The Shade Flame Legacy: Valrigard - Part Ten
An enormous black Reptillor slithered out of the door.
It was about the size of a four foot Neohome when it held up its head. Its long
body coiled in after it, and it still stuck through the door. Firescale gasped
and turned around, but I held him firm.
"We can't turn our backs to it," I hissed. "It's
smarter than we think." Firescale nodded. We turned and faced the snake.
With eye-blurring speed the snake lunged at
us, fangs bared. I held Firescale in place until we could feel the snake's breath
and we ducked. The Reptillor's head ran right over us in a deadly trap. I could
feel its scales running over my back, then it pulled back and lunged again.
On instinct, I rolled and dodged the way. Firescale hadn't been born with that
instinct, but he followed suite and rolled the other way. The massive snake's
head collided with the wall and it hissed in anger and frustration.
The Reptillor reared up and looked at us. After
a split second, it decided that Firescale was better prey and lunged at the
defenseless Krawk. I opened my wings and took off, then rammed the snake's head
in order to take its attention off Firescale. The snake thrashed around with
me hanging onto its head, being able to fall off at any time. I clutched onto
the smooth scales and prayed that I wouldn't fall off. But, my prayers were
The enormous snake rammed its head against the
wall, ramming me with it. I lost my grip on the snake's scales and fell off.
The snake pressed its large coils on my body and pushed down; it was suffocating
me. I gasped for breath under the massive weight, and then I heard the Reptillor
scream. The temperature was suddenly getting much warmer. I heard a familiar
voice echoing in my head.
"Well, well, aren't you the troublesome
type? First you start a war, and now you become the damsel in distress. Or should
I say the damsel of distress?"
"You have a very shrewd sense of humour,"
I snapped telepathically, "but right now, I'm suffocating. Could you just
make yourself useful and get this oversized worm off me?!" The creature
mentally snorted and I heard the Reptillor scream again. Slowly, its weight
began to lift off my body. I gasped for air and looked up. The Snowager was
fighting the Reptillor angrily. The two massive snakes attacked each other in
The Snowager reared up and fired a volley of
ice shards at the Reptillor and it screamed in pain. The Reptillor lunged at
the Snowager and delivered a poisonous bite.
"No!" I gasped. The Snowager ignored its wound
and lunged at the Reptillor again. With a screech he snapped at the Reptillor
and bit deeply into it, causing it to scream again and attack. I couldn't just
stand by and let the Snowager be killed. I looked around through the sand and
something caught my eye: a long, sharp rock. I grabbed the rock and hurled it
at the Reptillor just as it was about to take a bite out of the Snowager...
and it made its mark.
The rock struck the Reptillor sharply in the
eye and it screamed in fury. It whirled around blindly and its good eye met
mine. It glared at me, blood streaming down its face, and lunged. That gave
the Snowager time to attack.
With a final mighty roar, the Snowager fired
a beam of ice at the snake. It froze in mid-lunge with its sharp teeth nearly
inches away from me. I sighed and collapsed, but my rest was short lived. The
doors on the opposite side of the arena burst open and Syvor flew in at me,
claws bared. With more power than I expected he bowled me over and had his claws
at my throat.
"I shouldn't have left killing you to that oaf,
Skarl," he hissed in my ear. "I should've had the Three dispose of you before
you grew strong. But no matter, you will die now." He held up his claws and
prepared to rake them across my throat when he roared out in pain. I looked
over to see Firescale burying a sharp rock into the Eyrie's back. Syvor rolled
over and knocked the young Krawk off, then lunged at him.
I finally felt that burst of energy that I had
been longing for. The drug was finally wearing off, and I used the Shade Flame
power. With all my might I summoned the Shade Flame and I fired it at Syvor.
The Eyrie screamed in pain and raked his claws across my face. I ducked just
in time to miss the attack, but Syvor was getting faster.
"You're dead!" Syvor screamed, "I'll flay you!"
Syvor shot the deadly Shade Flame at me and I blocked it with my own Shade Flame.
