The Shade Flame Legacy: Valrigard - Part Six
Building an Army
"A-an army?!" I asked, my voice quaking. "At h-his disposal?!"
Everyone nodded grimly.
"But," Velle said, "I suppose that we have the
advantage, having two armies instead of one." Jeran shook his head.
"He must have a powerful army," he said, "or
he wouldn't challenge us. I think he's captured a powerful magic some way...
maybe with his own." The thought of magic triggered a question in my mind.
"How did I make that black fire?! Who sent that
blue thunderball at Syvor's?!" Jeran smiled. "That was me," he said, "Every
Champion of Meridell is taught to learn at least a little magic. My element
is thunder." I nodded, only half listening.
"So," I said slowly, "I have the Gift. But what
element am I?" Sheer looked at me like I was a dope.
"Oh!" he said. "Sorry, I forgot that you aren't
that well known with magic. Your element is Shade Fire, and it's really rare
among mages, Valrigard," he said, "You're lucky to have it." I sighed. This
magic didn't seem so great when my greatest enemy also knew it. I stood up,
with support from Velle and Sheer, and said,
"Enough about magic. What we need to do now
is create an army." They all nodded.
* * * * *
The remainder of the day was spent in convincing
Meridell and the Citadel to work together. That wasn't the whole problem, though.
Meridell didn't want to serve under a traitor. Skarl was astounded when I walked
in with Darigan, Sheer, Jeran, and Velle at my side. At first, he had called
the guards, but Sheer and I were ready. We placed a forcefield around us, and
Skarl was forced to see things our way.
"Look, Skarl, if you don't help us you're going
to have to let your advisor rule the country for you. Syvor's got a giant army
at his disposal, and I'm not about to let him kill anyone else."
"Y-you can't control me," he said, "I don't
have to listen to y-you." I was about to snarl an answer when a rather stupid
member of the court said,
"His Majesty's right! No one has to listen to
you, Traitor! I say we bring him out to the stocks and give 'em all a public
"Except the Draikess," another member said,
"She's far too pretty." Velle shot him a poisonous glare and he quieted down.
"Call the guards!" the first member cried, "This
time, we'll whip them to death!"
"If you're going to whip me, you'd better think
twice," I snarled. "If you want, you can be the only idiot and stay. But, don't
come snivelling to the Traitor when you're at Syvor's knees for mercy. Tell
me, are you the only one who thinks this, or are there more of you?" The Royal
Kougra searched the court for help, but all he received were icy glares. Finally,
he shut his abnormally large mouth.
"I'm sorry to say this," Sheer said, "But you
only have one choice. Join or die." To most pets, this would sound like a threat.
But we all knew that it was completely true. We had to join the army, or die
under an army of shadows. Jeran raised a paw for silence among the muttering.
"We can't fight Syvor with just Meridell and
the Citadel. Mages have been studying the land of Shadows for a long time and
they find endless warriors there. Syvor must be building an endless army, so
we need to counter that with the closest we can get. Send messengers to all
the lands begging for help. They'll send their most able armies to our aid,
and at least we can give the vermin a struggle." I nodded, Jeran was right.
"All mages are able to send messages to pets
telepathically," Velle said, "That'll be the fastest way to call for aid." Everyone
nodded, especially the Draik guards (I think they'd taken a liking to Velle,
"So," I said, "I hate to say this, but I think
another war in on our doorstep." This time, everyone agreed with me (much to
my surprise). Skarl nodded. "I fell like such an idiot, trusting that advisor..."
he was heard to mutter.
* * * * *
"OK, Val, I want you to ease your mind, delve
deep into the thoughts of other lands, and then find the mage in that land.
You'll be able to find them due to the magical aura surrounding them. Well,
I suppose they'll come in different colours, so it might be a little hard..."
"Sheer," I said, "For one thing, don't call
me Val. Would you like it if I went around calling you She?" Sheer blushed.
"Second," I continued, "I think I'll know if I see an 'aura' because a load
of colours surrounding any pet won't be too hard to find. OK?"
Sheer nodded, slightly embarrassed. He was teaching
me how to send messages to pets telepathically, which was a lot harder then
I thought. I calmed my mind again and thought of the place I wanted to be at:
Terror Mountain. I could see the snowy landscape, and I searched the pets there.
None of them possessed a magical aura, so I concentrated into the caves. I couldn't
see any auras...oh wait. There was a dim purple light filtering out of a small
cave. I concentrated hard on the cave and walked telepathically in. What was
inside made me gape.
"The Snowager?" I said out loud, accidently.
The images around me began to blur like mud, and I forced more concentration
into it. Talking was extremely hard to do in meditation, for it often broke
concentration. I used practically all of my energy in trying to keep the image
of the Snowager in my head. Finally, the image came into focus. My head ached
terribly, and I could hear my heart beating, but I kept going. This was the
hardest part. Speaking into one's mind could be terribly difficult, especially
if it was well educated or unwilling to speak physically or mentally.
