The Spells of Slumber: Part Four
"I knew you would come," the Darkest Faerie said slowly. "I knew you would come here, to defend the place that is dear to you and to protect its magic from falling into the wrong hands."
She laughed. "Into my hands!"
She held up the ancient spellbook of Averna. It had been years since Jerdana had held it in her hands, but she recognized it at once. It was impossible to hide her expression of shock and she realised this was just what the Darkest Faerie had been hoping for.
"You know what's in here, right?"
She said it with a soft voice, which made shivers run down Jerdana's spine.
"Oh, yes, you know. You know it even more than anyone else, more than Altador, Psellia or Siyana. Even more than your beloved, or hated, teacher Mirinam, who should know these spells by heart, but doesn't. You've always longed for this magic, you wanted to use it, even if it was for the noble goals you've always seemed to hunt. That's true, isn't it, Jerdana? You wanted to use this ancient magic more than anything in Neopia."
Jerdana did not bother answering this Faerie. Long ago, there was a time they were almost friends. It was a time when Jerdana had told the Darkest Faerie more about her own ambitions than she now wished she had. They both knew it was true, Jerdana had wanted to use this magic, for the good of Neopia. Even more, she still wanted to use it.
The Darkest Faerie went on:
"So you know how this book holds a magic that would make it impossible to stop me. Even you can't stop me anymore! There was a time when I would have asked you to join my cause Jerdana, but we both know that was long ago, in another time. I can only hope you regret the choices you made in the past, now you see how it is too late! I cannot tell you how much I am going to enjoy this!"
She laughed out loud and a bolt of magic flew to the room, aimed at Jerdana.
Jerdana focused on the red orb she had been wearing since she was a child. She focused it's magic to mix with the magic in her protective shield. Her shield had always been strong, but only in that way, she was able to withstand the attack.
Jerdana could smell the magic that was filling the air. This battle was going to be though. She used all her remaining magic to sent a similar bolt back at the Betrayer, but destructive spells had never been Jerdana's strength. She was the Protector, that was where her true strength laid, and protect she would. She would protect Neopia against the Darkest Faerie at all costs!
She had one advantage. Although never meant to use, she had learned quite a few of the spells listed in the spellbook herself. Yes, Faeries frowned upon the use of these spells, but unlike Jerdana, they had never been confronted with the destruction of everything that was dear to them.
While she was powering up her shield again, ready to take the next blow, it was if suddenly everything she did since Torakor had come home injured only a day ago, was falling into place.
Then Jerdana knew what she had to do.
Everything depended on the right moment, she knew that too well. If her shield would fall before she was finished with the spell, the Darkest Faerie's spell would hit her and everything would be lost. While she said the incantations, her hands made the required movements at the same time. Then she let go of it.
The golden spell flew through the room, shaped like an arrow.
It still all depended on the right moment. For the power needed to cast the spell, Jerdana needed to use the power of the orb, which meant she had to let go of most of her protective shield. With her shield gone, she needed to duck for cover herself, or else she would still be hit, and if the Darkest Faerie would suddenly move away, the spell might still not hit her.
The room was shortly lit with a flash of golden light when Jerdana's spell hit its target.
The fact she was still alive was the blue Aisha's cue she had been able to duck away from the Betrayer's destructive spells. Before doing anything else, she raised her shield again, and then she walked carefully up to the dark Faerie who was lying on the floor. She had called herself the Sleeper in the past. Now that name had become true.
Jerdana felt how she was trembling all over. She just successfully cast the Fourth Spell of Slumber. As the sorceress of Averna she still was, Jerdana knew too well this spell had not been cast in hundreds of years.
However, the strong magic she used to cast the spell was taking its toil and Jerdana barely noticed how her legs gave way and she fell to the floor.
She was still sitting there when King Altador found her. Jerdana never realised it would be so hard to tell him what she had just done, but after casting one look at the scene and the fallen Faerie, Altador needed very little information. Gently he helped her get up and led her out of the building.
Jerdana knew she needed to talk with Altador about what she just did, but that could wait. She knew she needed to talk to Mirinam about this as well, but that could wait too.
Right now, the only thing that mattered was she had prevented some of the most powerful magic of Neopia from falling into the hands of the Darkest Faerie. In that way, she had saved the city of Altador, and perhaps not just the city, but Neopia as well.
They laid the Darkest Faerie to rest in the shrine of the island. She was still one of the Twelve, even though she betrayed the others. Here she would rest, until she awoke again.
Unlike the Faerie's tale that was told to her long ago, Jerdana knew it would not take a hundred years before she would wake up again. She had explained to the others how on Faeries and on those of strong magic, this spell had less effect. The Sleeper had been both. The Protector knew she had only given the City of Altador a temporary peace. Wit a bit of luck, it would last for about ten years. It would be enough to prepare themselves again, but after that it was sure she would return. No one would speak about it, but they all realised she would be plotting her revenge at that time. Knowing the Sleeper the way the others of the Twelve did, her revenge would be terrible.
There were more urgent matters going on at the moment though. The Darkest Faerie did her best job trying to destroy as much of Averna as possible and the island was on fire and in ruins. Without a moment of hesitation, King Altador had offered its inhabitants refugee in his city.
Evacuating the island didn't prove as much a difficult task as King Altador had suspected it to be. Called by Marak many ships of Altador had been sailing to Averna. Now they had been helping the inhabitants of the island aboard and were ready to leave again.
They were going back to Altador.
Jerdana went aboard the ship she had been on earlier and standing on its deck, she was casting one last look at the island of Averna,
For hundreds of years, no dark magic had ever touched its shores. Now the island had fallen and it's magic would be scattered. Averna used to be a place of light, now it had become a place of darkness.
A day had past. It was nighttime and again Jerdana was looking over the city of Altador for the high tower of the royal palace. This time, King Altador was walking up to her.
"There's no need to feel guilty."
She remained silent.
"You and Lady Mirinam had a talk earlier on. Was it that bad?"
Jerdana sighed. "Apparently, it's all my fault this happened. If I hadn't left Averna, the place would never have gotten caught up in Altador's affairs."
King Altador looked out over his city. "You stopped the Sleeper from getting her hands on some very powerful magic. She wanted that magic, she knew where it was kept. She would have gone to Averna anyway."
"I feel I did what I had to do, I've saved so many lives yesterday, but still getting the blame, it hurts."
Altador laid his arm around Jerdana's shoulder and they stand silent for a while, before Jerdana starts to speak again: "And I keep wondering why I actually used the fourth Spell of Slumber: to stop the Sleeper, or only to prove Mirinam wrong when she said I didn't have the courage to cast this kind of spell."
There were tears in Jerdana's eyes now. Years of training, which started on Averna, made Jerdana a person who would not easily show her feelings, but the powerful spells took their toll on her and the Blue Aisha was exhausted. Exhausted, and disappointed, for she had not expected Mirinam to actually blame her for using the Spells of Slumber, not when she used them to save her and the inhabitants of the island, as well as the inhabitants of the city of Altador and possibly whole Neopia.
Altador took Jerdana's face and looked into her eyes.
"You, Jerdana, are the most courageous person I've ever met."
To be continued...