A Shadow in the Light: It has Begun - Part Two
Sovan paced impatiently on his neighbor's lawn, peering
down the street to see if Dizzconnie was coming. Finally, he saw the Gelert, and
he sighed in relief. "I was getting worried there, Dizz," he said, trying to sound
amused. His ebony auds twitched violently, searching to pick up any movement in
the valleys behind the house that could possibly be Manov. He heard no such thing.
Dizzconnie glared at him, keeping back an angry
remark. She slung her leather pack over her shoulder, walking past Sovan towards
the large hill. "Hurry up, Direwood is beyond Dire's Hill, and we want to find
him before sun up don't we?"
The fire Lupe shrugged and followed Dizzconnie.
"I told him not to go," he said flatly.
"I'm not going over that again, Sovan," Dizzconnia
snapped, not looking back at the canine. Her eyes burned with fury and worry,
the emotions mixing for Sovan and Manov. "Poor Manov, all alone in Direwood,"
she whimpered. "Aw, come on, show some sympathy!" she said, peeking over her
Sovan was crouching on the ground, studying
a paw print. "It's fresh Dizz, but it's not Manov's. Anyway, the print has large
claws. Too large for a Zafara. Either he's with a friend and learned how to
not leave footprints, or one of his new friends is carrying him to Coursett,"
he said, noting the several other footprints in the soft earth.
"What if those cloaked people got him? What
if he's been kidnapped like Frauns? Oh, Sovan, is he alright?" Dizzconnie asked,
fear gripping her stomach and tying it in knots. "This is all so horrid!"
"Nah, I bet he's alright, just trying to worry
us. Let's get going, he's a quick traveler, so we best hurry if we want to catch
up with him any time soon."
Fear. It was all the
young Zafara could muster from his weary, aching body as he awoke. It was dark,
and the vague veil over the stars was barely a comfort in such a place. He rubbed
his head and looked around. He was in a meadow with lavender flowers. Manov
batted at one of the large flowers like a child, trying desperately to find
amusement in something, anything. Soon, he noticed shadows in the corner of
his eye, and he quickly stood. Fatigue suddenly washed over him, and the Zafara's
knees buckled, causing him sway violently before crashing back to the verdant
carpet of grass. Then faint voices reached his ears.
"He's awake, should we go ahead and take him
on to Chanook?"
"Yes, might as well. The fire would have attracted
several pets, so it's best that we reach the wood before dawn," the largest
shadow responded. "Go ahead and get him, he's not armed!" His commands made
it obvious that he thought he was the leader of the small party.
Hesitantly, four of the shadows drew closer,
making Manov struggle to his feet again. He felt his knees feel weak once more,
but this time he was able to keep his balance. Save for the sudden feebleness,
he wasn't indifferent from when he was at home. No injuries or signs of illness,
and for that he was quite relieved. The advancing figures made him recoil a
few paces, only to have them quicken to match his stride until he stopped. He
dared not speak to these strange forms, fearing that one would lash out at him.
He finally decided that running was the best plan he had, so he swiveled on
one foot and bolted away from the shadows. He smirked at seeing the figures
stop, but then he collided with a cold, scaly form. He crumpled to the ground
in a heap, letting the dizziness clear.
The form was cloaked as well, but his hood was
hidden upon his back, face revealed. It was a large shadow Krawk, maw curled
in a menacing snarl. "Now, now, you try and run from us again and I'll fry you
into a Snorkle snout!"
Manov rose an eyebrow at the threat. "A Snorkel
"Magus, just get on with it and chain him up!"
the large shadow from behind shouted. The voice had a slight squawk at the end
of the words, so it was then known to Manov that a Lenny was the obvious leader
The Krawk cocked his dial slightly before grabbing
Manov's wrist as he stood. With effort, he soon had shackles on the squirming
Zafara, chains linked to them. "Would ya hold still?"
Sovan yawned, noticing
how long they had been walking through the fields and meadows. "Dizz, better
forget about getting home in time to get to the pub early," he said sleepily.
"When I get that little worm, I'm going to glue him to the wall so he doesn't
do this again."
Dizzconnie rolled her eyes. "Aren't you the
least bit worried that he might have been kidnapped?" she asked bluntly.
"No, I believe that he made a stupid mistake
and we're having to pay for it," he retorted.
They walked in silence until finally they reached
the base of Dire's Hill. "Now to get up it," they chorused. The climb was reasonably
shorter than the walk to it, but still the upward climb was indeed more tiring.
