Proof reading time 8D
It was during the yawning hours of morning that Riven found himself traversing through the pathways of Meridell towards a tavern-stall that stood beside a sparse forest. Those who were already awake either gave him sidelong glances or cringes: he was a Halloween lupe, a werelupe to be exact, and not many were comfortable with his robust frame and long fangs. Riven was quite used to this, he lived in Meridell and found some amusement at the furor and discomfort he caused to the citizens.
A fat meerca washed a stone cup with a grimy cloth as he approached,^sort of confusing, because you didn't say he went into the store^ settling down ^describe who was settling down^before the counter and watching as some neopets gathered around, waiting rather than ordering food from the Meridell Food shop. He knew why they were there, for he had come here often enough to know of such things.
They were restockers, loitering around and hoping to catch sight of rare foods, which they could resell for extraordinary prices. He had seen them bite, tear and claw their way to catch blueberries and cranberries, and even fight over a single berry. Riven simply shook his auburn head in wonder – he would never understand why these things, oh so simple, were so highly coveted.
“Aye, greetings Raven.” Said the meerca in a pleasant tone.
Riven didn’t bother to correct him and ordered the usual: smoked seasoned sausage, stale bread and a cup of water. This was his favorite breakfast, and he simply adored the light spiciness of the meat. After gnawing through the meal and gulping down his cup of water, he noticed some neopets begin to move away from the shop, tired of waiting. The silence was pleasant and welcoming to the lupe.
“Bah.” Spat the meerca. “They be always seeking them eggs.”
Riven perked his ears up. Eggs? He never knew the shop sold eggs. With a shrug, he was about to stand up, when he noticed that the shopkeeper sighed, mopped his brow with a red polka-dot kerchief, and leaned behind the rotten counter to reveal a large, oblong object with light spots upon a blue, shiny surface. The werelupe inspected it, feeling himself drawn to the shape.
His eyes widened at the price that was scrawled upon a scratch of paper nearby, but then noticed the beady eyes of the purple shopkeeper eyeing him intently – half daring, half pleading for him to buy this strange object. Riven had the money: 90,000 neopoints…but the sum was huge. Was it really worth it to buy this thing?
Just then, a soft rumble shook the earth beneath his gigantic paws. He turned around and spotted pets of all sorts running towards him, eyes alight, all of them locked upon the orb. A growl rose into a warning note in his throat, and Riven turned around to behold the thing that they so sought. For a long time now had he faced their constant cries as they haunted the shop, watching in earnest and bothering him constantly. Maybe this would be his revenge?
With a sweeping movement, Riven deposited his neopoints upon the counter and took up the thing. A grateful look fled across the features of the shopkeeper as he quickly counted the coins and flung them behind the counter, nodding. Just then, the horde was upon the lupe, crowding to try and grasp what he had won.
It was just then that Riven realized how his gift of height proved to be useful. As he moved through the melee of neopets who sought his prize, he noticed the guards appear. Large, green draiks with blue and red livery, bearing sharp and shiny spears quickly and forcefully put down the furor before any damage could be done. Riven felt his breath escape with a sigh of relief, and he never knew that he was holding it the entire time.
The werelupe jumped at the hiss and whirled around, fur bristling, at a figure squatting behind the tavern of the Meridell Food shop.
The fur lay to rest when the familiar name was called out. Carefully, still gripping the orb in his paws, the auburn werelupe made his way towards the shadowed meerca, who was eyeing him again with those beady, watchful eyes.
“What are ye going to do with the draik egg?”
Riven scratched his broad head and jerked his ear, a common gesture to him which symbolized thought. “I don’t know.” He said quietly. “What is it? Is it a food of some sort?”
The purple shopkeeper glanced around cautiously and nodded. “Yes and no.”
“The egg can be eaten, aye, but inside is a baby draik.”
Riven stepped back a pace. “A baby draik!”
“Shh!” Hissed he. “You can do many things with this egg. You can sell it for millions of neopoints, eat it, or hatch it. What do ye want to do?”
