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A cloaked killer ran through an obscure, dark hall found deep in his master’s castle. This hall was one of many leading to the throne room of the King Tyron, ruler of Sillvados, also known as The Master.
The cloaked killer wove in and out of the labyrinth expertly. He had done this more times than any man, immortal or mortal. Not a single being could find their way without his guidance. Many who wished to go to the throne room but refused to wait for the Servant, became lost in the halls and perished in a dark corner of the vast castle where no one dared go. The Master only trusted and permitted one man to walk the halls freely. That was his immortal Servant, Casper.
The Servant knew nothing of freedom. Casper had lived his life in service to the King and couldn’t even imagine living otherwise. He loved his Master and did whatever his Master bid him do.
The Servant had more power than any man in the world, even his Master, but his Master had wisdom, which in many cases proves to be better than power.
The Master was not cruel or harsh, in fact he loved his servants and the people of his kingdom more then he loved his own life. He would go through endless pain because of his love.
Love. That was what the King followed and trusted. Even though he himself was King over many lands he still followed one far greater than imagination.
His Servant, however, had different views on life. Casper cared not for the commoners and killed those who offended him, without a thought. He did not follow Love no matter how much his Master tried to persuade him. He was stubborn and proud in many ways. Foolish is the one word that describes him perfectly. He was not wise as expected of him because of his age, but foolish like a young adolescent.
Casper moved like a ghost. His feet barely touched the floor and silence wrapped around him like a blanket. He glided to the great doors leading to the throne room of his Master. He pushed a door open without a sound and slipped into the room. The guards nodded towards him as he gracefully moved down the aisle towards the throne.
Then he noticed something was different, very different. There was no one seated on the throne. Instead, standing beside the throne was a bent over, old man. The old man looked worried and troubled. He glanced up at The Servant but did not nod or bow. He was a mortal man and was nearing his death. The Servant quickened his pace and as soon as he was near enough to the man, he grabbed the man’s shoulders and shook them with fury and panic, “Where is my master?!!”
It was strange sight, seeing those two standing beside each other. It was like a twig compared to the trunk of an oak tree. Casper was strong and thick, the old man was frail and thin.
Casper could feel a shiver pass through the old man’s body as the old man spoke, “He has been captured sir, by his brother the Slayer, King of Dilplis. It was well planned and very sly. You would not have been able to stop it even if you were here. It’s hard for even me to explain. Dark magic was deeply involved.”
“The Slayer? I can only imagine how long it took that blunt minded hag to plan this.”
“You’d be surprised.” The old man answered weakly.
“And what were the guards doing during this time. I should’ve heard a few minutes after he was captured!” Casper realized he had been shaking the old man the whole time. He released him and took a deep breath, trying to calm himself.
The old man seized the arm rest of the throne to steady himself, “Have you forgotten the Slayer’s great powers?” He straightened up stiffly, “He wouldn’t just let the guards go and alert the whole castle. Even you should know that. The guards were killed. I was the one who discovered the bodies.”
Casper’s jaw worked, and his bright blue eyes showed his panic, “I must go and save him!” The Servant turned to leave but the old man grabbed his arm. The Servant turned around and waited.
The old man spoke, “You are not strong enough on your own.”
The Servant balled up his fists at his sides, “Not strong enough? Who else is going to save him then? Do I need to gather an army?”
“You are going to save him with a few companions.”
“Who is strong enough, brave enough and knowledgeable enough to help me get through the Slayer’s defenses?”
“There are four humans that will help you.”
Casper immediately interrupted, “Humans?”
The old man ignored the question, “Some may not seem useful to you, the reason they are coming along is because they need their lives changed.”
Casper opened his mouth in protest but the old man raised a crooked hand, “Don’t argue. A chosen one for this time and age will be amongst this group. And be careful, she’ll change your life.” He smiled to himself and his eyes twinkled making Casper feel uncomfortable, “Now you must go. You’ll know them when you find them. Go through the cave of Yupto.”
The Immortal Servant stared at the old man wide eyed, “You expect me to go through Yupto?! The world through that cave is so dangerous and unknown! And what do you mean she’ll change my life?”
The old man ignored the last question and said, “They’re our only hope. You must go through the cave! You must go now.”
The Servant nodded and didn’t push the subject. He turned to leave but the old man called after him, “You must not tell them of your quest until you have returned to this world. Tell them nothing of your heritage or your immortal life. They do not need to know.”
The Servant raced out of the room without a single belonging. His eyes were set firmly on his goal and nothing would distract him from it.
The old man sighed with relief as the killer man disappeared from sight. Casper could have killed him so easily. Thankfully he had been too worried about his master to kill instantly.
He could only wonder what would happen to the humans under Casper's care. Near death would be a good guess
Its was a bright day in Limerick Ireland. The sun was high in the sky and the birds were chirping in the park nearby a public school. Kiara McNeil flashed down the dirty halls, into the bright welcoming sun outside. The rays bathed her in warmth.
School was out for the summer.
Kiara whistled a joyful tune. Her curious, watchful eyes scanned the grounds for her best and only friend, Lucy. The soccer field, playground and basketball court were empty except for a few of the ‘cool’ guys fooling around. Lucy was nowhere to be found.
Kiara stopped whistling and tensed. She immediately knew what must be keeping Lucy.
Kiara and Lucy were often picked on and made fun of for being orphans and for just being too normal. Kiara frowned and a worried crease formed on her forehead. She dropped her bag in the school yard and hurried back inside the school. She checked the girl’s bathroom, and the halls. Then she checked the back of the school and sure enough, there was Lucy with a gang of unfriendly looking girls pushing her around and throwing insults at her. Lucy was near tears.
Kiara couldn’t let her friend be humiliated the least bit. She pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes angrily. Kiara didn’t even think of what she was going to say or do she just marched right up to the crowd of girls, grabbed the leader’s ponytail and yanked so hard that the girl fell over backwards. Kiara smirked, “You wanna have a fight? Pick on me!”
It took a while for the girl to pull herself back together but when she did she balled up her fist and took a swing for Kiara’s nose. Kiara dodged only because she had been expecting it. Then she went head first for the girl’s stomach, taking her down with ease and knocking the breath out of the girl.
Kiara stood up and turned around to see where Lucy was and just at that moment she received a hard punch from each and every one of the unfriendly girls. Kiara fell backwards on top of the leader who was still on the ground moaning. Kiara felt warm blood gush from her nose. She ignored the pain and stood up again. The girls laughed at her, “You think you’re so brave, the orphan, without any love. Tsk tsk. Poor baby!”
Kiara could tell they were intimidated, “Do you really think I’m going to listen to your lies? You can’t bring me down with empty threats. I’m loved!”
The girls just laughed mockingly and walked away. Kiara turned to Lucy, “Why do you listen to them? They don’t know what true beauty is…” The two friends walked around the school and said their good-byes on the street.
Kiara was left alone, thinking hard about what she knew of her parents. Her encounters with the popular crowd always left her searching her mind for any memories. The unfriendly words had hurt her but she never dared to show it.
Her mom and dad had died in a car accident when she was barely a year old. Now she was taken care of by her Grandma whom she called Patricia. Patricia was very old and nearing death. Kiara didn’t know what was going to happen to her, Patricia was her only relative. But Kiara knew somehow that it wasn’t going to be too bad.
Kiara was fifteen years old. She had auburn hair and her eyes were silver. She didn’t have the most beautiful face. It was rather thin and she had a small delicate chin that jutted out stubbornly.
Kiara walked slowly down the street. As she was walking she noticed the dark alley way that lead to her street. She debated with herself whether she should go down or not. She didn’t usually but she was running late and it was a much shorter distance to walk.
She decided that she would.
Kiara quickly disappeared down the bleak, cold alley way. Garbage was strewn everywhere and shadows stood frozen and black waiting to swallow her up.
As she was walking she felt a hand suddenly slip over her mouth and strong arms grab her from behind. Kiara screamed with all her might but the hand on her mouth muffled it. She elbowed the person in the stomach, but she was met with solid muscles.
The man pulled her down the alley way to where a van was waiting. Kiara struggled and kicked but the man held her fast. The man yanked Kiara into the back, gagged her and then tied her with strong rope. He left her and slammed the door behind him. Kiara’s thoughts went wild, How could I have been so stupid. I should have never gone down that alley way. Who knows what’s going to happen to me now. Kiara struggled against her bonds but she only ended up hurting herself.
She looked around to see if there was anything sharp that she could cut her ropes on. But there was nothing. Finally Kiara gave up trying and fell into a restless sleep.
When she woke up it was to a bright blinding light. The doors of the back of the van were opened and the man stood there watching her curiously. For the first time Kiara got a good look at the man. He was tall, strong and handsome. Kiara could bet many women had fallen all over him. The only strange thing she noticed about the man was that he had clothes that reminded her of Star Wars characters. It looked almost exactly like what the Jedi wore, a plain brown outfit with a long brown cloak.
The strange man pulled the small girl violently out of the van. Kiara slammed against the concrete ground. She quickly stood up, her arm brushed against the man’s, suddenly a spark rushed through her body. Kiara gasped and jerked away. The man looked down at her with the slightest look of surprise in his eyes. Kiara looked up into the man’s face. One of the first things she noticed was his eyes. They were strange eyes, cold icy light blue and they seemed to hold all the power in the world. They were so icy; they could freeze the whole Pacific Ocean with one glance. His hair was a pure blond color and a slight beard grew on his chin. Kiara didn’t try to struggle for she knew it would be of no use against those strong arms. The man met Kiara’s eyes only for a second. In that moment Kiara felt like prey, helpless, and basically dead. Those eyes could kill her. They were so deep, like pools of blue frozen water. But that water was not only deep and frozen, but entirely poisonous.
Kiara looked away.
They seemed to be at a dock and the man was dragging Kiara towards a huge old fashion ship. It was nothing like the ships that people used in today’s age or past ages. He pulled her on board and thrust her into a small room. There he untied her and left her to be alone, locking the door behind himself.
Kiara rubbed her ankles and wrists where she had been tied. She lay down on the thin mattress that served for her bed and fell in a deep sleep filled with dreams of drowning in icy blue pools of posion.
The dark of the night cloaked three people as they tiptoed down a street avoiding street lights.
It was the most unlikely group of people. The reason why it was is because they hated each other. It was like having a group of alpha wolves working together in pack. There was Winda, Hilary and Ivan, the worst enemies in the whole world. But, they needed each other because each of them was one of the smartest and swiftest people known to humans.
That night they were robbing the most intensely guarded bank in the world.
Another thing that was to their advantage was that no one would ever suspect those three to be criminals.
Well, maybe Winda cause she was the most famous criminal in the world but Ivan and Hilary didn’t usually go around stealing things… they were already flat out rich but of course never satisfied with what they had. They had now come to the foot of the building and were ready to move in.
They heard a movement to their left and all three of them looked. But, there was nothing except for a few trees, leaves rustling in the wind. Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere in front of them, “Excuse me… I hope I didn’t scare you.”
Winda made a funny face when she heard his accent. It was very strange and like nothing she had ever heard before. The words were so precise and A’s were pronounced as U’s so ‘scare’ sounded like ‘scure’. Ivan noticed this too and chuckled.
The man’s blue eyes seemed to glow in the dark and his very stance showed power and dignity. Winda glanced at Hilary who was near tears because of fear from her first glance at the man. Winda nearly burst out laughing.
But instead she held it in and turned back to the man while stepping up, “Who are you?”
Ivan smirked, “What? Cuspia?”
The man, whose name was Casper, let his grin fade and his eyes became much brighter, nearly illuminating their entire hiding place. Ivan grew serious he looked at Winda uncertainly. Winda nodded and then took a step forward. They both advanced on him slowly but with the same motive. These two were the best fighters at that time and they thought for sure that they could defeat this man easily. Winda made the first move in a flash; her fist flew for Casper’s stomach and then took a sharp turn upward and went for his face while the other hand went for a bone breaking blow on the shin. A hand stopped the first fist and then another hand stopped the other. Winda’s hands were nearly crushed in its grip. Winda spun and twisted herself kicking at his leg aiming to break it. One of the hands reached down and twisted the leg back. Winda screamed in pain. Ivan made his move then. He dove for Casper’s legs.
While he was trying to grab Casper’s legs his feet went up and tried to kick Casper’s face, so that his body was in a arch. Casper moved Winda in the way of the feet and so she got the blow in the head and then he twisted around Winda, dodging her lash-back and making Ivan fly into the wall with Winda cushioning him. Winda and Ivan sat on the pavement stunned with Casper’s fast movements. Casper grinned, “Now, will you please give me a chance to say what I was going to say.”
Hilary nodded nervously, “Of course, whatever you like!”
Casper smiled, “Thank-you.” He reached into his cloak and brought out a huge hand full of money. Winda sat up and stared at the money with eyes that were glinting with greed. Casper saw this and put the money away, “I know how you all love this junk called money… well, I have already robbed this bank on my own and I have all the money in a van near here. I can give you the money but you have to do something for me first.”
Winda and Ivan and Hilary all nodded eagerly and so Casper continued, “I need you three to come with me on a mission. It will take a long time and it may be dangerous but I’m sure you three love danger. I will give you the money now but you have to promise me that you will come with.”
All three promised to. Hilary was thinking that she could probably get out of the promise. But unfortunately for her, as soon as the three promised they were bound to that promise.
When Kiara awoke it was pitch black and someone was shaking her awake. “Who is it?” She asked in a frightened voice.
A deep voice with a thick accent that Kiara could not recognize as British, Irish, American or anything familiar replied, “It is your captor. Come, you need to meet your other companions on this journey.” Kiara rolled from her bed and followed the man out of her little cabin.
A gray fog covered the deck painting a haunting scene. As they moved through the fog Kiara could make out three figures, two were women and one was a man. They watched her with cold, hateful eyes that seemed to darken the scene even more. Kiara winced and stepped closer to the man that had captured her. For some strange reason she felt more safe around him than the others. The man let the people introduce themselves to Kiara.
Winda, Hilary, and Ivan were their names. Winda had jet black hair and she wore a tight fighting black outfit. She watched Kiara with an unimpressed look on her face. Hilary was a prissy looking blond. Her clothes looked extremely expensive and she watched Kiara with a pout on her face. Then lastly there was Ivan he was a black man with huge muscles and a very serious look on his face. He wore a camouflage outfit with a heavy loaded machine gun resting on his back. Kiara liked none of them and she could tell that they didn’t like her either. Kiara introduced herself to them and then stepped back quickly.
Then their captor introduced himself, “My name is Casper. When we reach Sillvados you will get supplies and then we will leave on our quest. Our journey will be very hard and most of you will die, get severally wounded or captured.”
Hilary spoke up, “I have never heard of Sillvados! Where is it? I know almost every city and town in this world but never have I heard of a stupid name like Sillvados.”
Casper glared at her and that was all he had to do to silence her, “Sillvados does not exist in this world. But I can tell you no more than that. Do not ask any more foolish questions. I cannot believe that you are supposed to be the smartest girl in the world!”
Hilary’s mouth dropped open but she closed it quickly. Apparently she had never been insulted before.
Casper smiled to himself, “Now, if you please, go back to your cabins and get some rest.” Hilary, Ivan and Winda left. Hilary looked back at Kiara as she walked away. Then she leaned over and whispered something to Winda. Winda glanced back and smirked.
Kiara shifted and quickly turned to the rail.
She leaned on it and watched the waves lap against the side of the ship. The sun was rising and she could see better. She looked up, only a little dot served for the land. I wonder what’s going to happen to my guardian. How will she take it? Will the stress and fatigue lead to her death? What about Lucy? Will she give up without me there to encourage her? Kiara felt lonely on this ship. She didn’t have a friend who would listen to her problems and fears, but somehow she knew that where she was right now was where she was supposed to be. It seemed to be her destiny, her fate. She gazed at the bright yellow ball on the horizon. The strokes of yellows and oranges colored the sky and washed over the sea in a wave of light. Kiara smiled and took in a deep breath of the salty air. A gust of warm sea wind blew her loose hair back.
“Did I not tell you to get back to your cabin for some rest?” Kiara jumped and whirled around. Casper stood legs apart and arms folded across his chest.
“I wanted to see what the whole ship looked like and besides, it was getting boring in that dark squishy cabin.”
“That is fine I guess. But don’t try to swim off somewhere… you won’t get very far.”
Kiara smirked. She couldn’t get used to Casper’s accent, “As if!” Casper stared at her with a blank expression. Kiara turned back to the sea, “I’m not that stupid.”
Casper cleared his throat, “I realize that.”
Kiara turned back to Casper, “Why did you pick me for this journey? I mean, all the others seem to be skilled in their own areas but I’m so simple, I’m not even pretty!”
Casper looked at her, and then after a long pause said, “You seemed different then so many people in your world.” He said, “They all seem so greedy, selfish, and mean. You care more about others then yourself. You also have courage… I saw you standing up for your friend the other day. That took courage, against all those girls. You should be proud of yourself, and even if you couldn’t see the fear in their eyes… I could. Your courage frightened them.” He paused and seemed a bit embarrassed about all the compliments he had just given her and so then he added flatly, “I was also commanded strictly to find someone like you.”
“Why didn’t you just tell me that you needed me? You didn’t have to throw me in the back of your van and tie me up!”
“You wouldn’t have come with me if I asked you nicely and you would have had too many questions at the time.” Answered Casper, “The other three I bribed easily though they won’t be able to use their money where we’re going, but you, I knew you didn’t care about money so I had no other idea on how to get you to come.”
