Chronicles of the Council: The Hunter - Part Three
Sitting on the peak of the Eastern Mountains the following morning, Altador daydreamed about the small Kyrii of Vesack, excitement and wonder racing through his mind. He wished to know her name, whether she had brothers or perhaps sisters. Maybe she enjoyed adventuring like Altador. Pulling his bow out he armed the string with a arrow, the white feathers sharp against his cheek as he pulled the string. His fingers released the string. The arrow swooshed through the air, nearly silent, piercing an oak tree. He gazed at the arrow, proud of his increasing skills.
"Young Lupe," a melodic voice trilled behind Altador. "You should not be absent from the town this morning."
Startled, Altador swung his head to see a creature garbed in a pink and purple dress, her hair a shiny gloss of violet.
"M'lady, forgive my boldness but I have never seen a Neopet such as you before," Altador said, excitement shining in his gentle smile at the new species before his eyes.
The creature giggled, her porcelain skin glowing in the rising sun's rays. "Altador you have much to learn. I am not a Neopet but a Faerie. We are creatures that have been on Neopia for many centuries, much longer than Neopets." She pointed to a cloud in the sky. "See on top that cloud? That is my land, my future. I will be named Queen when I come of age and rule all the Faeries in Neopia."
Squinting at the sky, Altador said in a blunt tone, "I do not see any land on top a cloud." Fyora chuckled as Altador stared at her, his manners forgotten, his mouth agape. This Faerie was beautiful beyond his imagination, her body furless, her eyes a delicate periwinkle.
"My name is princess Fyora," she said, gently reaching her hand out to the young Lupe. "I wish to tell you more, however, tragedy befalls your peaceful town this morning."
Altador took her hand, standing to meet her eye and asked, "Trouble, m'lady?"
"Yes. There has been a conspirator in Lyetia. A traitor to your father, who wishes to gain leadership over the town for himself."
"Who is this traitor?" Altador asked. He was distracted, however, as a scream echoed up the mountainside. Altador rushed to the edge of the mountaintop, his stomach clenched with fear and anguish as a blaze of fire sparkled in the rising sun in the town's center.
"You must help your people, Altador," Fyora said. She reached out her right hand, a pink cloud of magic sparkling from her fingertips to her palm. "Give me you hand."
Altador did as he was told and there appeared chainmail, a breastplate, and boots made of glinting steal.
"Put this on," Fyora instructed. "And may the steel help protect the peace that your land strives for."
"Yes, your majesty," Altador whispered, in awe at the amour.
"Take this sword," Fyora commanded once again, handing Altador a long sword as tall as the Lupe himself. "May these weapons serve as a warrior against darkness, a beacon of light."
Altador accepted the sword and bent his head down to the Faerie, his long white ponytail sweeping the tops of his feet.
Fyora smiled. "Remember, young one, your species is one of hunters. You will unsheathe you sword and remember how to parry and strike. You will fasten your breastplate, and remember how to protect those you love with unyielding combat skills. Your will pull your bow string and remember how to strike your target."
Altador gazed over the mountaintop and down to Lyetia. Havoc screamed up through the autumn breeze. "May I plead to you for one more favor, your majesty? A promise if you will." Fyora nodded her head in agreement. "Please promise me, Princess Fyora, that if I ever become a corrupt man, to strike me down."
"Such a harsh request," Fyora said, her arms folding over her body. "Why do you make such a request?"
"I have seen corruption in a land called Vesack. I have met a friend there who I wish to raise from the dirt and mud. I have also felt the burdens of war. I no longer want my people to starve and fear that this winter may be their last."
Fyora smiled at the Lupe's mature words, the wisdom that began to shine through his adventurous personality. "I promise."
Altador rushed across the grassy plains, the trek down the mountain taking longer than he wished. His amour was lighter than it appeared and he was thankful for such a gift. Smoke billowed in the distance as crops burned and buildings crumbled at the oncoming invaders attack. Wishing to prevent sorrow and tragedy, Altador quickened his pace, doubling on his arms and legs so has to run faster.
Upon arrival at the town, almost complete silence filled the air, the exception being the echoing sound of buildings screaming in pain as they crash down into a pile of rubble. His father was absent, his mother, invisible, Therend, Tassay, and Engim, nowhere to be seen.
"Prepare to fight vermin!" a large creature hollered at Altador. Unsheathing his sword, Altador successfully blocked the attack, his sword an extension of his arm, generations of hunting skill pulsing through his veins prepared to protect himself against any predator's attack.
Altador gazed at the creature; a biped with red fur covering its body, a long mane stretching from his ears to his bushy tail. He was a Kyrii, much like the one from Vesack, only larger, more muscular, a brute of a soldier that bullies the people. So this is why the King keeps his soldiers.
"How do you know of Lyetia?" Altador asked in a commanding tone, swinging his sword at the Kyrii's middle. "Why are you here?"
The Kyrii grunted, pushing off Altador's attack and dancing lightly to the left. He swings, "A little birdy you know told us. My King has ordered me to destroy your village."
Altador bit his lip. Was the traitor the Kyrii he met in the forest beyond the Northern Mountains? The one from Vesack? She had appeared so innocent, so desperate.
Altador swung his sword, the Kyrii blocked but staggered backward under Altador's powerful attack. Pressing the Kyrii, Altador was relentless with his offensive strike until finally the Kyrii tripped over the fountain in the town center defeated.
Victorious, Altador sprinted from the village center towards the bakery. He would need a comrade in arms if he wished to defeat the brutes that ran through the town. It took all of Altador's will power to ignore the attackers as they lit fire to the buildings; tying ropes around the support columns and pulling until the buildings crumble into piles of rock.