The sudden information was too much for the great lupe, and he sat down – hard – upon the grass ^I thought he was inside?...^. Millions of neopoints? The word itself was enough to stun him. He never owned so much in his life…could it be that something so small could cost so much? The werelupe glanced at the meerca, and then at the egg. Would he sell the egg, and get many neopoints for it? Would the buyer eat the egg? Riven shuddered at the thought. Who would do such a heinous act?
The thought was sobering, and the lupe realized that he would never forgive himself if he did such a thing. That left one option. “I’ll hatch it…but…how do you hatch an egg? I don’t know how to incubate.”
The meerca’s eyes glistened with amusement and he stifled laughter. “You don’t need to incubate anything! You need to go to the Draik Nest. I don’ts know how, but them eggs all hatch there or something. You’ll find it in the small mountainside behind the Castle.”
Riven cocked his head and felt his ragged ears perk up with interest. A nest? This made himself think of himself as a mother…how droll!^what does droll mean?^
Before he could ask anything else, the meerca nodded, his fat chins wobbling, and disappeared back into his shop, leaving a confused werelupe with a blue draik egg in his paws.
“All right then…” he murmured to himself, “I got to find me that nest! But I can’t do it by holding you in my paws like this; it would attract too much attention. I know! I will put you into by sack!”
Pleased at his intelligence, the lupe dropped the orb into the bag – gently – and flung it over his hunched back, squinting at the mountain range that was visible behind Meridell Castle, painted red and gold by the rising sun. Maybe a fifth of a days^ no apostraphe, a day isn't a noun^ journey? Less?
As the lupe set his pace, he noticed his shadow increase in size instead of decrease. A pungent scent filled the air and he whirled around to sight a rush of blue, scratching the fibers of the sack and nearly taking his precious cargo. Riven snarled his displeasure and locked eyes with a floating being that had just parted its lips into a malevolent smile, revealing sharp white teeth.
“So close, so close, so precious a load! I steal, yes, yes? Make walking so much easier…”
“Try me.” Growled Riven dangerously at the red-eyed monstrosity.
“Pant devil has no quarrel with you, little lupe.” Sneered the blue thing.
Riven jumped forward with an intimidating bark, which seemed to worry the thing a bit. “No quarrel!” It seethed before flying away.
It was a while before Riven recommenced his journey, bearing the egg in his strong arms where random events like that would never be able to take it. The pant devil was a weak petty thief; he posed not much of a danger. But others, more severe events would, and that made Riven quite jumpy.
Miles passed beneath his tireless paws as he walked through the foothills, making it to the palace. It was brilliantly white, blinding in the morning light, bearing snapping flags of blue and red. The werelupe stared at it with awe before readjusting the egg in his arms. He had seen the castle from a distance, but not this close!
A cobbled road veered off from the main road and into the outskirts of the palace, where the mountains were. Riven had virtually no idea where the nest was, the mountains were huge in size and distance, but he decided to cross that bridge when he got there. Before he could even step upon it, something tapped his shoulder and he jumped up a tail-length with a shriek and whirled upon a small acara pageboy that was looking up at him with a hint of fear.
“P-presenting the h-honorable Duke of Aywerth…” He took out a bronze trumpet and uttered a few failing squeaks before scuttling away.
Riven looked up with hazel eyes at an acara with royal garments and piercing blue eyes, looking at him with nonchalant interest. Beside him was a lanky gelert with a trailing beard, wearing spectacles. “Greetings, my good lupe.” He said in a cultured voice. “My name is Rellworth, and I am the Duke’s assistant. We noticed you had a draik egg in your possession, and were hoping to purchase it. Money is no object.”
Riven felt his knees weaken substantially. He had heard of this Duke, who lived in a neighboring land and was a vassal to King Skarl. He also heard of the wealth of this acara, and felt faint just thinking about it. Just as quickly, the lupe began to feel conflicting thoughts running through his head. Should he sell the egg to the noble? He felt inclined to do so, for he was of the minor class and was used to the constant harassment of the nobility. But then again, the nagging stubbornness of protecting the egg was there too, and he felt torn between his instinct and what he was brought up to do.
