Chapter Eight: Their Deepest Fear

Chapter Eight: Their Deepest Fear

A Chapter by Greystone

A mist crept sullenly under the door that Ariadine had run her fingers over. As the mist continued to emerge, a feeling of inner cold and inner fear-- identical to the one Aria had succumbed to-- claimed the men of Arathas. Then the mist swarmed and glowed with a luminescent red light, blazing for the voice that was to come...

 

"I AM THE PROTECTOR," Roared the gleaming mass (Joshua fainted), "YOU WILL NOT PASS!"

 

"And if we should refuse?" The shaky reply came, to everyone's surprise, from Ariadine, who had finally recognised what this thing was.

 

"THEN FACE YOUR DEEPEST FEAR!" The mass went dark, and then, as it cleared... a Basilisk slid toward Ariadine, with dark red scales and horrifing fangs. It slithered toward her while the fangs bared, while the screams of posioned men came from all around the flickering torches. A lesser man would have been consumed by the promise of death, and ran:

 

But Aria shrugged.

 

The great red light came again. This time a monstrous ghost, moaning, groaning and swiping a dangerously-dull blade came toward Aria, crusted with stains from non-exsistant encounters. Empty eyes reflected an empty soul husk, its clumbering feet clad in boots hundreds of years old. It took awhile, because ghosts are quite slow-- several of the men retreated from the sound of the wailing.

 

She crossed her arms.

 

A third time the mist came, but it was delayed. Delayed long enough for Arathas to hiss-- "What are you doing, Aria?! Lets GO!"

 

She shook her head and replied, in the same duclet tones, "This is a free-willed boggart. It can change into whatever shape it wishes, but not what I fear. Go, now. Take your men, and GO."

 

"I won't leave you, Ariadine," he said, but his men and John took her advice. As they did, the flames of the torch flickered a bright green-- and went out. Arathas took Aria's hand. The red light went out. This time, a dead version of Aria came-- without all her beauty--- with shining black eyes and shimmering red fingernails. Perhaps the Boggart had guessed that Ariadine's strength lay in her beauty, her wit-- he was wrong.

 

And Aria laughed.

 

The red light, a fourth time. This time, as it was deciding which form to take, it took longer. The torches got brighter, and as they cleared...

 

A nearly-dead Arathas, writhing in pain on the earthen floor. Arathas looks real, his screams of dying agony peirce the hearts of any and all still inside.

 

"Aria...." He moans, "Aria..." He raised the stump of his now-missing hand, a crimson river flowing from the open wound.

 

Aria grew paler then she normaly was, she grasped Arathas' hand tighter. At the tenth time, Aria raised a hand.

 

"Beast," she shouted, though she was still shaking her voice carried clear, "You'd better be quiet, or I'll take away your ability to change and turn you into a human." A great grating noise came, she recognised it as laughter.

 

"Human?"came the merry reply, "How on earth will you manage THAT, witch?"

 

"I will not warn again, Spiridon!" She screamed, gaining back more and more of her demeanor with every word, "LET. US. THROUGH!" A pause.

 

"YOU CANNOT, WITCH!" At the moment, Arathas comprehended her plan and ran out of the tunnel. "See? Even your comrades flee from your side!"

 

Aria opened her mouth and sang. A horribly beautiful, mutiliating note swept through every corner of the tunnel. The torches blazed brighter then they had ever before, the fire twisting into the shape of Sirens. Females, with endlessly beautiful voices and flowing gowns of shimmering silver flame. Thier hands are of a dark ash and eyes of a vertigo of blue hues, mingled with the gold of a nameless, immortal sun. There was no note that did not do the Boggart what he had done to others, and his red light grew noticably darker. Darker, and darker.

 

Darker.

 

And then--with one last blaze--it went out.


***

"Hell's teeth!" Mirage yelled, knocking over a gem-encrusted cup-- the purple liquid spilled relentlessly onto the expensive tile floor. "We've been sitting on our fat behinds and eating like pigs while a chorus of Abororiean screams reach our ears! We are the Sharpstar and the Stormbringers-- it is our responsibility to protect our people!"

