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Firejewel: Part One


by sara_mossflower

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Smouldering Amulet

The green eyes of Dayne Riversong, a young Island Zafara, my roommate, flashed with the passion of fashion. She sorted through the sales rack at Uni's Clothing, her favourite shop on Neopia. "Now this is beautiful!" she exclaimed, flourishing a magenta sarong.

      I just stood there, a white Zafara lost in the plethora of shopping bags I was carrying. Dayne had asked me to accompany her to Uni's, as usual, and had brought along a few of her best friends as well: Kriteena, a Plushie Kacheek; and Eranthra, a Ghost Ixi.

      "Um, Dayne," I mumbled, "Are we done yet?"

      She just ignored me. She held up a tank top, asking Kriteena's opinion. "Orange and lime green…?" said the Kacheek with distaste.

      "It totally clashes!" proclaimed Dayne. "…I'll buy it!" She and Kriteena grinned at each other and giggled in an obnoxious, high pitched, girly manner which made me really not want to be here. Shopping really wasn't a guy's thing.

      "Can we go now?" I asked, a little louder than before. "Please?"

      "Hang on," said Dayne with a smile, "I just want to take a peek at the jewellery, mosey on over to the toe socks, glance at the scarves, skim through the sunglasses, and then we can head back to the apartment for lunch."

      "LUNCH?" I cried. "I'm starving! It's quarter to four! It's way too late for lunch!"

      "Oh well," she replied, being difficult as usual, "Go buy one of those fruit bars they sell at the cash. It'll tide you over."

      "Yeah, right," I mumbled. Those things were nothing more than a shaving of dried Lemwart. Sighing, I dug through my coat pockets until I found enough Neopoints to buy the meagre snack.

     *

      Dayne wandered over to the rack of jewellery, eyeing the glittering objects with fascination. There was a silver bracelet, each link shaped like a Weewoo, and there a pair of earrings, each dangling with a small image of Fyora, embellished with rhinestones.

      Beside her, a Grey Kyrii was also glancing at the display. It was a male, and quite odd-looking. Unlike most Grey pets, he did not appear depressed, but cunning and quick-witted. His thin hair fell over his bloodshot eyes in thin, greasy strands, and his jaws were gaunt and fierce. Dayne wondered why Sisslio was always so edgy coming to Uni's with her. Although shifty, this Kyrii didn't appear embarrassed to be in such a feminine atmosphere. "Very pretty bobbles they've got here, eh?" he inquired of the young Zafara.

      "Uh, yeah," Dayne replied, slightly uneasily. Although she normally chatted with fellow shoppers, this one didn't seem too friendly.

      The Kyrii shot her a sly grin, then strode towards the store exit with a confident, gliding gait.

      Dayne shook the foreboding feeling she had just experienced in the Kyrii's vicinity, and moved along to the rack of necklaces that he had been inspecting. Almost immediately, one caught her eye.

      It wasn't extremely fancy, and fancy was what usually attracted Dayne. It was an amber crystal cut into a hexagonal prism, tapered to a pyramid at one end. The jewel hung pointing down, vertically, from a braided plant fiber cord. When she squinted, it seemed as though a tongue of flame quivered within the confines of crystal.

      "Ooh," she breathed, swatting the pendant with a finger. She lifted it off the rack, certain that she was going to buy it. There was no tag attached to it, which was odd, but Dayne decided that she was ready to pay any amount of money for the necklace.

     *

      Dayne came strolling back from the jewellery section, apparently fascinated with something in her hand. I'd finished my Lemwart shaving. "Can I at least have a rough estimate of when we're leaving?" I begged.

      "Uh, we can go now," she muttered absently. "I think I'm done."

      "What?" I said, at first not believing my ears. Dayne's life revolved around Uni's Clothing. She never spent under three hours looking around! "Are you sure?"

      "Uh-huh," she mumbled. "I'll go and pay for this."

      I watched her say goodbye to Eranthra and Kriteena as they parted at the cash counter, and I couldn't help but feel that Dayne had somehow lost some of her spunkiness.

      I followed her out of the store, struggling with seven bags full of Dayne's fashionable findings. My roommate carried only a small gift bag, the sort of thing jewellery comes in. "Uh, Dayne," I ventured, "Are you feeling sick by any chance?"

      "No!" she said, a little too fiercely. "I'm fine, Sisslio."

      Once we were back at our apartment, Dayne tore open the gift bag and displayed a necklace around her throat. "Isn't it great?" she asked me. "It's gotta be my ultimate fashion find - ever!"

      "It's…not too flashy," I remarked. "Not really what I would expect from you."

      "Well, it's what I chose!" Her reply was almost a snarl. I thought I felt a slight unseen prickle shoot through the air.

      Okay, I was definitely concerned now. Dayne's snappiness and fickle attitude were things I'd come to live with, but this was just too extreme.

      That night, I went to bed worrying.

