Blade of Fire, Blade of Ice: Part Three
Talek could not believe that so many Kacheeks could live
in the Abi. He knew that such a system would never work in Maraqua, for arguments
were sure to break out regularly between the irritable water-dwellers. The Evanagunites'
lack of temper and love of peace kept their society functioning smoothly, and
he had never seen a more closely knit community before. It was almost impossible
to pick out individual families, for they all seemed to know each other and what
one needed another would readily give.
The Evanagunites were a special people, he had
discovered. They all had multiple things in common - they were all peaceful
and wise, and for some odd reason they all seemed to lack perfect eyesight.
But if that was the price for such wisdom and kindness, Talek knew he would
gladly become one of the special white Kacheeks. They were different from any
Neopians Talek had ever seen before, and he instantly warmed to them and their
acceptance of his unusual circumstances.
And now all two hundred of the white Kacheeks
were sitting in front of him, staring at him with their pale red eyes. He had
been an object of curiosity to them, and had felt their almost unnerving gaze
upon him ever since he had left the healing dorm. He was somewhat nervous -
he had not told his tale to any, not even Kelpbeard, but now he was to tell
them all. He had already told them everything else. What species he was, what
colour. Where he had come from, how he had arrived there. He had done so freely,
without anxiety, for he had felt that the Evanagunites would not laugh or scorn
him, and they had not. But this... this was different.
"Go on," the young female Kacheek who had spoken
to him earlier encouraged. Her name, Talek found, was Ystrana, and she was one
of the more respected and wise Evanagunites. "Tell us. We will not hate you
if you have committed wrongs or done anything worth despising. We of Evanagu
love a good tale, that is all. And it seems you have one to give us."
"Very well then," Talek replied, taking a deep
breath. "It began with the rainbow Draik Elyx...
"He was a great and powerful Draik. Not only
could he wield a blade as well as, nay, better than the rest of them, but he
also had the rare ability to control powerful magical forces. He was the first
Swordmaster. He had a special kind of magic - one that could seal power within
a blade to be unleashed at the user's will. He was adept with any weapon, but
his favourite was the sword. He had a special affinity with them - he could
forge them, shape them, create them, use them and give power to them. He soon
acquired a title - the Swordmaster. And he was truly great, for he did not use
his power for ill but instead to protect Neopia, to calm her rage, to preserve
"But power corrupts all, even those that have
all the right intentions. Oh, Elyx did not begin to use his power to satisfy
his own desires, but his power did change him. As all mortals do, Elyx grew
old. He feared that the day would come when he would die and Neopia would shatter
the peace which he had worked so hard to obtain. So he attempted to perform
a spell, a powerful one which none had performed or even heard of before. So
desperate was he that it was one that he had invented himself. He had no idea
if it would work, but he decided to try all the same.
"He forged a sword, one that was made not just
of metal but also of magic. His intention was to infuse himself into the sword
so that its bearer would command the power that he himself did. But to do so
requires an intense concentration of power, which he did not have, he had to
produce it somehow. So he was going to try and split himself up into two drastically
opposite elements, two Draiks in a manner of speaking. Such a split would release
his spirit which would then be able to become one with the blade. But this kind
of use of power... it was nothing but wrong, for when we are all created as
simple eggs we are supposed to stay one. But Elyx wanted to rip himself into
the most opposed elements in Neopia - fire and ice.
"So he followed through with his plan. But there
was something he had not counted on - that he would fight himself. As soon as
he split into three parts he no longer could control his other two. His own
mind flew into his spirit, but his fiery body and his icy body entered the blade
of their own accord before he could do anything. The blade, before his eyes,
changed so that the hilt remained the same, but one of the edges of the blade
was a tongue of flame while the other was an icicle. To be kept safe this was
locked up inside the Hidden Tower, for if unleashed the fire and ice Draiks
could ruin Neopia.
"But now it seems that they have escaped their
prison of cold steel, and are destroying Neopia with their foolish war, for
fire will always fight ice, and ice fire."
"The spirit," murmured Ystrana quietly once
the applause for Talek's tale had died down. "What happened to his spirit?"
"It is believed to still be roaming Neopia today,
helping those in need, giving power to the weak."
"And the line of the Swordmasters was continued,
I suppose," another Kacheek muttered.
"It was. The Swordmaster has always been a Draik,
and there has only ever been one in Neopia and any one time, excluding what
remains of Elyx. They have always owned blades of magic, mine being Talithir.
Its abilities," Talek went on, remembering a certain unexpected flight, "still
amaze me at every turn. And the Swordmasters have always been of different lands
- mine is Maraqua, but the one before me resided in the Desert, I am told."
"And you alone have the power to reseal Elyx
into his blade... "
"Yes. Which is why I must hasten to Faerieland
as soon as possible."
"And we will aid you," spoke Ystrana confidently.
The Kacheeks around her nodded, cheering their agreement. Talek smiled, glad
to have such great allies. "We will give you all the supplies you need for your
journey. And I personally will accompany you on your journey. I will see you
safe to the Faerieland edge of Evanagu Island and then... then we shall see."
Talek trudged wearily through the desert. He
knew that Evanagu Island was a small island - that was why it had remained undiscovered
for so long. Yet how could an island with the proportions of Evanagu contain
a desert like this?
Ystrana had been right. In the middle of the
desert there had been a great abyss, which Talek would have had great difficulty
in crossing had it not been for Talithir. As it was the journey was difficult
enough - Ystrana had had to hold onto the Draik as he moved across the great
black crevasse, trying not to look down. It had sapped most of their strength
and the travellers had had to rest for many days once they were across.
"Now," Ystrana had told Talek with a weak smile,
"we are in unknown country. Most of the Evanagunites have never crossed the
Abyss before. I am still certain that nothing can harm you here, but it will
be hard to find water and other vital resources on the other side of the Abyss.
It should not be too far until we reach the Faerieland side of Evanagu though."
Though Ystrana continued to assure him that
Faerieland was not far, Talek could see no end to the far reaching desert that
extended as far as he could see. Even the faint smudge that had been the Abyss
was long gone. Talek's paws which were not used to constant trekking were aching
more than he could imagine, and he dared not use the power of Talithir in case
it should drain away when he needed it most.
"Not far to go," Ystrana murmured again. She,
like the Swordmaster, was feeling the toll of the journey. "Not far... " She
walked on, trying her best to look and sound as if she was not just about to
collapse from exhaustion.
Talek nodded, trying to still look enthusiastic.
Only the thought of the Brothers flying all over Neopia wreaking havoc kept
him going. For the zillionth time he scanned the blue sky which looked devoid
of all life. Just to make sure, he allowed his eyes to roll over the sky again...
and caught sight of something that took his breath away.
It was a soft pink cloud floating lightly in
the sky. Talek smiled as he caught his first glimpse of Faerieland, a sight
that filled his heart with hope.
To be continued...