However, the Duke took the uncomfortable silence differently and smiled. “Come now, my good fellow, I can make you rich in seconds. All you need to do is sell me that egg. I need it so I can change this, to this, for it is the last item on my Gourmet list and I dearly hope to complete it by today.” His voice was rich and amiable.
The Gourmet Club! This noble would eat this defenseless draik! His instinct overpowered everything in his turmoiled mind, and the lupe met the other’s gaze evenly. “I shall not allow you to eat this egg, my lord.” He said carefully.
The Duke’s eyes flashed. “You shall give me the egg, lupe. As your superior, I demand it.”
Riven noted the change of tone. “No!” With that, he took a few steps back and broke into a run, leaving the twosome standing there, stunned.
Rellworth, who snorted and spat into the dust, broke the silence. “What an unfathomable beast! Come, my good sir, let us make haste to King Skarl’s banquet. We shall find another egg.”
But the acara shook his head and folded his arms. “Nay, my good Rellworth. I shall have that egg, long have I sought for it but I have never seemed to get one. Is this not a golden opportunity to complete my collection?” With that he rubbed his stomach.
The gelert seemed confused. “My lord?”
The Duke snapped his fingers and they both watched as three soldiers on uni-back who were drinking from a trough arrived faster than one could imagine, bearing the livery of red and yellow – the colors of Aywerth. “You saw the werelupe. Find him, and bring to me his cargo: a draik egg. Leave it undamaged, or you may suffer great consequences.”
The soldiers nodded and prodded their rich brown mounts to run towards the mountainside. One, however, a kougra, turned around and spoke. “Sir, what of the lupe?”
“Do what you wish.”
Riven ran faster than the wind.
He heard and saw the knights galloping towards him, and as he entered the forest, he had a remote feeling of relief. The trees would make their chase a bit more difficult, while he could maneuver between them with efficiency. Their cries of dismay as roots tripped them and branches did screen them from their quarry goaded the lupe on, even though he was running blindly to Fyora knows where.
A sudden flash of light made the lupe pause for a moment, and after a few blinks, he found that the forest loam and detritus, so soft and welcoming, was replaced with a cold, hard surface. He was in the open, at the mountains!
Towering high into the blue sky, the ragged peaks were unfathomably foreboding. Riven shuddered and his fur prickled. But where was the Draik Nest? Just then, he yelped and nearly dropped the egg.
It was vibrating!
Bewildered, Riven held it out, watching as the thing jerked and shuddered. Maybe it was ready to hatch? Intrigued, he decided to move to the left of the rock, and found that the shaking became subdued, but when he moved right, the movement increased.
Was this like a divining rod then? Pondered he, as a flash of red caught his sharp eyes and he saw the knights tearing their way through the trees. A cry ripped out of his throat, and Riven fled to the east, bringing the egg closer to his furry chest. Lead the way, little egg! He thought to himself, as he leaped from rock to rock with little effort.
By the time the soldiers managed to realize that running across the rugged terrain would prove useless and only flight would work, Riven managed to spot a round cavern entrance jutting out of the stone. There! That probably led to the nest! The werelupe’s thoughts were confirmed when the trembling finally stopped and gave way to a small, barely felt tapping sound.
And so, without any prior thought, Riven plunged into the dark pool.
“Where is he, Raul?” Demanded the kougra knight. “The Duke will have our tails if we don’t get him that egg!”
“I don’ts know nothin’!” Cried Raul defensively.
“Me neither, Chief.” Said the third knight.
All three were in flight, watching the mountainous ground pass by them in a blur. Who better than a uni to provide a way to travel through any environment? They had some difficulty earlier with the forest and the rocky foothills, but now they were at ease. Well, they were the only ones at ease. All three riders were furiously scanning the ground for any sign of the lupe and his egg, but with no avail.