     *

Dreams.

      I hadn't had any significant ones since last year, when I'd been called to resurrect a fierce warrioress. Her name had been Frey. Frey KeenBlade. I had been her Foreseen Windstorm, born to call back the soul of a supposed hero. She had turned on me, and I, along with two newfound friends, Terzin and Alysoun, had had to fight to capture her magically. Her living grave still stood in an empty field in some faraway realm.

      I was on that field again, and rushing gales seared my flesh like scythes of ice. I could feel her - Frey. She was here.

      I could see her war sword, Sirocco, standing before me. Suddenly, the blade shattered, the shards of steel changing, becoming a golden amber hue. They flew through the air as if falling though syrup. They turned over and over, until one particularly large piece stopped in midair before my face. I saw myself reflected in it at first, a white Zafara. But my creamy underside suddenly hardened to a cruel, pure white, and my black ear spots disappeared. My blue eyes became cold, completely black but for a hidden sliver of chestnut. I knew that it was no longer my own countenance I regarded - it was Frey KeenBlade's.

      "I won't give up," she hissed. "You'll die, Windstorm. I have ways of killing you. You'll never be safe from me!"

      "No!" I cried, "Leave me alone!"

      "You are alone. I won't let your stupid companions assist you this time!"

     *

"SHUT UP!" I screamed, then opened my eyes. The dream was no more. I was back in my bedroom.

     I glanced around, relieved to be back in my apartment. I sighed, but just as I began to feel comforted, the fur on the back of my neck began to prickle. Something was wrong.

     Cautiously, I sat up in bed, then began to make my way across the room. I paused at the doorway and turned back around. Leaning against the wall next to my bed was the Windscythe, my sword. I snatched it up - who knew what the disturbance I'd sensed signified?

     I crept out of my room and into the kitchen. I checked the clock on our stove - ten o'clock. Dayne should have been up by now, but I couldn't see her anywhere. I snuck through the halls, but there was no sign of anything odd. When I past Dayne's room, though, I could feel a violent draught ripping through the bottom and sides of the door.

     Without thinking twice, I flung the door open - Dayne could have easily been in trouble. Wind slashed at my face, and I closed my eyes, blindly swinging my sword up defensively. Suddenly, I felt a paw close around my throat like a vice. Dare I open my eyes? I knew I had to, or I'd be strangled.

     It was Dayne, with eyes as dark and emotionless as coal. I shook off my shock in an instant and looked again. Those weren't Dayne's eyes. They were the eyes I had seen so recently in a dream - Frey's. I didn't know why she was here, or how she was acting through Dayne, and I didn't have time to think about it. Although I didn't want to hurt Dayne, I couldn't let myself get killed.

     Crying out, I dropped my sword and threw myself forward into a roll, taking my attacker with me. I managed to grab her ear and some of her tuft of hair, and pulled. My action caused her to release my neck, and it bought me a few seconds of time. I glanced over my shoulder at the Windscythe, now on the floor. I didn't know whether to pick it up or not. I needed to defend myself, but there was no way I was going to strike Dayne with it.

     I decided against using my weapon and turned my attention back to my adversary. Looking at her, I could barely believe it was Dayne at all. Her face was just…too cold. I needed a way to subdue her, without letting any harm come to the innocent Dayne Riversong within.

     Thinking fast, I lunged toward her, then dropped down to floor level. Spinning around, I swung my tail towards her, catching her ankles and tripping her. Without wasting a second, I seized her wrists and dragged her into her room. With some difficulty, I managed to tie her to a chair with the several colourful autumn scarves that were usually strewn around Dayne's bedroom.

     "Let me go!" she snarled. "I'm not done with you yet, Windstorm!" It was definitely Frey's voice.

     "Let Dayne go first! How dare you force me to fight my own friend? What did you do to her?"

     She chuckled evilly. It made my skin crawl to see Dayne's face darken with such an action. "You may have sealed me within the earth before, but there is no one who can overpower my Firejewel. You forget that you are dealing with one of the greatest mages of all time!"

     This only confused me. Why was Frey just coming out and telling me exactly what she was doing? Why not keep her methods secret and watch me suffer - that was more the sort of thing she'd do.

     Firejewel! The word made me think immediately of the amber crystal Dayne had been showing off yesterday. That must be what had caused her to act so strangely! I sprang at her throat without hesitation, struggling to tear the braided hemp apart, desperately trying to rid Dayne of Frey's terrible tool. Almost immediately my paws were burning, as if the fur and skin were being stripped from them. I didn't care. I couldn't just leave Dayne trapped by Frey in her own body! The pain spread up my arms and into my chest, and it was soon hard to breathe. I fought to destroy the blazing pendant, but in the end it was too much for me. I could hear Frey's cruel laughter, and suddenly Dayne's sobbing mingling with it. The Firejewel overpowered me, and I slipped out of consciousness.

To be continued...

 
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