 

There was no reply. "Will none of you admit your wrong!?" She stood slowly, with an anger that coursed through her like electricity through poor Titus' foot. Dyrim, Leberecht, and Plyn were the only ones present. They looked at her with a mixutre of concern and apathy. After a moment, Dyrim and Plyn walk together towards the wine bowl, and the young face of Leberecht broke into song:

"O ale good! O ale tall!
Mine eyelids now startin' to fall.
O endless greed! O posion white!
It is you I cannot fight--
this hell-made taste placed on me
."

 

Timuir ambled into the extravagent room with a ponderous, panther-like grace, and lightly tapped a stunning silver fork to his ancient golden goblet. His sharp yellow fingernails scraped against the cool metal, creating a horrible screech-like din. For once, such an attention grabber grabbed attention, and everyone looked.

 

"I have an annoucement to make," he said quietly, but no one missed a word. The white phoenix, Selena, took flight, a glimmer of pure white, unyielding light in the now beautifully lit room. There was a long silence, save for the endless echo of flapping Phoenix wings. Leberecht stopped singing. The lack of his baritone voice made the room seem that much darker, Phoenix light or no. With this darkness on their hearts, they hardly noticed that Timuir had begun to speak:


 

"For four centuries, the Sharpstar and Stormbringers have faithfully ruled. Natalia, the last apprentice of mortality's dying fire, watched our power wane as she died. The Sharpstar did not hold onto their purity, their reason for rule. Their objectives, the people of Aboroae, were replaced by the growing wealth and circulating rumour mill. The Stormbringers fled, leaving the people more angry, hungry, and confused." He paused for effect, letting his waves of words wash over the SharpStars and Mirage, the only real Stormbringer in the room.

 

"It was into this world-- THIS WORLD-- that I was borne. As all babes do, I grew. I was raised well, without a home of poverty, and I became king. I did not relish this power, such doors opened to me, the power that could lie behind a snap of my fingers..." He blinked, an owl-like blink that made his eyes look alive and alert, "I ran. Meanwhile, the Sharpstars took advantage of my beloved wife and son. They re-asserted themselves as supreme rulers, but still they saught help in what they believed the lesser task: Watching the Aboroeian people."

 

"Over the years, my heart grew hard as I watched the suffering age after age of Sharpstars put onto Aboroae. I would pray to any gods I knew in vain hope. That hope I clung too, as I watched my children's children grow thin. But I have a decision, younglings. I have a choice that will stop the suffering, save your lives, and re-estblish the true ruler of Aboroae. Hear me now, for this is my royal decree..." A wicked smile spread over his face, finally the guise of kindness fell.

 

"The Age of the stormbringers," he declared dramatically, "is OVER!"

 

***

 

"We will need an alternate route through this tunnel, Arathas," Said Ariadine, her sharp blue eyes flashing,

"Spiridon will not relent, human or not." Arathas sat down on the pale green grass.

 

"Leave us," bade the hunter to his guards, in a tone as sharp as the blade he bore. A golden sun's light flooded the hilltop.

 

"You never told me," began Arathas calmly, "Are you alright?"

 

"Fine, just fine. Is there anything I can do for you?"

 

"No, your duties are finished."

 

"Oh, good." She turned, as though to walk from the hill, but Arathas stood and grasped her shoulder: as though to prevent her from leaving.

 

"Do you see that sun, dear Aria?"

 

"Yes, of course I see the sun. Why?"

 

"Someday," Said Arathas to Ariadine, "I will stop that sun for you." A silence.

 

"Arathas..."

"And then, there will be light in this world, in this LIFE, as there is life in me when you are by my side."

 

"Arathas, you are embarassing yourself..."

 

'"I know what it is Spiridon saw in you, Aria-- I beg you, do not torture me anymore! Do not condemn me to a life without life, a light with darkness... a half-life." He reached into his belt and withdrew a small, blue box.