Kiara changed the subject suddenly, “How old are you, no older than 25 right?”
Casper shifted uncomfortably, “I think it’s time for you to get back to your cabin.”
“I said its time for you to get back to your cabin!”
“Please tell m…”
Casper’s glare stopped her mid sentence. Those icy blue eyes bore deep into her. All Kiara saw was deadly burning blue. Kiara tried desperately to tear her gaze away but it was no use, those eyes had so suddenly captured her. They refused to let her be free.
Those eyes revealed every thought, all of her past, and Kiara could not stop it. She felt like screaming as they bore deeper and deeper tearing into her thoughts and threatening to kill her.
Never had she thought that a simple gaze could bring so much pain. It was tearing her from the inside out. It seemed to slice through her thoughts like a sharp jagged blade, unmerciful and deadly. Kiara whimpered in pain, a slight tear slipped down her cheek, she could not bear the pain anymore. A piercing scream hurdled itself from her throat.
Casper let her go.
Kiara fell back against the rail breathing hard. She slipped down the rail slowly into a sitting position. Casper’s eyes filled with pity for her and he reached out his hand to pull her up. Kiara pushed his hand away and ran off into the darkness.
Casper stared after her. He kind of liked that girl. Casper's eyes glowed and flashed bright in the darkness, he slapped himself for the thought. He couldn’t risk any sort of friendship though, with any of the members of his company, he had to maintain control over all of them and not let any of them find out his weakness or any sort of important information about him. They could turn on him if they wanted to. He didn’t expect them to get far but he had no idea what these people were capable of.
Casper trusted no one except his master and he would never trust anyone else. No one else would find their place into his life… no one.
Kiara woke up early in the morning. She looked around her, not sure where she was. Then it all came back to her and with the memory of where she was, came the memory of the horror of last nights’ experience. She shivered at the thought and cuddled deeper into her blankets. Never had she had something so terrible happen to her. Surely it would haunt her for much of her life. That night had been full of nightmares of piercing eyes drilling holes in her thoughts.
After a while Kiara got out of bed. When she opened her small closet she noticed a whole new set of clothing. The clothes were strange. Most were light weight and easy to move around in.
She picked some off white leotards and a long, long off white shirt to go over it. She picked out a beautiful red belt to go around her waist and did her hair up in a simple French braid. When she looked in the mirror she laughed. This was exactly how she had imagined Robin Hood, except his outfit was green and he wore a strange hat with a feather in it.
Kiara felt out of the ordinary in the old fashioned outfit, it was like she was dressing up for a play or she was in the world that she had only read about in books. She smiled to herself and stepped outside. She ran off to the dining room. Right in front of the door she remembered that Casper was going to be in there.
Her joy died and she paused before going in. Finally she pushed the door open. All eyes turned towards her. She smiled and stood awkwardly in front of the door.
Casper walked over to where she stood and brought her to a table. She never met his eyes once and didn’t make a single sound.
The whole ship’s crew was there. The sailors seemed friendly and a couple of them sat with her at the table before Casper chased them off to their duties.
Hilary was complaining to Casper the whole time about her new wardrobe. She had been given simple dresses and she hated them. Ivan now wore a similar outfit to Casper and Winda wore a plain brown dress which looked quite funny on her. Kiara wondered why she did not have a proper dress. She soon decided it might have to do with age.
Casper growled at Hilary when she complained and soon they got into a verbal war. Hilary appeared to have abandoned her fear of Casper because she threw the rudest insults at him.
Casper probably didn’t even know what half of them meant.
After a while Casper ordered Winda, Ivan, Hilary, and Kiara to go ask the sailors to teach them how to sail the ship.
“You need to know.” He said, “It will help you in the future for sure.”
Ivan made a face and walked up to Casper right while Casper was taking another bit of his food and spat in his plate, “I am not going to take orders from YOU! I go single all the time and I don’t want to listen to you or anybody else. I’m here to help you for money not to take lessons from trash like those sailors.”
Casper looked surprised that Ivan would be so rebellious over one little thing. Casper stood up angrily, “You will do as I say! Now go and do it!”
Ivan laughed but then wiped the smile off his face when he saw that Casper was completely serious and very angry. He balled up his fist and threw a skull-breaking punch at Casper.
Casper took the blow. Kiara, Winda and Hilary all gasped at the same time. They all knew he could’ve dodged it easily.
He seemed unharmed but anyone could see rage cast all over his face. He stood up sluggishly while seizing Ivan’s gaze and taking control of him. Ivan strived to look away. The girls could see his eyes were straining desperately to divert his gaze, but the flashing blue eyes gripped him. They forced themselves deep into Ivan’s inner most being. Ivan’s jaw worked fast fighting to keep him from crying out. A groan escaped his lips. Casper forced Ivan down on his knees; his eyes were giving off sparks that ignited a painful fire inside Ivan’s mind.
Ivan’s face filled with panic and helplessness as he realized that he had been beaten very easily by eyes alone.
Ivan cried out in an agonized voice, “I give up, I give up! I will do what you ask!” Casper pushed him down further making Ivan feel the raw, scorching pain in his mind. Then after what seemed like forever Casper released him. Ivan fell the rest of the way, to the ground like a limp rag doll, unconscious and completely defenseless.
Kiara stared at Casper with fear. Winda had her arm around Kiara’s trembling shoulders. Casper glanced at the girls and then turned away quickly as though he was almost ashamed of himself.
Winda looked surprised by Casper’s strength and Hilary was just drowning in her own tears. Kiara turned away from the scene and went to follow the sailors who, strangely, didn’t seem bothered by Casper’s show of power. Hilary and Winda followed her without a word, eager to get out of Casper’s way.
Casper called for the ship’s doctor to take care of Ivan. Though honestly, he wished the jerk would stay unconscious.
The days passed slowly. The company of four was educated on everything there was to do with sailing. Hilary picked it up the fastest. Quite a bit of it was even a review for her, even though this was an old fashioned ship.
Ivan seemed very reserved yet agreeable for an army officer, not demanding at all. He never talked to Kiara or Casper, but he talked to Hilary and Winda all the time. He thought Kiara was just a little pest who happened to be lucky enough to tag along on this journey, which didn’t seem like much anyways.
He was very protective of his stuff and defensive when people insulted him. He never let anyone near his machine gun. Soon it was taken away from him anyways. He walked around sulking for a few days after but he had to live with it. He was not as mean as Hilary but Kiara thought he was a bit too serious about war and death.
After the incident with Casper, Ivan became extra silent and sober. He was weak for two weeks whole and then he began to regain his strength. But even as he regained his strength he didn’t seem to regain any of his self-esteem.
Whenever his eyes fell on Casper they would fill with pure hatred.
Winda acted very nice and sweet to everyone. Kiara hadn’t expected sweetness out of a girl who barely even looked at her the night they met. Winda heeded patiently when the sailors tried to explain complicated ideas and never made rude comments. She laughed and joked with Ivan and Hilary and even tried to include Kiara once in a while.
Casper never attempted to talk to Kiara because he realized she was more fearful of him then the rest of the group. Whenever he came to speak to her, Kiara would feel fainthearted and try to slip away.
After many weeks of sailing they finally arrived at a small island. It wasn’t like anything Kiara had ever seen. The grass was so stunningly green it seemed too perfect. Casper explained that no one besides him could find this island. Hilary laughed mockingly and Ivan gave her a warning nudge.
They explored the island finding a few fresh water streams, fruit trees and a perfect relaxing beach. They rested there for a few days. Hilary took her time to tan on the beach while all the others worked hard to gather fruit and fresh water. Eventually they returned to the ship and sailed around the island into a gigantic cave. Inside the cave there were sparkling purple, emerald green, blood red, and deep blue gems. Kiara loved the blue gems. They reminded her of Casper’s eyes, only Caper’s eyes, were more beautiful. Kiara glanced curiously at Casper. His eyes reflected the colorful gems, painting a picture full of unique colors that flickered and danced. Casper’s eyes shifted to Kiara. His eyebrows knotted and he tilted his head questionably. Kiara suddenly realized she had her mouth wide open and she was staring at him as though he were an angle. Well, Kiara wouldn’t be surprised if he was an angle. That picture that was dancing in front of her eyes was breath taking, far more beautiful than the gems themselves. Kiara turned back to the rail and stared at the gems, noticing how dull they looked when they weren’t flickering in Casper’s deep oceans of blue.
Hilary begged Casper to let her take some gems, but Casper ignored her. Kiara was enjoying the view, when suddenly the world seemed to whirl around. The colors smeared into each other as though a pail of water had been dumped over a fresh canvas painting. It became a puke colored green. But the puke colored green faded, and then they were floating gently out of the cave.
The water below looked like dark blue Gatorade. Kiara could see lights in the water and strange green fish swam around the ship without any fear, jumping as though in joy for the return of the ship. Some fish had arms and legs and huge eyes like dragon fly eyes. Kiara reached out to touch one that leaped from the water. She could almost touch it when a hand grabbed hers and pulled her back. Casper shook his head disapprovingly, “Do not touch the fish. They are not to be praised or played with. They are only used as food for very special occasions. And if you touch one of them, the mermaids will be after you. They prefer for our worlds to not mingle.”
“There are mermaids here? Oh! You’ve got to be joking!”
Casper’s eyes darkened, “They are not to be trifled with. They follow evil, and hate Sorlurns...” He paused, “Or humans as you call them.”
Casper released her hand, “Stay away from the rail.”
Kiara ignored his warning and leaned against the rail again. She raised her eyes to the sky and gasped. It was all shades of green with a white sun giving off white and purplish light. She couldn’t believe how beautiful this world was.
In front of the ship was an old fashioned port city. The buildings were so fascinating and strange. They were not made of brick or wood, Kiara couldn’t see what they were made of. The roofs were flat as though they never had snow there and each house had a nice garden on top.
They sailed into port and unloaded. It had been 5 months since any of the people on the ship had touched ground. They had to struggle to get their land legs back. Kiara stumbled around and tripped over a few rocks landing face first on the ground. Winda would offer her hand every time. She was far too graceful to fall.
After they unloaded they walked around the organized and beautiful city. Every street was straight with emerald green symmetrical cobblestones. Kiara could see down the street for miles.
They went to the market place first. Casper told them of the city’s history, of how a man from Earth found his way to this world and was made the first king by a young Abrashian nomad princess. He told them that there were many battles between good and evil when the new king came, and those wars lasted for a thousand years. But fortunately there had been peace for the last hundred years. Kiara found this interesting. She couldn’t imagine having a war in her country for thousands of years.
Kiara noticed that the people used oversized unusual dogs to pull their carriages and not normal horses. She also noticed that each person had either brown or black eyes. Kiara glanced at Casper in confusion. She wondered where he got his unique eyes.
The city was the most powerful city in that entire world, Casper said. Its name was Sillvados and the world in which it was in, was also named Sillvados. Understandably, the city had the hugest port and the best trade.
Kiara forgot her fear of Casper for a while and asked why it wasn’t as modernized as the world she lived in. Casper answered eager to tell them about his world, “This world is not nearly as old as yours. It’s only around two thousand years old and the people here long for wisdom not so much technology as your people do.”
Kiara observed that all the older women who seemed to be above the age of sixteen wore the same kind of plain dresses like Hilary and Winda and the younger boys and girls walked around wearing clothes like Kiara. Kiara turned to Casper again, “Why are only the older women wearing dresses and girls my age wearing light weight clothes like me?”
“All the girls who are married wear dresses.” He said, “That’s how we tell them apart. We don’t wear rings here like the people in your world do.” He quickly added an extra fact, “The girls here usually get married at the age of sixteen.”
The men of course wore cloaks and clothes like Casper and Ivan. Casper explained that if the men had full beards then they were married and if they had just a faint beard or were clean shaven they were single. Kiara nodded, obviously Casper was single.
Casper’s eyes ran over the people of the city. He was proud, Kiara could tell. But he was also powerful.
Kiara watched him with admiration and fear. There was a royal air about him right then. He straightened up and walked through the street with his head held high. When the people saw him their eyes went wide. They quickly backed away from him and bowed their heads. Obviously Casper was supreme over them and his powers struck fear in their hearts. The whole market place fell deftly silent. Kiara felt very awkward as she followed Casper. She was careful to watch her step in case she got clumsy from her embarrassment.
Soon two carriages were brought for them. The men went in one and the girls went in the other. Hilary bragged the whole time about how she was going to charm Casper and make him fall in love with her, “He is so going to like me by the end of this adventure. I am a really likable character once you get to know me. You guys are very plain and ugly. Especially you, little girl, your eyes are so weird and your hair is even stranger. And you Winda, you have such a dark head, so boring. You also have no sense of fashion…”
Kiara rolled her eyes and turned towards the window watching the things, which were apparently trees, but looked more like huge white fluffy bushes, go by. She yawned, closed her eyes and fell asleep.
Kiara was startled awake when the carriage came to a jerking stop.
Winda and Hilary unloaded.
Kiara stepped out slowly, taking in the scenery around her. Her mouth fell open at the sight in front of her. It was a huge castle, pearly white, with grand oak doors. Gold decorated the palace. The style was like that of the Muslim mosques. Kiara stepped up the stairs dazed. Casper came up behind her, “It is quite the sight is it not?”
Kiara tripped over a soft mushy step. “Won’t you stop scaring me like that? I’m going to end up hurting myself.” Casper held out his hand to Kiara, to help her up.
Kiara looked at it for a few seconds and then glanced up at his face. His eyes were expressionless and hard. Kiara didn’t want to get anywhere near angering him so she reached out and took the strong, calloused hand. Casper pulled her up and smiled. Kiara didn’t even attempt to smile back, knowing it would look fake. She turned her attention to the mushy step and stomped on it. Casper stared at her, appalled, “What are you doing?!”
Kiara looked up, “It’s so soft! What is it made out of?”
Casper looked upset, “It’s a very strong material that comes from special trees. You should never stomp on it! That is rude!”
“You mean your wood is mushy??!” Kiara’s mouth fell open.
Casper took a deep breath and let it out slowly, “Yes, lots of things are different in this world. For instance, no one has green eyes, or hazel. Very few have blue like mine, but the main colors are brown and black. We also have very different animals and plants. We have Taseliae which are kind of like humans in your world. You have African people and Chinese people… right?” Kiara nodded. Casper smiled, proud of how well he was doing, “We have Paelliy, Diltrens, Taultiens and Sorlurns. They are all Taseliae. I am a Sorlurn which is the most like humans from Earth. Paelliy are the most comforting and affectionate, Diltrens are blood thirsty and stupid. Taultiens which prefer to be called Phantoms are violent but very kind and just. We Sorlurns are the smartest and we have the most problems amongst our people. There isn’t much of a difference between the Sorlurns and Humans from your earth. We think alike and look alike. White hair is common here though and red hair is never seen. Your hair is very unique and beautiful. Auburn do they call it?”
Kiara nodded, “Yeah. How did you know?”
“Our king comes from your world. He taught many of the officials English just to communicate. He has tried hard not to influence us with the things of your world but he has learnt many wise things from your mistakes.”
Kiara’s brow scrunched up, “Why did you pick a king from our world, why didn’t you pick some guy who wouldn’t make this world exactly like ours?”
Casper’s eyes flashed, “Our world is not the same as yours!”
“Yes it is! You use money, you talk English, and your culture is basically the same! The only thing that isn’t the same is that you have different kinds of humans, animals and plant.”
“No! We do not use money. We trade things. Very few of us speak English. Didn’t you notice that the sailors spoke very bad English! Our official language is Silldosic. We wear very different clothes and we do not have an obsession with technology, instead we yearn for wisdom and power. All the leaders have powers unlike your leaders. And we do not have the same culture!”
“What do you believe in then?”
“We never talk about our culture!”
“So you don’t have a culture?”
“What? Everyone has a culture! In this world everyone has the same culture unlike your world. We follow either good or evil. There is a witch who helps lead the evil but she even has a master and an unknown thing leads the good. It speaks to use through prophesies. We don’t have a name for it though all we say is good and evil, except in our own language. Some of your people follow nothing but themselves… which is senseless!”
Kiara snapped back at him, “Will you please stop talking about how stupid our world is! We are far more advanced then you! And by the way, your culture still sounds the same as ours. We believe in good and evil. You just sound like you’re from our bible times.”
Casper sighed, “Go ahead and think that way, but our worlds are not the same… It just doesn’t make sense why the people of your world do what they do. Your world has such complicity that my brain hurts whenever I think of it. I have studied it for years and I have to constantly catch up with the newest technology.”
Kiara looked around and noticed that they were the only two outside of the castle. She frowned and walked up the steps. Casper followed her muttering something about senseless people.
They went into the castle and Kiara’s breathe was taken away once again. Beams of golden light came from the windows high in the dom. Kiara had never seen such a sight. Casper smiled at her amazement, his frustration vanished.
Hilary tried to sneak a golden ornament into the pocket of her apron that went over her dress but Casper slapped it out of her hand and caught it before hit the floor. Hilary pouted and Casper just glared at her. It was a glare without pain but still it was enough to make her stop her childish behavior.
Casper guided the four people upstairs, through halls, doors, and more halls.
Finally after much walking they made it to where they would stay for the night. Casper stopped them before they left to freshen up and told them in a harsh voice, “You are free to roam anywhere you like in the west side of the castle but never go to the east side. The east side is darker and more complicated. If anyone goes into the east side without me or someone who has lived here many, many years, they often get lost and never found. On the east side, that is where the throne room is but I doubt if you tried you could find it.”
