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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 14th day of Storing, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 147 > Continuing Series > Journey of a Knight: Part Nine

Journey of a Knight: Part Nine

by laurensama

"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 red color...

     "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 missing Jeran.

     "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 Jeran.

     "If you hated it, then why did you take it?" Jeran snapped.

     "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 eyes.

     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, the disappearances...

     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 land!"

     "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.

The End

Previous Episodes

Journey of a Knight: Part One

Journey of a Knight: Part Two

Journey of a Knight: Part Three

Journey of a Knight: Part Four

Journey of a Knight: Part Five

Journey of a Knight: Part Six

Journey of a Knight: Part Seven

Journey of a Knight: Part Eight


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