The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within - Part Three
"No!" the demon Lupe cried. "Please, I truly mean no harm!"
"Yeah, and we're Darigan returned from the dead,"
"What can I do to make you trust me?" the Lupe
said, backing up.
"Nothing, demon," snapped Tamal. He and Aleron
leapt forward, and Aleron swept his claws over the Lupe's face. His muzzle beginning
to bleed, the Lupe realized that he would not live much longer.
He then dropped to the ground, and rolled over
on his side: obvious surrender. The two knights looked down, stunned. Then,
Tamal reared up, prepared to strike a fatal blow.
Avari leaped in front of him, over the Darigan
Lupe. "Knight!" she cried, voice ringing with anger. "You are sworn to valor
and honesty. Here lays your enemy, surrendered. By law and by truth, you cannot
The Uni backed off and fell back upon his feet.
"Squire," he hissed, and she looked him straight in the eye. "Do you realize
what your trespass does to your prospect of becoming a knight?"
She could feel all three pairs of eyes staring
at her, though she still held Tamal's in her own. "Yes," she said quietly. "But
I do not have to be a knight to live by chivalry, or to protect those that a
knight is sworn to protect. This minion has surrendered, and therefore you can
do him no harm unless he gives reason."
"Just being a demon gives me reason to kill him,"
Aleron muttered, and she glared at him. She then looked down at the one that
she had given up her knighthood to protect. His crimson eyes gazed up at her
in wonder. Someone that would protect a demon? he probably thought now.
Such is unheard of.
Just like a female knight, she thought
ironically. Such is unheard of.
"If you lay down your life to protect this demon,
you understand all consequences?" asked Aleron, and she looked up at him. Yes,
she knew. The dream of knighthood, stripped away. If the Lupe she had just guarded
betrayed his surrender and did something, she was held accountable. Yes. She
"Yes," she told the blue Eyrie. "I understand
"Then the demon is not our problem." He turned
and walked back to the fire. "You must guard him, and guard others from him.
He is your charge now, and I will have nothing to do with him. It is your task
to decide his fate."
After a minute's hesitation, in which Tamal and
Avari glared at each other, Tamal turned and rejoined Aleron. After she was
content that both would not come back, she stepped back to release the demon
"Why did you do that for me?" he asked quietly,
rising to his feet once more. He was large, nearly four feet at the shoulder,
while her shoulder-height was a foot less than that. On his muzzle was the new
wound of three marks running across, though he didn't seem troubled by it.
"Because that is what a true knight would do,"
"What did he mean, your prospect of becoming
She sighed. "It's a long story. Maybe someday
I'll tell you. Now, come. The night is cold, and the other two won't hurt you
now that you are under my protection. Even without any rights of a knight, I
still hold the right of a Meridell citizen in the fact that I can protect someone
as I am doing you."
He nodded. "Oh, wait," he said. "I must get something."
She nodded. "Don't take too long."
He disappeared into the darkness, returning several
minutes later with several rolls of parchment clamped in his mouth. He dropped
them at her feet.
"What are these?" she asked, unrolling one with
her paw. It was a detailed map of the lands surrounding Meridell, with many
notes and symbols.
She looked up at him, and he grinned ruefully.
"They're plans," he replied. "Blake's plans. He's going to destroy Meridell."
Blake was very angry. Not just angry, enraged.
When he had shown the Lenny, Zamir, a prisoner he had captured, someone had
come in a stolen every single plan for the destruction of Meridell. Obviously
someone skilled in the art of sneaking around, for no Guards had found him.
When Blake had returned, it had been to a room empty of everything useful.
Confused at first, he quickly became enraged.
Whoever had stolen the maps and plans must have also heard the plans to kill
Raatri. Raatri might be warned, and escape to fulfill his destiny. Not once
in those first few moments did it occur to Blake that Raatri himself could have
stolen the plans.
Not until he had the Citadel search. For the
search yielded one simple piece of information that set fire into Blake's crimson
eyes. There was only one person missing from the Citadel.
The thief was Raatri.
It meant that Raatri knew not only of Blake's
plans for Meridell, but had probably told Meridell itself. It also meant that
Raatri probably knew of Blake's plans to kill him.
Blake was very angry.
Why had Raatri chosen that night of all nights
to sneak around? Had he been doing so all along? Where was he? Would he play
hero and warn Meridell?
Blake suddenly smiled. The people that lived
below hated all demons. With luck, they would kill Raatri on sight, ending his
destiny. With even more luck, the Lupe may have left the plans somewhere, and
Meridell would never learn of the attack.
But that was just luck. He had to be sure. Raatri
must be killed. New plans had to be made to counteract Raatri's betrayal.
Raatri had to be destroyed.
And what better way than to send in an assassin
to kill the prince?
"Destroy Meridell?" whispered Avari, eyes wide.
She unrolled parchment after parchment, summing up the conclusion in her head.
"This would completely annihilate us."