“Why don’t we land, Chief? We will have better luck finding ‘em on the ground.”
“And break Greatwing’s hooves? I’d rather bite my ears off than do that, you silly kyrii!” Snarled Chief.
“Just a suggestion.” Grumbled the third knight.
“Wait…what is that?” Raul pointed vehemently at a dark cavern formed on the side of the mountain, looking almost like a small den from their altitude.
Before anything else could be said, Chief and Greatwing swooped down and landed before the dark tunnel. “I smell them, Chief.” Said Greatwing, eyeing the darkness warily.
“As do I.” The kougra twitched his tail and got off. “We should do this on foot. Greatwing, Soar, Bigheart, stay here to make sure he does not escape.”
The three unis nodded dutifully, as their riders were swallowed by the shadows of the cave.
“Okay, little egg, keep still! We are almost there, I hope.”
The tunnel was absent of any annexes. Instead, it was just one, long, winding passageway with a floor that seemed flattened from constant usage. It almost seemed as if a huge cobrall, or even the Snowager made it. Riven felt his auburn fur prickle with foreboding and instinctively gripped the egg. He dearly hoped that this would not lead him to his doom. The egg was warm now, and offered some comfort in the chilling darkness.
The tunnel began to widen now, opening into a large dome that his sensitive eyes learned^perhaps knew would be a better word than learned?^ was already lit my some source. At the top of the dome was a hole that bathed the area with light and seemed to be the other entrance to the outside world. The light filtered down upon a roughly hewn pedestal near the front, dripping with drying and dead leaves the colors of autumn. Shells, broken, were piled up neatly by an invisible hand in some inconspicuous corner, and there were thousands of them.
The Draik Nest….
But what to do now? The egg was glowing slightly, and Riven felt confused about what to do next. Maybe it would hatch on its own? His thoughts trailed off into more mundane things, such as the gender and the temperament, when suddenly, his ears head the sounds that filled him with dread.
As one, the three knights, beaten and bruised (they probably did not have night vision) spilled into the cave, eyeing their prey and charging forward with war cries.
The werelupe cried out with fear and placed his egg upon the pedestal, and tensed his muscles for combat. He had no weapon, while the knights held blades and one had a spear. However, his father taught him the essence of fighting and how to defend oneself if one was attacked, (He had to know, with Kass’ minions running about at the time…) and he took the lessons to heart.
The red-maned kyrii jumped forward and swung his sword in an arc, missing the lupe by a hairbreadth. The startled expression was enough, and Riven slammed into the knight with his bulk, sending him catapulting towards the wall with a scream. This was an opening for a nearby spear to graze his leg, making him howl with pain.
A snarl and a charge sent the bearer of the spear sprawling, but now the kyrii was up and began to fight with the kougra that was now assailing him. Riven knew that, although he could defeat one with no problem, he could not do so to three at the same time. He was defeated before the battle began.
The kougra howled with pain and a wisp of smoke appeared behind him. His tail burst aflame! A few more fiery bursts appeared and the kyrii had his mane on fire. Screaming and unable to bear the pain, they rushed towards a patch of earth and began to try and put off the flames.
While they were bashing their heads and tails against the wall, a fireball shrieked from behind the lupe and he dove for cover, wondering about what could cause this strange phenomenon.
Apparently, the two burned knights put out their fires and stood up to fight, but their hardened, pained expressions were replaced with those of absolute horror. They began to point and shout, dropped their weapons, and ran out of the cave. The fallen knight had risen out of his stupor and ran away as well, grabbing the weapons of his comrades before following their leave.
Riven was filled with fear as he turned around to see what had frightened them so much, and screamed as well when he saw a huge, twisted shadow looming before him, snarling and spitting. His muscles were unable to move, even though he wanted to slink away.
“Do not fear, Lupe.” Said an ancient voice behind him. Riven jumped, and spotted an old blue draik with a white beard and eyes filled with wisdom, bearing a broom.
