The Curse of Talador: Fate - Part Three
"Where are we?"
Airia and I surveyed our surroundings. The sky
was a pale violet with fluffy, white clouds drifting lazily over the landscape.
A tall castle in the center of the city reached boldly into the air, towers
tickling the clouds. Over the entrance hung a bright crest. We had arrived in
Altador, the next city the Darkest Faerie may turn a greedy eye to.
"Halt!" exclaimed a voice.
A yellow Lupe pointed a silver sword embellished
with the Altadorian crest at us. His armor, too, was polished silver, as well
as a shield with the identical markings of the sword. "Who are you, and what
are you doing in this city?"
"I am Siyana, and we come from the land of-"
"Say no more, you have come to plunder our great
At the Lupe's words, the two of us were immediately
surrounded by two dozen Altadorian soldiers. Very angry Altadorian soldiers.
All armed. With swords. Pointy ones. That really hurt when they make contact.
Airia glanced around as if she had just noticed
where we were.
"Uh, I know we're surrounded by twenty-four angry
Altadorian soldiers pointing VERY sharp swords at our necks and it isn't a good
time to say this, but we are definitely NOT in Faerieland anymore!"
These words had absolutely no effect whatsoever
on the soldiers.
They didn't move a single muscle until another
voice sounded near the place where the Lupe and his soldiers had emerged.
"Tor! Tormund! What in the name of Altador is
"Jerdana," said Tor, stiffening slightly.
The fur on the back of Jerdana's neck was bristling
just as any Aisha, Kougra, Wocky, or Kacheek's would.
That was when it hit me.
"Jerdana!" I gasped out.
She turned her icy blue gaze at me and let out
a vehement exclamation, then glared at her soldiers, whom I finally recognized
as people from the Taladorian army.
"Have you any idea who these two are? I
expect you, Tor-" she glared at him in turn - "to be fair and just to any you
seem to consider intruders, other than the Darkest Faerie. Now unhand Siyana
I could tell by the edge in her voice that this
was not the first time Tor had irked her. The Lupe mumbled something, then he
and his men replaced their swords within their sheaths.
Jerdana met my eyes and held her gaze for awhile.
An understanding dawned within my mind; the Aisha wanted us to follow her. I
beckoned to Airia and we set off towards the grand Altadorian castle. Almost
as grand as Talador's, said a smug little voice in the back of my mind.
The three of us were seated in a pleasant sitting
room of the castle, most of the tapestries on the wall bearing the city's crest.
Apparently, whatever was going on here was immensely strange. How could the
people of Talador - my people - be here when they were all petrified?
As if she had read my very thoughts, Jerdana
began what I knew was going to be a lengthy speech.
"You will be wondering why we are all here in
She began pacing at this point.
"It is time I revealed to you what I should have
so many years ago, when the original city of Talador was founded. You know when
the city was begun. Four hundred eight years ago, I was among those present
at the first ever council meeting. You will find-" the Aisha surveyed our reactions
- "that Kaleen the Light Faerie was not, in fact, among them. Nor were Endor,
Rodne, or Thyora."
I was taken slightly aback. So Jerdana was immortal,
or somewhere close, yet so were the other Council members. She was the eldest
of all of them, I assumed.
"The other Council members were a Wocky, a Kougra,
an Aisha, and a Kacheek. We decided together that, should any harm befall our
city, it would be granted two more chances. How did we do it? I shall tell you.
"Legend tells that we felines - that is what
we called it when there was a group of Kougras, Wockies, and Aishas, and Kacheeks
- are granted with nine lives. Nine lives, nine chances to return to the world
even when we would have perished. So, with a combination of four of each Council
member's lives, we performed an immensely complex enchantment upon Talador so
it will have two more chances - just two. You realize, that, being so large,
our twenty lives combined granted the city these chances.
"Now, what we also wished to do was have a Council
member to remain within their ranks until the city was dead and gone. In other
words, one of us would become immortal. I was chosen unanimously - except for
my own vote, I chose Purity rather than myself - to become this way. But in
order to do so, I must first redistribute four of my remaining five lives to
non-feline creatures. My ninth life is mine to keep; it is my last life that
I have been living through for over four hundred years. In other words, the
enchantment worked; I am now, and forever will remain, immortal.
"But what did I do with the remaining four lives?
With a very long and detailed spell, I was able to stow away those four lives
in a crystal ball, so they may only be released when four worthy are born. The
first life was granted to Kaleen the Light Faerie, a Council member still today.
The second life, a girl known by the name of Mari. The third found its way to
a Shoyru named Neela-" She paused for a moment.
"And the last life, Siyana, made its way to you."
I dropped the cake I was holding.
Airia made an odd sound, a cross between a gasp
and a cough, and hid it by quickly taking a loud sip of her tea.
