Blade of Fire, Blade of Ice: Part Four
"Talek?" Ystrana asked anxiously. She could no longer feel
his presence around her. She scanned the surrounding area.
Ystrana almost laughed aloud with joy. The Evanagunites
rarely showed emotion, except in extreme cases. They were not a heartless people
- it was just not their way. Ystrana held back her wild joy - she had not known
that Talek had meant so much to her, and losing him even for a few seconds would
devastate her so. She cursed herself silently. One such as she could never...
"I've seen it. I've seen Faerieland."
Those simple words were enough to make her thoughts
change. Faerieland! Soon they would arrive at the pink walled city. Even though
her home was so close to Faerieland, the mystical city still remained a legend.
A dream. For none of Evanagu had ever journeyed there, and naturally Ystrana
was more than just a little excited.
Talek felt a little thrill as he looked up, too
- this was where it had begun, and this was where it would end. Hopefully by
the time he had left Faerieland he would have successfully sealed the Brothers
inside the Blade. There were doubts that lay stealthily inside his head - the
Brothers had escaped once, would they not do so again? But he knew that the
first time they had entered of their own accord, and could then leave the same
way. And this time he would able to seal them in forever, and Neopia would be
safe from them forever.
"If we can see it now," Ystrana thought aloud,
getting her mind back onto practical matters, "then it should be a one day trek
to the coastline. Then we can ascend into the clouds and that will be about
"Um, yes, I was wondering about that," Talek
put in. "How exactly are you going to get up there? Talithir can take me, but
if I tried to use its power to take us both it would use up too much power.
You saw what we were both like after the Abyss, and that was tiny. Journeying
to Faerieland - even journeying through Faerieland requires you to be able to
get your paws off the ground. And that would take so much longer - I don't think
you'd be able to be on solid ground very often at all."
"I have my ways," replied Ystrana with a cryptic
smile. "We Evanagunites can often surprise you," she went on, not untruthfully.
"Fear not - when it comes to moving in the air methinks you'll be a little bit
more than surprised."
"If you say so," Talek said, puzzled. He trusted
Ystrana, so why would she hide something from him? He was sure that she was
hiding something. Everything about her, ever since he'd met her, suggested a
secret, and no small one either.
So on they marched, the two travellers, but
no longer with heavy hearts.
The next night they reached the far coast of
Evanagu. In the distance floated Faerieland which looked no bigger than it had
the day before. But still, it was there, and Talek felt that half his journey
was already over. Soon they would enter the famous city.
"We should ascend now," Ystrana suggested. "Then
we can sleep in a proper Faerieland bed instead of having to camp out here like
"I would rather enter Faerieland in full daylight,"
Talek murmured back. "Would it really be a good idea to enter an unknown land
in the middle of the night where anything could happen?"
Ystrana opened her mouth to reply but before
any sound came out she heard Talek draw in a sharp breath beside her. She guessed
that he had seen something else - something unexpected.
"Elyx," she heard the Swordmaster whisper in
wonder. "The Brothers... they have left Faerieland."
Looking up, Ystrana fancied that she could see
something too - a bright flash of fiery colours that swooped gracefully out
of the clouds and a glittering ice-creature that glided away. She could almost
feel her heart soar away with them. Talek almost drew his sword and made after
them, but caught himself the next moment.
"They must feel that the one who can seal them
away is near," the Maraquan Draik said. "If they are not in Faerieland how can
I call them to the Blade? Will I have to wait for them to return?"
"Nay, 'tis not necessary," Ystrana replied.
"When the time comes you will be able to call them to you, methinks. Wait. Trust.
Have faith in yourself, and all will be well. Now, methinks 'twould be a good
idea to move up now. We should waste no time. The end approaches... and 'twill
be better if we can reach it quickly. Would you move upwards in daylight and
face the Brothers at night, or would you move now and face the Brothers in light?"
"The second is the better of the two options,
if you put it that way," Talek replied. "Yes. We will go now and try to find
a room for the night. Tomorrow we will search for the Hidden Tower and find
the Blade." He glanced anxiously at Ystrana. "Will you be able to move up now?"
Ystrana smiled and in the next instant she was
no longer a Kacheek. Instead a white Eyrie was standing in front of Talek, staring
at him with her pale red eyes.
"A shape shifter," breathed Talek reverently.
"You never told me... "
"Before the questions begin flooding out," Ystrana
interrupted, holding up a talon, "I must ask you to restrain yourself. Your
questions will be answered but here and now is neither the right time nor the
right place. Trust me."
"I will," Talek replied. Thanks to this amazing
shape shifter he had not died of thirst or of his wounds back in the Abi. He
owed Ystrana so much - he had not realised how valuable her company was to him.
But he was still full of curiosity. As Ystrana had said, he had many questions
flowing through his mind and he trusted Ystrana to answer them all later. "But
I would ask just one now. Are all the Evanagunites like yourself, or are there
some that cannot change their shape?"
"I am a special one. I am blessed. That is all
I will say for now." Ystrana patted one of Talek's fins. "But 'tis time we are
gone, for if we tarry here any longer the dawn will come."
Talek nodded, and drew out Talithir. The blue
serrated edge with odd markings seemed to shimmer and dance before his eyes.
He closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them the blade was glowing.
"A flying Maraquan Draik would attract unnecessary
attention," pointed out Ystrana. "Maybe if Talithir could disguise you in some
Talek had to agree with her, loving of his Maraquan
coat as he was. He trusted that it would be a simple transformation and that
he could easily change back if he wanted to.
"A shape change costs much power," reminded
Ystrana. "Thus, I think we should... " The Eyrie plucked out a feather with
her claw and dropped it, watching it drift slowly onto the blue blade. As soon
as the soft feather came into contact with the steel it dissolved into Talithir,
making the blade glow even more, emitting sparks. They engulfed Talek, shielding
him from view and blinding Ystrana's already weak eyes, making her turn away.
When the light had died down and she guessed that it was safe to look around,
Talek had lost his fins and white coat. Instead he was all the colours of the
rainbow, from a deep ruby red to a dark shade of violet.
"Rainbow, like the great Swordmaster Elyx,"
Talek heard the Eyrie murmur. "Fitting indeed, that he who shall bring us peace
would be as he who brought this upon us."
"We should wait no longer. 'Tis time we are
off," Talek said abruptly.
"Indeed," the Eyrie replied, and together, Draik
and Eyrie flew up into the pink city.
The blade waited, knowing that soon its time
would come. Soon the spirit of the Swordmaster would imbue it once more. Soon
all three parts would be one again. It had been moved, after the Brothers had
left it, for safety, but the sword knew that the change in location would not
affect the present Swordmaster too much.
The Brothers had, during their stay in the blade,
affected it with their power. It was no longer a simple sword. It did not live,
but it was sentient. It was aware of its surroundings.
And the time drew ever nearer, the sword knew.
Though the Brothers had fled from the blade, the third part, the vital part
was coming. The blade could feel it. The spirit which the sword had not been
acquainted with was coming, and then together they would all be locked together.
And this time the Brothers would not be able to escape. Oh, how the sword longed
for company! It was a lonely sword - being granted the powers of thought were
not necessarily an advantage, for unlike its brother Talithir it had no companion,
and no one to talk to it. It hated solitude, and was glad that soon its solitude
would be coming to an end. Soon everything would be made right.
To be continued...