"Firiden...Firiden..." Jeran panted as he rushed down
the hallway. He imagined their first days together, their first encounter. Perhaps
he should have let that feral Lupe attack Firiden! Maybe the world would have
been better off…
"Traitor...traitor!" The torches on the wall
whizzed by even faster now. He wondered why he was following the Eyrie when
indeed the true villain of this was standing back there, completely free to
skip off and escape punishment. Jeran mentally scolded himself for not handing
Firiden for to the guards, his heart continuing to swell with anger.
The wail bounced around the corridor's stone
walls causing Jeran's ears to ring fiercely. He hurtled himself up the flight
of stairs before him, his legs burning and cramping from the running that he
had done. He had no idea how far he had traveled or where he would end up, but
it didn't matter, for he was beyond thinking now.
Two by two he took the stairs, never faltering
in his pace or tripping. He halted only when he came to the end of the hall
sectioned off by a heavy iron door. Jeran tugged at the lock, flinging the door
open with such force as he had never done before. Yet the next hall was not
alone with almost a dozen pair of angry eyes staring back of him.
"That's 'em!" a surly looking Buzz shouted. The
criminals did not need anymore command, launching themselves at Jeran with a
temerity never seen before. But Jeran was in a blind rage, no longer ruled by
the thoughts, only his rage. He dodged and parried through their blows, never
himself receiving a blow. The pathetic criminals ran off one by one, scampered
down the hallway as they feared for their lives.
"Cowards!" Jeran snarled, watching the criminal
run off into the opposite direction. Jeran took a step and fell to the ground,
noting a painful scrape on his foot. Wincing he stood up, trying to ignore the
pain but instead focusing on what had to be done.
He limped down the passage with a horrible gait,
absorbed on the door before him. He wrenched it open, hoping within his heart
that another band of criminals was not waiting for him. The door wrenched open
with an ancient creek. Jeran paused when he felt the delicious night air on
his face. He smiled; it was just like how he remembered it. The silence of the
night was not as it used to be, with random shouts and screams coming from outside.
His eyes scanned the area as he stepped out of the door, deciding that he was
on top of the castle.
"Where is he...?" Jeran whispered as he looked
around, his sword drawn. His ears were strained for a sound, yet nothing came...
WHACK! A large object fell on Jeran's back, crumpling
him. He collapsed to the ground in pain, quickly flipping on his back to see
the assailant. A dark shadow stood over him, its eyes angry and cruel; a deep
"Lupe, you should have simply let them capture
you, it would have been easier to waste away in that dungeon than fall here..."
Rohanse muttered in a threatening voice. Jeran slowly got to his feet, his hand
tightly gripped on his sword.
"And what would you know about that dungeon?
You just manage it!" Jeran snapped. The Eyrie's eyes bulged at the impudence
of the young pup before him. He swung the sword in his hands angrily, barley
"Me?! I would know more about that dungeon than
all your nightmares would tell you! Forty years I was locked in there wrongly
by that fat king. Forty years! I lost everything! Well, eventually the truth
came to light, but with no help from Skarl, who even challenged the evidence!
In the end as retribution he gave me a job in the dungeon!" Rohanse's eyes bored
down upon Jeran, while his tail twitched angrily. "It was the cruelest bit of
a joke he could give me, to remind me each day of what I was forced to endure...but
I took it..." The Eyrie gave an insane grin as he brandished his sword towards
"If you hated it, then why did you take it?"
"Why, it put me in the perfect spot for revenge!
I wasn't going to let this opportunity slip by! If I worked in the castle...I
could get to Skarl whenever I wanted," Rohanse rambled. His sense of sanity
was long out the window as he cackled again. Jeran edged away from the Eyrie,
concluding that he was indeed mad, but he tried to keep him talking, hoping
that someone...anyone...would hear him and arrest him.
