had been the source of the light. The fact that Morgan had been running
in that direction merely confirmed this in everyone's minds.
Anshi and Lana decided to see if they could find
their two friends so they set off across the battlefield. It was a morbid trip.
They passed dead comrades with their pain twisted faces. The rain had washed
away much of the blood, but it was still awful to see.
They reached the base of the hill and began to
scramble up it. It was a hard climb due to the wet grass and fresh mud, but
they pressed on nonetheless. They reached the top slightly winded, but caught
their breath when they saw the two Zafaras; the flaccid silver one and the spotted
one cradling her head.
Lana was the fist to reach that pair and knelt
down looking concerned. Morgan gazed up at her with grief-stricken eyes.
"She's gone. He took her. She's gone." Lana
choked back a sob, stood up and turned away. Anshi had heard what Morgan had
said and looked at the empty shell that had held their friend and leader with
"What happened?" Lana whispered. Her dark eyes
shone with tears and her voice quivered. Morgan's voice was even shakier though,
and it took him awhile before he was able to speak.
"I think she died while battling Pravus. It's
kinda like what happened back in the swamp with the Marwolaeth. She put everything
into the fight, and…" Morgan's words faded away as new tears streamed down his
"…She gave more than she had this time," Lana
finished sadly remembering the night in the swamp. They remained silent letting
these words sink in. All were lost in their thoughts and memories.
Lana remembered the day that Cassie had visited
her village. She had been so in awe of her that she could hardly speak to her.
She remembered how boldly she had climbed the vines hat led to the gate of Emrallis.
Most of all she though of how she had laughed, joked and shone so brightly even
when there was danger. She smiled at memory of Cassie tackling Morgan because
he had called her 'your royal storminess.'
Anshi remembered how she had taken such a deep
interest in his life. She had really cared about the things that he had told
her that first day. No one had ever listened to him like that before. No one
in the palace had cared, and people in the swamp would have considered it being
Morgan felt like he was being ripped apart inside.
Grief tore at his heart, and it was a struggled to keep breathing. Even when
he had thought she was dead when she had been kidnapped, he hadn't felt like
this because there was still that vain hope. Now he held her body and could
see no hope.
He thought back to the first time he had seen
her; an uncertain silver creature who had called him Mr. Travers. Even Though
she had been nervous, she had carried herself with a presence that belonged
to a confident personality that would never be stopped by anything.
He also remembered how mischievous she had been.
He almost smiled at the memory of the mud fight outside of the swamp, and the
food fight of a couple of nights ago. She sure had loved laughing and making
He thought back to Emrallis and the prophesy
that had been made and he stiffened. A great battle is soon to ensue. There
will be much bloodshed and destruction. The evil must be driven from the land
by the rising of the twelfth moon or the storm will be silenced and the land
thrown into shadow. The blackness can only be cast out by a sacrifice of great
merit. Those were the words that the seer had said.
Morgan remembered them well, but was confused.
Things had gone as the prophesy had said, except that Cassie had fallen. The
battle had happened as had the bloodshed. The darkness had been driven from
the land before the rising of the twelfth moon. There had been a sacrifice of
great merit. Cassie had made that sacrifice.
Why, then, was she lying here in the mud not
breathing? Shouldn't she be alive like the rest of them? The storm shouldn't
have been silenced. There was something wrong.
"Morgan…We should probably get back to camp,"
Anshi said tentatively. Morgan looked up as if he had forgotten they were there.
"Oh, not now," he said looking up at the two
Kyriis standing over him. "Can either of you remember the prophesy that was
made by that Kau in Emrallis?" Anshi and Lana both nodded slowly unsure of what
to make of this.
"Well, didn't she say that the storm would be
silenced only if the evil hadn't been driven out after that rising of the twelfth
moon?" The light of understanding began to shine in their eyes.
"But if that's the case, then why is she… the
way she is?" Lana asked hesitantly. They all were silent for a while, and then
Morgan said that he didn't know.
"I just don't get it. This never needed to happen!
It shouldn't be like this!" Morgan burst out, the raw agony and grief apparent
in his voice. No one knew.
They all sat there for a long time, lost in their
thoughts. The rain began to abate, and soon the clouds cleared. It was dusk
and the sun was sinking behind the horizon. Morgan watched it go with a feeling
of hopeless sorrow. It hurt to watch its pure light fade away behind the hills.
Darkness crept up on the group and covered them.
They all stayed too consumed with heartache to want to move. The moon began
to rise, and they all looked up as if drawn to its soft light. The gentle light
shone down on the sad group, and fell upon Cassie's still face.
Morgan looked down on her and gasped at how alive
her face looked in the moon light. He could almost see here eyelids flutter
and her lips move. Soon it became clear that it was no illusion. There was movement
in her face. Her eyes opened, and she stared up at Morgan with eyes that he
had thought he would never see again.
Morgan gave a cry and Lana and Cassie looked
around. Cassie began to sit up and looked at them. She shook her head as if
to clear the cobwebs and then looked back at Morgan.
"What happened?" she asked. Morgan was too shocked
to speak. His mouth hung opening unabashed amazement. Cassie looked to Lana
and Anshi for an answer but they were in the same state.
"Lana! What happened to your ear?" she asked
suddenly noticing her friend's new injury. This brought Lana back to earth so
she closed her mouth and laughed shakily.
"I had a disagreement with a Skeith. They can
be pretty temperamental."
Cassie laughed. It was the laugh that they had
all been wishing to hear a few minutes ago. They began to laugh too. Soon the
hilltop was ringing with sweet laughter that seemed to resonate throughout the
Cassie stood up and shook the mud and water from
her fur. Morgan felt a rush of warmth seep into his body. She was alive! She
was no longer an empty shell. There was life and laughter underneath that silver
fur again, and he was glad to see it.
They walked down to camp and Morgan told Cassie
what had happened. She listened quietly through the whole story, and then said
the only thing that needed to be said.
"It's okay Morgan. I'm alright now."