Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 90,554,371 Issue: 172 | 7th day of Sleeping, Y7
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Raider of the Sky: Part Four


by shimmer765

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The sun was a ball of fire in the sky as Croshar and I sat on a wooded bluff, looking over our map of the area. We were on the far side of the Angel's Wrath Mountains, past the Cliffs of the Angel's Wrath, near enough to look over the city of Peranda and barely glimpse the land of Maracharon to our left. Peranda was one of Kranslunar's sister cities, and far to our west, behind yet another mountain range, lay Maracharon. We were well out of the way of the Four Peaks, which were even more dangerous than Kranslunar. They were a set of three monstrous mountains and one so huge its top was lost in the clouds. No one, even the thieves, knew what was there. Some thing dangerous, some said. Something evil, said others. But neither of us wanted to find out.

      "If the wind is at our back, we should be able to fly over the valleys and the mountains tomorrow. If not," Croshar paused, "we'll have to spend the night in the mountains again, but we can stand that."

      "Fine, as long as we get this over with safely. Can we eat now?" I had been bothering Croshar about eating for the past ten minutes. She had insisted we study one of our many maps.

      "Alright. Come on." She stuffed the map in her bag.

     We walked back to our camp, which consisted mainly of our sleeping maps and packs. Croshar looked around momentarily, then trotted over to a small plant.

     "Ah, here we go," she said, and pulled off a few large pods from the vine. "These are edible. I don't want to have to bother with a fire."

     I shrugged. "Sure, as long as we eat something."

     I bit into the middle of the pod, only to have the seeds fly out each end. I frowned and grabbed for them.

     Croshar broke out laughing. "That's not how you eat it, silly!"

      I growled at her. "That could have happened to anyone!"

     "No, but it happened to you! Look, you eat it like this," she tore the top off another one and gave it to me. I sighed, then grinned. At least I wouldn't starve, though I might if Croshar wasn't here. What would I ever do without her?

      I stared up into the cool fall night. The stars were mirrored clearly in the sky, as was the moon. Kreludor was almost invisible in the darkness, due to its deep purple color.

      Croshar stirred behind me. I was keeping watch while she slept. Never take chances this near to Kranslunar, or anywhere for that matter.

      The Lunar City was dangerous, more dangerous than Kurn or even allof the Valley Kingdoms ever were. As far as I knew, no thieves, or anyone else like us for that matter, lived in the kingdom. Kranslunar ruled Peranda and Maracharon, and it was also rumored that they had combined their army with that of the Four Peaks. They had nothing to do at all with the kingdoms of the other valley, where I normally worked, but it was said also that Kranslunar held a grudge against them. A grudge that would some day be paid for by the lives of those who lived in the valley, and when the armies of the Four Peaks and Kranslunar were ready and big enough to overpower the valley, the grudge would be carried out. The Valley Kingdoms' people would be made slaves to the Kranslunarians. As far as I knew, the grudge was a completely meaningless thing, something that could have been forgotten long ago, but wasn't. Instead it had to be taken out on the Valley Kingdoms, and the 'Dooms Day' couldn't be too far off. I just hoped that day didn't come anytime soon.

      ****

      Croshar and I crept to the edge of the rock crevice we had hidden in.

      "I think we lost him," Croshar muttered, gasping for breath.

      I nodded voicelessly. On the far side of Peranda, a Shoyru had showed up, and he had been following us for the last stretch of the flight over the last mountain range. I was sure he had come from Kranslunar, but I wasn't about to worry Croshar with the news.

      I saw nothing up above as Croshar and I lifted off yet again for the treacherous journey to Kranslunar, the Lunar City.

     ****

      High overhead, a sky-blue Shoyru rocketed toward the city of Kranslunar. He looked below at the two Eyries, far down below him, making their way at what, to Eyries, would be a fast pace. Yet he was so much faster! He shook his head and smirked. The King of Kranslunar, Darqous, was going to like this. The top two thieves, finally in prison…Oh, he would love this.

      ****

      In the early hours of dawn, Croshar and I crept up to the Kranslunar castle. It was even larger than the castle at Kurn, and covered in guards. I was confident we could get in, though.

      Kranslunar's main power source was the huge dome in the middle of the castle. In the middle of that dome was a tiny stone, barely five inches long and two inches deep. This stone, once a month, captured the light of the moon and brainwashed the army, the castle hands, and the pets of the city seven and under. (Thus the name Lunar City.) This way, they were perfectly obedient. This wasn't even half what they did to thieves…

      We slipped around one of the walls and inside castle itself, barely avoiding a troop of guards. We then made our way toward the center of the castle, were we hoped to get hold of the Moon Stone.

      As we entered the central dome, making no noise our selves, I paused. Something was wrong, but what? All seemed fine to me, but…

      Suddenly, Croshar whipped around. There behind us were the guards we had avoided earlier, a smirk plastered firmly on every face. I gulped and turned back to the dome.

      From quite a few directions, guards were pouring into the dome. Croshar and I started to run, but we were surrounded, and that blue Shoyru who had been trailing us yesterday stood right in front of us.

     "Kind of you to visit," he said, and commanded the guards to drag us off to the King's court.

      ****

     "If it isn't the famous Eyrie thieves," the King said. I growled at the starry Draik menacingly, though I knew it was no good. I was so mad at Morhoaron…

     "I trust you knew the risks when you came," said King Darquos, "and you shall pay now. That is what thieves deserve, is it not?" he looked to the jury. Of course it is, I thought, because you told them what to say…I silently cursed the Draik's sorry hide.

     The jury nodded in agreement, of course. Darquos turned back to us, grinning maliciously. "Well then. A fair trial, I'd say."

      I'd say not, I thought.

     "So guards," he sat down on his throne, "kill them."

      I drew my sword, as did Croshar, since the guards had not removed them earlier. Standing back to back, we began to fight.

      We were outnumbered sorrily. I took down the first few with my broadsword. Then I was forced to use a regular sword when it was wrenched away. I tired quickly, though.

      Sometime during the battle, Croshar and I were separated. I thought to go after her, but the gap closed faster than I could move. I figured she could hold her own.

      A blow to my leg knocked my feet out from under me. I barely blocked the razor-sharp sword of the guard I was fighting with my own, but as I threw him off I was able to roll to my feet and defend myself. However, this time I was encumbered by my leg. There was a shallow gash in it that was beginning to turn my green fur red.

      My strength was ebbing quickly now. I was having more trouble blocking the attacks from the many guards. Croshar had noticed and was trying to get to me.

      The flat of someone's sword hit me in the head. I dropped to the ground and closed my eyes against the pain.

     Vaguely, I saw the guards drawing aside to reveal my attacker-a vicious looking brown Krawk. He raised his sword in the air. The light from a window glinted off the curved blade. I closed my eyes, waiting for the strike to fall…but it never did.

      Before the Krawk could hit me, Croshar had jumped in front of me. The blade had fallen instead between her shoulders. I was shocked. Croshar was gone, her bright green fur dulling with red. She had done that for me…

      "So the female was your weakness, thief. Your partner. Your friend." Darquos was standing in front of me now.

      His words stung, as did the tears.

     "Now I have destroyed that weakness, and you shall pay for ever setting foot in this land. Take him to the dungeons."

      I let myself be led away with out a fight. My one true friend was gone (could it be true?), I had been captured, and now, as Darquos had so conveniently stated, I would pay the price.

To be continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» Raider of the Sky: Part One
» Raider of the Sky: Part Two
» Raider of the Sky: Part Three
» Raider of the Sky: Part Five



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