“Will we ever get to meet the King?” Kiara asked.
Casper frowned and for a moment the thick, unbreakable gates that guarded his thoughts swung open and Kiara could see desperate worry. Then as though they had never been open, the gates were closed. Casper shook his head, “No, not yet.”
Then he let them go off to their rooms. They each had their own.
The rooms were not as extraordinary as others; they did not have golden decorations but it did have silk sheets and feather pillows, as well as huge feather blankets. After the company had all freshened up they followed a maid to one of the many dining rooms. They had a delicious dinner and then went off to bed. Kiara was very glad to have such a comfortable bed to sleep in for the night; she had grown weary of the stiff beds on the ship. As soon as her head touched the pillow she fell into a deep impenetrable sleep.
The days at the castle were exciting for the company. Everyone seemed to loosen up in the comfortable setting.
Ivan practiced archery and sword play outside with Winda. Hilary spent most of her time in the library and sometimes came out to try to fight with a sword. She looked completely ridicules and Ivan and Winda were often left laughing on the ground with Hilary pouting somewhere near.
But soon even Hilary loosened up a bit and started to give a little smirk whenever Ivan and Winda would laugh.
Kiara still felt left out so she just ended up befriending a professional archer who offered to teach her all his tricks. Ivan and Winda challenged her to a competition and Kiara gladly accepted. After half an hour of hard intense competition Kiara was announced the winner. Ivan marveled at her skill and shook his head laughing silently to himself. Winda walked away upset but she seemed to get over it later on that day.
During those days, Casper was barely ever around. They only saw him at the supper table but never at breakfast or at lunch.
Kiara felt strange without Casper around. She felt very vulnerable and almost lonely.
After around 2 months the palace began to feel home. One night Winda and Kiara decided to have a sleepover in Winda’s room. Just for the sake of being nice they let Hilary in. Kiara was doing Winda’s hair in a fancy French braid and Hilary was doing Kiara’s hair in a plain but complex up do. Winda was the story teller. She told them about the first time she robbed a bank all on her own. It was pure genius. Even though Kiara didn’t like the idea of stealing she thought the story was intriguing. Just as Winda finished her story Casper knocked politely on the door and peaked his head in. “You need to come with me.” He said to Kiara. Kiara got up from her kneeling position and followed Casper.
Casper led her out of the west side and into the main hall. Kiara looked eagerly at the east door. And to her dismay and excitement Casper led her there. Kiara’s stomach churned nervously. She didn’t ask but she thought for sure she was going to meet the King. Casper opened the door and continued to lead the way. He let the heavy door go just as Kiara stepped into the door frame so that she was pushed forward against Casper’s back. Casper pushed her off of him and didn’t say anything. They rounded a corner and suddenly it was pitch black. Kiara could hear the soft dripping coming from the damp walls. The smell of mold filled her nostrils. Kiara couldn’t see where she was going; all she could hear was Casper’s quick steps in front of her.
She tried her best to follow the sound of the footsteps but as time went on Kiara found her mind wandering and her feet growing weary. She slowed down and soon was too lost in her thoughts to notice that she could no longer hear Casper’s footsteps.
Kiara wandered blindly through the passageways thinking of everything there was to think of.
Then a mouse scurried over her foot and scared her back into the present. Kiara screamed and leaped away. She sprinted down the hall and smashed into a wall. She groaned and slid to the ground putting a hand on her head in an attempt to ease the pain.
Then Kiara remembered that she was supposed to be following the guiding footsteps of Casper. She listened and then very sharply, felt her heart drop to her feet. She tried again to listen intently but heard only the soft dripping. Kiara quickly stood and screamed in panic, “CASPER!!” The echo of her shout came back to her, she sunk to the ground. Kiara sighed and put her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe what she had just done. After a while of sulking she stood and started walking, feeling the wall as she went.
What seemed like hours dragged by, Kiara continued to walk blindly. Finally she sat and fell into a deep exhausted sleep.
Kiara woke to the sound of soft scurrying. She squinted through the darkness in a fatal attempt to see, but with no success. She shifted her feet and nearly screamed when she felt the searing pain reach up her legs. She reached down and touched the bottom of her feet. They were sticky and wet. Kiara brought her hand up to her mouth and licked it.
It was blood.
Kiara couldn’t figure out where it had come from. She settled back down on the cold ground and closed her eyes. Then she felt something nibbled at her foot. Kiara flew to her feet and then screamed in agony. The scream was louder than anything Kiara had ever screamed before. It echoed shrilly through the halls making her feel even more alone.
Soon Kiara sat back down and waited eagerly for help. Twice she screamed for help but no one answered. Kiara tried to force herself to stay awake but she found her eyes drooping and then shutting.
This time when Kiara woke up there was the soft padding of feet somewhere near. Her stomach growled. The feet stopped walking for a few seconds and then it seemed to come her way. Kiara hoped it was Casper and not some strange man.
A hand touched her shoulder lightly and Kiara jumped. Casper’s unmistakable thickly accented voice filled her with warmth, “Why did you wander off? I did not walk too fast. You were very foolish to do such a thing.” Casper didn’t even let her speak. He pulled her to her feet.
Kiara screamed, “MY FEET!” Casper let go of her arm and caught her quickly before she fell back to the ground.
He started to speak a different language under his breath. He reached down and touched Kiara’s feet making her wince. Casper cursed, “Those rats will eat anything they can. It’s a surprise they don’t starve. It’s so rare when they get flesh to devour.” Casper lifted Kiara gently off the ground and began to jog through thousands of twisting and turning passages in the inky darkness.
Kiara didn’t know how he found his way. He did it without even thinking.
Kiara got dizzy from all the turns.
Finally they came to the most beautiful set of doors. There were two fiery torches on each side drenching the doors in its orange light. The doors were covered in beautiful, golden designs that glowed in the light.
Casper paused at the doors and then slowly pushed through using Kiara’s body.
They went through the doors into a grand throne room. There was a little stream running on the side of the room in a trench and there were many painted pictures of waterfalls, wars, and peaceful landscape. Music floated to Kiara’s ears. She noticed a young girl playing the harp on a soft cushion. She was tall, blond, and seemed very graceful. She smiled at Kiara sweetly and nodded at Casper. Casper nodded back and met her eyes almost angrily.
Kiara suspected they had been lovers, “Who’s she?”
Casper looked down at Kiara and read her thoughts. Surprisingly he laughed, “We have never been in love, Kiara. She’s a peasant girl who I had to punish for sneaking off with one of the guards.”
Then there was the throne. It was silver with blood red designs carved into it. Behind the throne was a small waterfall that splashed little droplets water onto the throne. The waterfall made a small pool behind the throne and then broke off into two streams that went along the wall.
It took Kiara a long time to notice the small man standing silently beside the throne. He was old and in rags. Kiara wondered what such a man was doing in the palace. Casper introduced him to her, “This is Christopher, the prophet of Sillvados.”
The old man nodded and showed a toothless smile “Yes, I am Christopher. You must be Kiara.” His eyes were warm and grandfatherly like, “Yes… Yes… You are the chosen one for this time and age.” Kiara frowned and looked up at Casper’s face. Christopher narrowed his eyes suddenly, “Why are you carrying the girl Casper? You should be ashamed of yourself you are only too carry or even touch women when you are married! Was the walk too long? You do know that we were supposed to have this meeting yesterday?”
Casper glared at the old man, “She was lost and her feet were chewed up by rats. It will take a while for them to heal.”
Christopher nodded and ran his eyes over Kiara, “You are chosen my dear one, chosen to save the might King Tyron from the cold grasp of the Slayer.”
Kiara didn’t have a clue about what he was talking about, “Who is King Tyron and who is the Slayer? You’re not making very much sense here.”
Christopher sighed, “Casper… you were supposed to tell them. Anyways, King Tyron is Casper’s master and the Slayer is King Tyron’s brother who is unfortunately madly jealous of King Tyron’s position.”
Kiara stared at Casper bewildered, “You have a master?!!”
Casper didn’t even try to suppress his smile, “Yes I do.”
Christopher continued, “The Slayer captured King Tyron and so now you have to save him.”
Kiara smirked, “Yeah right! What about the others? What are they here for then?”
“They are here to help you along the way.”
Christopher looked a bit upset, “That was too easy. Usually it takes heroes forever to accept their task.”
“Well I guess I always believed in fairy tales so I might as well believe in this one as well.”
Casper’s eyes flashed, “This is not a fairy tale. There are no fairies!”
Christopher glanced nervously at Casper, “Yes, what he said… Now, you will have a special power… I’m not sure what it will be but it will make you the hero you need to be. There! That’s basically it.”
Casper’s eyes sparked into flames, “What? You mean you made me bring this little pest all the way here just so you could say that? I could’ve easily just relayed the message instead of getting her lost and having to carry her here!”
Christopher grinned sheepishly, “I wanted to meet her just in case she died before I could.”
Kiara looked offended and pleased at the same time. She didn’t like Casper calling her little, or pest but she appreciated the fact that Christopher wanted to meet her. She couldn’t decide what to do so finally she just balled up her fist and pounded on Casper’s chest, “Pest? Little? And who do you think you are oh high and mighty Casper?!”
Casper turned with Kiara to the doors and rushed through them like a furious bull. Kiara could see his angry blue eyes, “Why did you just leave like that?”
Casper glanced down at her. Kiara could see he was ready to kill her with his glare so she looked away. Casper took a deep breath but continued to walk just as fast as before, “I would’ve killed him if I had stayed there any longer.”
Kiara snickered not caring about Casper’s death glare, “You have a really short temper… Are all guys here like that?”
Casper rolled his eyes, “Mainly leaders.”
“Probably because they’re so used to getting what they want.”
Casper didn’t reply.
When they got back to the west side Casper gathered the group together. He told them to prepare to leave tomorrow for a land called Dilplis. He told them it was a long travel from where they were. Kiara was helped to her room and there she packed. After a while she went to bed.
The next morning was foggy and dark. They had an early breakfast and then left. Kiara watched the trees and houses pass by as the carriage bounced along the bumpy road. Oh how she wished she could live in this type of world all the time, this world without the tall buildings and pollution. They made it to the harbor at about noon. They had lunch at a small restaurant and then got on the ship. The ship’s captain welcomed them happily aboard. He seemed very pleased to have Casper on his ship.
When they set sail Kiara was up on deck. She gazed at the dark blue water watching fish jump along the side. It was so beautiful.
As Kiara watched the city slowly disappear she heard the sailors talking, but she couldn’t understand a word of it. She looked curiously at them and tried to listen more closely. Just then Casper came up on deck he noticed her standing there by the rail and he walked over to her. “They’re speaking Silldosic.”
Kiara looked at him surprised, “Is that the trade language or something?”
“Yes it is, most commoners speak it. It is not a hard language to learn.”
Kiara returned her gaze to the sailors, “I thought you all spoke English, just with that silly accent you have.”
Casper laughed, “Silly accent? No, only the servants of the King speak English. The King’s main language is English and he prefers to speak it though he can speak Silldosic. The King with his brother came from your land. He found his way through accidentally. Once he came here, he never wanted to go back. Part of it was because the land was so beautiful but another reason was because he fell in love with a woman. She saw how wise he was so she convinced the people to make him King. She devoted her heart to him and than she died. She was killed by another woman who loved the King. The King refused her and so she put a curse on all the people in the room at that time. I was there and so was the King, but that was all. We were put under a terrible curse and we shall never be freed.” Casper opened his mouth to say more but then he realized that he had already said too much. He glanced at Kiara smiled grimly, “I should not have told you all that. That was to be kept from you till the end. I shall say no more.”
“Can’t you at least tell me what the curse was?”
Kiara nodded and shut her mouth. Then she opened it again and burst out, “Have you ever been in love like the king? I mean, I’m sure thousands of girls have fallen head over heels for you. It’s surprising you aren’t married yet. Your blue eyes are so dazzling.”
Casper looked at her surprised and embarrassed. He stiffened and his eyes hardened.
Love would interfere with his duties, “No, I have never loved. It’s never been my thing. I think it is a foolish game that gets many people into danger. I have been with the king since. I find no interest in love.”
Kiara laughed, “Oh just you wait.” She paused and then said, “Tell me more about your life. You’re completely confusing and it drives me nuts. Where were you born? How old are you? How did you come to be the King’s Servant? And what do you mean by servant here? It seems to be a very good job. Everyone respects you.”
Casper shook his head again, “You will find out in time, be patient.”
Kiara yawned, “I’ll try. I’d best get going to bed and then tomorrow you can start to teach me Silldosic.”
Casper grinned and watched the sleepy girl leave. He turned to the sea. A picture of Kiara’s beautiful face danced in his mind’s eye. He smiled to himself. He thought she was very beautiful with her sparkling silver eyes and her auburn hair that seemed to glow in the daylight. Suddenly Casper caught himself and blushed scarlet. He had never thought of any girl ever being beautiful, especially not one so young.
He pushed the thought to the back of his head. He turned back to the ship to see a sailor staring at him. The sailor smiled, bowed his head and turned to leave. Before he could Casper grabbed his arm and spoke in fluent Silldosic, “Did I do something strange, why are you staring at me?”
The man smiled slightly and shook his head, “I just thought you, the immortal man, were in love with the girl because you blushed when she left. I was merely curious”
Casper felt rage swell up inside of him, “The immortal man loves no one except his master! You are foolish to think of such things! She is much too young! In her world she would have to wait still a long time until she is old enough to marry. Do not ever think such thoughts!”
The crew member winced but he continued to talk, “That is strange. All girls should marry at the age of 12 to 16 here, even if they are forced to marry at the age of 16.”
Casper clenched his fist, “I am not stupid! Do not tell me things I have known for thousands of years!” Casper glared at the man. He was furious and the poisonous daggers of Casper’s eyes could not hide any longer. He broke through the man’s mind. Helpless, the man fell back in pain.
He cried out for mercy.
Casper pushed down farther trying to kill the useless commoner. Soon the man lay on the deck stiff and pale.
Casper felt the pulse.
There wasn’t one. The man stared at Casper with dead eyes and a silent scream frozen on his lifeless face. Casper spun on his heels and walked towards his cabin. As he rounded the corner he ran straight into Kiara. Kiara screamed and jumped half way across the deck. Casper jumped also and stared at the girl, bewildered.
Kiara smiled a guilty smile, “Hi.”
“You were eavesdropping weren’t you?”
“Well at least you didn’t understand any of the conversation.”
Kiara bit her lip and then grinned, “Yeah you’re lucky, you seemed pretty angry and I’m sure the conversation was of some importance.” Kiara didn’t seem to notice that the man had died or else Casper was sure he wouldn’t have seen her there.
Casper smiled weakly and then walked past her. Kiara’s eyes followed him curiously. His eyes held that deadly, poisonous anger that she had seen so many times before.
The next day Kiara met with Casper to learn Silldosic. After about one hour Winda came to join them too. Winda learnt far quicker then Kiara but Kiara could pronounce things far better. Ivan joined them after about 2 weeks. He had a hard time trying to catch up to Kiara and Winda.
Hilary was still too stubborn to join she thought she was far too smart for them. She came in for one session but she complained the whole time and then didn’t come again.
The months passed by and Kiara began to grow tired of the sway of the ship and the dry food. Casper told them it wouldn’t be much longer. Hilary just laughed, “As if you would know! It’s already been 6 months.”
Casper glared at her, “I have been this way many times I would know.” The food became scarce but Kiara trusted Casper and knew he must have brought enough for the journey.
One dark starless night Kiara was awakened by the violent swaying of the ship. She fell out of her bed and woke with a start.
Outside she could hear the wind howling and screaming. The ship tossed and turned uncomfortably.
Kiara tried to stand up but she stumbled again. The floor was cold, wet and slippery. After a few more tries she just crawled to the door and opened it. It flew open revealing the pounding rain and gigantic waves. Kiara stared as a wave came crashing down on the ship.
The Sailors were rushing all over the place trying to do whatever they could to keep the ship steady and above water.
Kiara stood up and steadied herself against the door post. She stepped out onto the deck and asked one of the sailors in Silldosic if she could help. He looked surprised but shook his head, and hurried off.
Kiara made her way unsteadily across the deck. The rain drenched her and the smaller waves washed her off her feet. After much effort she made it to Casper’s cabin. She jerked the door open to find him sitting at a table writing vigorously. He looked up in surprise when he saw her soaked and in her night gown. He pulled her in and shut the door, “What on earth do you think you’re doing?!!! You could get sick out there in nothing more than your night gown!”
The boat tilted and the two people were thrown off balance. Casper got up first and then helped Kiara up and made her sit on the floor. He grabbed his cloak and wrapped it around her.
Kiara thanked him.
She settled into a corner of the room and then yelled over the sound of rain and crashing waves, “I want to go and help the sailors. I feel so useless in here!”
Casper looked at her with a worried expression on his face and then shouted back over the noise, “The best way you can help them is by staying out of their way. You are too fragile. You would just wash away.” Kiara frowned and then nodded. Casper lay on his bed and tried to sleep. Right when he had just about fallen asleep he felt a rush of cold rainy air. He opened his eyes to see the corner of the room empty and the door open. Casper leaped off of his bed and looked out the door way.
There was Kiara trying to help a sailor unravel some rope. Casper called out to her but she didn’t hear him. Casper looked out to sea; he saw a huge wave forming over the ship. His eyes went wide and his mouth dropped open. He looked at Kiara, she didn’t notice it.
