A Peace that Would Last One Thousand Years?: Part Four
In front of Meridell Castle, King Skarl's forces stood,
ready to be sent to attack Darigan at any time. The Three's plan had worked quite
well- there was no shortage of willing fighters in Meridell, at least not after
the news about Jeran. Now, all Skarl had to do was announce the new commander
of Meridell's forces, and the fighting would commence.
Skarl again walked onto the balcony from which
he made speeches. "Despite our tragic loss of Jeran, our finest knight and commander,
the other day, this fight cannot be abandoned! For Jeran's sake, we must fight
on!" Skarl declared. "So it is with sorrow and anger that we must chose a new
commander for Meridell, one who has seen first hand what it takes to command
and carry out Jeran's position as nobly as he himself did. One of our beloved
Jeran's fellow knights and closest friends, Sir Danner, is therefore a perfect
candidate for this position. His heroism against Kass, fighting and enduring
against enormous odds, served as his preparation to take this great and noble
position. This time, however, the odds are in our favor! Follow Sir Danner,
and your enemies will flee before your swords! Failure is no longer an option!
Now, Sir Danner, receive your army!"
"As you wish, your Majesty!" answered the excited
Wocky. He finally held a position of importance! "Now, troops, we mount and
fly to the Citadel!" Each of the knights mounted an Uni, and readied for their
flight to the Citadel.
Lisha, meanwhile, was trying to find a knight
who would be willing to carry her up to the Citadel. She just had to find Jeran!
Unfortunately for her, however, most of the knights were unwilling to put a
young lady in harm's way, especially Lady Lisha. Just when she was about to
give up, however, Lisha found a knight willing to bear her- a young Aisha not
much older than herself, whose experiences in the war with Kass made her understand
poor Lisha's situation perfectly.
"Ready? Take off!" Danner called. Lisha was terrified
as she flew up to the Citadel- not only was she terrified of heights, but she
had never seen real combat before. As she flew higher and higher, she realized
how foolish her plan was. How would she find Jeran in the middle of a battle?
Would he even be able to talk to her? And how was a young Aisha like her, still
a child, supposed to survive in battle with nothing but a toy Rod of Ultranova
to protect her?
In the Citadel, Jeran made his report to Darigan.
"I was unable to locate a proper point of attack, my lord," Jeran said, trying
his best to speak the appropriate term of respect without sounding sarcastic,
though he found it nearly impossible. "Anywhere we attack, it would effect the
innocents of Meridell, which would likely call the wrath of the rest of Neopia
on us. However, I did find out something interesting..."
"What is it, you fool of a Lupe, believing that
we can win a war without anyone being hurt? Did you accidently trip one of Meridell's
potato farmers and cause him to stub his toe?" the Citadel's ruler replied crankily.
He had expected Jeran's insistence on the full protection of Meridell to have
evaporated by now.
"No, my lord," spat Jeran, no longer trying to
keep his tone neutral. "Kass is alive!"
"What?!" yelled Darigan. "How could he be alive?!
I saw The Three dispose of him myself!"
"I honestly have no more of an idea about why
Kass is alive than you do. Why should a 'foolish Lupe' know better than the
high and mighty Lord of Darigan Citadel?" Jeran asked sarcastically.
"Why didn't you take him up to the Citadel?"
Darigan asked, his voice cold. "Even a foolish Lupe such as yourself should
have realized that I might want to speak to him!"
"Actually, it is strange to tell," said Jeran.
"Kass was being cared for by a young Usul named Sally, who almost seemed as
if she knew you. She knew you were good, at least, a fact that few in Meridell
are willing to accept. Do you know her?"
Darigan's face softened. "Why yes, I do. She
fed me until I was strong enough to fend for myself. I owe her my life. If she
wants to keep Kass as a pet, it wouldn't be right for me to deny her."
"My lord, Meridell's forces are closing in! Estimated
time of arrival is ten minutes! We must prepare for an attack!" screeched the
voice of an Eyrie Guard from outside. Jeran ran for the door, but was stopped
by Darigan as he reached the doorway.
"You cannot fight like that," he told Jeran.
Jeran looked himself over- the only thing he was wearing was a poorly sewn Darigan
tunic. He had lost even the chain mail that he was wearing before his transformation,
and he was unarmed. He followed Darigan willingly into the armoury, where Darigan
started searching out weapons for him.
Darigan found an armour set as black as midnight
and as strong as diamond and handed it to Jeran. "Shadow Armour," he explained.
