The Whispering Wail Sword:Part Four
Deep in the old castles of Meridell, Mina and Talzadon stood by the armor-filled well, despondent. Mina had stopped breathing fire while they contemplated their options in the darkness. "I've got an idea," she said almost solemnly, "but it's up to you to make it work."
"Me??" exclaimed Talzaon.
"Yes, you," Mina replied. "You have to teleport all this gold out of the well so we can get down to the final castle"
"What! Did you forget how well that worked out last time?" Talzadon moved away from the well.
"At least try! I bet you can do it, you just have to relax, like I said earlier." Mina blew flames from her nostrils to give Talzadon a good look at the well.
He stepped closer to the wall and rolled back his sleeves. He took a deep breath and loosened his shoulders. Paws extended, calm and clear, he yelled "Artintoxia!" To no one's surprise, nothing happened. Talzadon grumbled to himself, but Mina reminded him to be patient and calm. Once again he approached the shining metal. "Maybe it's because my view was obstructed by the wall. I'm not capable of teleporting what I can't see." He climbed up onto the wall and peered down into the mud. He couldn't imagine how deep the well went, so he'd just have to take his best guess when casting the spell and hope it was enough. "Artintoxia!" he forcefully cried. This time, the shining metal gave way to a black abyss, and shocked that the contents of the well had suddenly vanished, Talzadon lost his balance and fell into the well.
Mina dove after him, but afraid of singing him she didn't breath any fire, therefore she could not see him. She grasped at the air, listening for his screams which seemed increasingly far away. After what felt like ages, she heard a splash. Anticipating water below her, she veered upward, but not in time, and she too fell into the water below.
Talzadon gasped for air and the water chilled his very soul. The temperature of the water itself wasn't any colder than the lake above them, but something about it was significantly more chilling, it was as if ice had crept into his heart. He searched for the surface of the water, but couldn't tell up from down in the pitch back nightmare. Suddenly light burst forth, blinding him. He could see the outline of Mina in the water above him, breathing fire into the darkness. She was searching for him but apparently didn't see him. He swam upward and burst forth from the water, startling Mina.
"I did it!" Talzadon said with a large grin, gasping for air between words. "I actually got all the armor out of the well!"
"You did!" replied Mina. "Where did you put it?" Talzadon scrunched his face a bit and admitted he didn't actually know where it went, but Mina agreed it didn't really matter. "Well, I told you that I thought you could do it. You just have to relax and believe in yourself more!" Talzadon smiled bashfully. He was becoming an old Kyrii, but that was the first time anyone had said something so kind to him.
It was apparent to Talzadon that they had crashed down somewhere within the oldest castle. There was water streaming down the sides of the walls, filling the room. They suspected the water must drain somewhere or else the room would have been full of lake water many years ago. A stone spiral staircase could be seen in Mina's light across the room. Talzadon suspected they were in a dungeon, or a basement of some kind. They swam for the stairs. The climbed, dripping, out of the flooded basement, which was a challenge since water was cascading down the stair steps. A torch on the wall, though damp, could be lit by Mina. "Finally!" she said. "I can see and talk at the same time now." The torch provided just enough light for them to head up the stairs. The darkness of each turn gave way to the light they carried. Talzadon shivered, but not because he was wet. The coldness in his heart hadn't left when he exited the water. He could tell Mina felt it too.
The staircase spiraled up a few stories it seemed before opening up to the first platform. A door rotten off its hinges, revealing what appeared to have been a kitchen. Talzadon reached into his pocket for the map, but it wasn't there. "Oh no!" he cried. "I must have lost the map in the water!"
"Well, we know the sword is in the armory, so we just have to find a room packed with swords and chainmail." As they climbed the steps, which, even many stories up, still had water cascading down, Talzadon became aware of something peculiar. There was no sound anywhere. His footsteps splashed into the water, but could not be heard, he couldn't hear the fire of the torch, nor the trickling water down the stairs. It was if he was deaf. He couldn't even hear his own breathing, but when Mina spoke he heard it. The coldness in his heart began to fill the rest of his body, and after a period of time he began to hear something else.