Casper screamed her name as he saw the wave close in on her and the others.
It seemed as though it all happened in slow motion. His muscled legs tensed and then he was flying through the air, eyes trained on Kiara. He was so set on his destination he didn’t notice a loose rope whipping back and forth with the wind. It snapped him on the cheek and sent him sprawling on the ground. His cheek went numb.
But, Casper didn’t have time to worry about his cheek. He rolled to his feet and dodged the rope which had come back to defeat him once again. He made it to Kiara just in time. He grabbed her tightly around the waist and swept her off her feet. He ran to rail and leaped over it, off of the ship, avoiding the falling mast, just as the wave came crashing down on the ship. Before they went under Casper noticed in the distance a small boat with three people in it. The three greedy ‘heroes’ had taken the only life boat for themselves.
Casper swam his heart out with Kiara limp in his arms. He glanced at her expressionless face. Life just had to be so hard. Casper glanced over his shoulder and saw a deadly wave curling over top of them. Casper tightened his grip around Kiara. He hugged her like she was all that mattered in the world. The wave loomed over them, proudly displaying its superiority over them. Casper took a deep breath, and then everything went black.
Casper opened his eyes to a bright blue sky above him. He stared at it confused for a bit, he’d expected a ceiling. Then he remembered the storm. He sat up suddenly and looked around, a couple yards away from him lay Kiara. He crawled over to her and put his hand on her neck to feel her pulse. She was alive and he was thankful for that.
Kiara had become a very close friend to him and now after the storm he felt something towards her that was even stronger than just a normal friendship. Casper found himself reaching out and gently caressing Kiara’s jaw line. His thumb outlined her lower lip.
Casper felt a sudden urge to kiss her. He stared at Kiara’s face. He dared to lean forward slowly.
For a brief moment he wondered if the whole world could feel his heart pounding wildly. Casper paused, inches from Kiara’s lips. Their noses brushed. Casper leaned even closer. His lips barely touched hers.
Suddenly he froze. A voice in his head interrupted his thoughts of Kiara, What do you think you’re doing? You aren’t married to her!
Casper jerked back and scrambled desperately to his feet in fear. Casper’s mind went wild and a lump lodged itself in his throat. He was breaking all the laws of having a relationship. And there wasn’t even a relationship between them. It was improper to kiss a girl unless you were for sure engaged. Casper’s heart was still hammering against his chest.
He heard someone approaching and he whirled around to see who it was. It was Winda, she smiled at him, “You’re awake finally. I thought for sure you would never.”
Casper didn’t smile. He knew his face must be red and he was taking angry gasps of air. Winda narrowed her eyes at him. Before she could ask what was wrong he asked, “How are you?”
“I’m doing very well actually. I was more worried about you.”
Casper coughed, “Yeah right!”
Winda smiled, “You should know… I care for you a lot. I think I might even love you. It would break my heart if you died.”
Casper felt his face turn red again and he looked down at the ground. He couldn’t believe how bad of a day he was having, “You love me?”
“Yes I think I do… You are so different and I can see myself spending the rest of my life with you.”
Casper couldn’t believe his ears, “Look Winda, I don’t care for you that sort of way. You are only a friend to me.” In his mind he was thinking, not even that, I don’t even know you. “It would never work between us. We are both from different worlds and you would not be willing to give yours up and I wouldn’t be able to give up mine. I’m not ready for marriage right now. The people and my master still need me. And I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with you. I just don’t care for you that way… I’m sorry.”
Winda stared at him, “Oh… Well I wasn’t talking about marriage. That’s a bit overboard.” She chuckled nervously. Her smile faded when she saw that Casper wasn’t getting it, “its ok I guess. You can’t force yourself to love me… its ok.” Winda looked uncomfortably at the ground.
Casper felt slightly guilty and tried to change the subject, “Where are Hilary and Ivan?”
Winda looked towards a place where there were tall shading rocks sticking out of the sand, “They are resting somewhere among the rocks. Bring Kiara with you. There’s shade there.”
Casper turned to Kiara and picked her up. He wondered why Winda hadn’t brought them over there before.
Casper lied down in the sand and let the coolness of the shade wash over him in a refreshing wave. But, Casper couldn’t sleep. His mind was too confused.
Kiara woke up the next day and right away she wished to help. Casper was going to search the beach and she asked if she could come with. Casper answered far too abruptly, “No.” Kiara didn’t ask. She accepted the answer. She was sure there was some good reason as to why she couldn’t go.
Casper found many packages and luggage along the beach. He also found many dead sailors. He told no one of the sailors but he brought the luggage back. In the packages were some clothes, arrows, swords, knives and a little bit of spoiled food.
Casper avoided Kiara as much as he could and at night when they all sat around a camp fire he would purposely sit far across the fire. Kiara caught him staring at her more than once. She figured he was just curious like she was curious about everyone else.
Casper told them that this was the exact country they were supposed to be on and how lucky they were that they didn’t end up on some island. Kiara asked him how he could tell. He told her it was by the type of soil.
They just needed to walk quite a way to get to the nearest city he said.
The company went farther into the country and deeper into a vast jungle. The Jungle was quite a bit different then what Kiara was used to. The animals weren’t afraid of the group and birds often landed on their shoulders. Hilary slapped them away but everyone else smiled and accepted it. Kiara once found a small pink animal with two short legs a huge round jiggly belly and tiny arms with huge brown eyes sitting on her foot. It had a pig’s snout and a friendly looking mouth. It seemed to smile up at her as she walked. Kiara named it Merry. Merry stuck with Kiara for the longest time and then ran away. Kiara felt very disappointed but after about an hour it came back and found a comfortable place in Kiara’s bag, “What is this pink animal called, Casper?”
Casper didn’t turn around, “It’s a Paelliy. They aren’t animals though. They think and act like humans. They aren’t known for being very smart but they are the best comfort anyone could ever have. Very few humans or Sorlurns can understand their language and none can speak it.” He said silently.
Kiara’s face broke out into a huge grin, “That’s really cool!”
Casper refused to talk to Kiara other then answering her questions about plants and animals. When she got hurt he would tell someone else to help her. Finally Kiara got the nerve to ask Casper what was wrong. She walked right up to him when they had gotten out of hearing range of the group and asked, “Casper, are you ok?”
Casper didn’t look at her, “I’m fine.” He replied flatly and started to walk away.
Kiara bit her lip and then followed him, “Then why are you avoiding me? I thought we were all friends? If something is bothering you, you can tell me.”
Casper glanced at her and then looked away quickly, “It’s nothing really.”
Kiara stopped walking, “Casper! Did I do something wrong? I don’t want you to be mad at me. If you don’t tell me… then… then… well I’ll be mad at you!”
Casper kept walking, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Kiara let out a long groan, “Did I do something? Casper… you’re one of the best friends I’ve ever had and I’d really like to put this right.”
While Kiara was talking, Kiara’s little Merry popped out from Kiara’s bag and climbed on her shoulder. Merry started chattering angrily in his low, big voice. He was evidently angry and kept glancing from Kiara to Casper.
Casper whirled around. He glared at Merry. Merry closed his mouth and quickly crawled into Kiara’s bag. Casper’s jaw was set and his eyes were flaring, “I am not a good friend! I am not trustworthy or anything of the sort! I don’t care what you think of me! You are just a clumsy little pest who always gets hurt with every step!”
Kiara met his eyes and prepared for pain, “Well if that’s it then I’ll just leave this company and let you guys go on!”
Casper felt the anger erupt inside of him. He felt like knocking some sense into her. He glared at her for a long time but he couldn’t make himself hurt her. Why was he feeling this way? Kiara gave him one last look and turned to walk the opposite way.
Casper stared after her. He couldn’t just let her leave. Winda, Hilary, and Ivan were standing nearby watching them with disapproved looks on their faces. Ivan rolled his eyes, “Go after her you dope! We can’t go on without her. We can all tell she’s chosen. You need to quit being a jerk and tell her you need her.” Casper growled and sprinted after Kiara.
Kiara slapped a leaf out of her way and angrily stomped in a puddle letting the mud splatter up her leg. She felt more hurt then angry. Tears stung her eyes and then began poured down her cheeks like a waterfall. Merry was stroking her neck with his tiny hand and whispering something. Kiara appreciated Merry’s attempt to be a comfort but it didn’t help. Kiara growled and whacked another leaf away.
She heard someone running after her.
Kiara quickly tried to wipe her tears away. Casper’s calloused hand grabbed her arm and turned her around. Kiara ducked her head and hid her face. Casper lifted her chin gently. Kiara turned away, “You don’t need me Casper! I am useless and clumsy. You have the power so you could easily kill the Slayer and save your Master without me!”
Casper’s blue eyes looked miserable. He brushed another tear away from Kiara’s cheek, “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean what I said at all. You’re not a pest. Please we need you. You are chosen and if you don’t come along we will all die.”
“Is that all you need me for? To live?”
Casper frowned and blushed, “Uh… well…” He shifted, “What are we supposed to need you for?”
Kiara’s shoulders dropped, “You are an idiot!”
Casper winced, “Sorry! I just don’t know what you want out of me.”
“I want you all to want me to come along I don’t want to just come along because I’m needed. I want to know that you are really my friend and you care!”
Casper’s eyes didn’t leave Kiara’s face for a second, “I want you to come along.”
Kiara searched Capers eyes and after a long time she said, “You really do. I guess I’ll come. I mean, where else would I go?”
Casper smiled. They both walked back together in silence. Merry was still stroking Kiara’s hair. Casper felt awkward but Kiara didn’t mind the silence at all.
They soon caught up with the rest of the group who were waiting for them in the same place.
They were all walking in silence and contentment, listening to the crunch of plants under their feet. Ivan was sweating from the heat. His shirt was wet and a small stream of sweat found its way down the side of his head. Hilary was itching from the bugs that seemed to like her quite a bit. Winda and Kiara were perfectly fine. Casper glided through the jungle not making a sound. Suddenly froze in his steps. He quickly motioned for them to be quiet. There wasn’t a sound in the jungle not even the sound of animals chattering in the trees. Merry had disappeared into Kiara’s backpack without a sound.
“What’s wrong? I don’t hear anything.” Kiara stated.
Casper narrowed his eyes, “That’s precisely it. The animals aren’t talking, and the birds are gone.” Casper turned and saw a movement to his left. He gasped at what he saw. Just in time he yelled, “Watch out!”
Ivan reflexively dropped to his stomach, eyes wide and ready.
Suddenly a ravenous creature leaped out from the bush, leaped over Ivan and landed on top of Casper. Kiara, Hilary and Winda all screamed at the same time. The animal was almost like a human but it had more of a monkey face. It had blood stained wings and it didn’t seem to act anything like a human.
It had huge muscles with veins popping out and long dangerous claws. The teeth were sharp and also blood stained. And right at that moment those teeth were trying to snap off Casper’s nose.
Casper was caught by surprise but he gained composure quickly, faster than any person Winda had ever seen. She would know. She had seen many skilled fighters in her life. She watched in amazement as Casper grabbed the jaw of monster and pulled it wide apart. Hilary leaped into Ivan’s arms. Ivan reflexively knocked her off into the bush.
Kiara tried to think of a way she could help Casper. But, shock took control of her mind.
Casper stretched the jaw as far as he could. Casper looked at his four followers, “Help me!” Winda was the quickest to react. She leaped for the monster and took it down in a perfect football tackle. As the monster was tackled off of Casper one of its sharp teeth dug deep into Casper’s hand and ripped a chunk of flesh off.
Winda and the monster flew in mid air and smashed hard into a nearby tree. They bounced off and fell into a deep, black mud hole. Winda was on top of the monster. But before she could even draw back her fist, the monster threw her off of himself like she was a simply a twig. It then rolled over and jumped angrily after her letting out a screeching scream.
Casper threw himself up and met the monster mid air. In Casper’s hand was a knife which he angled perfectly and stabbed the monster in the heart. An agonized screech split the air. Casper grasped the handle firmly and while he was still in the air yanked the knife down splitting the monster’s chest.
As he was still in the air he karate kicked the monster in the stomach and sent it flying away from Winda. Instead Casper landed on top of Winda. He quickly pushed himself off of her and stood up. Kiara and Hilary stared in awe. They weren’t exactly sure what had happened. Ivan was also unsure. He was only used to fighting with machine guns.
Kiara was the first to speak, “What was that?”
“A Diltren,” Casper said, “One of the Witch’s servants. Be ready. There are sure to be more.”
Hilary sobbed, “More?”
Casper helped Winda up, “That was quick thinking there. Good job!”
Winda didn’t smile.
Suddenly a wild scream from above broke the silence. They all tensed. There was a loud crash of leaves and branches falling to their right. Then from the opposite side a Diltren exactly like the last came flying at Kiara. Kiara screamed and covered her head with her arms. It all happened too quickly for anyone to react.
Kiara was knocked over.
The Diltren sunk its teeth deep into Kiara’s arm and ripped a good amount of flesh off her arm.
Casper screamed with rage. He leaped onto the Diltren’s back and grabbed the top of the Diltren’s mouth yanking it back with such strength that it broke with a loud crack! Casper didn’t even give the Diltren time to scream he grabbed his knife and slit the throat. He turned around just in time for three more Diltrens, “Winda! The one to the left! Ivan, to the right!”
Ivan was still in a bit of shock so he was taken down in a second.
Winda was faster. She spun in the air and did a double kick. Right after she landed she punched the thing with all her might. The Diltren was dazed for a few seconds but then came back to realization just to receive another blow from Winda. Winda leaped up and kicked four times before she flipped backwards and landed. She grabbed the Diltren’s arm and twisted it violently. With its other arm the Diltren twisted around impossibly and hit Winda with a solid fist. She screamed as she flew into some bushes. Winda stood as fast as she could but it wasn’t fast enough. The Diltren leaped on her and took a close snap at her neck. Winda grabbed the jaw like Casper had done and tried to break it. But she wasn’t nearly as strong as Casper. Her arms trembled. She roared in her fury.
Ivan was whacking his beast wildly and randomly. He knew he couldn’t keep it up for long.
Casper was chasing after his Diltren who was chasing after Hilary. Hilary was screaming and waving her hands wildly while sprinting faster than Casper had ever seen a person run. She scrambled through the bushes and hid in a hollow log only to find something similar to a frog except purple. She screamed again and bumped her head on the roof of the log. The top broke and she scrambled out just to find a fist waiting for her. Casper was near exhaustion. He just reached Hilary in time and kicked the Diltren which was pretty useless but distracted the Diltren enough for Casper to stab its heart. Casper turned around thinking that the Diltren was finished. He saw Kiara receive another blow. Casper was about to go to her aid but then a claw reached from behind slashed a deep gash across his stomach. He cried out in pain and fell back on top of the Diltren he had just stabbed.
The Diltren didn’t look near dead.
Kiara felt like a rag doll being hurdled this way and that by a dog. There had been a fourth Diltren that came for her after everyone else was distracted by their own opponents. Now her Diltren had just finished throwing her against a tree and was in mid jump coming for her. Its mouth was wide open ready to tear her apart.
Time seemed to slow down right then. Kiara turned her head to see a Diltren cutting into Casper’s stomach. Ivan had a claw aimed for his heart. Winda’s arms were trembling desperately as she held the Diltren’s mouth open. Hilary was unconscious.
Kiara felt anger build up inside of her and her fear and weakness was forgotten. The power seemed to grow out of nowhere. All-of-sudden an angry orange flame burst from her bleeding fingers. From one hand the fire slammed into the Diltren that was flying towards her. The Diltren was thrown backward. From the other hand the fire hit the Diltren that was gutting Casper and burnt a hole through its heart. Casper dodged the flame that came through the Diltren and scorched the tree behind him, with his last bit of strength. The huge tree was taken down by the fire that Kiara had sent. Then Kiara aimed her fire at all her other Diltrens and burnt them to a crisp. Kiara gazed at her hands in shock. Hilary was awake and staring at Kiara in horror. She screamed and turned to run wildly away again. Kiara sighed, “Hilary! I’m not going to hurt you!”
Hilary paused and turned around, “My worst fear is fire so please don’t come anywhere near me!”
Kiara took a deep breath as she took in the scene around her. She turned to a bush and puked. After she finished she sat down and leaned against a tree. She thought for a moment and turned to Casper, “I need a weapon I can actually use. How about a bow? Do you have any?”
Casper thought for a moment and then said, “I don’t have any but I can make one… I have spears in my pack.”
Kiara smiled, “Thanks.” Casper nodded and looked away from her. Then he turned to bandage his wounds. He took his shirt off. He ripped his shirt up into pieces to wrap around his wounds and Hilary’s. Kiara looked down at her arm and saw a huge gash.
Casper noticed the pool of blood forming beside Kiara. Kiara saw him staring at her. She blushed and tried to tie a strip of cloth Ivan had given her. Casper frowned and motioned for Ivan to finish up with Hilary. Then he stood up and approached Kiara. She looked down embarrassed, “I can’t figure this out. I can’t tie it tight enough with just my left.”
Casper took the strip of white woolen cloth that he had ripped from his shirt and begun to tenderly wrap it around Kiara’s arm, “You saved us Kiara. That was amazing!” He raised his eyes to her for a second and smiled his appreciation, “Even though we all have skills in fighting you have bravery and you didn’t ever give up. I wonder where your power came from though.” Kiara winced as Casper touched the wound. He glanced up at her and muttered, “Sorry.”