"It was part of a set given to Darigan before we found the Orb, a present from
the Dark Faeries who lived on the other side of Neopia, and contains a great
deal of their power. Do not fear it, however, as these particular Dark Faeries
were not the evil troublemakers that Dark Faeries are always portrayed as- they
were outcasts, and were friendly towards Darigan."
The Citadel ruler moved off while Jeran changed
into the armour. Though it looked a great deal too large for him when Darigan
was holding it, it fit perfectly, and seemed to give him increased strength
as well as great flexibility. He followed after Darigan, who handed him a sword.
"The Sunblade, a sword forged from the very beams
of the sun by Light Faeries. Though it was also given as a gift, none could
be found in Darigan worthy enough to handle it. However, when you walked into
the room, it began to glow, something it has never done before. I believe that
you can wield it. And take this, too," Darigan said, holding out a scabbard.
"It was made by Air Faeries specifically for the Sunblade. No other scabbard
can hold it. Jeran secured the scabbard to his belt, and placed the Sunblade
"A horn made by Water Faeries. When this horn
is blown, the allies of the one who blew it will hear it and come to their aid,
in spite of fear or anything else holding them back. This will be useful if
you need to gain the attention of my forces." Jeran smiled. Finally, something
that would help him to keep Darigan's forces from destroying Meridell. Darigan,
however, had more weapons for him.
"And finally, a bow and arrow set. The bow was
made by Earth Faeries, and any arrows shot from it will always hit their intended
target. The arrows were made by Fire Faeries, and catch fire in the air. There
are more of them then it looks, but they can run out, so be careful," Darigan
"My lord," the Eyrie Guard from before said,
"we're under attack!"
"Get out there and protect the Citadel!" Darigan
yelled. Jeran took the last weapons from Darigan and ran out the door, finding
that Meridell's knights were about to land. He thought for a moment- what would
be the best way to detain these forces? In a moment, he realized- nets! He blew
on his new horn, calling the attention of the Darigan forces.
"We need nets! If we trap the knights, they can't
fight!" Jeran called.
"Who are you, to order us?" asked a captain,
a large Darigan Krawk.
"No one," Jeran said, "but you can't deny that
trapping your enemy is a good idea."
"We already have nets set up," the Krawk said
grumpily, "but it almost seems as if you care about what happens to Meridell."
"I do," said Jeran. "Nonviolent methods are always
"Yeah right," said a Skeith. "I'm hungry. I want
something to eat. And fighting your way won't get me any food!"
"Listen to the fool," said the Krawk. "We prove
his methods wrong, and he doesn't bother us. Then you'll get your meal. Besides,
Darigan spends half his resources feeding you Skeiths! Just use the catapults."
Using the catapults, the Darigan forces launched nets upon the arriving Meridell
forces, capturing many of the knights. The annoyed Darigans followed their Captain's
orders, and everything went, in Jeran's opinion, rather smoothly.
The first real troubles came when Darigan ran
out of nets. The rest of Meridell's attack force were free to attack, and Jeran's
plea for nonviolent methods precluded the normal method of launching arrows
at them. Danner was confused- why wasn't Darigan attacking him? All Darigan
had done was launch capture nets, and even those had stopped. It almost seemed
as if the Darigan forces were trying to save everyone, something Danner knew
he could use to his advantage, if he was willing to put up with the moral implications
of such a decision. Hoping to test the waters and not wanting to risk his whole
force, Danner sent a dozen archers up to menace the Darigan defenders.
Seeing this attack, Jeran knew he had to think
quickly. If any Darigan was attacked, nothing would stop the rest from retaliating.
Jeran had to draw their attention from the main defensive force. "Hold your
fire," Jeran ordered both his allies and opponents. "I propose a challenge!"
A shockwave passed through Darigan's forces.
If a knight declared a challenge, he and his opponents were to attack only each
other, and to be free from interference from the rest of the warriors. The Krawk
Captain realized what Jeran was doing. "I can't believe it," he said. "That
fool would face off with twelve archers himself to protect them from us! Who
The head archer looked down at Jeran. "You want
to fight all twelve of us? You've just signed your own death certificate."
"I politely disagree," Jeran said. "If I thought
I had any chance of loosing, I wouldn't have challenged all of you. I know Meridell's
archers," he smirked, "and they leave something to be desired."
"Why you!" the archer yelled. "Fire on the fool!"
Twelve arrows were fired at Jeran, who stood entirely still, letting the arrows
whizz past him. One, however, was aimed well, but Jeran caught it.
