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Too Dark for Darigan


by kushbi

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Night fell on the Floating Citadel, which looked like it was always in a dusky shadow anyway. Galgarroth stood up from his seat and began to put away sheets of paper on which he and his Lord had scribbled their future plans. The Grarrl glanced out of a window and frowned. An inky darkness filled the sky, with not one star in sight. It had always been that way, just as Lord Darigan had always been afraid of the dark since his return.

     Wait a minute, he thought, I'm not supposed to even think of that!

     Galgarroth shook his head vigorously. Who knew what strange forces were on their wretched drifting land? Forces so powerful that they could read every single thought that went through his mind?

     "Risks should not be taken," Lord Darigan said, "Paranoia is the best policy."

     The General nodded grimly to himself and placed the documents into a vault. He was looking forward to a good rest after the tiring discussion and was sure that his master was now fast asleep.

     -

     It seemed strange how most Darigan minions knew of their Lord's fear of the dark and yet did not speak of it. Darigan might have warned them, but what could keep servants from gossiping? It must be even more exceptional that everyone expected him to have a good night's sleep in spite of this phobia.

     As it turned out, Lord Darigan had his own solution.

     But it was entirely a result of trial and error, months spent in agony with cursed candles, which melted so often that he could not sneak in an hour's rest before having to rise to light new ones. A faithful servant had smuggled in a box of Meridell's famous long-lasting wax but that had failed too. For a few days, he tried placing bottled light faeries on his bedside table. Alas, halfway through the night, they turned dark purple and stopped glowing.

     One faithful evening, when he finally ran out of ideas, he glared at the grey sky and ranted silently to the mysterious being who had cursed him with such an inconvenient fear. He complained of not being nocturnal, which was a habit of most Korbats. He sulked at not being able to get a good night's rest after hours of exhaustive plotting for the good of his withered land. The crash of expensive chamber decoration echoed throughout the Citadel, rendering each minion silent with dread that their great master had finally lost it.

     It was ironic that Darigan felt the same sense of dismay, except that it was not out of fear for his composure but a terrifying realization that darkness had swept into his chamber as he was consumed by his tantrum. Taking quick, shallow breaths, he stumbled towards the silhouette of his sprawling bed and fell onto it gracelessly. There were no candles, no light faeries, nothing at all, just plain darkness. He was curled up on the purple bedspread in misery when his fingers felt something soft and squishy. Taking it into his arms, he cuddled the comforting object and slept soundly, for the first time in months -- a plushie, the long-awaited solution to his phobia.

     That was weeks ago.

     -

     As Galgarroth secured the vault in the dungeons, Lord Darigan was pacing in his chamber, trying desperately to quell the rising panic in his chest. A small candle provided the only light in his room and he knew that this would not last an hour. However, he had discovered, just minutes ago, that his favorite plushie was nowhere to be found. It had vanished from the space beneath his pillow. Gone.

     Thoughts swirled through his mind as Darigan contemplated his next move. He could wake everyone up and demand that they search for the plushie. But that would mean letting his minions know that their fearless master cuddled a toy to sleep. Or he could use candles again...no, it was unthinkable for him to be rudely awakened in the throes of sleep by paralyzing darkness when the flame died. In a haze of restlessness and fear, Darigan remembered that he had one loyal competent servant whom he could rely upon in times like these: Galgarroth.

     Lord Darigan clutched the melting candle and slammed the door of his chambers shut as he ventured into the corridor, hoping that his General would hear the noise wherever he was in the citadel and come to his rescue. He glared balefully at the flicking flame, knowing that it would not last on his way to the dungeons, where he had last seen the Grarrl. As he stood undecided, he heard a pair of steady footsteps approach.

     "My Lord," the welcomed rumble of Galgarroth greeted him, "Do you need anything?"

     Galgarroth tried to disguise the worry in his voice, for he knew that Darigan would not stand for worry, pity, or both. However, the sweat that was trickling down his master's brow and the tightly clenched fist that was holding the wasting candle did not escape his notice.

     Darigan took a deep breath and replied, "I have lost something of utmost importance."

     "Count on me to find it," said the General, "What is it?"

     "It is of utmost importance."

     "I'm sure it is, my Lord, but how does it look like? Where do you usually keep it?"

     Lord Darigan stared at his loyal servant and felt some doubt at the moment. However, he knew that Galgarroth was his best bet for help. Who else could he turn to?

     "It looks like those two infamous Meridell siblings. I usually keep it under my…bed."

     Galgarroth blinked in surprise. Only one thing looked like Lisha and Jeran: their plushie set. He was about to raise a few nagging questions when a look in Darigan's eyes made him bite his tongue.

     It was a look of desperation.

     The Grarrl General remembered that his master's welfare came first and not any personal questions of his, even if he was itching to know why Darigan kept a Lisha and Jeran Plushie Set under his bed. He racked his brains and remembered that a servant had dusted Darigan's chambers that afternoon. That could only mean two things. One, that the bold servant had taken the plushie. Galgarroth mentally dismissed that notion, for he knew that no minion would be willing to face a fate worse than death for a plushie set. That left the other possibility, that the servant had gotten rid of it. He could not fault a Darigan minion for throwing away Meridell toys, could he?

     The plushie set could be lying in the Darigan Dumpster right now.

     "My Lord, I may know where it is."

     -

     Lord Darigan wondered how the small population of his Citadel could generate so much rubbish as Galgarroth picked the dump apart. A soft glow, which came from the flame of Darigan's candle, illuminated the Darigan Dumpster, showing the extent of its purple hue. This made Galgarroth cheer in silence because his job became much easier.

     Just look for the yellow ears…

     Amidst rotting food and other unidentifiable junk, he finally spotted a yellow object sticking out of the sea of purple. Galgarroth grabbed at it and pulled up an Aisha plushie with glasses. It was attached to a Lupe plushie that looked exactly like Jeran. He dusted the two as best as he could and handed it to Darigan, who was waiting beside him with a look of utter relief.

     "Thank you Galgarroth, your services will not go unrewarded. However…" Darigan trailed off, leaving a hint, which he hoped was strong enough for his General to get.

     The Grarrl nodded in understanding. He would never breathe a word to anyone about Darigan's collectable plushies.

     "Your…ahem, secret is safe, my Lord. No questions asked."

     Darigan raised an eyebrow pointedly. Why was he not one bit surprised that Galgarroth could read his mind?

     "Well, then, I'm going to sleep at last. Goodnight, Galgarroth."

     The words lingered in the dark as Darigan's General came to a startling realization.

     So that's what he uses them for!

The End :P

 
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