Kiara just smiled weakly, “Well I’m glad I could be of some help.” She added under her breath, “Finally.” Casper gave her a disapproving look and then continued to wrap the wound. It was a very deep gash and he wondered how well it would heal. Casper tied the bandage and stood up. Then Casper tried to wrap his own wound on his stomach. Kiara smirked, “Can I repay your kindness?”
Casper looked up and smirked as well, “Sure, I could use the help.” Kiara went on her knees and went to work wrapping the bandage around his stomach. She could feel his eyes on her the whole time. She glanced up to meet them and once she met those deep piercing eyes she couldn’t look away. Everything else faded away. There was only the icy blue color filling every thought.
Her hands stopped working. She was close to him… too close. Casper’s eyes dropped to her lips. Kiara nearly leaped away in fear. But she couldn’t. She was frozen in her position staring at him. Casper eyes lifted to hers again and he blushed. He moved farther away and stared at the ground. Kiara felt her cheeks become hot and her stomach twist. She quickly tied the bandage and then stood up.
Casper thanked her silently glancing at her shyly.
Kiara pitched her tent with the help of Winda and crawled in. She grabbed her bag and peaked in. Merry was whispering to himself in the darkest corner of the bag. Kiara reached down and cradled him in her hands. She brought him out of the bag, “It’s over silly!” Merry put his hand on Kiara’s thumb and smiled his thank-you.
They camped there for the rest of the day and night. They all slept well into the middle of the next day. Casper was the first to wake. He woke them all up and made them eat quickly. He said he was in a hurry because the food was running low and they needed to get out of the jungle. The company continued their journey in fear.
After a few hours of fear gnawing at their stomachs, longings for going back instead of going forward began. Ivan complained first to Casper, “We aren’t going anywhere! Why don’t you just bring us back to the beach?”
“We’ll die if we go back.” Casper answered, “Going forward is our only chance.”
Ivan started to mutter to himself under his breath. Hilary spoke up, “I agree with Ivan. Why can’t we go back? We have more of a chance to live back there then out here in the middle of nowhere.”
Winda spoke up too, “What they are saying is very true… we could maybe signal a ship passing by and then we would be saved.”
Casper laughed, “No ships pass this way. No ship has come as close as we have to Dilplis in years. And by years I mean thousands of years.” Kiara looked at them, how could they be so foolish? Casper was their guide and he knew where he was going. Casper glanced at Kiara to see if she was going to say something but her mouth was set in a firm line.
Casper glanced back at the group, “We are not going back.”
Ivan shook his head, “You can go on with whoever wants to go with you but we’re going back.”
Casper sighed, “You will just get lost and die.”
Ivan walked up to Casper and stood at his full height. Casper was still taller than Ivan but Ivan was much bulkier and stronger looking, “We are going back.”
Casper’s face showed no emotion, “No I’m not letting you guys kill yourselves. It’s Suicide!”
Ivan brought back his firm fist and launched it at Casper. Casper was too tired to dodge. Kiara stared at Ivan, her mouth open to say something but the glare that Winda gave her made her stop. Ivan advanced on Casper still and begun to punch, slap, and kick him.
Casper didn’t take the beatings for long. He kicked Ivan in his solid stomach with his bare feet. Ivan lost his breath.
As soon as Ivan caught his breath he pounced on top of Casper and they went rolling on the ground punching and kicking. Shouts from the fight filled the already noisy jungle.
Kiara moved to help Casper but Winda angrily grabbed her arm and told her to let them fight. Kiara struggled against Winda’s strong grip but Winda would not let go, “Why are you so stubborn? Can’t you see Casper has been right all along?” Winda winced and let go of Kiara, but then Hilary grabbed Kiara and this time Kiara knew she had to do something more than just words. Kiara whacked Hilary across the face. Hilary regained composure quickly and slapped Kiara. Soon they too were on the ground fighting. Kiara used her power of fire and she grabbed Hilary’s arms and let the fire come through. Hilary’s eyes went wide with panic. She screamed in pain, anger and fear but Kiara did not let go. Winda advanced on Kiara but Kiara sent a burst of flames towards her and she fell back trying to douse the flames.
Hilary began to cry out, “I surrender! I surrender!” Kiara let go and pushed Hilary back. Then she sent a burst of flames towards Ivan’s backside. He yelped and jumped off of Casper. This gave Casper time to get ready for the next attack.
Casper was unwilling to use his eye powers at first but after quite a few kicks and punches he grew angry and impatient. Kiara saw that his eyes began to glow with the viciousness that she had seen so many other times when he was fighting. Kiara glanced away before the eyes could take control of her. Winda, Hilary and Ivan were all in a trance when she looked up again. Casper lay on the ground, weak, but he smiled a slight smile of satisfaction.
He looked at Kiara, “They will do my bidding now.” Kiara nodded. She hoped her fear didn’t show in her eyes.
Casper noticed this and felt guilty, “I had to do it Kiara. They are in no pain at all. Its better then the pain glare I give them. I will punish them later though.” Casper bit his tongue he should not have said that it only made her eyes wider.
Casper and Kiara continued on with the dazed people behind them. They did this for only a few more hours.
When they had made it to the city Casper let Hilary, Winda, and Ivan go. They came out of their trance and were very happy to be in civilization. Kiara explained to them all that had happened since they had been in a trance. Casper found a cottage a little ways out of the town to stay in.
They went into the town and wandered through the dusty streets. Merry sat lazily on Kiara’s shoulder. He muttered to her constantly. Sometimes he would gasp and point at something that was either sparkly or very different then what he was used to. Kiara noticed something very strange about the people in that city. They were all very silent and they wore black all the time.
The guards that guarded important buildings never cracked a smile or talked, they stared off into the distance all day long.
The guards wore a blood red outfit and Kiara noticed that their eyes were black. The head guards wore red and black outfits and their eyes were red. Kiara saw very few of the head guards but when she saw one she screamed. Scars lined his face and his red eyes seemed to be sightless.
Casper looked at her and whispered for her to keep her eyes to the ground and never try to meet their eyes. Kiara nodded and they moved on quickly. There was something so evil about them that she doubted they ever had problems with criminals.
The people in the city seemed to be in bondage to fear. They always kept their eyes to the ground.
Kiara had a very uneasy sleep that night. She could not force the picture of those red eyes out of her head. They haunted her, threatening to break into her thoughts like Casper had done, threatening to slice each thought open and to reveal its darkest secrets.
Kiara had about two hours of sleep that night. Dark rings had formed around her eyes.
Casper noticed this and asked her what was wrong. Kiara shook her head and avoided Casper’s gaze. Casper easily read her thoughts, “The first time I saw those eyes I was frightened too. I had a battle with one of those men. He was in fact the leader, the strongest. It wasn’t a physical battle… It was a mental one. We tore into each other’s mind. I killed him.”
Kiara smirked teasingly, “And how long ago was that? A long time?”
Casper glared at her, “Stop!”
Kiara’s smirk faded and she looked directly into Casper’s eyes. She hated it when people kept secrets from her. She felt afraid to ask but she was dying to know, “Are you immortal?” Casper didn’t dare to meet Kiara’s eyes. He shifted and turned to walk away. Kiara shook her head and clucked her tongue, “You are aren’t you?”
Casper watched her with a guarded look on his face, “I didn’t tell you anything.”
“Casper, you can’t hide it anymore.”
“I’m just smart and very agile.”
“What does that matter? Your eyes have told me your secret.”
“Are you disappointed?”
Kiara didn’t know what he meant, “I think it’s cool. But do you ever get tired of living?”
“My only friend has been immortal so it isn’t that bad. I vowed to myself never to get close to a mortal person.”
Kiara frowned, “So you don’t consider yourself being close to me?”
Kiara chuckled, “I don’t mean that way, just as a friend.”
Casper didn’t smile in fact he looked hurt, “Sure.”
Kiara suddenly turned and quickly walked away letting the confusion hang in the air. Casper watched her leave with a disappointed look in his eyes. Kiara looked over her shoulder and met his eyes for a quick second.
Casper’s heart skipped a beat. She looked so beautiful in that second. Her Auburn hair fell down to her waist and was set on fire by the sun. Her silver eyes met his curiously. She was well tanned and her cheeks were perfectly rosy. Casper took in the sight. He never wanted to forget it. Not ever.
After a few quick days in the village they left to continue the journey. They all rode horses so that it would go quicker. Poor Hilary had never ridden a horse before so she fell off many times and her backside was dramatically bruised by the end of the first day.
The company rode for four days and made it to the capital city of the Slayer’s empire. Here the streets seemed to be empty except for very few people shopping and whispering amongst close friends. Nothing was said out loud in the open. It was a city of secrets and fear. The guards were more abundant here and they stared at the company with no politeness or courtesy. Kiara felt as though she could melt into nothing under their burning gaze. Casper met the eyes with no fear. Kiara noticed the guards dropping their gaze as soon as Casper challenged them.
The smell of the city was so strong and smoky that they could all taste the smoking wood and trash in their mouths. The buildings were charred and black. Hilary tapped Casper’s arm worriedly, “Is there a fire somewhere near?”
“Yes” Casper said, “There is a fire to the North of here behind the Slayer’s mountain. It burns on and on day and night until the Slayer’s death.”
They went to the Cottage which was surprisingly packed full of people.
The company sat down at a table and ate a dry but filling meal. Kiara noticed a darkly hooded man sitting in the corner of the room. He seemed to be watching them. Winda noticed him too and she glanced at him often. Kiara leaned toward Casper and whispered, “Why is that man over there watching us?”
Casper gazed at the man for a while, “He is most likely a spy.” Casper whispered back calmly. He continued to watch the man all the while his eyes narrowed dangerously.
Casper stood up, and then he said in an urgent voice, “We need to get up to our room.”
As they left quickly to go up to their room Kiara glanced back at the man and noticed a slight evil smile curling up on his lips. She stumbled clumsily over a step. When they had made it up to the room, Winda asked, “Why did we have to leave so abruptly? What happened to make you so scared?”
Casper ignored her questions and said, “Remember, do not trust anyone, no matter how nice they seem.” Kiara nodded as all the others did but Winda seemed a little leery and only gave a nod when Casper glared at her.
The next day Kiara and Winda went out to buy some food in the market. Kiara was looking at some fruits when a man came up to her. He stood right behind her and breathed his honey breath in her ear, “Are you one of the people with Casper? Have you come to save us all from the Slayer?”
Kiara turned and smacked into his chest. She quickly slipped from the awkward position. She stared at him; he had light brown hair with a very dark tan and the strangest purple eyes. He also had a peculiar smile that sent chills down Kiara’s spin. She wasn’t sure if it was a bad chill or a good chill. Kiara felt as though she was being pulled into his eyes. She turned away before they could take her mind and shook her head to get out of the daze, “I have come with Casper, yes.” Kiara paused with a faraway look in her eyes.
The man with the purple eyes smiled slightly and read her thoughts, “Yes, Casper is a mystery to everyone except for his master. They make a very good pair those two and even when they are torn apart like now, Casper can rule the kingdom all on his own. He also has the strength to kill the world with just his eyes. I wonder if anyone will ever match up to him. I admire him greatly.”
Kiara nodded, she liked this man. He seemed to respect Casper, “What is your name?”
The man gazed at her for a while before hesitantly answering, “My name is Raphael Joseph Vinson. I am a servant in a grand household and I am 17 years of age.”
“Why is your eye color purple? Do you wear contacts?” Kiara asked right away. Then she frowned, “Never mind. None of you people wear glasses or contacts here.”
“What are glasses and contacts?”
“Oh, just something that helps people in my world see.”
“You know, your eye color is quite fascinating also. Silver is a color I have never seen before in eyes.”
Kiara smiled proudly, “It is very strange… I agree.”
Suddenly Merry climbed up onto Kiara’s shoulder and pointed an angry finger at Raphael. His deep voice boomed in it anger.
“Shhhhhh!” Kiara said putting her finger to her lips, “He’s not mean.” Merry frowned and glared at her. He slapped his hands on his hips and shook his head.
Winda watched from a distance. She knew Raphael was evil and she liked that. She wanted him. Winda smirked and gracefully walked up to Kiara, “Who is your new friend Kiara?”
“This is Raphael.”
Winda ran her eyes over him. She stepped forward so that she was looking straight into Raphael’s eyes. Raphael stiffened and looked down his nose at her. Winda smiled, “You are different aren’t you Raphael? I can see that by your purple eyes. It seems that anyone with a strange color of eyes is different.”
Raphael didn’t even breathe. He was frozen. Winda frowned, “What’s wrong? Stunned?” Winda leaned forward and to Kiara’s dismay kissed Raphael on the lips. Raphael still didn’t move he was a statue in awe. Kiara felt very angry that Winda was being such a flirt.
Kiara grabbed Winda’s arm and yanked her away from Raphael, “Let him breathe at least!” Winda jerked her arm from Kiara’s grip and slapped Kiara across the face. Raphael made his move, he grabbed Winda’s arm and threw her through the air. She landed on her back. The air was knocked out of Winda as she and the solid cobble stone of the street connected with a sickening smack! Raphael looked down at Winda in silence. Finally he blurted out, “That was the rudest thing you could ever do! Women never try to take control of men’s emotions. You are far too independent and confident for this culture. You act like those sickening nomads of Abrasha.” He took a breath and then lifted his eyes to Kiara, “You are very special Kiara.” Then he turned and walked away.
Kiara blushed. Winda stood up angrily, “He took quite a liking to you I think. You are pretty but I’m surprised he would choose such a young girl.”
“I’m sixteen and he’s seventeen!” Kiara said, “There is only a one year age difference between us. Maybe he noticed that you’re older than him.”
Winda smiled suddenly and even managed to laugh, “I guess I should be ashamed. I’m sorry I slapped you. I can’t control who likes who.”
Kiara narrowed her eyes. She was surprised that Winda apologized so easily and she didn’t believe it for one second.
Whenever Kiara was out in the streets Raphael would be there. A week passed and they constantly hung out together. Casper never asked what Kiara did outside but he seemed to drift away from her. They never had conversations like they had on the ship and when they were traveling through the jungle. Kiara felt kind of sad but she was too busy with Raphael to worry about other things. Raphael bought her flowers and gave her a good tour of the city. He even took her out for dinner, like a date. Kiara was thrilled.
The second week passed by.
Raphael was sitting at a table with Kiara. He had her hands in his and was telling her a story. His voice filled her head with very vivid images. Soon they fell into silence. Kiara gazed into his eyes and didn’t even look away shyly. Raphael’s expression was soft and sweet. His purple eyes were hypnotizing. Kiara felt herself being pulled in. She didn’t even try to escape it. She wanted to see what was behind those eyes of Raphael’s. They were so loving, so kind and sweet.
Suddenly the eyes became daggers and hatred broke through a mask. Kiara yanked her hands from his but she couldn’t take her eyes away, it was too late. The daggers slit her thoughts just like Casper had done with eyes a long time ago. Kiara felt angry that Raphael could do that and she had no control. She felt her eyes flash and the fire inside of her start to come to life. Raphael jumped to his feet in fear. He started to back away as her eyes turned into silver flames.
Then Kiara saw the truth. Just for a split second every defense had been dropped. It was obvious that he was a jerk but the thing that shocked Kiara was who he truly was a servant of. And she saw that he was going to use Kiara, a member of Casper’s company, to simply betray them, once he got her on his side. Raphael realized that he had been revealed. His eyes started to glow like Casper’s. Kiara had never felt anything like it. Raphael was trying to kill her. It was so painful she couldn’t scream. Her mouth was stretched open but nothing came out. Kiara tried to run away but she couldn’t move. She slowly felt her life burn to ashes before her very eyes. She was captive to Raphael.
All Kiara’s strength was sapped from her, but just in time, Kiara’s constant hero saved her once again. Now Casper turned the tables. Kiara could see the malicious anger in Casper’s burning eyes. He broke through Raphael’s mind and let him feel the scorching, burning pain.
Raphael’s eyes filled with horror. Casper plunged so deep Kiara could see that Raphael was at the point of death. Then Casper wasn’t going to stop. Kiara grabbed Casper’s arm, “Don’t Casper!”
Casper broke contact as soon as he heard Kiara’s voice. Raphael collapsed from exhaustion.
Kiara was shaking with sobs. Casper pulled her into a hug. Casper picked her up and carried her to the cottage. Leaving Raphael to fend for himself.
After that day Casper went to the market and never let anyone else go. One day Casper had gone out to the market. Kiara noticed her forgot the grocery list so she followed him out. Casper went to the market. But before he went to buy anything he disappeared down a dark alley way. Kiara peaked around the corner of the building to see Casper and Raphael talking to each other in heated tones, “Stay away from Kiara… I know you keep trying to see her. She will fall for your charms and apologies very easily and if you don’t stay away I will have to kill you.”
Raphael chuckled, “I don’t know if you would have the guts to kill me after meeting that girl. She seems to have stolen your heart and the only reason you are keeping her from me is because you’re jealous. I won’t harm her anymore. I already regret greatly what I have done and you know that. Give her a chance to choose between us. Besides Casper, there is no chance for you two. You’re far too old for her.… I’ve taken quite a liking to that young girl. She is pretty and has spirit.”
Kiara felt a blush rise to her cheeks. For the first time she realized why Casper looked at her so peculiarly all the time and stared at her more than the others. He loved her. And so did Raphael. Casper’s words broke through her thoughts, “After what you’ve already done there is no way I’d trust you with her again. She is naive and confused in this world. You have no right to take advantage of that, Orthorien. You are breaking all the rules of having a relationship. She won’t fall for you again.”
