Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 90,555,321 Issue: 168 | 2nd day of Celebrating, Y6
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Firejewel: Part Seven

by sara_mossflower


The Burning Diamond

I couldn't believe it. Although I had considered Aillara as a potential enemy from the start, I never really believed it, and now the truth was being thrust upon me by harsh reality. It felt as though she'd betrayed us, but she'd never really been our friend to begin with.

      "Aillara?" I gasped.

      "The one and only," she replied with a smirk.

      I asked the one question anyone in my situation was tempted to ask. "Why?"

      "Because," she answered, "they offered me power, and I took it. For the most part, that story about my magic being scrambled was true. I happened upon this lair, as I'd heard rumours of its existence and wished to join Frey's followers. I have very strong Dark magic, which to the rest of this League was a sign of strength. They made me a deal: that they would initiate me into their highest rank as I was predicted to be a valuable asset. I could sense that Striped Zafara's unease around me, and it was because she was able to see the touch of Frey mingling with the rest of my magic. Oh, and that night in the woods, in case you were wondering, was brilliant acting on my part. I didn't really harm your friend there for risk of harming Frey, but I had to fake protecting you so it looked like I was on your side."

      "You…you said that they were all white."

      "Well, that was to make sure that you'd believe me. Most who have heard of us believe that we try to imitate our Lady, but in comparison to her, we are mundane. She is no ordinary Zafara. She was able to make herself immortal - and we are honoured to hail such a mage."

      I gritted my teeth. "Is power all that matters to you?" I demanded. "You joined for power, you admire Frey because of power - well that's not what it's all about! Frey isn't half so great as you make her out to be! She's a destructive maniac - I should know, I fought her!"

      The Shadow Eyrie slowly padded towards me, and while part of me was proud of my outburst, another part was telling me that it would have been wiser to hold my tongue. She lowered her hooked beak, as black as obsidian, until she was looking me in the eye. Had I stuck out my tongue, I could have touched her. "I would love to kill you now," she hissed, "for uttering words against the great KeenBlade, but you'll suffer enough shortly." She then raised her head once more, and called over to the Gelert and a pair of Krawks. "Secure the girl, and let the Windstorm watch as our Mistress returns!"

      Immediately, the two Neopets approached us, the Gelert seizing me roughly and hauling me away from Dayne, who the two Krawks brought forward and began to shackle to a huge stone in the centre of the room. "What are you doing?" I cried, "Leave her alone!" I fought to struggle against my captor, but he held me firm. "You're insane!" I screamed, "If Frey comes back, people will die! There'll be all kinds or wars! Dayne will die!"

      Aillara whirled around and met my gaze. "And one of the greatest beings on Neopia will rise again! Don't you see, pathetic Windstorm, it'll all be worth it."

      "No it won't! You're insane!" Hot tears of rage blinded me momentarily. "Let us go!" I begged, but I knew that it was futile. There was no way to change her mind now.

      The evil Eyrie turned her back on me, began to stride away, but then stopped. "Oh, and Frawl?"

      "Yes?" said the Gelert holding me.

      "After the Zafara girl is dead, take the Windstorm up to see his other friends. Then, bring him back so the Lady KeenBlade can have her way with him."

      "Of course," replied Frawl obediently.

      "Other friends?" I echoed.

      "Mm-hm," the Gelert called Frawl affirmed. "That cloud Lupe and striped Zafara are scheduled to be tossed off the top of the gorge shortly."

      "No," I whispered, bowing my head in defeat. All because we'd trusted one Eyrie, all of our lives would be sacrificed in vain and Frey would return. We'd failed miserably.

      But I was forced to raise my eyes as the room filled with subtle cheers as Aillara approached the shackled Dayne. My roommate had gone stiff, her eyes closed, and the amulet around her neck seemed to be glowing with sheer power. "She's coming," murmured Frawl.

      Dayne's body shuddered and went limp. Then, slowly, she began to raise her head, but I could tell that it wasn't of her own willpower. Her eyes opened, and I gasped with remorse as I recognized the pitiless darkness of Frey's gaze. "No," I choked again, "No."