“I am the Watcher.”
A blank expression was read upon Riven’s face, and the draik chuckled. “I Watch over all the draiks who hatch from their eggs. I clean away their shells afterwards.”
Riven’s curiosity about the neatly sorted shells was satisfied, but he was still confused. “Were you the one who made the fireballs, and the shadow?”
“No.” Said the draik with a grin.
“Then who was it?”
Riven followed the clawed finger of the Watcher to look at the pedestal with foliage. The egg was torn asunder, and sitting in the warm leaves was a blue draik, rubbing its eyes and sneezing occasionally, each sneeze coming out as a burst of flame. The lupe felt his eyes light and rushed over to hug the draik. “Hey there, little fella!”
He never expected the egg to hatch thus. And the fact that the newly hatched pet managed to scare away three soldiers was enough for the lupe to go into a strange mode of joy. The draik sneezed again, singing a hair upon the werelupe’s coarse fur, and then smiled. “Heyu Raven.”
Riven’s eyes widened with astonishment. “He can talk? He knows my name?” Sure, the name was misspoken, but it was pretty close.
The Watcher laughed. “Of course. We draiks are intelligent creatures, and we learn things even when we are within our shells. Did you ever talk to the egg before you brought it here?”
The great lupe pondered for a moment. “Come to think of it, when I was traveling here, I liked to talk to the egg to pass the time. Maybe he learned that way?”
Riven grinned. “Anyway, what should I call him?”
“Anything you wish.”
A silence followed as the lupe pondered. “Hm. What about Druul?” It had a nice ring to it.
The ancient draik smiled. “A good name. In the Old Tongue that I still do know, it means ‘the Glowing one.’”
“Then that is your name, Druul!” Said Riven with finality. “I have thought of moving from that old shack of mine back there in Meridell to Neopia central. I have enough neopoints for it and to buy us a new home.”
As Riven turned to leave, the Watcher suddenly put a claw upon his great shoulder, which startled the lupe a bit. “Before you go, I have a gift for young Druul. It will make your life much easier, and his as well.”
After nodding, Riven watched as the old draik placed the broom upon the domed head of the younger draik and spoke words of power. A thin, neon light appeared from the broom and passed unto the other, pulsing and flickering until at last it died and the broom returned back to normal, as did the draik who received the spell.
“I have granted him wisdom. Wisdom that only draiks can know, and other species can never understand. May the sun shine upon your travels.”
“Thank you.” Said Riven and Druul in union, waved good bye, and began to travel back the way they came, smiling and chatting to each other.
Apparently the gift of wisdom also imbued into the young draik the gift of speech, and he could speak fluently. (Much to Riven’s delight and relief…he had very little wish to teach the draik to talk in the first place.)
When they disappeared and were consumed by the shadows of the tunnel, the Watcher turned tail and began to sweep away the eggshell fragments, humming an ancient tune:
One and two meet thousands more
Given unto me in times of yore
Cross’d the threshold, bearing here
An orb of draik, a shiny sphere
With bless’d joy hath they cast
Upon the nest made aeons past
In a burst of new-made flame
To put a volcano to greater shame
A wondrous miracle doth transpire
Sweeter than the strum of a lyre
And now my song, it does end
Into the past, the stone I blend.
And thus, the Watcher hobbled towards the back of the cave, leaned into the stone, and began to merge with the rock until he was no more than a jutting ledge. His eyes were wide open, for they were there to watch. The Watcher had resumed his eternal vigil over any draik that did hatch here.
Not too many mistakes, vertainly not enough for them to reject it :/.
The Andantonius says: Shrunk the text for anti-derailment purposes. You can copy and paste it in to another text application to view it full size. It's better to point out just the mistakes, rather than fix and edit the whole thing, but I didn't want to just delete it because I'm sure it took you a while.
Yep, it's me from the oldest board to this one!
Total posts from earlier two boards: 1047.