I wasn't strong enough! The last time this had happened, I had ended up being
the damsel in distress. I had only lived that time because of Jeran! Just as
Syvor began pushing the power back at me, I heard a voice in my head.
Valrigard...My power was growing.
Valrigard...It was Velle. She was lending me
her power again.
The Flame of Shade shall win the fight,
The Blade of Soul shall awaken,
Once dead the friend of dreams shall have a
For life that was once taken.
Shade Flame, a passing legacy,
That goes from pet to another.
One day they shall be reunited,
Like sister and like brother.
Shade Flame, the pack leader,
Who failed his chance of good,
Was thrown to death and lived again,
The Lupes were saved and lived.
The voice boomed in my head and I felt the power
within me grow. With a roar I pushed the Shade Flame farther and farther back.
I could see a hint of fear flashing in Syvor's eyes. The confidence in me grew,
and I used it to destroy Syvor's Shade Flame. It exploded and my energy began
to drain rapidly. I collapsed in a heap and lost consciousness.
* * * * *
When I finally woke up, the arena was gone.
Underneath me, I could feel the Snowager's icy cold skin. I sat up and looked
around. We were in the plains of Meridell. The scenery zipped past and I realized
that we were riding on the Snowager Wait a minute...we?!
"Where's the others?!" I asked, beginning
to panic. "Where's Jeran? Darigan?! Where are they?!"
"Hush, little one. They are fine, and
they are asleep. Our escape was dangerous, and you certainly didn't help."
"I'm sorry I couldn't have been any
service to you," I said. "But if you had to control this whole Shade
Flame thing, you would loose consciousness too." The Snowager wheezed in
what was an unmistakable laugh.
"Oh would I?" he asked.
You forget, young one, that you are much
more inexperienced at magic than I. I have been in Neopia since the dawn of
time. My lair is as ancient as the faeries, and so am I. I witnessed Sloth in
the Battle of the Lost Desert, and I scoffed as that idiot Brucey B. got his
pathetic coin back. Your magic may be powerful, but that doesn't change the
fact that I could hold your magic longer then you easily.
"Thank you for your moving speech,"
I muttered. "It was very...observant. I know that I'm not as powerful as
you are when it comes to magic, but I still have time to learn. Now, if you'd
be so kind, I need to think."
"That's not very useful," he said,
"I can hear everything you think." I sighed.
"What should I do?" I finally asked.
The Snowager snorted, as if I knew all the answers.
"Hatchling," he said sternly, "you
can't fight Darkness in it's nest. You must lure the leader out, and destroy
him. Doing that will kill his endless army. Do you understand?"
"Yes," I said, "but how do
I lure Syvor out? He's not stupid, and he'll never leave the sanctuary of the
There was a pause, and then, "You are
Syvor's main goal to kill. If you are out of the way, Neopia will be lost. You
may not know this Valrigard, but Jeran and the others are no match for Syvor.
He can only be killed with Shade Flame, and you are the only one to posses it.
I hate to say this, but Syvor will only come out if you...go without your army."
"Are you mad?!" I asked, astounded,
"I'd be ripped to pieces! Syvor would win!"
"I'm not saying that you would have
to do it completely alone, he said, I'm just saying that you have to look like
you are alone. You could leave the army behind and go to the Citadel, and when
Syvor would be at the head of your army and ready to kill you...then, your army
could attack from the back. Do you understand, young one?"
"Yes," I said. "Thank you,
Lord of Ice. He replied with a bow, "My pleasure, but all I really want
from this war is horde, and you know it. I dared to muse and said, Don't I?"
I heard a moan and knew that Firescale had
woken up. The young green Krawk sat up and rubbed his head, then looked at me.
"You okay?" he asked. I nodded.
"We were all worried about you when you fainted
like that," Firescale said, "We thought you had died or something." I shifted
uncomfortably. I still had to consider Firescale being my apprentice.
"Firescale," I said, "I can't train you now."
The young Krawk seemed to wilt.
"But," he perked back up, "I'll think about
it after the war. If we live through this, then I'll think about it. Agreed?"