      She was returning, back among her League. The Zafara chained to the stone wasn't Dayne anymore - I knew that. It was Frey with Mystery Island fur. That was the only difference.

     Frey turned her head until she was looking at me, the depths of her cold eyes piercing me like a dagger of ice. "My League is truly loyal," she sang in her charming tones. Frey had a nice voice to the ordinary ear, but in my experience with her, every word she said was blaring maliciousness.

     "You have brought me home," she continued, "and face to face with my greatest enemy, no less. The Windstorm, whose death will complete me. I am grateful, my followers. You have mastered the deception of the Firejewel, for you have placed it around the throat of his greatest companion."

     I took in Frey's words, and realized that she was right. Despite her stubborn attitude, as well as her irritating addiction to Uni's Clothing, Dayne was probably the best friend I'd ever had. When she acted seriously I could sense a pledge of loyalty between us, that we'd help each other out no matter what. It was true - Frey did have in her clutches my greatest companion.

     "Unshackle me," she commanded. "In mere moments I will have full control of this body. It is impossible for the girl to escape me now."

     Obedient League members approached her and undid the locks on the chains, then backed away in awe of their leader.

     Frey sauntered forward, and to my horror, I noticed a change coming over her pelt. The white swirls of fur on her legs and the white marks over her eyes - classic characteristics of an Island Zafara - were spreading, slowly but surely. I could tell what was happening. The white colour would soon overtake Dayne's colouring. I remembered how diligently she'd saved up for that paint brush, and now her efforts were wasting away. Frey would be the hue of newly fallen snow once more, the colour of purity that her followers so loved.

     Dayne, I thought, She's gone. I felt myself being torn apart inside from the realization that I'd never see her again.

     Her legs were now completely white, and the pale shade continued creeping up her flanks like desperate fingers.

     It was then that I felt something stir within the core of my being. It was like a sudden pulse of power radiating through me, something I'd never felt before. It felt so unnatural, yet it belonged to me. I closed my eyes and leaned over, bent double as I felt it again. Then there was a rushing feeling in my mind and I beheld a vision. I saw the field were I had battled Frey before, the earth torn up from being smote with magical backwash and the blades of our swords. Then I was transported beneath the soil, where I wandered without shape or form. Then I came across a glowing light, almost too dim to notice. It was an aura, I could tell, but a very weak one. Whoever it belonged to was close to death. My eyes pierced through the cloaking light and I saw that it was Dayne, lying there, unconscious. She and Frey were switching places, and she was now a prisoner of the confines of the spell that had once been laid on the vengeful warrior.

     "Wake up!" I shouted, and whether I was speaking within my mind or aloud I could not tell. "Wake up!"

     I was suddenly stopped by the wave of power washing over me again. This time, I could hear it - a sound like rolling thunder rampaging through the atmosphere. There was the strength of storm clouds within me.

     I knew it was hopeless. I knew I'd probably die. But I also knew that I wasn't going to let Dayne perish in an old grave. And I wasn't going to let Aly and Terzin fall to their deaths. And I definitely wasn't going to let Frey wreak havoc upon Neopia. At least, not without a fight.

     I forced myself to open my eyes, and found that I was on the floor of the chamber - Frawl had ceased holding me. I glanced upward, and saw Frey looking down at me, a flicker of fear darting across her eyes. "What have you done to yourself, Windstorm?" she demanded. "Where did you find the potency of the combined Element? It is a force I never imagined you'd master."

     "Shut up," I snapped. "You're wrong about a lot of things, so don't act all surprised. You were wrong about your life being my glorifying destiny, you were wrong about turning your back on Tasson, and you're wrong if you think that I'm just going to lie here and die at your feet!"

     There was the pulse of power again. This time I tried to control it, harness it. I knew that I could, for it was part of me. It was flowing through my veins; it was blending with my soul. I focused everything on Dayne. Free her, I thought, Let her go! Let her come back!

     I glanced upward, and the Firejewel around Frey's neck was ablaze with flames the colour of a storm-streaked sky.

     And then I realized…

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Firejewel: Part One
» Firejewel: Part Two
» Firejewel: Part Three
» Firejewel: Part Four
» Firejewel: Part Five
» Firejewel: Part Six
» Firejewel: Part Eight

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