"Whatever became of that life you were given,
I do not know," Jerdana continued. "Because something strange happened. Instead
of being granted just one extra life, you were given four - just like the number
each Council member gave up for Talador itself."
I just sat there, stunned. So I picked up my
dropped cake, brushed it off, and continued to eat it. "So... that time I drowned... was
the time I lost my first life?"
"And I have four more until the day I die?"
You realize that, while almost all Faeries are
immortal by age, we are not immune to flesh wounds. Or circumstances like spells
that may kill us and things of the sort.
"Siyana... there is one other problem I must tell
you two. You see... long ago the Darkest Faerie herself lived in Talador."
At this point my heart froze with cold dread.
Something had happened that involved the Darkest Faerie and one of Jerdana's
four imprisoned lives. It was quite fortunate that I was wrong, for Jerdana
shook her head and continued.
"At the time she was known as Dria, and she was
a highly ambitious Light Faerie. Eventually she was inducted into the Council
itself. By then, one of the other four members were deceased. I have always
been Head of the Council, and so I shall be forever.
"Purity saw the darkness in the girl's soul.
She could see it in the way Dria talked and in her decisions; the spark of fire
not once betrayed her eyes.
"In the end, I knew it had come to this. Dria
wished to be the Head of the Council. She demanded that I step down and allow
her to become the ruler - which would have been handing her the power over all
the city. I, knowing her plan, refused.
"That night while I was asleep, Dria tried to
kill me. Yet, she did not know that while immortal in age, I am immune to flesh
wounds and killing spells, making it impossible to kill me. Alas, I would not
have wished to do this, and yet... well, by the time I had awaken, I found the
other three members' rooms deserted. There they were in the grand meeting room
- dead. Every one of them."
"But - but they had at least two lives left,
"Yes. Each member had three out of their five
remaining lives left. Remember, Siyana and Airia - any spell the Darkest Faerie
has the ability to cast is potentially lethal, and has the power to sap any
amount of lives from someone.
"As I was saying... Dria had killed more than
half of the members of the Council. My anger drove me far enough so as to drive
her from Talador. We fought long and hard for three days straight; it was brutal.
I had much more experience than her, and when she tried to send another killing
spell at me, I simply deflected it with a Shield."
Airia let out the same gasping/coughing noise.
Shields - the very complicated kind - deflected
major spells and curses, causing them to rebound upon the opponent, and curse
them with something worse than what they had caused.
"It was then that she became a Dark Faerie."
Jerdana paused to let her story sink in. "She
is still a powerful sorceress, as am I. But her one true weakness is that she
is always questing for more power, and not one day does she forget what happened.
How is that a weakness? She dwells on the past much too often, and another part
of my Shield's curse causes her to feel any pain she has ever experienced in
her life. Though she is a sinister creature of dark now, her former self is
to be pitied.
"Now, I realize that you have been deprived of
your school lessons, Siyana and Airia. You will be pleased to know that I am
enrolling you in your sixth level rather than fifth, as you have been taught
magic by the Faerieland queen, no?"
She smiled at us, a warm greeting that I remembered
so fondly. "You may wish to return to your mother and friends as well."
Airia and I nodded. She was to stay with my family
and friends - which I was definitely pleased with. We were dismissed.
I dashed outside and leaped into the air, enjoying
the cool air. Airia and I laughed together as we flew through a cloud and drenched
ourselves with dewdrops. "It's wonderful here," sighed Airia. "I feel like I'm
She sounded slightly strained, as if she was
having trouble making herself speak. I nodded in agreement, and together we
soared higher above the clouds below.
"I'm not saying anything against Fyora, but she
would only rank level eight at our Academy," she continued.
"As in ours," I agreed. "She is a wonderful queen,
really. Yet she would still have much to learn if she were one of us."
Airia and I began a dive, bypassing a Shoyru
in midair. "Pull upward!" she screeched suddenly, and we did. The ground had
rushed up suddenly and I touched down lightly.
Knocking on the door to a simple yet elegant
home, I waited patiently.
My mother's face emerged. "Siyana!" she shrieked,
and wrapped her arms around me in a tight embrace. "And Airia!" I remember you,
I was slightly confused for a moment. How could
my mother know Airia?
But before I could ponder this a moment longer,
I was knocked over into a backbreaking hug by none other than Tryssa and Lina.
"Siyana, Siyana, you came back! I knew you would!"
Lina cried happily.
Tryssa, too, was exclaiming, "We have so much
to tell you - life in Altador ROCKS!"
Her eyes sparkled with a fire that had seemed
dimmed forever by her own mother's death.
For an hour straight the four of us just talked,
like we all had known each other our entire lives.
And as the last rays of sun disappeared beyond
the horizon, I realized with a smile that the city of Altador was definitely
the city of Talador.
To be continued...