"What did I tell you?" Jeran laughed. "Poor archers,
you are. If you listened to Jeran better, you would have had more practice.
How lazy you are." Jeran took the arrow, and shot it at the head archer, hitting
his bow out of his hand. "See? That's how it's done!"
"Get him!" the archer ordered. "Teach him to
taunt Meridell!" More arrows fired at Jeran, and again, Jeran remained unharmed,
not even having to move. Jeran picked up some arrows off the ground, and disarmed
more and more of Meridell's archers.
"Give up now?" Jeran asked. "You no longer have
bows, therefore you cannot harm me. I on the other hand, am still armed. Hopefully,
you are all intelligent enough to realize your disadvantage." The head archer
"Retreat! We must tell Danner of this fool and
his ideals. It could be of some advantage," the archer called. Jeran stood rather
much in shock. Danner, the commander of Skarl's army? Of course it had to be
someone that he knew, someone who he cared about personally. Jeran looked over
the ledge into Meridell's forces. Darigan's forces were stationed on the second
level of the Citadel, higher up than the Meridellian position on the first level.
He watched as his friend Danner called for a full-force attack on Darigan's
army. He reported this to the Krawk Captain.
"Split up," the Krawk called. "We may be able
to get a flanking position on them."
"Can we fight for real this time?" the Skeith
from before asked. "Hasn't that Lupe proven enough already? All he wanted was
the glory from that stunt. Taking on twelve archers? Showoff..."
"No, we keep following his ideals. I want to
prove him wrong, not let him show that his way is just as good as ours. As I
said earlier, it will shut the fool up. And fools are best left quiet. I'll
go with the flanking force. That hero Lupe can lead the diversion. See his ideals
survive a full assault..." the Krawk said.
Jeran led half of Darigan's force into battle,
meeting Danner's attack. Jeran himself wielded the Sunblade masterfully, rendering
many knights unconscious before they even saw him. Danner himself met Jeran
"So, you're the genius behind Darigan's brilliant
new strategy," Danner said sarcastically. "What did you do, tell your troops
not to harm us in any way whatsoever? How do you expect to win a war like that?"
Jeran simply pointed behind Danner, blocking
his blows effortlessly.
"Oh, so I'm supposed to turn around, so you can
drop your Mr. Morality act and finish me? I'm not an idiot. I learned my lesson
from the best- my friend, Jeran!" Danner declared.
"I would suggest you look behind you, my old
friend," Jeran said. "We have your forces surrounded." Danner turned around,
unbelieving. Meridell's knights were in complete disarray, trying to fight inside
a circle of enemies, and failing.
"I will gain safe passage for you if you leave
the Citadel without attacking us. We will keep our prisoners, however. If you
leave now, you will save Meridell much loss."
Danner was entirely confused about why Darigan
would let his opponents leave in peace, but he called his retreat anyways, and
Jeran made sure that his word was kept, despite the anger of most of Darigan.
Meridell escaped an attack fully unharmed, perfectly following Jeran's plan.
After Danner's forces left, Jeran rounded up
all of the captured Meridell knights, waking up all those who were unconscious.
"You may leave here," he told them, "as long as you promise not to fight our
forces again." As expected, most of the knights left, surprised to be let free.
A young Yellow Aisha, however, stayed behind.
"Jeran?" she asked, staring at the Darigan Lupe
before her, who looked so different from the Jeran she knew. "Are you really
him? Are you really alive? I can't believe it!"
Jeran pulled his sister into a hug. "Of course
I am," he told her. "It takes much more than the Darigan Citadel to finish me!"
"But...what happened?" Lisha asked. "Why do you
"Darigan did not trust me," Jeran answered. "He
wanted to make sure that I wasn't a spy, or something. And I had to protect
Meridell. Though if I realized that I would be turned Darigan, and that you
would not trust me... let's just say my decision wouldn't be so hasty."
"How are you protecting Meridell?" Lisha asked.
"You're fighting against Meridell, not for it! And it would be nearly impossible
for you to hold the whole Darigan army in check! It doesn't make any sense!"
"Lisha, the whole conflict doesn't make sense.
The Three are using Skarl, and they want to destroy both Meridell and Darigan.
So, to protect Meridell, I must fight for Darigan, simply because Darigan is
against The Three, and Meridell is under their control. I suppose it may not
seem to be the way now, but in the long run, it will make sense, I hope. But
I must go. I must answer to Darigan for my actions today.
To be continued...