Kiara’s eyebrows knotted, the name confused her. And she didn’t know there were rules about having a relationship. She wondered what they were. Raphael snapped at Casper, “You know I don’t like to use that name anymore, Arthion.”
Kiara stared at them in confusion, why were they using those retarded names? Casper’s eyes started to glow with anger, “Same with me. Now stay away from Kiara and I’ll let you live.”
Raphael smiled and his eyes began to glow too, “Not a chance. She’ll probably choose me over you and I doubt you can kill me.” He added a haughty laugh at the end.
Kiara felt like yelling and telling him she hated him and refused to choose either of them. The look that was in their eyes was all too familiar to Kiara. She watched as their eyes turned into those dreaded fires that consumed all thoughts. They plunged into each other’s minds and broke through each other’s thoughts. The intensity of the eyes seemed to grow and grow slowly. Kiara could see that they both were in incredible pain but neither cried out or gave way. Casper seemed to have the upper hand at first but then Raphael plunged deeper and Casper whimpered. Kiara had never seen Casper show any weakness. It made something inside of her sink so low she felt as though she couldn’t ever get it back into its proper place.
Kiara saw the immense struggle between them increase. They both struggled for the advantage but they were very even at this point. Kiara didn’t understand how Casper couldn’t be stronger after having so much experience throughout the years. But a strong feel suggested that it was because of her, somehow.
Kiara saw sweat drip down the men’s temples. They stood there bodies rigged and tense, staring into each other’s eyes. It didn’t look very intense until you saw Casper’s poisonous eyes.
Kiara felt as though she couldn’t bear it any longer. The anticipation for one of them to just win hurt her mind. Kiara rushed out from her hiding place and ran in between them trying to stop them. She waved her arms and shouted angrily at them but they didn’t see or hear her. Finally in desperate attempt to stop, she jumped up in the way of Raphael’s eye contact. The eyes met hers, Kiara felt an unexplainable stab of pain it ripped her thoughts apart and left her open, vulnerable. But it was more than that, it was death glare. Kiara screamed in agony. The screamed echoed through the streets of the city and every head turned in the direction of the scream that tore apart the air.
Kiara fell to the ground with not so much as an ounce of life left in her. Casper and Raphael stared at her in surprise and horror. They both moved for her at once. Casper made it first. He knelt beside her and picked her up in his arms. She was totally limp and her pulse was not strong at all. Raphael fell to his knees and watched her in shock, the scream was still ringing sharp in his ears.
Casper gazed at Raphael tears flowed unwillingly his eyes. He was blind with fury. He clenched his fist and threw a punch at Raphael, connecting and throwing Raphael against the wall. They both knew that they should have been more careful. Secretly Raphael felt happy that she had stepped in. He knew Casper would’ve killed him. And now Raphael knew secretly that Kiara would not remember what she had seen in him. How had she broken through his thoughts? He wondered. She had no experience but still somehow she had done it.
Raphael knew he liked Kiara even though she was supposed to be his enemy. He surprisingly felt guilty in hurting her but he knew that was what he would’ve had to do in order to erase those secrets from her mind. Now it wasn’t on purpose it was an accident so he shouldn’t feel so bad. But he did. He was in conflict with himself. He was evil, yet longing for love. Not a good combination. The Slayer would know as soon as he saw Raphael. He would punish him. Raphael shivered at the thought of the Slayer’s black magic torturing him. Raphael’s master had a hold on him that no one could demolish.
They brought Kiara to Raphael’s house. Casper stayed up all hours of the night trying every possible way to save Kiara. But he knew that if she lived she would be weak forever. Never would she be the same. The night passed and led to a hopeless morning and then a bleak overcast afternoon and then the dark night again, still there was no sign of hope. Casper used all his powers and so did Raphael. Casper searched every inch of his mind for a cure, but he could only find simple ways to ease Kiara’s pain.
Raphael left the house after the third day, he told Casper that he felt too guilty and he wanted to be useful so he would go and help the others of the company. Casper rocked back and forth on his heels all night worrying about Kiara. He hadn’t slept for three nights. Instead he sat by the bed deep in thought. He could not get the image of Kiara falling to the ground screaming in agony out of his throbbing head. He reached out and smoothed Kiara’s auburn locks. Had Kiara really changed him, like Raphael said? Casper finally dozed off.
He was awakened by someone tapping him on the arm, “Wha… what do you want? Leave me be. I don’t want to leave Kiara alone. I’m trying to save her life.”
Someone laughed weakly, “You already saved me. I’m alive but I feel very weak.”
Casper bolted upright at the voice. Kiara laughed, it was a beautiful laugh that came from deep inside her. Casper thought it sounded very musical. The whole time she was clutching her side in pain but she could not stop. The look on Casper’s face was one that would make anyone laugh. Casper chuckled; he wondered what he must look like. His hair messy and uncombed his eyes wide with surprise and his mouth as far open as he could ever get it. Kiara smiled, “You looked so funny! Never have I seen you more surprised.” She reached out and straightened a lock of hair on Casper’s head, “That bothered me.”
Casper glanced at her and grinned a goofy grin to cover up the blushes that followed.
“I have to get up now.” She said as she struggled to sit up.
Casper’s smile faded and he immediately pushed her back onto the bed, “Don’t you dare!”
Kiara pleaded with him, “I need to get up! I’m sick of lying here. Please Casper!”
“No way! You are not getting up!”
Kiara slapped Casper lightly across the cheek, “Let me get up and change!” She sat up again and attempted to throw her blankets off. But Casper took hold of both of her shoulders and pushed her back down. This time, though, Kiara burnt a hole in Casper’s shirt and pushed him away onto the floor. She quickly stepped from the bed and tried to stand up. Casper leaped to his feet and pushed her back onto the bed. He held her down and pulled the blankets over her. There was a long struggle and Kiara ended up punching and slapping him. Casper kept her pinned to the bed but, she was stronger and more persistent then he thought. She burnt more holes in his shirt and angrily scratched his arm, “Let me up!”
Casper shook his head and received another slap. Kiara kicked him in the leg and then hit his face. Casper wasn’t bothered. But then Kiara kicked him in the groin with all the strength she had. Casper’s mouth shaped an O and he fell backwards onto the floor. Kiara leaped from the bed and grabbed some fresh clothes. Then she raced to the bathroom and locked the door after her. Casper raced after her and smacked into the door just as it was being shut. He banged hard into it, “You stubborn girl!”
Kiara was kind of worried she had made him angry with her but she could hear laughter coming from the other side of the door. She quickly showered and then dressed. When she came out Casper was sleeping on the bed that she had just been sleeping on. Kiara chuckled and let him sleep.
Kiara recovered quickly but as Casper had suspected she was much weaker and they had to treat her with care. After Kiara had fully recovered they started out. This time Raphael joined them. Kiara could understand how they let him come with them after he nearly killed her purposely and then accidentally. It was confusing and no one even tried to explain it to Kiara. Finally after a lot of bugging Casper told her that Raphael was the only one who knew the way. Kiara didn’t get why they had made such a big deal out of it. Obviously there had been a great disagreement about it.
They went over a few mountains and then down to a burning desert that seemed to stretch on forever. The dusty wind blew back Kiara’s hair. She tried to grab it and tie it up, but strands escaped and then her hair was flying in her face again. Winda walked over and helped her, “Thanks Winda.” Winda nodded and turned back to stare at the scorching red hot desert. She sighed and continued to trudge on.
Kiara dragged her feet behind her. If only there was an oasis. She felt a heat wave and she fell forward, scratching her bare hands on the rough, hot ground. Sweat dripped down her forehead. The world seemed to sway and become a blur. Casper noticed and moved to pick her up. He grabbed a goat’s skin with water in it and put it to her mouth. She gulped down the water and when she finished Casper put the water skin back and picked her up. He slung her over his shoulder like a potato sack. Kiara didn’t feel the least bit comfortable, “Casper can you carry me differently. All my blood is going to run to my head and I’m going to die.”
Casper took her off his shoulder and set her on the ground. He stared at her for a long time without speaking. His eyes gently searched hers. Strangely, he seemed dazed by her. Kiara couldn’t understand why, her hair was a mess and her face was sun burnt and dirty.
Kiara shifted uncomfortably, “Stop!”
Casper gazed longingly into her eyes and didn’t move. Kiara felt her stomach flip. She tried not to act nervous and she met his eyes evenly, “Please?” Casper nodded but didn’t smile. He moved very slowly. He approached her and stood directly in front of her. He looked down at her and kept his eyes on hers as he picked her up again and held her gently against his chest. He continued to look at her. Kiara narrowed her eyes, “Can you please stop looking at me!” Casper’s expression was still blank but he removed his eyes from her and stared at the horizon. Kiara fell asleep in a few seconds. When she woke up again she noticed an extremely rocky terrain. The rocks were very sharp and hard. Raphael was carrying Kiara now and when he saw her awake a smile broke out over his sweaty face. Those purple eyes of his seemed very tired and exhausted. No joy sparkled in them. Kiara smiled back at him and asked him to let her down. He insisted on carrying her longer but she told him that when she could walk she’d better so that the men could rest from carrying her. Kiara walked as long as she possibly could.
That night they made a campfire and slept beside it. Kiara woke later in the night to the angry whispers of Casper and Raphael. They seemed to be at the conclusion of their argument, because Raphael said, “Fine I’ll just leave. You know the way from here.” He turned and stomped off into the darkness without a single belonging. Kiara frowned. Was he planning on killing himself?
Kiara slipped next to Casper and touched his arm. Casper jumped, “Don’t touch me Kiara. It isn’t allowed unless entirely necessary.”
Kiara looked disgusted and ignored his command, “The rules of a relationship eh? That’s dumb. Anyways, why isn’t Raphael taking any water?”
Casper shrugged. A jealous glint showed in his eyes, “He knows what he’s doing. Don’t worry about him. Go back to sleep. You need the rest for tomorrow.”
Kiara glared at him, “Yes mother!”
Casper smiled, “Please?”
Kiara didn’t say anything else she went back to her bed without another complaint.
Casper watched her as she fell into a deep dreamless sleep. The moonlight softened her face and the breeze seemed to sing her name. Maybe he was just hearing things, but even if he was, it sounded like the sweetest thing on this world.
The next day was no different from all the others. Only, the sky looked much different. Dark, coal black clouds spotted the sky and behind the clouds was a fiery sky, literally on fire. It was spectacular but dangerous. The mountains in front of the company were bare, rocky and dark. One mountain stretched so high the top was lost among the black clouds. “That is the mountain we must climb to get to the Slayer’s castle.” Casper said. He looked anxiously at the mountain as if there was something better than all the gold in the world up there.
Kiara looked up the mountain. It loomed over the land sending a dark shadow on a barren valley.
The group camped at the bottom of the mountain for the night and Kiara had a very peaceful sleep, despite the monster ahead of them. In the morning they began to make their way up to the top. Casper gave the group the weapons that they had been waiting to use. Kiara’s bow was made of silver with her name inscribed on it. The arrows had many beautiful designs on it and their heads seemed to be made of expensive metal. She couldn’t believe she had to use such a beautiful bow for such an ugly job. She also felt very special that Casper had taken the time to craft it. He looked very proud when he handed it to her.
They made their way up the mountain slowly. The whole company was tired and wanted more sleep. Casper told them that this was their last stretch so they needed to keep going. Kiara began to think about what had happened between Raphael and Casper. She had lost all trust in Raphael and he seemed to realize this and steered away from her during the last days. That was most likely why he didn’t come on the rest of the journey with them. Kiara had seen something else in Raphael’s eyes that haunted her and worried her. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she knew it was bad and disturbing. She wondered if Casper had seen it.
Kiara turned back to the path ahead of her. She continued to walk slowly up the steep mountain path. Suddenly she heard something. It was like a low rumbling growl. Kiara stopped and looked around. Her eyes scanned the dark corners of the mountain. Then she saw a movement and she stiffened. Casper noticed her glancing around, “What’s wrong Kiara?”
“There is something behind that rock over there.” She pointed to a huge dark boulder. Casper unsheathed his sword and motioned for the others to do the same.
Kiara backed off into the shadow of a bolder and readied her bow. They waited in silence. Even the air was still and anxious.
Then it came bounding over the rock like a grizzly bear except much bigger. It was huge, gray and furry with blood red eyes and a drooling mouth. It shook the ground with each step as it headed for Casper. Kiara raised her bow and released the arrow. With it she sent fire. The flaming arrow hit the creature right in the temple, embedding itself in the creatures head. The animal crashed to the ground shaking the whole mountain uncontrollably. Kiara stumbled to the ground. Casper whirled around and glanced to see where the arrow had come from. He suspected it was from Kiara, but she was nowhere to be seen. Just then, the whole world shook. Casper thought it was an earthquake but they didn’t get those in the world of Sillvados. Then the sun was blocked out by a cloud. Casper frowned and looked to the sky. Then he saw it wasn’t a cloud, instead it was about twenty gray monsters flying in mid air for him. Casper swung his sword over his head and plunged it deep into the creature’s belly. Blood spurted out. It let out a strange scream that made everyone wince.
Casper dodged out of the way of the dead beast that was tumbling to the ground, and went colliding into Ivan who just muttered something under his breath and returned to his fighting. He lifted his sword easily but his strokes were not graceful or coordinated. Instead they were random but strong.
The beasts were slow and lumbering. Not much of a challenge compared to the Diltrens. Meanwhile Kiara shot flaming arrows from her darkened spot.
The beasts fell quickly they were not hard to pick off with archery. Kiara actually enjoyed herself. But the blood that spilled everywhere was the most unpleasant. Hilary and Ivan were having a hard time warding off their opponents. Hilary had never used a sword before and she had trouble lifting it. A beast came for her and swept her off her feet with a single stroke. Hilary screamed in agony as she hit the ground. Across her pretty face, were claw marks that went deep into her cheek. Kiara gasped at the sight. She didn’t have time to shoot an arrow so she let a pure stream of fire burst its way from her fingers.
Ivan strangled the beast that came for him. It was spectacular to watch him use such unique strength. His muscles bulged as he twisted and squeezed the monster’s neck.
Winda was fast and quick. She avoided the quick crushing blows of the animals and then she took her chance and struck for the heart. Just as Winda killed one, unexpectedly she had another leap on top of her and crush her with its weight. It tried to kill her but she used every ounce of strength she had to fend it off.
Her knife sliced back and forth, slicing an X into the creature’s chest. Then she had the problem of getting the thing off of her.
Ivan twisted and turned, stabbed and sliced like a mad man. The jaws that nearly bit off his head ended up sliced open.
Then it was over.
The beasts went scrambling over the rocks and into hiding. Kiara watched the group search around for her. Finally she stepped from the shadows. Casper looked relieved to see her unharmed, “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I wish you would just stop looking at me like I can’t take care of myself. You should be worrying about Hilary right now!”
Casper’s hand dropped to his side and he blushed, “Sorry.”
Kiara rolled her eyes and pushed past him, she was not in a good mood.
On the company went. For three days they climbed the mountain. The sun burnt every inch of exposed skin on the company. Except for Casper, he didn’t have a single burn on him.
Hilary’s scars healed rapidly under Casper’s care. He drew back from Kiara and barely dared to look at her. Kiara felt bad but she didn’t say anything.
When they reached the top of the mountain it was night. Darkness covered the castle like a dark cape. Kiara shivered from the cold and Casper immediately drew his cloak around her. Kiara thanked him and stared at the castle looming above them.
The guards circled the perimeter. So Casper decided he would give one of the guards a quick, silent kill. Winda pointed out the place that she thought was the best. They took their rope and grappling hook and climbed up the wall. Kiara had the hardest time trying to climb the rope so Ivan carried her while he climbed.
Casper got to the top first and killed the guard silently with his glare. They looked for a way in but the only way through was through an open court yard. So they crawled on their stomachs behind bushes across the dusty cobblestone. Casper continuously killed guards before they knew what was happening. He kept as many as he could alive but when you’re crawling across a court yard and guard pops up from around a bush then you kind of have to kill him that second before he screams.
Kiara spotted a door nearby. She tried it and it was unlocked. They all slipped in into a small pitch black room. Everyone was squished. Kiara had Casper trying to get around her but he got stuck, so Kiara’s face was buried in his chest. After a lot of shuffling around they found another door. That door led to a long flight of stairs that only allowed the company to go in single file. The castle was dark, and musty, very much unlike the white castle of Kind King Tyron. It was hot inside and when Kiara looked over the side of the stairs she saw a river of hot flowing lava. She gasped and almost fell over the edge of the stair way but Winda caught her by the arm and pulled her back. Kiara thanked Winda and continued to walk. They made it down the stairs and then Casper led them. He wove through the passages as if he had been down it many times. Down and down they went. Kiara asked where they were going and the only answer she got was that they were going to the prisons.
Once they had gotten to the lowest prisons they began to look in every one. Some contained skeletons while others contained weak helpless people. Kiara looked in one to see a boy of around three years of age. He was skinny and his clothes were in rags. Kiara’s heart broke for him. She grasped the bars and stared through at him. Kiara could not take her eyes off of him. She turned to Casper, “Please free this poor little boy.” Casper gazed at the boy for a few seconds and then he grabbed a little thin piece of wire to pick the lock. After a couple of tries the door flew open and the boy was free. He did not come out though.