Firescale nodded vigorously, and I was confused. I couldn't understand why he
wanted to be my apprentice. His father was dead because of me! I had caused
him extreme pain in the torture room! I had even dragged him into my own execution!
I guess that I would never understand kids, for I had never really been one
myself. My childhood had been a miserable experience in a slave fortress, and
my mother had died when I had been very young. My paw darted over to the necklace
holding the Lightblade emblem and I thought of my mother.
Jeran had woken up, and he walked over to me.
"What're we going to do now?" he asked in a somewhat dull way. "Now," I said,
"we prepare our next battle at the Darigan Citadel." Jeran looked at me quizzically
but said nothing. Darigan came up to us and sat down next to us.
"I can arrange for that to happen," he said.
When I looked at him questioningly, he simply said, "I have friends in high
"That reminds me," I pondered out loud, "Syvor
said something about sending the Three after me. I've only just heard of them,
but from what I've heard, they're not nice people. They're supposed to manipulate
other pets and bend them to their will or something...right?" Darigan nodded
"If Syvor has control over the Three..." Darigan
trailed off, then his eyes went wide. "He was the one who commanded the Three
to command Skarl to kill you! He commanded them to command me to command the
pets to war, and then he used them to command Kass to command the pets to continue
the war!" When he got our looks, he blushed slightly and said, "When you've
been controlled by the Three, I mean, Syvor before, the word command seems very
Jeran nudged my shoulder playfully and we laughed.
Darigan was pretty fun if you looked under all that leader covering. The Snowager
suddenly lurched to a stop and Firescale fell forward. He lifted himself up
and grinned at us, and we all laughed even harder. This was one of the happiest
moments that I would have in a long time.
* * * * *
Later, I alerted the troops of the plan. They
took it pretty nicely, seeing as the pets of Roo Island were the only ones to
scream and object. I never really had liked them, except for Von Roo, who always
possessed a funny side. He simply licked his lips evilly and said, "I just hope
zhat zhe army doesn't carry around stakes and garlic, if you know vhat I mean."
When we prepared to leave for the battle, Jeran
came over to have a talk. I had no objections; Jeran was a good pet to talk
"So," Jeran said, sheathing his sword, "are
you excited for the battle?"
"Not really excited, mostly nervous," I muttered.
I didn't understand how Jeran could keep such a cool head at a time like this!
I supposed that it was from battling many more times than me. I hadn't really
been in many wars, due to my time in the dungeons.
"I wonder what will become of us after the war,"
Jeran said with a hint of wonder in his voice. He failed to mention if we didn't
die during this last battle. "I'm sure that you'll settle down with Velle and
maybe start a family or something..." at these words I bolted up.
"Why start a family?" I asked rather shakily,
"I mean, come on. Velle's just a friend." Jeran chuckled, and I could feel my
scales growing hot. I feverishly hoped that I wasn't blushing...too late. I
"Ah, c'mon Valrigard," Jeran said, "I've seen
you with Velle. You're all talking to her about things you wouldn't confide
in any other pets, not even me or Sheer." I remembered the night that I had
dismissed Sheer after his asking about Velle. I felt a pang of guilt in my stomach...or
was it embarrassment?
"And," he continued, "No matter how much you
deny it, no pet in Neopia can say that Velle is ugly. She's the prettiest pet
I've ever seen, and I'm a Lupe." Velle was very beautiful...
"Let's just say," Jeran concluded, "that I won't
bother you about it until after the war. If you do end up starting a family
with Velle or something, you owe me."
"What would I owe you?" I half-joked. Jeran
smiled. "Friendship, or maybe you could join us in the next war, huh?" I smiled.
I would like entering more wars, helping other pets, and destroying the evil
ones. I could imagine all my friends at my side: Jeran, who had saved me when
I had nearly been killed. Darigan, who had been a friend to me and had given
me the new title, Valrigard Redeemed. Sheer, who had taught me about the Shade
Flame and who had been a great friend in doing so. Firescale, who was young
yet ready to learn, and in his own way, wise. And...Velle. She had been my first
friend and companion, and maybe she was a little more then a friend. Just maybe.
