The Curse of Maraqua: Memories - Part Two
Alena landed down on a soft knoll and ate a little. The
azure sky was clouding up-she had to find shelter soon.
A small, rocky outcrop jutting out from the top
of a cave was within her reach. Crawling under it, she curled up into a tight
ball as the rain outside splattered down.
She had to find that Eyrie. She had to.
Toran awoke to find himself lying down in a thick,
steel-barred cell. Rose was not there. His belt had been stripped of its weapons
along with his longbow and quiver. He lay there, waiting for a visitor.
Soon a Grarrl guard came, dragging Rose along
by the wrist with him. She was struggling and kicking, but to no avail.
"Your friend's feisty, isn't she?" he sneered
coldly. Those were the only words he said. Opening the door, he threw Rose in.
Toran, a seasoned fighter, took that as a chance of escape. Quick as lightning,
he grabbed the Grarrl's arm and dragged him inside. He didn't like doing it,
but he needed to escape. Toran gave the guard a hefty punch in the face, and
Rose began to search him.
They recovered the keys to the cell, and opened
it, keeping the key-ring with them. Toran scrabbled up the stairs, careful to
avoid any guards.
The armory was not far away. Toran found his
sword and dagger, longbow and quiver, and Rose simply snatched a rapier from
the stacks of weapons littering the floor.
"This is King Skarl's palace. I don't think he'll
listen to our pleas, though. The stupid oaf would rather scoff down a large
bread loaf," hissed Rose, opening the door quietly.
No guards were outside. Rose and Toran slunk
softly down the halls and corridors, aware that a single glimpse of them might
mean their deaths.
Then, unluckily, a prison guard doing his rounds
"Get them!" he yelled.
Rose and Toran ran as huge swarms of guards chased
after them as they headed towards the drawbridge. It was already about to roll
up on them. Toran flew up to the top, Rose on his back. He could not maneuver
them through the small crack left.
Together, they jumped.
The rain had stopped, and Alena hesitantly emerged
from the cave. A Beekadoodle rested on top of the rock outcrop. It twittered
merrily, seeming to not have a care in the world. Alena sighed. She wished she
could be like that Beekadoodle, without a care in the world. That is, she would
be, when her quest was finished.
She swiftly soared through the air, keeping hold
of the legendary flying speeds of Unis. As she flew over King Skarl's palace,
she saw two minute splashes in the moat. She flew down closer.
Toran emerged from the moat, coughing and sputtering.
He was relieved to see that the drawbridge had been fully drawn up, thus trapping
everyone inside until it was put down again. He was also worried about Rose.
Where was she?
Drawing his sword, he waded around in the marshes
and cut himself some hollow reeds as preparation for breathing underwater.
Rose, however, had dragged herself up onto the
bank of the moat, using her sword to pull herself up through the mud. She laid
there, in the reeds, her still form barely breathing. She could see a blurry
outline through her half-closed eyes.
"Toran?" she asked, trying vainly to sit up.
She sank down into the mud, unconscious.
Alena was astonished to see the Zafara laid down
in the reeds, half-dead. She was comatose, though only barely. Her eyelids flickered
as Alena applied a cold compress. Leaving the Zafara with her pack, she proceeded
to look for the Eyrie she had seen.
The marshes around the moat were hard to travel
around in. At last Alena could see the Eyrie sitting on the bank, downcast.
His beak was twisted into the form of a snarl,
and his hardened features gave no hint of giving away his sadness. Only by magical
means was Alena able to figure out that he was sad.
"Who are you?" queried the Eyrie anxiously. Alena
approached him, her petite, yet strong form beaming with pleasure.
"I am Alena. And you?" answered Alena.
"Toran is my name. Listen here, Alena. Have you
seen a red Zafara anywhere?" Toran inquired anxiously.
"Yes, I found her. She is lying in the reeds
with my pack. You may go see her, if you like," replied Alena softly.