It was clear that neither wanted to be the one to say so though.
Sovan was stony faced, his pools not showing
the least bit of worry or fear, so Dizzconnie was soon envious. "He could be
hurt you know," she said, hoping to find an edge in his voice when and if he
The Lupe gave another short yawn. "Then we'll
get him to the hospital," he said smoothly. He shifted the weight of his burlap
bag several times, soon making his form bend over in fatigue. 'I shouldn't have
packed those extra loaves of bread,' he scolded to himself.
Dizzconnie sighed and looked to the jade carpet
of grass. Its hue was dark from its recent birth, and it made her orbs twinkle
with delight. If only she could get Sovan's mood to brighten like the emerald
blades. "You know how to make a grumpy Lupe laugh?"
Sovan rolled his eyes but reluctantly shook
his dial, but as he did so, Dizzconnie shoved him onto a large bush. His body
hit a small tree next to the bush, and a tiny petpet nest landed atop his crania,
several strips of yarn from the nest streaming down like ribbons.
The Gelert laughed and fell to the ground, rolling
on her back in sheer amusement. Her stomach soon became sore, but the laughter
would not cease.
"Quit messing around," Sovan snapped, standing
and brushing the nest from his head. He scowled and continued walking up the
Dizzconnie stopped laughing and stood slowly.
"Aw, come on Sovan! It was funny!"
Sovan ignored her.
The tension gradually began to melt away, and
soon they were speaking to one another again. And, happily, they neared the
top of Dire's Hill. As they crested the hill, a large forest stretched in front
of them. Direwood.
"Know where the name came from, Dizz?" Sovan
asked curiously. "Dire's Hill and Direwood?"
The Gelert shrugged. "I don't know, but obviously
it had to do with someone named Dire." She was starting to get tired of his
quite obvious questions. "Hey, I'll race you!" she shouted, sprinting down the
Sovan, at first, didn't move, but then he bolted
forward, running on all four pillars. The crimson, orange, and yellow flames
on his pillars and tassel rippled over his ebon peltage like moonlight on a
lake, and his bright pools gleamed with the joy of the wind caressing his face
as he continued running for a few brief moments. As his mitts came upon level
ground, he slowed to a stop and watched as Dizzconnie drew up beside him. He
stretched and shook his pelt, yawning as he did so. "Thanks, Dizz. I needed
that," he said, voice sounding heavily content.
Dizzconnie nodded. "Uh huh." She stood still
for a moment, face distorted in deep thought. "Why didn't we see him throughout
the valley area if he wasn't that far ahead of us? Did we come all this way
The Lupe sighed. "Dizz, he's a shadow Zafara.
SHADOW! That means that it would have been hard to spot him." But he knew what
was happening, or at least he thought he did. Manov couldn't keep something
like this so secretive, and Dizzconnie's scared predictions started becoming
Sovan's fears. "No, you're right, we would have been able to see him, and he's
a bumbling one mind you. He had to have help somehow, but by something we're
"I told you! He was kidnapped by those cloaked
pets, I knew it!"
"That's not what I'm saying Dizz," he quickly
responded, catching the uneasy edge in her voice. "Are you armed?"
Dizzconnie's eyes grew wide. "No, of coarse
not. You're not thinking of giving me a sword or anything or you?" She swallowed
deeply, uneasiness rising to an uncomfortable level. She was a pet who treasured
harmony, and here was one of her best friends asking if she had a fatale contraption
in her keeping.
Sovan unsheathed a small, simple dagger. "Here,
it's only a last resort," he said, pressing it into her paw.
The Gelert felt sick to her stomach as she held
the blade, staring at her reflection. She nodded stiffly and placed it in her
belt, letting it become covered by her light blue silk cloak. As she watched
Sovan walk slowly towards the tree line, she noted the pale rays of light blooming
behind her. Dawn was coming.
"Come on Dizz," Sovan said softly, seeing bent
undergrowth and snapped twigs littered in the light foliage. He stepped onto
the makeshift path and slowly walked forward, listening for any signs of life
in the lush wood.
Dizzconnie bit her lip but then leaped into
the vegetation, not wanting to be left behind. "We're going to find Manov, aren't
we?" she asked meekly.
"Sure Dizz. It'll be easier than finding a Feepit
in a sea of Meepits."
"Sovan, that's not funny."
To be continued....