"Yes," he said. She looked up at him.
"You have betrayed your people," she whispered,
stunned. "To save us."
He sighed. "My story, too, is a long one. In
the future I may relate it to you. You must now tell the other two, so that
Meridell can be warned." He shook his head. "Blake must be stopped."
She looked into his eyes, searching for whatever
lay behind. She could not penetrate past the stony exterior.
"Let's go," she whispered, rolling the plans
"You see, Aleron?" said Avari. "He came to warn
"And how do we know that this just a distraction
from some other plans?" the Eyrie asked. He looked to the demon Lupe. "You may
just be a decoy."
"I assure you, I am not," Raatri said, bowing
his head to the knight. "Blake already plans to kill me, for I am the true heir
to the throne."
The Eyrie snorted. "What exactly do you mean
The Lupe sighed. "My name is Raatri. I am the
last surviving son of Kiros, who was king of the Citadel before Blake killed
him. I come from the line of Lupes that have ruled in place of Lord Darigan
until he comes again."
"Your father, mother, and siblings were killed,"
said Avari quietly, eyes intense as she looked at him."
"Yes," the minion said quietly, nodding his head.
"I was the oldest of six. Blake killed them all and stopped at me. A Seer stayed
his hand from killing me. I have some destiny to fulfill, though I do not know
what it is. I match every description given, and last night I overheard Blake
himself plan to kill me. I am now outcast from everyone, Meridell by lineage
and the Citadel by choice. Now that I have delivered these plans to you, you
must decide what you will do with me. I cannot return to the Citadel, for Blake
will kill me on sight. Unless you allow me into Meridell, its gates too are
barred against me."
"You must fulfill your destiny," said Avari.
She looked to the two knights. "One of you can take the message back, and the
other can continue the quest that King Skarl has sent us on. I will go with
Raatri and help him find whatever fate has been planned for him."
The Eyrie's eyes narrowed. Of course,
she thought. Here is his great opportunity to rid himself of me once and
"I agree. Tamal will deliver the message. I will
go on to the Citadel. You two will try and find clues as to Raatri's fate."
Avari nodded, as did Tamal. Soon each drifted
off to sleep, Avari alone staying awake to keep watch on a tall boulder overlooking
the campsite and some areas beyond the many trees.
She thought about the minion while she sat alone
near the embers of the fire that had almost died out. He was so much like her.
She knew that his parents had been killed, just as her parents, and that he
had been sole survivor. Both wanted to be something that was unheard of: he
a good "demon", she a knight. And both had given up special rights and promises
to protect someone that they did not know.
The next day, they would depart together. She
hoped that through him she could become the knight she had wanted to be, if
just in heart and not in name.
She smiled, looking down at him. Who could believe
that the peaceful giant below her was considered a demon and monster? She could
tell from the look in his eyes and the tone of his voice that he was genuine,
and that the papers he had brought them were not fake. She just hoped that Tamal
didn't spread lies. For who at the castle of Meridell would even glance at the
plans of Blake if they knew that a demon had brought them?
The creature they called Zev slinked into the
darkness. He, like the Cybunny Seer and the traitor Raatri, was black as night.
More so, he was blacker than night. Light never reflected off of his scales,
but was wholly absorbed. It cast the illusion that he was just a shadow, darker
than dark, blacker than black. Even his eyes, instead of the crimson color of
most of his kind, were black. Truly, he was a shadow.
A very dangerous shadow.
Some called him the Viper. Others, the Wolf,
for he only came at night. He did not have a name, other than Zev: even that
was just a title. When he had hatched from his egg it had been to a world of
blackness and waste. He had never known his mother or his father. The other
eggs were so cold that they would never hatch. He did not know how he had survived
when all others died, but he had.
Blake was the one that found him. Normally Darigan
Techos were always avoided, for they were the most frightening of the lot. Not
only that, but over the past two hundred years or so they had become more sleek,
smaller, agile. Some even began to carry poison in their mouths like a snake.
So when Blake found the clutch of frozen eggs
and the newborn Techo, he had taken the poisonous lizard. Zev was too young
to defend himself, his poison glands not near powerful enough to hurt Blake.
Even his tiny razor-sharp teeth were too small to penetrate the Eyrie's skin.
So Zev was taken in, just a hatchling, and raised. No one knew of him. No one
except his master, his father, Blake.
Blake had trained Zev for the best post a poisonous
Darigan could have: an assassin. Sleek as the fur of a newborn Aisha, dark as
a moonless midnight sky, poisonous as the deadliest viper, Zev was the perfect
spy and assassin that Blake himself ordered. Zev would answer to no other than
the master. The master told him everything he had to do, and everyone he had
to kill. A single bite with one poison, and the victim lost all ability to move.
Then Zev could kill the victim with his second set of poison, the fatal poison,
or plunge a dagger into the victim. The master told him everything he had to
do, and everyone he had to eliminate.
The traitor, the prince, Raatri… he had to kill.
To be continued...