The Second War for the Obelisk
Indy was exhausted.
He'd been battling for three days now, only returning to his small tent in the Thieves' camp when he grew too tired or hungry to continue.
It would all be worth it in a few hours, though, when the Obelisk opened and bathed the fighters in the golden light of the Oracle. The light from the Obelisk was the most beautiful thing that Indy had ever seen, even if it only lasted for a moment each time.
Of course, he wasn't sweating out here in the desert just to see the light.
Each of the factions had their own reasons for continuing the battle around the Obelisk. The Seekers hoped to learn more about the oldest being in Neopia; the Oracle. The Sway probably had some elaborate plan for world domination, and the Order wanted to learn the magic that had kept the Oracle alive for millions of years. As for the Brutes and the Awakened... Well, their members didn't really speak that much, but they were probably just in it for the chance to smash things.
He, and the rest of the thieves, were in it for the money. He'd first joined the Guild as a smuggler, but quickly became one of the Guild's reliable thugs. He'd made more neopoints from the boons than he had in the whole of the fifteen years he'd been a member of the Guild before that.
Indy was jerked out of his reverie by a dagger that came whistling past a scarred ear to thud into the shield of an Elephante Brute stood behind him. The Elephante scowled as Indy spun and levelled his massive sword at his opponent's chest. Despite his size, the Elephante looked young and inexperienced, and was clearly no match for a battle hardened veteran soldier such as Indy. He turned and fled, looking for easier prey.
Indy turned back to see another young warrior, but this one was by no means inexperienced. The Cybunny in front of him held a dagger in each hand, and her flowing cape covered well worn armour.
She punched him on the arm, playfully.
"You need to watch your back better, Indy!" she grinned, throwing back her hood to reveal a wide grin and eyes that sparkled with mischief.
"But why should I, when you're always there to do it for me?" Indy smiled back at her.
She sighed in mock disappointment, and then darted away towards a zombie Quiggle. Indy followed her, engaging the Quiggle in a frontal attack whilst his friend, Lill, slipped round his back to take him down with a dagger.
He and Lill always worked batter together as a team. Before she had joined the Thieves' Guild a year ago, he had been just one of Kanrik's bruisers, hopping whenever the leader had called him. Even in the last War, the one in his homeland of Terror Mountain, he had always been a background player. He was more adept at fighting and looking scary than at executing cunning plans or commanding troops, and these failings had always held him back from achieving a higher status in the Guild.
When Lill had arrived, though, that had all changed. Although she was a mediocre thief at best, she had joined at the time when the Guild began the first battle for the Obelisk, and her tactical mind made her an invaluable asset. Her rise through the hierarchy of the Guild had been meteoric, and when the war was over and Kanrik sent many of his senior guild members back to the headquarters on Terror Mountain, she had been appointed as his second in command on the battlefield.
Indy had been jealous of her at first, but Lill and her infectious smile were impossible to dislike. Now he regarded her as almost a sister.
"Come on, old man!" she called to him as she began to work her way to the Obelisk at the centre of the battlefield. "It's only a few minutes until it opens!"
Indy smiled, and leaped ahead of her, swinging his great sword to clear a path for them. Although she was faster and smarter than him, she could not match him in pure strength.
They advanced slowly, keeping their eyes fixed on the Obelisk as they pushed their way through the fighters. The battle around them slowly died as the neopets realised how close it was to midnight. In a few minutes everyone was standing still, their animosity forgotten, as they waited for the Obelisk to open.
Lill reached into her pocket and pulled out her hourglass, enchanted so that the sand ran straight whichever way it was turned, frowning at it.
"What is it?" Indy asked, not taking his eyes from the Obelisk.
"It must be broken," she muttered, turning the small timer over and shaking it. "It says that the Obelisk should be open by now."
Indy squinted into it. Sure enough, all the sand had run through.
Around them, other fighters were becoming agitated too.
"Look, the stars are in the right position," a ghost Peophin said.
"It's definitely midnight," agreed a massive, red haired Kyrii. Indy recognised her as one of the Brute Squad's leaders.
At that moment, a small Ixi pushed his way though the crowd to hand Lill a note. She exchanged a curious glance with Indy. The Ixi, Lont, was Kanrik's personal messenger. Why would he be sending her a message now?
She tore open the seal and scanned the note. Her eyes widened, and she read it again more slowly.
"What is it?" Indy demanded. "Is something wrong?"
She silently passed him the note, and he read it.
The oracle has grown tired of the skirmishes. She has summoned me, along with the leaders of the other factions and many other important citizens of Neopia, to something that I know only as The Oracle Games.
I know not what these games will entail, only that if I am successful, the rewards will be beyond our wildest dreams.
The time for boons is over. The time for revelation is here. The thieves guild must be prepared to face the future, whatever it holds. You must hold the Obelisk until the Games are over. Everything may depend on it.
Indy dropped the note from stiff fingers, his mind filling with questions that he could not answer.
What were The Oracle Games? Why did the Oracle need important Neopians to participate in them? Would Kanrik ever return?
"Lill..." he said, looking hopelessly at his friend. "What... What do we do?"
Lill looked up at the Obelisk, and her eyes grew determined.
"We carry out his orders. We secure the Obelisk, once and for all." She motioned for Kanrik's messenger. "Show this message to all of the Guild council, and any other high ranking members you can find. Tell them that we will do as Kanrik commands."
As Lont ran back through the crowd, towards the Thieves' camp, Indy noticed that the red haired Brute had also received written orders. She was talking animatedly with a stocky Yurble, who ran off in the direction of the Brute camp.
"I don't think we're the only ones that will want the Obelisk, Lill," Indy said.
She smiled grimly and pointed up towards the camps of the other factions. "I think you may be right."
Indy followed her finger and gasped at the sight. The other three factions; the Sway, the Order, and the Seekers were all pouring from their camps and down onto the battlefield. They brandished weapons as they came, clearly ready to win the Obelisk for their own leader.
Indy and Lill took dropped into battle stances, ready for the attack. The rest of Neopia may be focused on these Games, but here at the Obelisk, something more important had restarted.
The second War of The Obelisk had begun.