Toran quickly found Rose, and saw that she was
all right. His sturdy blue form slumped down, exhausted, and he fell into a
Alena watched him, smiling reminiscently. If
she was right, one of Fyora's messengers, Dream, would come down and tell him
Toran found himself staring straight into the
eyes of a faerie. Warily, he jumped back, striking out with his sword. A stroke
that would have cleaved an enemy straight in half the faerie effortlessly dodged,
to his surprise.
The faerie was clothed in a simple blue robe,
and her voice sounded like a tinkling bell.
"Toran, you're more than you think," she sang.
Toran didn't say anything, swiping at the faerie with his sword.
"Go with Alena, son of Mirovin. She is the daughter
of Theresa," the dream-faerie sang. Toran continued to slash and lunge at her.
Then, everything disappeared.
Toran awoke with a start. Alena looked at him,
understanding shining in her eyes.
"That happened to me, too," she whispered.
Toran was puzzled. How could he, a lonely Eyrie,
pursued by Varson, could be the son of a prestigious warrior? He did know Mirovin
had left a blood line behind, but he wasn't supposed to be one of his heirs!
Toran wasn't surprised Alena had been of very
noble birth. After all, she was from Fyora's palace, he had sensed.
"We're going to find Varson," muttered Toran
"Who's he?" asked Alena, puzzled.
"Someone you don't want to know," Toran answered.
Rose had regained consciousness, and was strong enough to run and hold her sword.
They disappeared into the night.
Alena did not like the inky blackness that surrounded
them as they ran silently through the woodlands. The Darigan Citadel was not
far away, though Alena dreaded the thought of going there. The only thing waiting
for her there was death and destruction.
They knew they had reached the woodlands under
the Citadel when the pine trees no longer smelled fresh and clean, and the air
was smoky and stank of death.
Alena could tell that they were being tracked
when someone stepped on a branch. She, Toran, and Rose froze.
Rose leapt onto Toran, and everyone jumped into
the air, hoping they would not be followed.
The Darigan Citadel rose up to meet them, the
darkly tantalizing buildings looming up to their faces. Alena and Toran arced
down towards a wave of soldiers coming to meet them.
They threw caution to the winds, and fought.
Varson sat on the throne that Darigan sat on
whenever he had come to the Citadel. Varson smiled. Toran, the Zafara, and the
Uni, would not stand a chance against his guards. He leaned back into his chair,
and looked out of the window.
His guards observed the scene calmly.
"The Zafara is a good fighter," one remarked
"I know that! Now be quiet!" Varson snapped bad-temperedly.
The tables were turning, he knew. The Uni, although very good fighting with
her horn and hooves, had begun to fire energy bolts at the guards. One smashed
open his window, disintegrating, but spraying flecks of white-hot magic at him
that singed his fur.
He snatched a longbow from one of his guards,
and drew it back to its full length. He let it fly at the Uni, hoping to dispatch
her in one hit.
The Zafara whirled around and caught the arrow
in her paw. She snapped it in half, a look of vicious contempt on her face.
Varson handed the bow back to the guard.
They would be no match for his fresh reinforcements,
he thought. Clapping his hands, a loud bugle call sounded from a guard carrying
a trumpet, and more Darigan and mutant guards swarmed from the Citadel.
The Uni, the Zafara, and Toran, his hated enemy,
were weakening under the pressure of so many people. Laughing, he called for
He was not laughing anymore when an arrow shaft
zinged into the room, killing one of his guards. Snarling, his lip trembled
He grabbed his sword and armor, and tromped down
the stairs, shoving everyone out of the way. His servants, mainly captured Meridellians,
cowered in fear from him.
One did not. Devin, a thin, gauntly figured young
Cybunny, did not go out of the way.
Without another thought, Varson hit him in the
head with his sword handle. Devin sank to the ground.
Varson surveyed the battle scene. It was going
well, and the reinforcements were fresh. He knew there was no need for him to
go into the battle.
That is, until the tables turned on him.
To be continued...