Kiara walked in and spoke to him softly in Silldosic, “Do you want to come with us? You’re free now.” The boy looked up at her with his huge eyes. She could not see the color but she could tell they were dark and expressionless. Kiara tried English and Casper tried all the languages he knew, but nothing seemed to work. Finally she just took the little boy’s hand and led him out. The boy clung to her hand and would not let go. Casper continued to glance back at the boy as though the presence of him seemed to make Casper feel uncomfortable. Kiara glared at Casper and he stopped looking back at them.
Casper continued looking in prisons for what he needed to find. Kiara asked to free so many prisoners. Casper told her that as soon as the Slayer was dead they would all be free. He looked intently at each man in the cells.
Suddenly he grabbed the bars of a prison and a huge smile broke over his face. He stared to laugh and then called the man’s name, “King Tyron! Master Tryon! It’s me Casper!” Kiara rushed over to the prison with the little boy at her side. Inside was a man who looked fairly young. He looked around the age of thirty his hair was a strawberry blond and his eyes Kiara could not see.
The man stood up slowly and came towards them. He looked at Casper for a long time and then smiled with recognition, “Casper! You’ve come for me haven’t you? I missed you dearly! Come! Get me out of here!”
Casper grinned like a little boy. His hands shook with excitement as he picked the lock.
King Tyron didn’t seem to notice anyone else, he just talked to Casper. As the company made their way back out Casper fell back to talk with King Tyron. Kiara looked back over her shoulder and met Casper’s eyes. Casper stopped mid sentence and his blue eyes searched hers. It looked as though he didn’t notice anything else. Kiara turned back to the path in front of her.
She could hear King Tyron ask, “Who is that girl?”
She could hear Casper clear his throat uncomfortably, “Uh… She’s was the chosen one for this time and age. She saved me and the rest of the company more than once.”
King Tyron chuckled, “Is she special to you, personally?”
Kiara stiffened and blocked the conversation from her mind. She squeezed the little hand in hers and walked faster. They continued to make their way up the stairs once again. Winda led them this time.
The heat sent droplets of sweat in a stream down Kiara’s smooth forehead. Her shirt clung dreadfully to her skin.
In front of her Ivan was holding Hilary’s hand and whispering to her. Kiara watched them curiously. Ivan had always hated Hilary and now he was holding her hand like it was the only thing in the world that mattered to him.
Kiara felt a slight prick on her neck. At first she didn’t think anything of it but the prick became more than just a prick.
Kiara touched her shoulder. Just then she felt a scorching pain and everything around her went red. Kiara tried to look over her shoulder but she couldn’t. In fact she could even breath, move, or scream. She stumbled forward and did a face plant in the hard cobble stone with a disgusting thump. But she didn’t feel anything. She could only see the red cobble stone getting even redder with her own fresh blood.
There was no sound. Was she deaf? Paralyzed? What happened?
Suddenly there was Casper’s face staring down at her. His eyes were red. No longer blue. Kiara wanted to scream but she could only scream that deafening scream inside her mind.
Casper reached down to her face and stroked it. His mouth moved but Kiara couldn’t read it. Everything began to swim before her. Then it was just red. There were no more images in front of her only red. It all happened far too quickly.
She’s dead! Casper’s mind screamed as Kiara’s body went entirely limp in his arms. Blood was gushing from the wound on her head, and there was no pulse. Casper couldn’t figure out what happened. She had been fine and then suddenly she collapsed.
Casper’s hands shook with radical fear that devoured his strength. Kiara’s eyes had rolled back in her head and her mouth was open. Casper was in utter shock. His mouth fell open and his eyes were as round as saucers. He stared at Kiara in complete confusion, this cannot be the end! We’ve barely even started!
King Tyron slipped down on his knees beside them and gently opened Kiara’s mouth. He squinted through the darkness. Then he let out an understanding, “Ahhhhhhh…” He looked at Casper, “She has black spots on her tongue. We need a Paelliy.”
Casper’s eyes showed relief, “She has one in her bag. He’s been hiding for the last two weeks when she was sick, but I’m sure he’s still there.” He paused and looked anxiously at Kiara’s bag, “Merry! Come out please!”
Immediately a frightened little chubby face poked out. He looked at Kiara and gasped. Then he said something that sounded like, “Not again.” He took great efforts to get out of the bag and over the floor to where Kiara was. He placed his hand on her cheek and looked lovingly at her. Then he crawled up near her mouth and spat into it.
Hilary recoiled, “Gross! What are you doing?”
Casper was about to say something rude but his master gave him a stern look and spoke instead, “She has been stung by a Yee… kind of like a bee but much more deadly. Only a Paelliy can fix it. And if he doesn’t do it within a week then she would be transferred to the world of Bladious.”
“Is that like Hell or something?” Asked Hilary
“No. A girl such as her would never go there. She follows Love.” King Tyron paused, “Bladious is a land from which unexplainable powers come from. It is said to be a world of Sorcery and Wizardry. Many say the Witch came from this world, but no one knows. Never have there been such powers in any of the three worlds. Rarely, do the powers (or people) travel to Earth or Sillvados, but its music does. Bladious is the center of music. No one has ever been able to travel there and back. A Yee may send them there but they are unable to come back. No one knows what happens to them there. It could be bad or good. Thank goodness Merry was here.”
Winda piped up, “So there are three worlds, Earth, Sillvados, and Bladious?”
“Yes. Earth is a world of Technology, knowledge and corruption. Sillvados is a world yearning for wisdom, yet always at war. Bladious is a land of extreme powers and music. Bladious seems like the nicest world out of the three, and maybe it is but we have no way of knowing.”
Just then Kiara stirred and her eyes opened. Casper grabbed her arm and quickly helped her to her feet. She thanked him and then looked around for the little boy she had rescued. He was standing silently in the dark shadows. Kiara took his hand and began walking again as though nothing ever happened. Casper frowned and stared after her. Winda smirked and quickly went to lead the way. King Tyron laughed and nudged Casper teasingly, “She’s a strong one.”
Casper blushed and smiled sheepishly.
A chilly wind found its way down the hall where the group of heroes sauntered along. Its icy fingers wrapped themselves around each body and froze there chilling each traveler to the core. The wind doused all the torches along the hall walls. Silence settled down around them like solid walls that separated each and every one of them. Only now they all realized how comforting those torches had been.
The wind howled and expressed its agony in the echoing halls. All ears became alert and hands flew to their hilts. The howl came again, but this time it didn’t sound like the wind.
Kiara felt a hand run over her arm, caressing her smooth skin. The hand itself was soft and leathery. Kiara sucked in air and screamed. But her scream never came out. It froze in her throat when she felt a sharp, cool blade run over her neck. Kiara grabbed her dagger and sliced at the air in front of her. But there was nothing to cut.
Still there was the blade against her neck, cutting deeper and deeper. Kiara grabbed for the hand and easily pulled it from her neck. She tried to grab the place where the arm should have been, but there was no arm. A cackle broke the silence.
Shock jolted through Kiara’s body. She reflexively threw the hand with all the power she had in her arm.
Then Kiara felt something warm and sticky flow over her feet.
There was complete silence for a full five seconds and then Casper spoke with urgency, “What happened?”
His words were met with the sound of a sword being drawn. Casper tensed up and drew his sword as well, “Kiara shed some light on this bleak hall.”
Kiara answered with the whoosh of fire bursting from her hands to the ceiling. What they saw shocked each and every one of them. Ivan lay in a pool of his own blood at Kiara’s feet, clutching his stomach and screaming. But strangely no one heard him till light blazed through the halls. Hilary was slumped against a near wall. A bruise colored her forehead in a shade of blue.
A cackle vibrated through the air.
Casper stiffened. He exchanged glances with Kiara, “This place has more sorcery and evil hidden behind its walls then I ever imagined.”
Kiara’s eyes scanned the hall fearfully. She felt as though danger lay around each corner, ready to finish them with a simple but powerful whisper.
King Tyron turned to Casper, “You, Winda, and Kiara must go on. The Slayer is waiting for you and if you don’t defeat him we’ll never get out.” He kneeled beside Ivan, “I’ll take care of the wounded. The only way we’ll make it out is if you distract the Slayer.” He turned to Kiara, “I’ll also take care of the boy.”
Kiara let go of the small hand and kindly herded him over to King Tyron
Casper face hardened, “No.” He said flatly, “I came all this way to free you and now you want to stay back because these idiots are hurt. They never helped me with anything on this journey. They deserve to be captured.”
Kiara snorted, “I thought you understood it already. They weren’t sent along on this journey to help you, they were sent along so that you could help them. Haven’t you seen the change in the way they act?”
“Yes, but Christopher said they were to help me.”
“And maybe they have,” Added King Tyron, “I have seen a change in you as well.”
They went on. This time Winda led them even though Casper insisted she wouldn’t know the way. She replied, “Well you wouldn’t either!”
Strangely she seemed very confident and made turns without even pausing. The group of three continued up and up. The stairs seemed to never end. Kiara could swear they were climbed straight out of the earth’s atmosphere.
Finally they came to a level floor. After a while of weaving through halls they came to a gigantic pair of doors, which seemed more like gates. A disgusting picture of torture was carved on the front. Kiara shivered and averted her eyes. Winda pushed open the heavy doors without hesitation. Casper looked bewildered, “What do you think you’re doing? Wait!” He lurched forward to pull Winda back but she had slipped through the gates and into a completely bare, echoic, dark room. Casper and Kiara hurried after Winda but when they arrived in the room there was no sign of her.
Casper’s brow furrowed, “I knew it!”
There was a low groan of the gates closing. Kiara whirled around, “NO!”
She lurched for the gates but Casper grabbed her arm and pulled her back, “It’s no use.”
Kiara stepped closer to Casper, “What’s happening? Is the end of our lives?”
Casper shook his head, “There’s never an end... maybe the end of our lives in this world but no, there’s no literal end.”
Kiara slipped her hand into Casper’s, “Should I give some light?”
Casper grunted in agreement. Kiara with her opposite hand ignited a stream of orange fire that reached to the ceiling.
Kiara right away noticed a man across the room on a cold stone throne. It was the kind of man that could only be found in nightmares. He was looking at the floor but as he raised his eyes Kiara noticed the bloody red, bloodshot eyes even though he was very far away. Right away she knew he must be the Slayer. A scream wrenched her throat. Kiara felt herself being pulled into his red gaze. The same redness that had consumed previously.
Casper quickly stepped in her view of the man. His eyes were on fire like never before, and poison spited with each flame that flickered. Kiara didn’t know how the Slayer wasn’t drowning in the pools of poison that fueled unstoppable fire.
Instead The Slayer began to laugh, the most awful laugh ever known to humans and Taseliae, a guttural sound that sent made the entire castle shiver in disgust.
A man slipped out from behind the throne. Kiara immediately recognized him. It was that wench, Raphael. And on the other side of the throne stood Winda, she gazed angrily at Casper and Kiara. Kiara gasped, “Winda?”
Then everything became clear for Kiara, what she had seen in Raphael’s eyes, it was his plan, his plan to use Winda to deceive them. If he couldn’t use Kiara he used Winda. And it had worked just as well. There was no hope for them now.
Casper spat, “You disgusting hag! How dare you betray us!”
Raphael walked over to Winda and kissed her cheek, “She’s a very good actress. You forgot that Casper. You vowed to never trust anyone besides your master but you ended up trusting every person in this company, including the most deceitful of them all. I thought you could read minds!” He laughed mockingly, “Apparently not as well as I thought.”
The man on the throne stood up. He silenced Raphael, “Shut up! You think you’re so important with your fancy speeches of victory, but I think it’s very dull and boring. Let’s get on with the exciting stuff.” He smiled showing crooked teeth, “Kill the girl and let’s enjoy the show Casper will give of his agony.”
Casper tensed. His eyes shone brighter then Kiara’s fire. Kiara squeezed his hand one more time and then let go. She summoned all her strength and power. It built up inside of her. She angled both of her hands perfectly for the throne. Winda saw it coming just in time and yanked Raphael behind the stone throne with her. Fire leaped from Kiara’s fingers and flooded the entire room like a tidal wave, except bright orange and hot. The fire gushed from her; it drowned all sight and sound in its flaming fury. Finally the river of whooshing fire stopped and Kiara peered through the smoke. Kiara made out the figure of the Slayer and was very confused as to why the Slayer wasn’t dead. Then she remembered his immortal life which was very unfortunate.
The Slayer sat on his throne completely stiff with his mouth wide open and his blood shot eyes filled with surprise, “Who are you?” He managed to whisper, “Where did you learn such control over the untamable element of fire? Are you the Witch herself?”
Kiara glanced uneasily at Casper. She had no idea what the Slayer was talking about. He stared at her as though she were a goddess. Casper quickly spoke, “She is no witch! She follows love and wishes to destroy you!”
The Slayer’s look of surprised turned into a look of disgust and hatred, “Love will never win! It doesn’t even guide you!”
“Yes it does. Through prophesies and sometimes in personal thoughts as well.” Casper replied.
The Slayer laughed again sending shivers down Kiara’s spine, “Who are you to say such things? You don’t even follow Love, at least not the good kind of Love. You lust for battle and death. Those are not good things. How can you call talk as though you know the meaning of Love?”
Casper took a deep breath, “I have found Love.” He looked directly at Kiara and blushed for the thousandth time, “I found love in Kiara. I didn’t think it was possible, but it seems even I have feelings.”
Kiara stared at him in shock. She knew he liked her but she was surprised his feelings went as far as this. Kiara blinked, “Really? I thought I just annoyed you the whole time?”
Casper dropped his eyes, “That was me trying to fight against the feelings I had for you. You drove me nuts day and night. I thought Love was only for weaklings. But it seems only to make me stronger than I’ve ever been.”
The Slayer rolled his eyes, “Quit talking, or else I’ll cut out your tongues. I’m sick of hearing your fancy speeches of Love. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I hate fancy speeches. So shut up and let’s just skip to the part where you die.” He turned and looked around his throne, “Raphael, stop hiding like a coward. Summon the Diltrens!” Kiara felt her stomach drop. No, not the Diltrens! Kiara felt fear and anger overwhelm her. Her eyes turned to silver fire once again readying itself for the charge of mindless creatures. The power of the fire began to build up inside of her.
But this time it wasn’t nearly as strong.
A whistle rang through the air. There was silence for a long time and then came the dreaded screeching that hurt even the Slayer’s ears. From every side of the dome shaped room came those flying animals. Kiara released her fire, turning around in a circle so that she wouldn’t miss a single Diltren. They were easily consumed by the fire and all that was left was their ashes floating to the ground. The Slayer growled and suddenly a blast of fire came from his own fingers. This took Kiara by surprise. The fire hit her but did not consume her. She didn’t even feel the heat.
The Slayer screamed his anger, “How?! You are not immortal! Can you be fire itself? Impossible!” He leaped from his chair and came at Kiara with sword drawn. Casper moved to help Kiara but Winda came from nowhere and threw him a spinning kick that sent him flying. Winda moved like nothing Kiara had ever seen before. Her whole body was a blur of quick movements that could kill Casper easily if he were not the most experienced fighter to ever live.
A wild scream scratched at Kiara’s ears. She knew it had to be the Slayer coming straight for her. Kiara’s eyes went wide as she saw the Slayer running wide eyed with his sword angled for her heart. His face was twisted with fury but she even saw a little fear behind his eyes. Kiara took her bow and sent a quick flaming arrow at the Slayer. It sunk into his heart but he didn’t die. He didn’t even pause but continued to sprint like a mad man towards her. Kiara screamed and turned to run but as she turned around she bumped into a familiar person. Raphael smirked as he took a firm grasp on her, “Time for a new adventure. This one is called death.”
Kiara stared into his eyes with her own panic filled eyes, “No please!” She screamed with fear. But fortunately for Kiara it wasn’t a fear of death, instead it was a fear of not accomplishing her goal; it was a fear that Raphael and Winda would have to live the rest of their lives under the Slayer’s dark rule. She was angry at them for betraying the company but she still loved them, “Let me go Raphael! You’ve got to be better than this! Please!”
Raphael shook his head, “I know how much you want me to be a hero, but instead, I’m the villain.”
Kiara pounded her fist against his chest, “Please!” She buried her head in his chest and sobbed. She didn’t know what to say or how to convince him, the reason being she didn’t know him that well. The few weeks they had spent together had helped her none. He had been acting the whole time, how was she to know what he was really like. So she just said, “You’re better than this! I know it! You don’t deserve what the Slayer gives you! Turn to Love please!”
Raphael frowned, “You mean you don’t care about your life? Are you crying because of me?”
Kiara saw her chance. Obviously Raphael wanted to be cared about, “I love you Raphael. I love you with a love that comes from one that loves you far more than anyone ever could.”
Raphael’s face crumpled up. Suddenly he released her and pushed her to the side. Just in time. The sword that the Slayer held plunged through Raphael’s heart. Raphael didn’t scream or look as though he were in pain. Instead he had a peaceful look on his face. He smiled, “Thank-you Kiara.” He whispered.
Kiara gasped, “No! Not so soon!” She felt sick, yet the sight of Raphael’s peaceful face refueled her strength. She took her dagger and charged at the Slayer. She plunged it into the Slayers back three times before the Slayer turned around to meet her attack. Kiara fought like she had never fought before. She spun and twisted avoiding the blade at the strangest angles. Meanwhile she continuously stabbed the Slayer as many times as she could. But soon Kiara’s strength began to fail her. The Slayer gained the upper hand and sliced her leg. Kiara didn’t even feel the pain all she saw was the blood pouring from the wound. She fell backwards.
She felt like this was the end. Kiara had no more strength to defend herself. Casper was busy and there was no one else to save her.