Lord of Ice, I thought. The Snowager's
eyes blinked open but it showed no sign of aggression. "I seek help from you.
I do not mean to push you around or anything, because you are your own boss.
My friends and I are in grave danger, and we need one such as powerful as you
"Do not try to flatter me, Draik," the Snowager
thought. How did she know that I was a Draik? "Flattery is a miserable attempt
to make someone do something. But, you say you are in need of help. I might,
seeing as this whole hoarding business is getting quite boring."
"Sorry," I apologized. "But there is another
war in Meridell." I could hear the Snowager mentally snort. "One war is a million
in Meridell. Why did you disturb my slumber to tell me that?" I sighed mentally.
"This war is different," I thought, "An army of Shadows is our enemy. The Shadows
come in endless numbers, so we need help. Lord of Ice, will you do this?" I
could hear the Snowager pondering this.
"Hm... an army of Shadows... I wonder if they
have any spare Neggs..."
"They carry Shadow Neggs," I interrupted. "Quite
delicious, but very tangy in places."
"I don't eat neggs, Draik," she said (I just
realized that she was a girl). "I horde them. There's a BIG difference."
"Yes, yes," I thought urgently, "But please
make up your mind now."
"I will," the Snowager thought, "But I'll get
whatever leftover items the army leaves behind. Agreed?" I mentally nodded,
and she understood.
"It may take awhile to get over there..." she
said. I heard a loud crash and suspected that she had caved in the entrance
to her cave to keep away intruders. Then, the magic line broke. I knelt down,
exhausted. Being a new mage was tiring at first, I guessed. The pounding in
my ears wouldn't stop. I tried to force it down, but it wouldn't stop beating
so loudly. I forced it down with all my might, and it finally stopped. I fainted...or
* * * * *
A fort overlooked a large cliff. Thousands of
pikes and spears were protruding through the walls of the fortress as a symbol
of it's battle. On the inside, thousand of residents lived. Some were royalty,
some were peasants... and some were even slaves, the bottom of the food chain.
Two of these slaves were a particular Draikess and her hatchling. The mother's
name was Insiga, and her child... he was named Valrigard.
The white Draikess toppled over, exhausted from
the overwork. A guard stood above her, with a whip brandished.
"Get up, Draikess. Lord Shile doesn't like a
lazy worker." He lifted the whip to strike, and a very young blue Draik ran
in front of his mother.
"Leave her alone!" he insisted. The guard snickered,
and remarked to Valrigard's mother.
"You really ought to teach you hatchlings more
manners," he said, and brought down the whip. Valrigard dodged the lash with
the speed of lightning, and grabbed the nearest rock. With eye-blurring speed,
he reached the astounded guard's head and dealt him a swift blow. The guard
fell, unconscious. Valrigard ran to his mother and tried to help her up.
"Don't bother, Valrigard," she whispered, "I'm
broken." Valrigard let go of his mother's arm, tears evident in his eyes.
"You're not broken," he insisted, "You're just
tired." The white Draikess shook her head, tears in her eyes too. She reached
her arm up tenderly, stroking her life's only love. The young Draik bent down
and snuggled into his mother's arms, crying. Insiga sobbed one last time, shuddered
violently, and stilled forever. Valrigard let out a sob and rubbed his mother's
face in an attempt to wake her up, but she didn't move. A tiny pendent hung
around her neck. It was a white-gold sword pendent, the Lightblade's emblem.
Valrigard carefully undid the pendent from his mother's neck and fastened it
around his own. It had been his mother's and her mother's. Insiga had always
told him that the pendent had run in the family.
It belonged to him now.
Suddenly, a sharp hoof snapped down on the ground.
Valrigard looked up, terrified.
"The only reason I kept you was for her sake,
boy," a black Ixi said, "And now that she's gone, you'll go too. You're too
much of a threat to me with the warrior's blood in your veins." He kicked the
Draikess's body away and brought his sword down upon the young Draik's back.
Valrigard recovered his senses just in time
to dodge the sword. It hit the ground and buried itself deeply in. Grunting
in frustration, Shile wrenched it out of the ground and swung it at the blue
Draik, who dodged it with inhuman speed. He opened his wings and took to the
air, never to see the accursed place again. The Ixi ordered for arrows to fire,
but the Draik was too far out of range. He threw his sword down in an angry
fury, and screamed,
"And never come back! I never want to see your
disgusting little face again! Never come back to Fort Gale...!"
* * * * *
Suddenly, a zap ran throughout my body. I jerked
awake, and looked around frantically. Jeran and Velle were standing above me,
looking terribly worried. Velle breathed a sigh of relief, then her relief turned
into fury. She grabbed me by the shoulders and brought me up so our eyes were
"You idiot! Don't you understand?! When you
send telepathic letters, you slow down your bloodflow! You nearly killed yourself!