"And so it was simple. In charge of the scourge
of Meridell I offered them the best opportunity ever. Swear allegiance to my
plans, and I'll grant them what they wanted, their freedom. That is where you
ragged Ixi friend came in!" Rohanse yelled. Jeran's mind snapped back to thought
of his friends, his plan now lost in the swell of his mind. "Oh yes, he was
arrested (but I doubt he ever told you) about a month ago. Caught stealing some
weaponry...I assume it was for you. Offered him the deal and he happily took
it...foolish pup!" Rohanse smiled, noticing the anger, which burned behind Jeran's
Jeran's heart almost burst with sadness as he
heard these words. Firiden in jail? Rohanse was right, he never did mention
it. He tried to think of when it must have been like, but honestly couldn't
think of it. His mind pieced everything together perfectly; his sullen attitude,
But another thought entered his mind. Firiden
stole for Jeran. He risked a life of darkness and solitude to get Jeran something.
He couldn't bear the thought of what he had said to him, to his best friend.
He would have given anything in the world to run back to the dungeon and tell
his friend that he did not mean those words...
"You...you used Firiden..." Jeran snarled, his
anger growing again, but it was at a new fore.
"Hrmp, pitiful Ixi should have known what he
was getting into!" Rohanse snapped, his sword pointing at Jeran. Jeran's mind
tried to formulate a plan. Just keeping Rohanse talking, Jeran knew that if
they kept talking someone, anyone would hear them. He didn't want to risk a
fight, Jeran didn't know could fight with his foot the way it was...
But sensing hesitation on Jeran's part, Rohanse
leaped at Jeran, a speed that seemed beyond the frailty of his age. Jeran dived
to the side, dodging the blow. He recoiled, charging at the Eyrie who easily
dodged the attacked and lobbed one at his back. Jeran fell to the ground, panting
and huffing, the sound of laughter filling his ears.
"Come on, Lupe, can't you fight better than this?
It'll be a shame if the guards collect you without a decent fight!" Rohanse
taunted before charging at Jeran again. Jeran leapt up and blocked the sword,
pushing all of his strength behind it, the two were locked in combat, but the
Eyrie looked down at Jeran's foot and gave a brutal smile before he dug his
foot onto of the wound.
Jeran let out an injured howl as he crumpled
to the ground, his footing completely lost in the pain. Rohanse raised his sword
for the final blow. Jeran ignored the swirling pain in his mind and stepped
aside for the worst part, however his shoulder encountered the sword leaving
him with a horrible gash on his shoulder. Jeran staggered to his feet, ready
to attack, but the jailer was quick, landing a startlingly strong kick into
Jeran's chest, sending him skidding off the roof. Jeran snatched on to the ledge
desperately, his legs flailing in the darkness. He didn't dare look down, but
he knew that if he fell there would be no recovery from the injury. Rohanse's
eyes peered over the edge, triumphant and his smile gleeful.
"Here he is Meridell! Your champion! The hero
that will soon be no more than a spot on the ground!" Rohanse addressed to the
night, raising his sword directly at Jeran's hand.
"Like I said, boy, if you had just wasted away
in that dungeon you would have been better off. You should have considered it
an honor to take the fall, for that wretched Skarl will not longer plague this
"If it's such an honor then you take it!" a voice
cried. Rohanse dimly turned around just in time to see a shield crash into his
face. He fell backwards, holding his face in the pain. Jeran struggled to climb
up to see what was going on, but his foot was so numb that he could no longer
control it properly. A hoof dropped over the ledge to help him up, a hoof covered
in orange fur.
"Jer! Grab on!" Firiden called out, his paw madly
waving in over the ledge. Jeran snatched it as his friend pulled him up, a desperate
gleam in his eyes. Jeran couldn't help but smile at his friend, yet there was
no time for reunions at this point as the Eyrie began to gather his bearings,
staring angrily at Jeran.