 

'"Arathas, you did not do what I think you did."

 

"You are right," he said softly, his voice a whisper now, "I did more." His strong hands gingerly opened the box. Inside, a gleaming ring of sapphire smiled out at the pair, refracting the setting sun's gaze with a million rays of multi-coloured light.

 

"I will love you forever, Ariadine," he said, his brown and blue eyes rimmed with tears, "Please do me the honour of becoming my wife."

 

A silently sobbing Ariadine turned around, gently took placed the ring on her finger, and kissed him: Their lips locking together in the light of the sinking sun.

 

***

 

Mirage screamed. This was not a scream of fear, of unyielding pain, nor did it bare the flavour of a broken heart. This was a young woman who had seen fear, and pain, and broken-hearted folk. Timuir had gone, but several other Sharpstars looked at her with polite interest. Her clear, blotchy tears stained the broad, tile floor.

 

"Mirage," Fabien said, his brow furrowing seriously, "calm yourself. Timuir is our king, we follow his will, and that means there is no reason to--"

 

"How DARE you protest his innocence to me!" She screamed, "That any of you should take merriment in this shows how tainted his wine has made you! You have succumbed to the lesser evils that threatened to errupt!" All the Bright blue eyes of the Sharpstars turned onto the young maid. "Is there no man or woman among you that has the heart of the lightning bolt you bare?!"

 

Fabien's attempts at quieting her (which had gone on this entire time) ceased. "What daring do you pocess, what cowerdice has replaced your strong armour waiting!? Answer me, I say!" There was no-one who dared reply, the all sensed the inner strength in Mirage that they had forgotten in themselves. "Why do the guardians of this realm hide in the honour-less citadel, drinking and feasting heartily, while the screams of your people satisfy the night-- and Arathas' hunger?" More of the aquamarine-coloured tears fell onto the now-forgotten pool of water.

 

"Will we, the descendants of our isle's bluest blood, remain hidden under cover of death and dispair!? Will we stay as cowerards when we should long have gone a-voyaging?!"

 

"NO!" Called the Sharpstars, all as one, the halls shook from the force of the combined voices-- such a thunder as has never been heard rumbled from inside a million throats.

 

"Then let us destroy the trap that this false king has set for us-- To the armoury!"

 

***


 

"Password?" The armoury guard said, as an un-cordial greeting. Bam. Fabien's strong fist bashed the guard's nose in, a dribble of crimson blood escaped from the victim's bird-of-prey nose.

 

"All clear, captain!" Called Fabien, wiping the nose blood on the unfortunate guard's uniform sleeve.

 

"Any complications?"

 

"One, actually!"

 

"Well, what was it?!"

 

"That guy is going to have one hell of a headache tommorow." Mirage raised an eyebrow, and the two of them burst out laughing.

 

"Now," she said, "Let us borrow from Timuir what SHOULD have been ours in the first place."

 

The armoury was quickly cleaned out. Shields older then Sharpstar rule littered every candle-lit corner. All manner of blades hung from the wall, held down by wooden pegs, more then three-thousand blades in all. Every able-bodied Sharpstar over the age of eleven was encouraged to take up such grisly tools of war: the rest would remain in the nearby city of Zrael.

 

"So, what PRECISELY do we do?" Asked Leberecht, his red eyes blazing with an inner fire similar to the one Mirage had exhibited earlier.

 

"We do what Arathas bid us so arrogantly, not so long ago: We go to war. Beating Arathas at his own game will silence our oppressors..."


"THE SWEET SOUND OF OUR THUNDER SHALL SOUND IN THE WEST ONE LAST TIME!"



© 2008 Greystone


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Added on December 23, 2008


Author

Greystone
Greystone

Fort Atkinson, WI



About
I've been writing for about five years. Mostly, I focus on fantasy, although to be honest I've dabbled horribly in Romance, Science Fiction, and modern-day roleplays. I enjoy drawing, painting, wood c.. more..

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