Arriving at the bakery, Altador gasped at the spectacle. The bakery lay on the ground, loaves of bread speared by jagged rocks from the fire pit. Therend was nowhere to be seen.
Altador heaved a heavy sigh for his missing friend and continued on, fighting Kyrii after Kyrii until he finally arrived at the abandoned council chambers. The building stood weakened, the left half torn down, into a mound of splintered beams and debris. The right half of the building was in the process of being destroyed. Altador rushed at the Kyriis who decimated the sacred building. He danced with them, the swords clashing in the morning air with a high-pitched twang. Defeated, the Kyriis run in retreat.
Cough-cough. "Hello? Is anybody there? Please help!" a weak voice whimpered from under a pile of stone. Altador rushed over to the noise. There, under a pile of rubble was Belan, trapped and gasping for breath.
"Oh, are you a sight for sore eyes." Altador smiled at the spotted Lupe. Belan glared at him through his scared eye, his mouth turned downward in a disgruntled frown.
"Get out of here," he spat at Altador. "I was not calling for you."
"Let me help you, Belan," Altador pleaded but Belan gave him a nasty glare that pierced dread and fear through Altador's heart.
Altador gawked at him, guilt knotting in his heart. This was his fault after all. Belan was correct in directing his anger at Altador. If Altador had obeyed, not shown Lyetia to the Kyrii, maybe the town would still be standing. Perhaps everyone would be here, rising with the morning sun, the farmers heading to the fields, children playing in the town center. Maybe Altador should not have descended the mountains at all. Engim warned him not to be seen by outsiders.
Remembering his promise to Fyora, Altador took a deep breath and lifted one of the stones off Belan, leaving just one more on the Lupe's left leg. He appeared unharmed aside from a few scratches and bruises. Altador began to lift the last rock when he stumbled to the ground by a Kyrii soldier's attack, a sharp pain shooting up his right shoulder. Drawing his sword he fought with the Kyrii; a strike at the Kyrii's left, a graceful side step to the right.
"Knock him to the ground!" Belan shouted at the Kyrii. Anger swirled in Altador as he delivered a final blow and the Kyrii ran out of the town in defeat.
"I understand you are angry with me, Belan; however, I am still here fighting for Lyetia today! Do not fuel the violence in your heart by cheering for the attackers."
Belan let out a horrendous laugh and said, "You silly boy! I am cheering for the Kyrii because they are my allies. I hired them!" Altador stared at Belan, baffled. Belan continued, "The Chieftains are losing this war and it is all because your father did not demand the blacksmith produce more swords or work overtime. Your father is a fool. He did not listen to me ten years ago when we still had a chance to win this war and he wouldn't listen to me now when our situation became desperate. So why should I to be on a loosing team when I have done nothing more than try and save Lyetia? I appealed to the King of Vesack and have been a double agent for nearly five years now when I learned that Lyetia's chance of victory was slim."
"My friend, why would you do such a thing?" Altador asked.
"I am no friend of yours, Altador," Belan spat.
Altador stood over Belan, his fists clenched so tight that his nails dug into the palm of his paws. His anger was torn, half focused towards his father for ignoring the protests and threats of others, the other half focused on Belan's betrayal.
Altador murmured, "You are a traitor, Belan."
"No, I am a survivor!" Belan's deranged laugh reverberates through the burning town.
Altador shook his head. Gazing around the town was in smoke, the Kyriis were vanquished, but the town's people did not return. Lyetia now stood a crumbled ruin of its former glory, houses lay in heaps of pebbles and stone. Fire gasped for more wood to burn and as it licked the air for substance, it sputtered in disappointment. Letting out a loud sigh, Altador began to walk to his house to collect a few provisions before setting off on the long journey he knew lay ahead of him.
"Where are you going?" Belan shouted to Altador's back.
Turning, Altador glared at Belan, his gold eyes striking cold fear into the spotted Lupe's heart. With that Altador walked away from Belan and away from the town he used to call home with heavy heart.
Standing on top of the Eastern Mountains, the afternoon sun shining in its zenith, Altador gazed down at the ruined town.
"I was not strong enough," he whimpered to Fyora, who appeared behind him in a silent pink cloud of magic. "I could not save my town nor find my people."
Fyora said, "Some of your people have yet to cross over the mountains. You could join them if you wished."
Altador heaved a heavy sigh, turning to face Fyora. "How can I face them when they have no home to return to?"
"This day would have come," Fyora comforted. "Belan was an evil Lupe, with a corrupt heart. Find your people, lead them to prosperity and wealth."
Altador turned his head away from Fyora, tears trickling down his face. Gazing over the mountain top, Fyora let out a sigh. "Can't you see, Altador? Your people are now free from the tyranny of the Chieftains. They have a chance to find happiness and you can lead them to this happiness."
Altador stood, taking a deep breath. Fyora walked up beside him. "Do you see that small fire burning in the center of the field?" Fyora asked, pointing to a thin string of smoke fluttering through the sky. "That is your village. There you can find your friends and perhaps your parents."
"If I go to them," Altador began. "Do you truly think I can lead them to prosperity and peace?"
"I wouldn't have given you armor if I believed there to be a more worthy candidate."
Altador began to smile. Hope filled his heart, ambition filled his mind. He would find a new city, but first, he needed closure. First, Altador needed to see if his parents were safe. With this, he began his descent down the mountain towards Lyetia's new future.
Coming soon to a Neopian Times near you, Chronicles of the Council: The Protector
A special thanks first to my friends at JCW who have helped support my adventures in writing and guided my stories with excellent feedback and grammar suggestions. Also a thank you to the NT Editors and all the staff at TNT for making such a magnificent site.