"NO! YOU WILL NOT RUIN THIS!" He howled, charging
at Jeran with all his strength. Jeran's eyes narrowed as the blow completely
missed him. The Eyrie whipped around in disorientation, but Jeran was ready,
landing a strong kick squarely in his chest.
The fight was no longer as one sided as it was
before. A kick here, a blow there, each of them Jeran's doing. Rohanse was defenseless,
helpless from the attack as Jeran launched a final kick that sent the Eyrie
skidding into the wall with speed.
BAM! Rohanse and the wall connected with force.
The defeated Eyrie simply stared out at the two, his wings useless and crumpled
as his limbs struggled to get back to the battle. But he knew it was over...
"Don't move," Jeran commanded, his sword pointed
in the face of Rohanse.
"Yeah, you're under arrest traitor!" Firiden
smiled as he stood over the Eyrie with authority. Jeran and Firiden looked at
each other, their smiled genuine while from the tower they could hear the sound
of approaching footsteps from the guards.
Jeran sat upon the top of the castle, a gentle breeze playing along his face.
The cool wind from the east signaled the end of the day while he could feel
the blazing warmth of the setting sun.
He opened his eyes upon the sound of claws scratching
on the floor. Jeran turned around to see a guard waving to him a friendly fashion.
"Hey Jeran, all quiet out here?" he asked, leaning
on his spear in a casual manner. Jeran surveyed the area and nodded, yawning
in a content fashion.
"Yeah, but it's nice out." He smiled at the Draik
who also returned the smile. The fellow guard unfurled his wings, hovering in
the air next to Jeran to catch a better view of the land.
"Anyways, I got a message that you're wanted
outside. Urgent I heard," he said. Jeran didn't need to be told twice as he
ran towards the inside of the castle, bounding down the steps as fast as he
could go. His steps were echoed from the golden armor surrounding him, while
the other guards stepped back, wonder what was causing Jeran to rush about so
quickly. The Lupe paused only upon reaching the bottom of the castle where a
small cart was being loaded in the dying sunlight.
"Hey Jer, wanna help me put that on the cart?"
Firiden asked, pointing at a large box idly sitting the ground. The two friends
grabbed each end and pulled it up, setting it on top of the cart, which groaned
under the additional weight.
"Well, that should do it," Firiden said, dusting
off his hooves. The two stood in silence, staring out at the village just down
the hill, the sun rapidly descending behind the trees.
"Firiden...you don't have to go," Jeran said
simply, a hint of pleading in his voice. The Ixi smiled and shook his head sadly.
"Naw Jer, I gotta get going. Besides, I doubt
they're gonna be too kind to me here in Meridell what with the whole conspiracy
thing," The Ixi laughed, beginning to climb on top of his package filled cart.
"But, Skarl pardoned you...I doubt that anyone
would question you Fir!" Jeran countered, trying his best to plead from his
friend. But Firiden's mind was already made up as he slowly shook his head.
"Jer, there's always a time when a door opens.
The door has opened for you, and you have to take it. For me, a door has closed...but...that
only means that I have to go and find a new door. You'll understand," Firiden
smiled, reaching a hoof towards the young Lupe. Jeran grabbed it, shaking it
with sadness as he stared at his old friend the images of their life together
flashing about his eyes.
"Jeran...you take care," Firiden said slowly.
Jeran nodded, his words lost in the sadness. The orange Ixi cast one more look
to him before cracking the reigns in his hooves, his cart starting down a beaten
dirt path that disappeared into the forest. Jeran watched his friend leave,
standing there even after both the sun and Firiden were completely gone.
He seemed at lost for emotions, not sure what
he should do or feel now. Jeran simply stood, realizing that now he had lost
two important people in his life: Firidgen and Lisha.
But it was like Firiden had said, a door had
closed, but there was still one open. The Lupe turned around to look at the
castle, the towers sparkling as the torches sprung to life inside. Smiling,
he trudged back towards the castle, realizing that perhaps the journey through
this door would not be as lonely as it seemed.