At first, it sounded like a shoe scuffing on stone, but that couldn't be it since everything was covered in water. Perhaps it was pebbles hitting stone, but that wasn't it either. He was just about to ask Mina if she was experiencing the same thing when they reached another platform. The door was mostly intact and closed shut, but as Mina pushed on the door to open it, the wood disintegrated into dust. Talzadon took a step into the room but froze abruptly when he heard a voice.
"HELP ME," whispered a voice neither male or female. All the fur on his neck stood on end. Mina swallowed the lump in her throat. Talzadon breathed heavily but still could not hear anything around him save for the voice crying out from the darkness ahead. "SAVE ME, PLEASE," the voice said with terrible urgency, yet still soft as a whisper. Mina stepped into the room further, revealing the surroundings. It was the armory.
After a few moments passed without any mysterious whispers, Mina managed to ask a question in a small and fearful voice. "Do… Do you think, that it was the sword? That it's here somewhere?"
Talzadon didn't have an answer for her. In truth he didn't believe the sword actually whispered to Neopets, but now he wasn't so sure. The walls were lined with stacks of swords, spears, shields, armor, lances, and hammers. It wasn't very large, perhaps only the size of a big storage closet, but there must have been hundreds of dusty, rusting, rotting weapons on the shelves. "I guess we start looking," said Talzadon hesitantly. It was only just beginning to dawn on him that he might actually find the Whispering Wail Sword, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to anymore.
They began systematically scouring the room. Each sword was examined, then tossed into the hallway. There were long swords, short swords, training swords, swords with edges thinner than paper, swords with nicks, swords bent and broken, just about every kind of sword you could imagine, but all were ancient in appearance.
"Talzadon," called Mina. "Come look at this one." She was pointing to a sword just above eye level on a shelf, which to Talzadon's surprise, looked distinctly not old. The sword was black in color, with the crest of Meridell on the cross guard. The pommel was a large jewel, faintly yellow in color. The entire sword had not a speck of dust on it – clean and sharp as if it was never used. It was long, probably as tall as Talzadon was, although he was on the short side for a Kyrii. Although Talzadon had heard many rumors about the Whispering Wail Sword, no one had ever given a description of it. Could this be it? While it was a beautifully crafted sword, Talzadon had expected something a little be more spectacular. Nevertheless, he decided to examine it further.
With much labor he lifted it from the shelf and gripped the hilt with both paws. The heavy sword fell to the floor, but made no sound as the metal scraped the stone. "This is it," he said to Mina in an eerily calm tone. "I know it." He could feel the power of the sword within him. He could feel it giving him strength. The icy feeling in his heart spread throughout his body, his paws tingled with excitement and power, but most telling of all, he could hear faint yet unintelligible whispers in his head. The sword felt warm like fire, and cold as ice. The blade was black but shined with a million colors in the torchlight. Talzadon could sense the magic within. He had nearly forgotten about the voice from before, and he felt confident and calm. He could see how a knight of Meridell could handle anything, could brave any evil, if he were holding this sword. The power was intoxicating.
"If your certain it's the sword, what do we do now?" asked Mina, who seemed a bit skeptical. "We have to get out of here somehow, and I can't carry your weight all the way up the well."
Talzadon smiled madly in her direction, and with a wild look in his eye he raised the sword high into the air, nearly falling over in the process. He yelled out into the dark room, "We do this!!!" as he brought the blade crashing back down into the ground. This time the metal could be heard colliding with the floor. An enormous white light filled the room until Mina was blind, and then the sensation hit. Her body stretched, twisted, turned to slime, reformed again, and when the light faded, she opened her eyes and found herself on the drawbridge to the Meridell castle on the surface, out underneath the stars.
She gasped for air, the experience of being teleported to the surface had been overwhelming and she fell to her knees. There was no pain, but she was still in shock. The cool, fresh night air filled her lungs as Mina regained her composure. When she looked up, Talzadon was there on the bridge with her, resting on the hilt of the black sword, the jewel at the end glowing faintly with yellow light. "See?" he said, offering a paw to help Mina up. "This really is the Whispering Wail Sword…"
To be continued…