The Slayer advanced on her with his sword raised. Kiara glanced to her left to see where Casper was, she saw him standing over the stiff body of Winda with fiery eyes. He raised his flashing blue eyes to met Kiara’s. He seemed distant and lost, but when he saw the Slayer ready to cut through Kiara’s heart, he came back to reality and moved with impossible speed. He knocked the Slayer over in one jump. They went tumbling on the floor.
Kiara rolled away from them and sat up. The pain from her wound came then. She wasn’t sure why she hadn’t felt pain before but now it made her scream. Tears poured down her cheeks. She grasped the wound and watched Casper fight with a pain stricken eyes.
Casper knew he couldn’t win against the Slayer. Not if he didn’t get help soon. But he had no idea what kind of help he could get. Kiara was wounded and bleeding to death and he was already weary from fighting Winda. His muscles ached and screamed their agony.
The Slayer had him pinned to the ground and was slowly cutting through Casper’s skin with his dagger. Then Casper’s eyes saw something that gave him a wash of relief. It was small and black, buzzing through the air coming straight for him.
It was a Yee.
Casper knew he could use this to his advantage so at the last possible moment he yanked the Slayer in the way of the Yee’s stinger. The Slayer felt the sting. His eyes went wide, “No! Don’t send me to Bladious! Please! Where’s your Paelliy? Save me! ”
For the first time Casper could see the fear plainly in the Slayer’s eyes. He smiled, “Sorry. But that’s where you’ll be going.” He threw the Slayer off of him and crawled over to Kiara. He took his shirt once again and ripped it. He quickly wrapped the wound tightly.
Kiara was crying silently, “I didn’t think I was afraid of death. But when I came so close I began to doubt that there really is a wonderful place after this life.”
Casper finished tying the bandage and dropped to the ground in exhaustion. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths, “You’re very lucky.”
Kiara reached out and ran her hands through Casper’s hair. Casper jumped a little at her touch but he didn’t slap her hand away or tell her it was wrong. Instead he reached out and took hold of her hand and brought it to his lips and kissed it gently. Kiara felt her stomach flutter. In a few seconds Casper was asleep. Kiara slipped her hand out from his strong grip and looked around unsure of what to do.
The sound of padding feet reached her ears. Kiara whirled around and saw a tall man with raven black hair and forest green eyes watching her. He smiled softly. Kiara thought he was very handsome. He had powerful wings connected to his back. Kiara thought suddenly that he was some form of a Diltren. Her eyes widened and she shuffled backwards. The man saw her fear, “Don’t be afraid. I’m not a Diltren. I’m the mighty Alaric leader of the Phantoms. King Tyron sent me to find you.”
Kiara stood and walked over to him, “Do I climb on your back?”
So she climbed on his back, which was difficult to do because he was so tall, and took a strong hold on the roots of his wings. The phantom carried her with ease. He lifted her into the air and then swooped down picking up Casper. They flew to the top of the dome and Alaric found a secret opening. The sunlight shocked Kiara even though it was foggy outside. She had to close her eyes tightly. Alaric swooped down from the top of the castle, very sure of himself. Kiara opened her eyes and saw the edge of the mountain getting closer and closer. She tensed. Alaric folded his wings over Kiara and shot straight down the mountain side, so close that if Kiara reached out she could touch it. Fog covered the mountain in a heavy blanket. And when they broke through the fog the ground was directly below them. Kiara gasped loudly. Alaric chuckled a little. He unfolded his wings and used them to brake. He landed on the ground very gently. Kiara tumbled off, “Wow! Thank-you.” Alaric just nodded and then he was gone like he had never been there. Casper lay on the ground still asleep. Kiara lay down in the exact spot she had been dropped off and fell into a deep sleep.
The sun peeked through the thick fog, and a fresh wind began to blow the gloominess away. Kiara opened her eyes and stared in surprise at the blue sky. She rolled over and lurched back in surprise. King Tyron was kneeling by a fire and feeding it with the little boy helping him. Ivan was sitting near the fire beside Hilary with a tight bandage wrapped around his stomach, Hilary was humming a soft tune, and Casper was eating hungrily. He glanced up from his food and his eyes stopped on Kiara, “Good morning!”
Kiara yawned, “Morning everyone! How did you guys find us?”
King Tyron stood up from the fire, “Alaric showed us where he put you. We had already made it down the mountain with his help. He went back to rescue you guys.”
The little boy skipped over to Kiara and handed her a plate of food. Kiara smiled her thanks and ate quickly. As soon as she was finished she insisted that they left immediately. The sooner they started, the sooner they would make it back to Sillvados. King Tyron suggested something different, “How about I just transport you there. I have the power.”
Ivan narrowed his eyes, “If you have the power why didn’t you just transport yourself away from the Slayer’s Dungeon?”
“The Slayer is smarter than that. He put a spell on the dungeons so that you aren’t able to use your powers. Now, let us go.” King Tyron’s eyes sparkled, “Take hold of my hands and then close your eyes. Tight.”
Kiara squeezed her eyes shut and waited. She didn’t feel anything strange but when King Tyron told her to open her eyes she opened them to see that they were in the familiar halls of the King Tyron’s castle. Kiara release King Tyron’s hand and grinned, “We’re back! That was so simple!” Tears blurred her vision. She couldn’t believe she was here at a place that she felt as though she could call home.
Casper put his arm around her shoulders, “Yes. We’re home.”
Kiara wrapped her arms around his waist and squeezed him gently, “I’ve never been so happy!”
Casper buried his head in Kiara’s hair and then kissed her forehead. Kiara smiled. King Tyron cleared his throat awkwardly, “Uh, Casper can I talk to you?” Casper quickly stepped away from Kiara and followed the King into a separate room.
King Tyron took a deep breath, “She needs to go home Casper.”
Casper felt the words stab at him.
“Her love for you might blind her and make her make the wrong decision. At this point she would willingly become immortal for you and live in this world without a second thought. But she might regret the decision for the rest of her life. And if she were immortal she would regret it for a very long life. We need to send her back, and if she hasn’t forgotten Sillvados in three years then we will bring her back. But we need to give her a chance to choose.”
Casper shifted uncomfortably, “And how will I be able to survive without her for the rest of my life. She’s captured me. And she’s the only one who ever could. There will never be another woman.”
King Tyron nodded, “I realize this. But she needs to go.”
“Thank-you. There is another thing you must know about her. She’s my daughter.”
Casper froze, “What? That’s impossible!”
“Not really. When I visited earth a few years back I fell in love again and married a woman named Martha. I was planning to bring her back here to be my queen, but she died in a car accident. I left the baby in that world because I knew I would never find a good safe home for my girl. And I was worried you would fall in love with her when she was far too young. I had heard the prophesies and figured them out. I knew you two would find each other. But I don’t know how the story ends. I don’t know if you two stay together. So now she’ll leave and in three years we’ll find out.”
“You knew we would fall in love? Well, that’s embarrassing!”
King Tyron laughed and then grew serious, “She leaves in a week. Don’t tell her a word of what I just told you. She is not to find out I am her father until she decides what world she belongs in.”
The week passed by faster than any week in Casper’s entire life. Soon he found himself standing in the entrance to the castle staring at Kiara’s tear stained face. Her Paelliy was on her shoulder kissing her cheek and singing at the top of its lungs. She seemed slightly cheered by Merry and she laughed when he struck impossibly high notes. But she still had that disgusting feel at the pit of her stomach, dreading every moment that passed.
She had spent the whole week begging King Tyron not to send her back but he did not yield. King Tyron had already said his good-byes and had left the room with Hilary and Ivan; he planned to send them back first. Hilary and Ivan had decided they were going to get married and they wanted to adopt the little boy whom they called Arthion because they wanted to name him after their hero Casper, whose other name was Arthion. Kiara said farewell to the couple and Arthion. She cried as Arthion hugged her and waved good-bye. She was going to miss the little boy even though she barely knew him. Then King Tyron used his powers to go back to earth with Hilary, Ivan and Arthion.
Kiara and Casper were left alone in the room. Casper watched her with soft, hypnotizing blue eyes; they were no longer poisonous, but instead filled with heartwarming love. Kiara walked up to him and hugged him. He returned the embrace. Merry stopped his singing and watched silently.
Kiara was shaking with the sobs, and her tears soaked Casper’s shirt. Casper stroked Kiara’s hair, feeling tears brim his eyes as well. His heart pounded against his chest and his mind was foggy, he couldn’t think of what to say, all he knew was that he wanted Kiara near him for the rest of his life, “Kiara. You’re so amazing! You changed me more then I could have ever imagined. I sure didn’t expect this when I dragged you from that alley. You make me go insane. I see your face everywhere I go.” He paused and lightly lifted her chin. His eyes were bright with yearning, “I… Well I… I love you, Kiara. You must know this before you go. I need you like a heart needs a beat. You have bewitched every part of me, I will forever be miserable if I can’t have your heart like you have mine.”
Kiara smiled through her tears, “You’re so romantic Casper! You have my heart, without a doubt. I love you with every ounce of love I can offer.”
Casper’s eyes sparkled and shone brighter than sun itself. He put his hands gently on her cheeks and leaned forward slowly. Then he covered her mouth with his own. His heart nearly failed him at that moment. He could feel emotions rush through his body. Kiara laid her hand gently on his firm chest and the other caressed his rough jaw line. Merry gave a romantic sigh and leaned as far as he possibly could and kisser Casper on the cheek. Casper didn’t even notice.
Casper didn’t want to let Kiara go but when King Tyron cleared his throat behind them, they pulled apart.
Kiara was still crying, “Don’t let me go Casper! I want to stay with you forever.” She went on her tiptoes and kissed him passionately again. Casper slowly released her dreading every inch that separated them. He was letting go of the only precious treasure that mattered to him. Kiara gazed at him with glassy tears falling from her silver eyes.
Casper gave her one last look of longing and then turned from the room and never looked back. As soon as he was out of sight of Kiara he broke down into tears. Casper hadn’t cried since he was a baby, and he felt rather foolish doing so. The sobs shook his body. He kneeled in the middle of the floor and pounded it angrily.
Meanwhile King Tyron took hold of Kiara’s hand and looked her in the eyes, “If it is meant to be, it will be.”
Kiara smiled warmly and closed her red swollen eyes. When she opened them she was back in the alley way in which she had been captured by Casper. She remembered the fear she had when those muscular arms closed in around her, now she would do anything for that to happen.
Kiara looked down at herself her clothes were the same Robin Hood style, her hair was still in a long braid down her back. Merry was still perched on her shoulder looking slightly bewildered. It said something in its language that most likely meant, “Where are we?”
Kiara sighed, “We’re in the place I used to call home.” She took the Paelliy and placed him in her bag then she began to race through the alley and then jogged all the way home. She walked slowly up the driveway that she used to walk up all the time, unaware of the curious eyes that watched her from the kitchen window. Those eyes belonged to her guardian, Patricia. Patricia recognized the girl but she couldn’t quite put her figure on it. The girl didn’t look like she belonged in this age. Her clothes were so different. She also seemed to have some royal, powerful way about her. She walked straight and tall. She slipped up to the door and knocked.
Patricia turned to the young lady sitting at her kitchen table with a cup of tea, “Lucy! There’s a really strange lady at my door. She’s wearing the strangest clothes I have ever seen!”
Lucy stood slowly and walked to the uncertainly. She opened the door a crack and peered out at the girl with silver eyes. Immediately Lucy recognized her and screamed, “Patricia!! It’s Kiara!” Lucy threw the door open and threw her arms around Kiara squealing with delight. Then she began to jump up and down.
Patricia made her way to the door as fast as an old lady could. She stared at Kiara in awe, “My goodness! You’ve grown into quite the beautiful, yet strange young lady. Come in!” She paused and gave Kiara a hurt look, “Tell me, where have you been for the last year and a half?”
Kiara took a deep breath, “It’s a very unbelievable story, but I’m going to tell you because I know you’ll trust me to tell the truth. It all began when I was coming home from school and I decided to go down the alley way you told me so many times not to go down…” Kiara told her story with as many details as she could. After a couple of hours of tears and laughter had gone by, Kiara finished. Patricia and Lucy stared at her in awe. Kiara looked at the ground, “I don’t expect you to believe my story but it’s the truth.”
Lucy shook her head, “I believed every word of it! There is no way you could make up such a story and tell it in such detail and in such emotion without it being the truth.”
Patricia nodded, “It’s time for you to go to bed dear. You are tired and broken hearted, but don’t worry, time will heal the pain.”
They lead Kiara to her room and left her to rest. But before Lucy left she said, “I just want to let you know. You helped me survive Junior High. If you weren’t there I would’ve never made it. Now I have many friends and my self-confidence is at a very good level. You saved me Kiara! And I’ll never forget what you did for me. You’re a life changer, gifted and unique. Don’t give up. You’ll see Casper again.”
Three years later…
Kiara walked home from her part time job down the street. She had never finished school and knew she wouldn’t be able to get very far in this world, job wise. She burst into the house. Lucy was there waiting for her, “There’s this man in the living room! I think he called himself Cuspia.”
Kiara narrowed her eyes, “Cuspia? What kind of na…” Then it hit her, “You mean Casper?!”
Lucy’s eyes widened as she recognized the name, “You mean that you guy you fell in love with? He has a very thick accent!”
Kiara flew from the entrance and into the living room. She froze in the middle of the room. Staring out the window was a man with long white blond hair. He turned from the window and Kiara saw his eyes. They took her breath away, the piercing, icy, blue pools that drowned her in love. Kiara didn’t know until then how much she had missed those eyes that saw her soul. Kiara couldn’t move. She couldn’t even breathe in his presence. Casper was the first to move. He took a hesitant step forward, “Kiara?”
Kiara nodded. Tears began to brim her eyes, “Casper.” She whispered lovingly. Suddenly she leaped off the floor and into Casper’s arms. Their lips found each other and sparks flew like never before. Casper wrapped her in a most loving embrace. If ever there was a perfect kiss, this was the one.
Lucy peeked around the corner and grinned from ear to ear. She raced through the kitchen and into Patricia’s room. Patricia was resting, but Lucy didn’t care at this moment. Patricia needed to see Kiara and Casper, “Patricia, wake up! Casper is here!”
As soon as Patricia heard the name she bounced from her bed with more energy than any normal old lady, “Finally!”
They raced to the living room together just in time to hear Casper say, “Kiara you can come back to Sillvados now. You can come and live with me forever. And that’s literal. Remember you said, ‘I want to stay with you forever’? That is the very expression that grants you an immortal life, as long as you say it to an immortal person. I lied about the being in the same room with King Tyron when the Witch put the curse on him. Instead later on I said the same thing you said to me. Now you’re immortal and I won’t have to watch you grow old and die.”
Kiara’s mouth dropped open, “That’s too good to be true! I can go back to Sillvados and live with you for the rest of my life? That’s crazy!”
“And I give you permission to go.” Patricia said, “Not that you really needed it. I have never seen you so happy and I could never douse it.”
Then King Tyron walked in to the room from the kitchen. He was eating an apple. He spoke through a full mouth, “Thank-you for your hospitality Patricia. I will reward you, and instead of a real apple I’ll give you a ruby apple.” He took one out of his traveling bag and gave it Patricia.
Patricia’s mouth fell open, “I love apples! And now I get one that won’t ever be eaten, hopefully.”
King Tyron laughed. Then he turned to Lucy, “And you deserve something special for being Kiara’s friend. Here is the one of the original books of the history of Sillvados. I hear you love history. This one is the first one in English so you’re lucky.”
Lucy took the big book and stared at it in awe, “Thank-you! You’re the best!”
Kiara said her good-byes once again with more tears of joy and sadness. Then Casper took one of her hands and King Tyron took the other. The next thing she knew, they were in the big entrance of the castle.
King Tyron immediately turned to her before she could make any exclamations of joy, “I want to explain something to you. I fell in love a couple of years ago when I was visiting Earth for two years, I do this every twenty years. Martha and I married and had a baby girl. Martha died in a car accident but the baby wasn’t there so she was saved. I couldn’t die even though I wanted to with all my heart. I should’ve never fallen in love with Martha. It was that, that sealed her fate. If I wouldn’t have married her, she would’ve lived a much longer and happier life. My advisors killed her because they knew if they didn’t she would become the queen and change my views of certain things.” He turned to Casper, “Remember I ordered you, to kill those advisors? Well it was because they killed my true love and broke my heart.” Then he turned back to Kiara and his eyes sparkled, “Kiara you are my daughter. You have silver eyes just like me but other than that you look just like your mother.”
Kiara’s mouth dropped open and she stared at King Tyron, “You mean you’re like my dad?”
“I would’ve told you before you went back to earth, but then you would’ve felt as though you had to stay. I wanted you to see how much you really belonged in this world.”
Kiara shook her head in dismay, “I felt as though I belonged here ever since we made our way through that beautiful cave of destiny. This is truly my home and I’m glad to be back.”
As Kiara looked at the room around her she remembered the events of the past years. A wave of sorrow passed over her. She remembered Casper slapping the gold ornament out of Hilary’s and she remembered how spectacular the beams of light made the dome look in the summer.
Ivan, Hilary and Arthion were gone and she was back. It was much different but at least she still had Casper by her side. She looked up at Casper who stood beside her. He winked at her and smiled bashfully. Still shy of me isn’t he? Kiara winked back and watched as Casper’s face turned red. She laughed and gave him a slight kiss on the cheek.
It was so good to be home.