I personally smiled to myself.
Velle walked up to me with an unfamiliar silver
Zafara. On this Zafara, I could see warrior stamped all over her. Yet, she looked
cunning and swift. She was an assassin.
"This is Zayta," Velle said, "she says that
she's willing to join and fight."
"But," Zayta said quickly, "I'm only doing it
for my grandparents. If we all live through war, you're going to give me a personal
pass to the dungeons. Agreed?" This was all going a little too fast for me,
but I said, "Sure." The Zafara turned her tail sniffily and walked off. She
was a little too proud for my liking. Velle sat down next to me.
"I heard that your invasion didn't work out
so well," she commented. I was silent. "I'm glad that you're okay," she continued.
I wondered if she was saying just me, or everybody else.
"You were lucky that the Snowager was there,"
she said, trying to strike up conversation. I wasn't really in the mood to talk.
Velle put a hand on my shoulder. "Valrigard..."
"You helped me again," I said quietly. "You
gave me the strength to fight Syvor. If it weren't for you, I would be dead
more than once, Velle." The Draikess gave a pretty smile.
"Velle," I began slowly, "I don't want you to
come to the next battle. You could get hurt, and..."
"Valrigard, I'm not a child. I can fight, and
I will. If you try to keep me, you had best tie me up in a bag, for I shall
follow anyways." I stared at her.
"If you were shot in battle or hurt or something,"
I snapped, "I would never forgive myself. If I have any say in this, you will
STAY." Velle returned my glare.
"Valrigard," she began slowly, then became more
confident, "If I were to take away your sword and say that I cared too much
about you to let you fight, wouldn't you think me selfish?" I paused...she was
right. But it wasn't me who I was afraid for. It was Velle, and I wouldn't let
her go. Besides, she was giving me the "I care too much for other pets not to
fight, so don't be selfish" talk.
"Velle," I said insistently, "this is MY battle,
and I won't let you get hurt. I don't care if it's selfish...you're NOT coming.
If I have to tie you up in a bag I will. If I have to paint you shadow so you
look like one of Syvor's army, I will." Velle looked stunned. I continued. "All
I want is your safety, and if you can't give me that, then I feel pretty much
useless." Velle looked down, tears in her eyes. I couldn't bear this much longer.
"Velle," I began very slowly, "there's something
I need to tell you..." Velle listened intently, but the words didn't come out.
Just when I was about to speak, Jeran and Darigan walked back up to us.
"Night has fallen," Darigan said, "and I've
sent an Airax to Syvor telling him that you plan to meet him at the Citadel
We have to go." I nodded and walked away from Velle, who sat there obediently.
Even though her heart knew what was right.
"Goodbye, Valrigard ShadeFlame," she whispered,
a tear sliding down her cheek. I didn't have the heart to look back and say
goodbye also. Jeran patted me comfortingly on the shoulder, and Darigan gave
a small smile. I knew that this was my last battle, and I didn't even have the
courage to tell Velle what I really felt about her.
* * * * *
We mounted the Unis that would take us up to
the Citadel. "Once we see you battling Syvor up there," Jeran explained, "we'll
fly up and fight the shadows. Syvor will probably choose to fight you only,
and that's what you'll do. Okay?"
I nodded and muttered, "Okay." I flew off on the Uni
towards my deathbed. Back down on the ground, a pirate Poogle whispered to his
"I'll bet yer fifty dubloons that the ol' Draik's
dead meat, eh?" the other pirate was about to laugh in reply when Sheer grabbed
him by the shoulders and hurled him down. A hush fell upon army. Sheer had always
been a Darigan Draik armed with patience. Jeran and Darigan were right next
"I'll take that bet," Sheer spat at the quivering
Poogle, "and you'll beg for forgiveness if I have a say in it. Valrigard will
be fine, and he'll kill Syvor. Our land will be rid of this great shadow that
has fallen upon us." He paused and looked up and the sky, where the Uni and
the Draik were becoming a speck in the distance.
"We will be rid of the shadow..." he whispered
to himself. Yes, he thought, Valrigard will triumph.
To be continued...