If Jeran here hadn't given you that jolt, you'd be dead you idiot! Pet alive,
I was so worried-"
"So worried?" I interrupted, smiling roguishly.
Velle snorted fakely.
"Yeah, right. Get ahold of yourself, Valrigard.
I never get worried, it's just that you seem to be important to this war and
all." I nodded, fakely understanding. "Sure," I muttered, standing up shakily.
I didn't want to tell them about the dream I had just experienced, or how true
it was. My hand darted to my tunic, where the pendent was safely hidden under.
I pulled it out and clutched it to myself, mentally promising to never let it
"Nice pendent," Jeran mused. "Where'd you get
"Family inherence," I said simply, then changed
the subject. "Where's Sheer?" I asked.
"He's still summoning armies," Velle said. "Have
you had any success?" I nodded. "How many are coming from Terror Mountain?"
"Um..." I began slowly. "One." Velle sighed.
"Cowards..." I heard her mutter under her breath.
"Oh no," I said, "I could only find one...erm,
pet who possessed the Gift."
"Oh," Velle said,but she didn't sound any happier.
I started walking. "C'mon," I said. "Maybe Sheer had more luck."
* * * * *
When we reached Sheer, he was meditating at
the top of a hill. We climbed up and began to question him when Velle stopped
"He's still talking," she explained. We waited
for a moment or two before the Darigan Draik jolted up, and finally noticed
us. We gave him the stare, and he finally gave in and said,
"Well, the natives
on Mystery Island are willing to help. I've also had some luck with the pirates
of Krawk Island, and they said that they'll send an armada over."
"I've persuaded the pets in Maraqua to join,"
Jeran said. "And the Haunted Forest pets say that they'd like nothing more then
Velle nodded and said, "The Lost Desert pets
are eager to join. The pets and faeries are ready to help in Faerieland, too.
I tried to persuade the pets in the Space Station, but they're too far out of
range." Sheer shrugged.
"They probably wouldn't have an army anyways,"
he said. "The Space Station is just an arcade centre filled with Grundos." We
all nodded, and I talked.
"I finally got the pets of Roo Island to help,
though it was hard. They kept saying, 'Just leave us alone! Meridell is always
getting into wars!' but Von Roo wanted to come. He persuaded the pets to finally
help, and they decided that they would. Neopia Central didn't hesitate to say
yes. They have the most weapons, being mostly shops and all. Terror Mountain..."
I trailed off. Sheer raised an eyebrow.
"...There was only one," I finally said. Sheer
sighed. I didn't really want to tell that the Snowager was the only one who
had volunteered. What would it hurt to not tell them? They would find out, soon
enough. A loud trumpeting sound rang throughout the hills, and Jeran smiled.
"That would be Maraqua," he said, "with their
* * * * *
The rest of the day was spent in gathering the
armies. It wasn't too hard, since they all came to us. First it was Maraqua,
who had come in on the tides. Their leader was a Maraquan Krawk named Kysel,
and his son, a green Krawk named Firescale. The next army that came was from
Krawk Island. They too came on the sea, along with the Mystery Islanders. The
leaders were a pirate Lupe named Yerik, and an Island Uni named Isyldi.
Next came Roo Island, and their leader (guess
who, but nevertheless surprising) Count Von Roo. When questioned about the king's
whereabouts, he smiled evilly and said, "The king is feeling a little under
the weather." The next to come were the pets of Neopia Central. They brought
all the weapons they could find, even the ones from other people's shops. Their
leaders were a few pets named Veliao, a silver Zafara, Hohoho, a shadow Gelert,
and Ghyr, a Halloween Lupe.
Next, the pets of the Lost Desert came. They
were led by a Desert Aisha, who's name was Setuki. She was a skilled archer
when it came to battle. The next army to come was a Faerieland army. They were
led by (guess, really) Fyora. She had generously taken the weapons out of the
Hidden Tower for the battle, and she eventually gave me a Ghostkersword, saying,
"You'd better win this war, Valrigard. If you
don't, you can count on a few centuries of working for me in order to pay up
for all these items." I only nodded nervously and flew as fast as I could to
'Check on the other armies.'
The next pets to come were from the Space Station!
We had never expected it, but their leader, a robot Bori name Dysle, said that
they hated to miss out on the fun, especially since they lived in an arcade.
Finally, as if on cue, the ground started rumbling. Everyone around me looked
frantic and scared, but I remained still and waited.
Then, the Snowager burst from the ground! Rocks
flew everywhere like rain as we all shielded our eyes. The Snowager blinked
at me and said telepathically,
"I must admit, I didn't expect you to succeed
in creating a army out of Neopia. But, it seems that you Neopets can do anything
you set your minds to." I nodded and turned to the amazed crowd.
"Well," I said out loud, "I think we've got
an army." The Snowager nodded, and I thought I saw a Lenny in the crowd faint.
To be continued...